Getting it done in South Asia
According to a Transparency International report, South Asia is the most corrupt region in the world with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka being the countries where corruption is prevalent in all public-sector organizations.
A survey was conducted by South Asia Magazine to study what corruption means to individuals, the sources of corruption and whether corruption is the only way to get things done. Various people were asked for their responses. These included entrepreneurs, journalists, lawyers and students. Response was received from Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
When asked who or what is the source of corruption, 96% named both officials and society being as corrupt.
“Corruption does not only constitute an official taking bribe, it also involves the citizen giving bribe, making both inter-dependent,” said Ahad, a lawyer. Freelance journalist Anoushka Ali explained the phenomenon as a vicious cycle that prevails as the individual is willing to pay more to get a job done faster and officials are willing to take bribe as fee. A number of respondents also mentioned those influential families for spreading corruption that control significant parts of various industries and businesses.
When asked if corruption was the only way to get things done, 8 out of 11 people considered it possible to get things done without using corrupt methods, but they did say that it will take a lot of patience and time to achieve this. Some did not agree to this notion. Siraj Ahmed, a businessman, said, “In organizations like the stock exchange or a government body, it is impossible to get things done without handing out a hefty bribe.”
The respondents also suggested that corruption can be described as a disease, misuse of authority and breach of justice and is more prevalent in South Asia than in other parts of the world. The remedy was described as the cleansing of society.