02 Jan 2017 13:14 IST

Corruption is in our DNA

Indians are dishonest — across caste, region and community

Ask anyone in India and they will corroborate this: you can always rely on the ‘corruption sector’ to deliver. On Saturday, the PM did not indicate what the expiry date is for the caps on withdrawals from our bank accounts, of money that we have earned and credited for safe-keeping. It’s a hostage situation that’s entirely out of our hands.

However, what’s in our hands is dirt that all the waters of Arabia and Asia and the Americas cannot wash off. We are ingenious when it comes to cheating. According to reports, I-T raids being conducted on banks and post offices all over the country continue to unearth wads and wads of unaccounted for currency in the newly-released ₹ 2,000 denomination. Until the middle of December, such seizures had totalled about ₹3,000 crore. Recently, in Hyderabad, a logistics company filed charges against its employees for siphoning off new notes. Bank employees and others have been held on stealth charges – which leads to the incontrovertible conclusion that there are many more predators out there preying on our money.

We are the world’s biggest cheats, there’s no question about that. Look at how airlines hiked their fares to obscene levels during the floods crisis in Chennai in 2015. Look at how we bleed students to death by way of capitation fees. Look at how money plays real estate. Look at how many in high and low places have routinely been caught red-handed with bundles stashed in lofts, under mattresses, in car boots.

Itchy fingers go beyond caste, community, region, religion. It’s in our DNA. We rank 76 out of 168 countries in the corruption index, possibly the only listing in which we rank so high. And if there were an index of lack of moral fibre, we’d probably be up there among the top 10.