Back to the future: We must create an encyclopaedia of corruption

It is necessary to turn the floodlights on the corrupt and their activities, which will hopefully help to deal with corruption. The final instalment of a three-part article, proposes a website that will report on anything that is connected to corruption in the country

First, a comment. Anna Hazare has dug his heels in on three points that must be included in the Lokpal Bill: inclusion of the lower bureaucracy, creation of Lokayuktas in all states and citizens' charters for all services provided by governments and their agencies. These demands are reasonable; the government must concede them, otherwise the Lokpal will be crippled before reaching the starting gate.

Now, we move on to the matter of working on an encyclopaedia of corruption.

The corrupt are creatures of darkness. They are like the Morlocks in HG Wells' novel, "The Time Machine", who live underground. They are like Dracula and his clan who suck people's blood in the night and disintegrate when exposed to sunlight. We, therefore, need to turn thousands of powerful floodlights on the corrupt and their activities. Once exposed to the public eye, they will shrink and shrivel and hopefully fade away.

I propose we create an encyclopaedia of corruption, or graft, or scams, or kickbacks or money-laundering, or black money-call it what you will, it is the same thing. The sub-title of this compendium could be, "What you always wanted to know about corruption but were afraid to ask your local politician".

I will begin by putting up a website-I have already begun work on this-that will switch on a thousand floodlights on all aspects of corruption. And I invite all readers of Moneylife and their friends, and anyone else interested in this venture, to join me.

I suppose we should begin with giving our creation a name. I thought of or Other suggestions for a name are welcome.

The content of the website, I feel, should cover anything connected to corruption in India. Definitions, areas which abound in opportunities for corruption, covering government departments, public sector, customs and excise, direct tax departments, banks, state electricity and water boards and (unfortunately) the courts... the list is endless. There are quasi-official agencies like banks, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the stock exchanges, the mutual fund industry, that need to be watched and studied.

And then we have methods used in taking bribes and kickbacks; methods of sending black money outside the country like under-invoicing and over-invoicing of exports and imports; and other methods that shrewd industrialists and politicians use. And benami and other methods used to salt away the black money created by corruption.

We will need articles on corruption and methods of fighting it by learned experts. We will need to create teams of people skilled in investigation, like journalists, lawyers, financial experts, chartered accountants, RTI activists who will jointly and singly investigate government deals and tenders, suspicious actions by SEBI and the stock exchanges.

In about a month, I will be ready with the plan of the website and its contents. I welcome suggestions on the contents and any other aspect of the encyclopaedia on corruption.

We will request Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to give use for publication on the website, all information he has about shady deals by Indians, lists of Indians having huge, secret bank accounts, etc.

The list of activities is endless; and so is the journey. The culture of corruption is so deep-rooted that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will continue to work on the encyclopaedia long after we have passed into the vast Unknown.

But for now, come on people, let the fun begin.

(R Vijayaraghavan has been a professional journalist for more than four decades, specialising in finance, business and politics. He conceived and helped to launch Business Line, the financial daily of The Hindu group. He can be contacted at [email protected].)

1 decade ago
great job
Rupin Dang
1 decade ago
Excellent idea! This will work...

Let's make it searchable and indexable, with a weekly Google "cache" collection, so nothing gets erased! But personal and contact information should be present, to prevent witch-hunting and targeting good folks...

Enough talk all around! You're actually suggesting action-able action...

We're with you. Let's make every little dirty deed in India public. The Facebook of the bhrast!
R Vijayaraghavan
Replied to Rupin Dang comment 1 decade ago
Dear Rupin, would you like to help in this effort. Please mail me at [email protected]. Tell me about yourself, what you do etc. some ideas, suggestions and articles would be welcome. Cheers, Vijay
1 decade ago
Good initiative . Please let us know when the site is in action. Is there some place where you are getting inputs and thoughts on what can go on the site etc.. let us know so that we can contribute to the discussion.
A city wise segregation will allow people to look it up and contribute effectively to the cases.
r Vijayaraghavan
Replied to sunil comment 1 decade ago
Dear Sunil, Thanks for your enthusiastic response. Please get in touch [email protected]. We'll take it from there.
Cheers, Vijay
1 decade ago
How about (rhymes likes corrupt india or corrupt ends here) or

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