A little personal and a little political

Why NRIs should join fight against corruption in India – A real life example

Towards the end of our work day in California, my colleague was telling about a concern that is bugging him.

Case I:  His parents are trying to get him a birth certificate for the last 3 months. They submitted every single that document that is needed. They travelled from their village to Vijayawada MRO office 3 times so far. Then someone told them the open secret. They need to bribe the middle man Rs 5,000. The old parents did not have much choice. They paid the amount. They were promised the birth certificate in a week.

Week passed, no birth certificate yet. They went back, and they were told the officer who was supposed to give the certificate got transferred to a different location. They were asked to pay Rs 3,000 more. They asked what happened to the Rs 5,000 they already paid. The middleman told them the previous officer took the money and left. Now they paid Rs 3,000 again, and waiting for the birth certificate.

Case II: Then I told him how I got my daughters birth certificate who was born 2 weeks ago. When she was born, the hospital nurse told us that they would give all the information to the county office, and asked us to collect it after 2 weeks. Good thing the county office has a Satellite branch close to my house. I went to the office at 9:30 AM. As soon as I entered,  a Kiosk took my name, purpose of the visit and my identification. Then I went and stood in the queue. In 2 minutes my turn came. The woman at the counter only asked to show my driver’s licence for verification, and confirmed I only wanted birth certificate for my daughter. She printed it out, put a seal on it, and signed it. I was back in the parking lot at 9:40 AM (yes, same day).

We NRIs see such differences very often. So how do we accept the corruption in our motherland? Whether things will change because we join the corruption free movement or not is something we will have to see. But without public involvement, things will never change for better. If you are not sure how you can be part of the corruption free movement, please leave a comment below.

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9 comments on “Why NRIs should join fight against corruption in India – A real life example

  1. srini
    July 26, 2012

    I agree with your words on “Corruption”, it is definitely bad, no questions about it it. But, I beg to differ your comparison of 2 different countries’ infrastructure to get a Birth Certificate, Not everything can be compared to the well established western setup. Their society has been established by the creamy layer from the Europe and built it for 200 yrs to get to the current “kiosk” level. Ours is still evolving, have to bare the pains of transformation.
    Your friend might be looking for a certificate of, may be around 30 yrs old, but not a new one. Due to lack of awareness OR lack of education or lack of mandatory requirement, taking a birth certificates was not a common practice back then. Now, the system in INDIA has been improved to give the certificates for the fresh births. Finding old records OR issuing a non-availability might take some time, but asking bribe for the same is definitely not acceptable. Being educated parents (or your friend) should take it through the correct route & question the authorities, rather than a short cut by paying bribe. As popular saying goes….bribe giver is equally corrupt as the bribe taker. I am sure, their urgency of the certificate might be beating all the fighting spirit they have, but it has to start everywhere to make a change.
    There will always be rotten apples, however robust the system could be…..We all definitely have to root out the corruption with courage, rather than just blaming it on corruption & still practice the same when it comes to our doorsteps.

    • atluris
      July 26, 2012

      The new saying is…people who give bribe to execute their rights are “victims of corruption”. They are not same as people who demanding bribe to perform their job. If we are asking old parents to fight the corrupt system to get a birth certificate, that tells a lot about the system we are living in. Yes, we should also fight at individual level. If we can’t, at least do it collectively.

  2. srini
    July 27, 2012

    We might be terming it “victims of corruption” to make ourselves “not to feel bad” for what we have done. But, it is definitely part of the corruption process.
    There is no age limit (young or old) to fight for the need of the hour. Anna Hazare is no young man, while standing behind Anna Hazare it is unfair to say that our parents are old to fight, hence they oblige the corruption as a “Victim”. Your friend is no exception & I have nothing to do with him, Probably, personally, we all might do the same when it comes to our own parents, I am trying to convey that our thinking has to be changed.
    We cannot desire “It is better if our next door parent becomes Anna Hazare” but not our own.

  3. ravi
    July 27, 2012

    For going to US NRI’s do all fake things (fake experience, fake bank statements), after landing in US they taking bribe for a birth certificate is big crime, is this fair?

    NRI’s screwed up common man life in India, they screwed up the real estate, culture etc..
    How can a clerk in MRO office with Rs15k/month buy a house?

    He has to rely on these small things, take it as a service fee don’t say it as a bribe.

    Even in CA, people pay bribes near DMV to get early slot for DL.

    All the braindrain happened and you guys like to work with Wellsfargo doing some crappy stuff. Why can’t you guys comeback and develop technologies like self help kiosks? Who is stopping from coming to India and changing it?

    It’s not as simple as writing a blog.

    • atluris
      July 27, 2012

      Some good points. I am coming to India anyway. It depends on individuals. Don’t expect everyone to do that. If you have conviction, it doesn’t matter where you are, you can still do good for the country, and a lot of NRIs are doing that too.

    • Sashi
      July 27, 2012

      if he can earn only 15K/month, who wants him to buy a house? fake experience / fake bank statements – how many do it? if you know of any, why can’t file a complain with uscis? no point saying it’s not my job to do it.
      to change india, it’s not a must to be there. as atluri said, if you have will, you can certainly do wherever you are.
      don’t start calling bribe / dowry as a service fee. it would question someone’s manliness

  4. Bimal Kumar Khemani
    July 27, 2012

    You are right my friend. You have referred to a case of a birth certificate. Just imagine someones only young son met with an accident and died, he is to bribe for the post martem and than after bribe for getting a death certificate. The fellow does not get time to mourn for his young son.
    Our BHARAT has raked 95 in the list of corrupt countries, out of total 141 surveyed .

  5. santhosh yadav
    July 27, 2012

    right nri

  6. Pingback: Aam Aadmi Party Challenges | A little personal and a little political

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2012 by in Corruption (Anti), English, India, Personal, Politics, U.S..
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