Business, Economics and Jobs

IndiaInc: Govt to target private sector bribes, too

So, you thought only Indian politicians, and bureaucrats, and policemen, and department of motor vehicle employees, and tax collectors, and dog catchers were corrupt?  It turns out that the private sector is corrupt, too!  

I'm not sure how that comes as a surprise. Obviously somebody is paying all the bribes. But India's Mail Today newspaper does point out some interesting tidbits in its story on a recent report from the country's Central Vigilance Commission. To begin with, the government is looking to make bribes between two private corporations or individuals -- not just bribery of so-called government servants -- a criminal offense.

Interestingly, the CVC quotes corruption watchdog Transparency International to note that the private sector is "instrumental (in effecting corruption) and hand-in-glove with public officers."

In fact, the only surprise there was Transparency International's claim that once upon a time tycoons were the victims of corruption, though it helped many of them to flout regulations and establish monopolies.

The standard argument is that corruption has decreased since the liberalization of India's economy in 1991, simply because fewer things are for sale. In the old days of the so-called License Permit Raj, you needed a license to do anything, including boost your manufacturing output, so corruption was part and parcel of virtually every business maneuver.