Thoughts on economics and liberty

How to remove corruption from India – the ACTUAL solution

(Note: Please read these later posts first – Are you serious about removing corruption? Then follow the POSITIVE solution – 13 August 2011 and this: Anna can’t guarantee ZERO CORRUPTION. I can, and do 24 August 2011). Also, the entire solution in great detail is now available in the draft Sone Ki Chididiya Total Reform Agenda.

As a counter-point to Anna's over-hyped work re: the LP Billlet me extract the key reforms from my book, Breaking Free of Nehru (BFN) to outline what India actually needs to implement in order to remove corruption. 

Basically, we need to make India's governance incentive compatible to ensure that interests of the elected representatives are aligned with the interests of the citizens.

Note that the reforms outlined below are only PART of the total package and won't work in isolation. And do note the richness of thought and depth involved in this way of thinking, compared with the shallow thinking that underpins the LP BillIf things were as easy as passing a Bill, India would have resolved its many problems long ago by legislating them away!

After reading this extract from BFN, you may conclude that this package won't work. But you must first read BFN  and understand the complete  package carefully before you can judge this "solution" – which only forms the KEY part of the package. Indeed, within the framework of this reform package, outlined in BFN, something like the LP Bill WILL work. However, the LP Bill WON'T make any difference to corruption or governance under the current system.
I must add that I GUARANTEE that the package in BFN will not just eliminate corruption but will eliminate poverty, create HUGE amounts of wealth for India, and ensure high quality education for everyone. A good system has spinoffs EVERYWHERE. On the other hand, a shallow "reform" like the LP Bill – in isolation – will become quickly bogged down in a range of impossibilities.
(Note: If, like the votaries of the LP Bill, you can only think of ONE thing at a time and can't digest complexity, then read ONLY this blog post: First step in removal of corruption: State funding of elections)
Finally,before going to the solution, let me invite those who are interested in REAL reforms in governance in India to join the Freedom Team of India.  Now for the solution:

Extract from chapter 6 of BFN

Being committed to a squeaky clean government, I cannot afford the luxury of Cabinet colleagues being paid poorly. As an interim measure, my Cabinet will significantly increase the salary of members of Parliament. State Governments will also be funded for similar increases for their assemblies and councils. The monthly wage of MPs and MLAs would go up from the current Rs 33,000 to, say, Rs 3,50,000, with proportionate increases for Ministers. There will also be an annual adjustment based on the cost of living. Simultaneously, all perquisites and indirect benefits will be abolished.
A system of performance bonuses for all MPs and MLAs will be introduced:
  • For every 1 per cent increase in per capita GDP growth beyond 5 per cent per annum, all our representatives will get a one-off 5 per cent bonus.
  • For every 1 per cent permanent reduction – defined as a reduction sustained for two years – in the number of people below the poverty line, MPs and MLAs will get a permanent 1 per cent increase in their base salary. Once the negative income tax system is fully established, the entire reduction in poverty will be incorporated permanently into the base salary.
  • For every ten ranks that India rises on a sustained basis of two years in Transparency International rankings, there will be a 5 per cent one-off bonus.
  • There will be a permanent 20 per cent increase on base salary upon India’s becoming the world’s least corrupt country for two years in a row.
  • The sum of these bonuses will be limited to a total of 50 per cent of the base salary in any given year.
 A virtuous cycle of morality will thus be established which will not only eliminate poverty but overcome the vicious cycle of corruption established by Nehruvian socialism. Legislation will also be introduced to create a genuinely independent Political Representative Incentives Commission charged with research on, and making recommendations on the following:
  • a compensation mechanism for peoples’ representatives that will eliminate all reasonably foreseeable incentives for corruption, or will otherwise promote the freedom of citizens; and
  • any matter related to the mechanisms of political representation, such as electoral laws.
The Commission would consult widely with the community and look at international best practice. The recommendations of the Commission, made at its sole discretion and whenever it considers fit, would bind the public exchequer, i.e. there will be no voting on its recommendations. This will eliminate the dilemma faced by political representatives who find the public or media unsupportive when they vote for an increase in their own salaries. Such lack of public support creates strong incentives for subterfuge through a host of ‘perquisites’ and underhand dealings. The independent commission will bring sanity into a matter as fundamental and important as this.

High Priority Electoral Reform

Interim electoral reforms based on the arguments outlined in Chapter 4 would be introduced in Parliament; things such as:
  • repeal of the requirement in the Representation of the People Act for Indian political parties to swear allegiance to socialism;
  • removal of limits on political fund raising and expenditures subject to stringent disclosure. These disclosure requirements will include third party audits and audit by the Election Commission. There would be penalties of up to Rs 10 crores and jail terms of up to three year for failures to accurately report on and declare all receipts and expenditures related to political purposes. Penalties for making unauthorized political expenditures on behalf of another person would be increased to Rs1 crore along with a jail term of up to one year;
  • state funding of elections (being retrospectivefor the elections that would have led to the formation of my government) would be introduced. Candidates who secure more than one-twentieth of the valid votes polled will be reimbursed Rs 25 for each vote polled on a formula linked to the population and geographical extent of the constituency, normalized to an assumed 100 per cent voting rate. Surveillance will be strengthened through video cameras in polling booths and other security measures taken, as well as very significant penalties imposed, on people who engage in booth capturing; and
  • the security deposit for elections would be increased to Rs 5 lakhs from the current Rs 10,000, and forfeited when less than one-twentieth of valid votes are polled by a candidate. This lower forfeiture limit will allow many more candidates to contest, while the much higher security deposit will deter non­-serious candidates.
There is clearly some arbitrariness in these numbers which will need to be fine-tuned over time to ensure that the gate is kept open for serious candidates but shut out for frivolous ones.
ADDENDUM: How to remove corruption from India

(Given the popularity of this blog post on Google search engine, I'm also providing the info that I've provided separately, here).

In addition to my book, Breaking Free of Nehru, which has extensive discussion of this matter (including solutions), the following ILLUSTRATIVE blog posts throw light on this matter:

The problem of corruption

Causes of corruption
How to remove corruption
Things that won't work
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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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106 thoughts on “How to remove corruption from India – the ACTUAL solution
  1. Rajesh

    Dont live in Dream World Mr. Sabhlok.
    I am surprised after spending/serving 20 years with Indian people…how come you are so impractical ?
    I have heard you..and i believe you really want t osee a better india.
    I know u are expert in policies. so rather than thinking of FLIP-FLOP solutions , better to help indians by some practical solutions like JLP Bill.
    And before commenting anything like It will INCREASE corruption, u should think twice.
    The brains behind it is like Bhushans, Santhosh hegde 
    And support behind it is like Bedi.
    so think twice before commenting

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Rajesh
    It is not ME but most “educated” Indian who live in a dream world!
    The solutions are readily available. Have been, since 1776.
    But Indians want to dream up their ‘own’ solutions.
    That’s the problem Rajesh.

  3. Rajesh

    i was wrong that i have spent so much time on your blogs and FTI.
    No issues..i m feeling sorry for you that even after being a good human being …….no comments..
    All the best :)

  4. jesvin

    The parliament is also a group of humans. A large group (of 100s) will have cheaters. If some MPs make a negative contribution to the country and earn the collective bonus, wouldnt it be incentive to cheat? Where is the individual accountabilty?

    And why does salary even matter for an elected representative? Dont they have multiples of that in cash?

  5. jesvin

    They are normal, but greedier! But thats beside the point. But any MP deals with money (and perks) multiple times than what he gets as salary. Even honest MPs cant raise poll expenses on their salary.
    Sir, what about the first point, about collective accountability?

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Jesvin

    Let’s continue one thing at a time. You need to understand the basics of what I’m getting at.

    You say that our MPs are supposed to be normal but greedier. Why? Why should our MPs be greedier?


  7. Sunil Jha

     Your ideas are most suited to smaller group of  politicians (like in Aus) having  fair mind and  interest in earning by doing developmental works… which is simply a dream at present in India…. Jan Lok Pal Bill will help to reduce the corruption instantly…  It should be produced for few years to analyse its effectiveness… if it produces good results, its period should be increased or it should be made permanent …  after then… when the situation will be little bit under control.. your ideas can be thought to implement…Also since at present there is no choice left other than Jan Lok Pal Bill… So if you wish to suggest any of  your ideas, kindly offer it to improve the JLP… and please don't mis guide people through writing some unnecessary blogs. …. where were you for last 42 years..why haven't u suggested these idea earlier ..?… or were u waiting for JLP Bill …? seems u r paid by few Indian politicians so that u could help to create obstacle…… 

  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    “Also since at present there is no choice left other than Jan Lok Pal Bill… So if you wish to suggest any of your ideas, kindly offer ”

    I have offered ideas since 1998 – in the public domain. My book is out there – with a FULL and complete package. The media of India hasn’t paid attention to it. Maybe it should, now?

    Before LP type things can actually work, 100s of other things need to happen first. I don’t want to spend time on LP bill just because it is the fashion of the month in India.

    If you are seriously interested in a GREAT India then pl. start by reading BFN.


  9. Sunil Jha

    Mr. Sabhlok,
    Please don't say that media didn't pay any attention. .. You should have suggested it to some authority of India. However, If you have strong faith in your ideas, Please convey all these to PM of India. Probably, He may appoint some one to discuss with you…. After all we all have a common goal … but before that, first tell us why  u didn't implement anything in assam and meghalaya ?..
    Also, You were a bureaucrat and turned to a politician.. so what is the guarantee that  you are detached with other corrupt  politician….. By the way, great to see your profile at Linkedin  
    Personally i don't know u but  I can only say at this time that you are trying to gain the attention of public by writing on such a hot topic…. …   If you really wish to do anything, Please be a part of system by following all the protocols…

  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    As Commissioner in the Government of Assam and with direct access to the senior most officials in all government ministries I did provide my thoughts to these people IN WRITING. They said the our politicians won’t let these things happen.

    My book was given by hand to the Vice President of India and to Montek Singh Ahluwalia by a friend of theirs in early 2009. There has been NO interest.

    I believe that a new and totally different political party will be needed to bring about reforms. Please read my book, as I suggested, then join the Freedom Team of India (if you are capable of leading India). That is the way out of this problem.


  11. Nitin Gulhane

    Sanjeev, I understand the logic behind incentives to do good work. I agree that incentives work better than punishments.
    You have condesceding attitude towards your blog followers. We come here to talk to you and hear from you. This wouldn't have been possible if your readers had no respect from you. However, if you are expecting to read your book before exchanging any ideas, you are expecting too much.
    Its not as if educated class of India doesn't like to read books. Book stores in India are doing a roaring business. They will read the book if they know what to expect.
    When I read the book subtitle 'Breaking Free of Nehru', I ask myself, was I ever shackled with Nehruvian principles? Probably Govt machinary is operated with that principle…and for us Govt just doesn't exists. For most of the educated class, Govt is just a bunch of troublemakers.
    I know your book is far more than that, however, we are all humans…very self centered. Unless I can relate to it and know that there is something in it for myself, it would be very difficult for anybody to read it.
    The point is, please don't expect us to read the book. We like to read what you like in your articles and we know your passion for \india, but are separate human entities with different life experiences, different biases and different opinions.
    Only commonality between us is that we want to see a better India…in our lifetime. How we think we can do that is up for the indiidual. Just like you think your way is the best (100% guaranteed), everybody else also thinks so.
    And please remember, you have spent your early years as a boss with a car while rest of us have spent smoking cheap bidis with the poorest of the poor. All of us have excellent experience in negotiating with traffic inspectors and all of us know how much each govt officer is worth.
    The first thing you should do is listen to us and then rewrite your book. The problem with becoming a boss at early age is that one doesn't get to see the real India….even the offices get spruced up when district magistrate is visiting.
    If you were 30 year old, I would have given you advise of travelling thru India and behave like a normal Indian…just to experience how India works. However, at your age, people will just let you pass. I am not even 40 (well almost) and drive in India without driving license with out-of-state license plate (number plate) and no traffic police has stopped me yet…I go to govt office and people do my work without even asking…forget about bribes. India is a age concious country.
    I hope you don't publish this but I would like to meet you. I shuttle between Canada and India but intend to move back to India for good. So if you are travelling to any of these two countries let me know.
    I need to get a refill of my glass.
    BTW, have you ever checked a website called If not please do. The best Indian minds I have ever come across. ALthough they are not prudish, but neverthless, highly intelligent lot.

  12. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    I appreciate your point. But I do not operate my blog to indulge in mindless pontifications. I’m purely here to look for leaders who will lead India. And I am BADLY PHYSICALLY INJURED as a result of my efforts of the last 13 years. I can’t re-litigate every point with everyone. If you can’t read BFN, so be it. I’m neither obliged to NOR PHYSICALLY CAPABLE of repeating everything I’ve already said.


  13. Nitin Gulhane

    ACtually, I am reading your book as I write this. My wife is not going to be very happy when I sleep in tomorrow..its pretty late in the night in Canada.
    Let me take back all my accusations (written and not written :-)…your book is good. I am thru with teh prefacace and reading teh first chapter (Plassey).
    ABout looking for leaders: Are you looking for leaders who accept your views? The politial leaders that I have met are fairly arrogant….actually I would say that its humanely impossible to be a political leader without having plenty of self belief…bordering on arrogance.
    I am already on my third peg…this drinking after a log hiatus is taking its toll.
    Willl let you know once I finish reading the book.
    -Nitin Gulhane

  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    “Are you looking for leaders who accept your views?”

    The Freedom Team of India ( expects its members (leaders) to subscribe what are, these days, called classical liberal views. These views underpin most of the “standard” discipline of economics, for instance (excluding Keynesians) and the standard theory of democracy. I am entitled to expect our leaders to UNDERSTAND policy. And yes, humility and desire to keep learning (and open mind) are crucial. Arrogance is not accepted/tolerated on FTI. My views are obviously important (having done the most work/research/promotion of these ideas in the last 13 years), but I have only one vote at decision time. Everything substantial is decided by voting.


  15. Ramesh Shah

    Ramesh Shah
    Address-97 Beacon ave Jersey city NJ-07306 USA
    Tel-1-201-710-8208. Cell-1-551-689-1784

    Subject- I Love ANNA I LOVE India. Because of CORRUPTION,POLLUTION, DISCRIMINATION many Indian move to Abroad. we all are support to ANNA. we need to Punish 1Million corrupted people including Minister TO Hawaldar.Our Military are still not corrupted we should hand over our Nation to Military untill our leader are not getting proper Training. MY DESIRE–'MUMBRA TO HOWARH HOUSING PROJECT'  ‘Dog Day’ Military Training’[every 1000 years make something extra ordinary work like China Wall.
    Sub–Military Training for Assembly and Parliament Member.

    After Nominated for Election of Assembly or Parliament,each Candidate  should take one month Military Training with Exam before Election.
    After Election each candidate will get 20% from Training Exam and 80% from Public Election.[means if one candidate got 55% from Public and 7% from Training exam.and 2nd Candidate got 45% from public and18% from Training exam means 2nd candidate will win the election] Each Candidate must require at least 7% from Military Training.
    After Elected for Assembly or Parliament , again each Member should take one month Military Training without exam.
    Military Training before Election-Knowledge of History,Geography,Business,Worker, Development,Discrimination,Education,Criminal,Law,Children,Women,Animal,Science, Pollution,Entertainment,Farmer,Sport,Police,Air force,Military,Hard work,Love & God
    Every Candidate must spend few hours in Jail, Prostitute area and Temple. they also spend few hours in hot and cold area without food.
    They will get training of Speed for Talking,Walking,Writing,Watching and Listening.They should not hate any State,Country or Religion.
    Military Training after ElectionEach Candidate will get Constitution's Secret Training, and about How to take care of there own Area etc.
    8 hours to 40 hours Military Training require for each and every Person including Priest,Prisoner and Secondary School Students.
    I love each and every Living non Living Things.
    Thank you
    Ramesh shah

  16. venkatesh

    i don't believe that policies work out in india……
    gaps should be eradicated between poor and rich by eliminating corruption. and for this to happen, the one who is corrupted should get down from his/her possession……….but our bad luck always sinks us in mud. we should have a right to make the politicians get down to earth if they work improperly.
    if at all this criteria is possible, youth should come forward to fight for india.
    thanking you,

  17. Manikant Shah

    Corruption is due to non-integration of indians. they are all divided. I wont be surprised if someone does actually sell the nation for money and the India of today once again becomes 500 odd soverignties. When as a hindu I call a muslim a chacha and a christian an uncle this may remain one. But as of now we know my chacha as 'musalia' and uncle as 'foreigner' we can never integrate. The corruption has gone from the individuals to the institutions, and that is dangerous. That is a warning for India.

  18. Vimal

    Mr. Sabhlok is almost to the solution. The day we will have the none of these option in the polling system of India, we will find a good democratic system. Also all the leaders r rejected in the polling, they must not b allowed to contest for any elections in india. I am already supporting this cause in facebook. We need to make a movement for this cause.

  19. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I’m sorry, Vimal, the idea of “none of these” is already happening with 90% of the educated people not voting. How does that matter? The solution is to offer GOOD people. That’s what I’m working on. All other things are a waste of time. I suggest you get serious and not run about in circles chasing your own shadow. If you have it in you to LEAD India, then do so, else expect the worst people to get elected.

  20. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Dharmesh

    I'm afraid I am unable to agree with your "social attitudes" explanation of corruption. I'd encourage you to read basic economics. ALL societies, and ALL humans are subject to the standard incentives of economics. EVERYONE will avoid or minimise paying taxes, EVERYONE will cheat subject to opportunity being presented. 

    So it is facile to blame social attitudes for corruption, for DESPITE these constraints, many societies have managed to get incentives right and minimise corruption.

    Corruption is a very disruptive force. It vitiates freedom and competition. It vitiates incentives to work. It is dangerous in many ways. It must be curbed.

    Please do read BFN when you get a moment. It is ultimately about economic design of our institutions so people WILL behave properly. 

    Also I'm not an idle blogger and chatterbox and don't stop merely by explaining the causes. There are solutions that will work, and I'm working to offer them to India. I suggest that once you understand these things, you could try to join FTI and lead India to these solutions. Else your idle chatter can distract you and you'll feel cosy and comfortable in your ivory tower. It is important to go deeper in your analysis, and also DO something to implement the appropriate institutional design.

  21. Shravan

    Close the reserve bank of india, go back to the gold/silver standard,  government must not be give too many things to do, it leads to inefficiency and also opacity, these lead to corruption.

  22. SHravan

    Do not give incentives to political representatives for ushering economic growth.
    The governments mandate must be protection of life, liberty and property. 

  23. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    The beauty, Shravan, is that the ONLY way to usher in economic growth is to simply protect life and liberty (including property). In other words, GDP growth is a VERY good proxy for the rule of law and good governance.

  24. Rahul B

    No Matter what salaries you pay to MP's, it won't have an impact on culture of taking bribes. Corruption comes from Power.
    Very strong financial regulation & reduction in all other regulations ONLY can improve things considerably.
    – There should be zero fiscal deficit.
    – No easy money policy
    – Monetary Base should not grow more than the GDP growth rate i.e. the govt should not eat away people savings & capital through invisible Inflation tax on top of massive direct/indirect taxes currently 
    – No indirect taxes
    -Only direct tax at very reasonable rates
    – Remove all the useless laws. They create power & corruption & more then serving the actual purpose do more harm to the society
    -Let private co's & ppl do their jobs. Its not govt job to trun industries/hotels etc.
    – If the govt won't be able be able to create inflation – credit growth would be limited & interest rates will be high. Ppl won't be indebted slaves & grow richer in real terms with improved standard of living.

  25. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Rahul

    Corruption is SYMPTOM of other problems. I did not write BFN (nor am I working on FTI) to merely get rid of corruption but its symptoms – and more importantly, to make India truly free and prosperous.

    Corruption will be MAINLY removed through state funding of elections.

    But paying MPs and MLAs well is almost equally important. In addition to reducing the incentives for corruption, a high salary will attract competent people who MIGHT (if they think right) do some of the things you’ve suggested. I can guarantee that if you can comfortably earn Rs.1 crore a year in the private sector you will NEVER offer to represent a constituency in parliament given the pathetic salaries (these are not as low now as they once were, but still not good enough).


  26. govind

    I donot know why people are speaking about the corruption of the politicians and  
    bureaucrats> i would like to know who is not corrupt. Every human being is corrupt but the degree is different.

    Even we are habituated of corrupting Gods then what to think of  minsters and so.
    I find only solution for this give rapid and

    Vigorous punishment in an open ground and show it every day how they suffer. Only fear can treat the cause of cancer. 
    shortly i will read your book sir,

  27. Krishnamurthy

    Good morning Sanjeev!
    I am to Melbourne 40 years ago.I have travelled extensively & believe that there is DEFINITELY no place like India!! The nation is the most corrupt place God has created.Personally I cannot see any sort of redemption here.The mindset is totally different to any other nation.When politicians are corrupt & stay corrupt there is no hope or a light at the end of the tunnel.It is sad,very sad.It will get worse & will not improve.I oppose Indians allowed to enter America or Australia or for that matter any other foreign nation as these countries will catch the "virus" of corruption!! True I was born in India(Bangalore).However I have always tried to do the right thing,ALWAYS.India is terminally sick.When morality fails there can be no hope.I am sorry indeed.

  28. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    You are entirely wrong. It is systems that lead to institutional outcomes. Indians are no more “innately” corrupt than Australians.

    I know that you are unlikely to open your mind. However, if you do can do yourself a favour (to help clarify the point I have made) then do consider reading my book, BFN that explains why India is in such a state, and how its problems can be resolved with relative ease.

    If reading a book is hard, then consider a simplified version – a few slides that explain key aspects of the situation, at:

    To simplify things even further – since you are in Melbourne – I’m willing to spend some of my time to talk to a group of (preferably at least 50) Indians that you can assemble in Melbourne, and explain the issues.

    Beyond that I can do nothing to explain further.

    I trust you will give your mind an opportunity to learn.


  29. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    My response to Satwant (and please don't email me. I ONLY respond in public to matters of public concern).

    My solutions are not dependent on the will of politicians. I have offered to change things personally. I don't preach. I do. 


    On Sat, Jul 16, 2011 at 8:40 PM, satwant kalkat wrote:

    Dear Sanjeev,

    Krishnamurthy,s comments may sound pessimistic but are true to a
    certain extent.  But we cannot leave this all to our politicians or
    fate but will have to do something.  The solutions given by you are
    great if, and only if, we have willing politicians to adopt these.
    But they will not follow these.  And why should they follow?  Are they
    spending crores on election just for 40-50 thousands of remuneration?
    We will have to work out a system where we can find honest people
    coming to the fore.  It is impossible in the present system of
    democracy.  You have given your solutions, which are dependent on
    willingness of politicians.  I have given solutions which are
    dependent on the will of people.  Can you spare a little time to go
    through these solutions available at my site  I shall be
    waiting for your comments.

    Satwant Kalkat

  30. Mehar Asthana

                                  corruption can be brought under control only if the public thinks…. until they support the officers by giving money to them for thier work it cannot be controlled……. they should think before giving money….. every citizen of india should think about it and this has arised as a major problem in india……. if the people are true citizens of india they will think about this and they support people who fight against corruption…….. only if the public co-operates it can be brought under control………

  31. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Mehar

    You make a good suggestion that does work in small cases e.g. traffic or speeding fines. I know of people who are refusing to pay the constable a bribe and instead go to court and pay the fine. That way they pay more, but the fine goes into the exchequer.

    However for the vast majority of cases, your suggestion WON’T WORK. When someone’s life or livelihood is at stake and the only way to get this is through corruption, and even in smaller cases (e.g. electricity to one’s house), it is simply not possible for the common man to resist demands for bribes.

    I suggest you think deeper. This is a very superficial analysis. You must work to fix the system, not individual cases. And just by exhorting people the incentives in the system don’t change.


  32. Rahul


     I am a newbie to all those political and administrative issues faced in India but still would like to help to make my country better place for living. Please don't mind my solution if it sound's funny or impractical.
    I believe that Lokpal Bill can bring some relief to the Indians, but the government is trying to curb it.
    I would like to suggest that, since the Supreme court is the main authority in our democracy can't we file a case against our own country( i.e sue our own country if you want to make it better) for inhibiting people that are corrupt that bring misery to this country. Can't we prove to the supreme court the level of corruption in our country and strict action needs to be taken to remove it.
    Since most of the Indians will be part of this and must have faced the effects of corruption at least once in their life, they would dare speak in front of the supreme count. The supreme count will then get overwhelmed by so many volunteers ready to speak against corruption, we may be able to force the Supreme court to impose new anti-corruption laws.

  33. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Rahul

    The Supreme court is NOT the “main authority” in India. Please go back to your school books or read India’s constitution. The Parliament is all-powerful because it represents the people. The Court only ensures that the laws that are made are followed.

    Also, the Supreme court is not a law making body. It can’t make “anti-corruption laws”.


  34. Alvin

    Dear Sanjeev,
    The politicians in India do not depend on their salary for their living. They will happily forfeit their salary (in fact every politician will be happy to work "free") because salary will not even account as their pocket money when compared to the billions they are earning illegally.
    Given this scenario, how do you propose your incentive mechanism for politicians to work?

  35. RTI Activist

    It really depends if we are for or against lokpal bill, but the main purpose for everyone is just one thing to eradicate corruption, there have been views that lokpal will not make a difference but actually will it or not will depend how the system is framed, To eradicate Corruption everyone will have their own guidelines as to where they will start, but the main thing is we all need to take a step towards it and actually do it on a one to one level only then the actual process will start, giving advice is one thing but actually practicing what we preach is what is actually required today, only then we can think of eradicating corruption.

    otherwise we will still stay the same as we are now.

  36. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear RTI activist, it would be nice if you educate yourself on the causes of corruption. Mindless action is not going to take anyone anywhere. Like a monkey jumping around a keyboard doesn’t lead to a scientific breakthrough. You might wish to start by reading BFN and if you are able to understand it then consider joining FTI to ACTUALLY bring about the necessary change.

  37. Satwant Kalkat

    I do not hesitate to take back my words that your solutions are dependent on willingness of politicians.  What I meant was that our politicians wont adopt the views expressed by you.  Actual solution lies in change of system.  Present system of elections can bring only corrupt to the fore.  A lot of brain storming is needed to reach at a real workable system.  You have you own ideas and I have my own.  Others must be having their own.  All the ideas need to be channelized in order to arrive at the best solution.  You did not think it necessary to go through the ideas given by me.  I would like you to read and evaluate my ideas given in 'Survival of Humanity' at  Combination of both would provide a better alternative and better solution.

  38. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant, I had a quick look at your website and unfortunately it is not clear what you are trying to say. Maybe if you can compress your ideas into 1 paragraph and post here?

  39. Basil Peter

    The first thing we should do is to remove all security provided to the politicians except to the President of India, PM of India, the Chief Ministers of the states, all the scientists and chief justice of India. Once, other than those mentioned above feels that their own life is at stake they will track the route of terrorism & corruption. Why these politicians elected by their own people needs security cover to go before their own people & constitutions. Will their own people not protect them if they are honest to themself and to the people who elected them? A campaign should be initiated to instill the basic awareness in the general people that the police, government officials and politician are employed at the cost of the hard earned money of the general public and they are the servants of the general public. Not the public are their servants.

  40. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I agree that job security should go. Tenured civil services e.g. IAS, IPS must go and contractual civil servants appointed. All politicians are already insecure – they lose their job every five years. We can bring it forward to four years. The president and justices can be impeached.

  41. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    As desired by you I am giving salient fatures of my work 'Survival of Humanity'. But I request u to go through complete details at http://www.skalkat.comcom/Humanity.pdf.
     How to Remove Corruption
    ·        Problem of corruption is not as easy as it seems on the surface.  It is a complex problem.
    ·        Public dealing is considered as money mint and have a price tag attached to such posts.  This blocks entry of honest people in administration.  And those who pay have to recover their costs and reap the benefits too.
    ·         Expectation from politicians to stop it is expecting too much.  They spend crores on election and have no option to recover that money except through corruption.   How can they stop it?
    ·        Political parties need funds for their survival.  All the donations are only a price for safeguarding the interests of donors.
    ·        Honest people in any political party is like an odd man to be ousted soon as he can’t arrange funds without favours to the donors.
    ·        Honest people can’t afford the required expenditure for election and can’t come forward, as that money can’t be make good except through corruption.
    ·        Root cause of corruption, therefore, is our system of governance.  Hence corruption can’t be eradicated without changing present system.
    ·        A system has to be devised that only good people are offered to the voters for choosing the best out of them.  (for details see ‘Survival of Humanity’)
    ·        A system has to be devised that candidates are barred from spending on electioneering. (Details available in ‘Survival of Humanity’)
    ·        Checks and balances need to strengthened (details in ‘Survival of Humanity)

  42. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant, you have identified the problem well.

    The problem, as you say is this: “They spend crores on election and have no option to recover that money except through corruption.”


    Your solution, though, will make it worse. You ask that “A system has to be devised that candidates are barred from spending on electioneering.”

    Instead, you need a package of reforms including state funding of elections. That’s how many Western countries have solved their corruption problem and it works. It is sound from the point of view of economic theory.


  43. Priyanka

    Dear Sanjeev,
    I agree with the Electoral reforms as a solution, but when it comes to the 'incentives based compensation'..The only thing i could think off is, had I been an MP, I would be well aware that I could earn far more from corrupt means than from my salary, (we all know it would easily surpass a couple of lakhs/month)…Infact these means could earn me enough not only to fund my electoral expenses but also to lead a life of ultra-luxury!
    Then why would I want to put efforts in really working towards the menial incentives offered!
    Why would I do any hard work and fulfil my duties towards the nation, when I can earn while leading a power-driven, leisurely life!? 
    (I might sound pessimistic, but isn't that how the current cluster of politicians would think)
    So this makes your 'incentives based compensation' solution questionable!

  44. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Priyanka

    Incentives based compensation is NOT questionable. People like me will NEVER join politics unless it pays VERY well. So please read BFN for details on this.

    An honest man will NEVER deviate from honesty. But your problem is how do you get people like me into politics in the first place?

    I DEMAND to be paid well. I will then perform a job well, and be held to account. But if you refuse to pay well, then goodbye. I will leave India and make my money outside, through honest means.

    This is a fundamental law that you get what you pay for. With low salary you’ll either get incompetent (honest) fools, or the corrupt. You’ll not get honest competent people.

  45. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    We are here to evolve some wayouts to fight this menace.  Some of my suggestions may not be practicable at this stage.  But I think you have commented without going through the details given by me about how the expenditure is to be banned.  State funding of electioins may be workable in the West but political mindset here is exactly what Priyanka has described.  State funding will worsen the scenario if we don't check additional expenditure by the candidates alongwith money spent by the state. It has always been our weak point that we consider everything done by the West as right.  And it is also our illusion that their system is free from corruption, which actually is not.  We are a few notches more corrupt than them, which is due to our comparitively more indifference.  If the West also improves their system of funding the elections as proposed by me or in a better way than what I suggested then they will also be benefitted.  How much indifferent are we, as I have experienced, is also given in my website.  If you go through that you will be able to know why such change is necessary.  I request you to have a look at 'Survival of Humanity' which will not take more than oneor two hours. Can't you spare that?  You will be able to widen the scope of your work BFN.  I shall welcome, rather feel honoured, to receive your comments/suggestions on my work.

  46. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant
    I’m fully opposed to any limits on expenditure on elections on practical and fundamental grounds. Let there be RIGOROUS disclosure and accountability.

  47. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    You have not elaborated the reasons for your opposition to ban on expenditure on elections.  I am opposed to expenditure because it discourages, rather bars, honest people from contesting.  And when one is spending he will recover these expenses, naturally, through unfair means.  I am also not in favour of any limits on expenditure but for banning it.  What if rigorous disclosers result in expenditure of crores?  Can it be questioned why the candidate has spent so much when emoluments of a legislature are far below?  And this is not the only suggestion but there are scores of other ideas by which corruption can be controlled.  I fully agree with you that Lokpal or Jan Lokpal will be inadequate

  48. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant

    a) Let people spend WHATEVER they want in an election. Let there be freedom. Any attempt to block liberty is going to fail. It will lead to black money and crime.

    b) What is your problem is someone spends crores so long as it is white money? Why do you say: “when emoluments of a legislature are far below?” Why? If is white money what’s the issue?


  49. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Issue is very simple.  No honest person can come forward when he has no surplus money, only rich can contest.  Honest people remain away as there is no sense in wasting crores.  Also, watching of spending to asertain whether it is black or white money is not that simple. And what are the issues if some other alternative with no burden of spending can be worked out. 

  50. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant
    You are DEEPLY mistaken. With the CURRENT system ONLY the corrupt (and rich corrupt) can participate.
    Let there be openness, liberty, and truth, Satwant.
    You are your own enemy when you prevent the light of the sun from entering your house.

  51. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Problem with you is that you are rejecting my ideas without even studying them.  It simply is self righteousness, as is being shown by Anna & co.  You are advocating state funding of elections but eroding its benefits by supporting liberty to spend by the candidates.  I am also in support of liberty but that should not result in hijacking of system, which is being done today, and will surely not end by simple disclosure of expenditure.  I may be wrong but now I feel you will criticize the ideas given by me even if you read them.  Healthy discussion seems to be out of scope here.

  52. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant

    I’ve explained in BFN, and written 10s of times about this in the past. So I’m afraid I can’t repeat everything each time. The point is that if you RESTRICT liberty to spend you are violating the fundamental principles of liberty. The ability to spend as much as someone wants is a fundamental freedom of expression.

    Second, I’ve explained that it is impractical to restrict anyone from spending what they want. That will simply lead to underhand expenditure.

    Since I’ve already clarified this – but you insist on putting restrictions on people’s liberty, how can we agree?

    Let there be freedom WITH accountability. You want to stop freedom. Then there can’t be further discussion


  53. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Solution to any problem starts by finding causes.  And root cause of corruption is non-availability of honest people for representation.  The freedom of expenditure u r advocating is the reason for 154 MP’s with serious criminal charges reaching parliament. Election expenditure is not only for buying votes, as you are illustrating.  If I collect funds for election in the name of donation, which is legal, and account for it, but can anybody check if I promise favours to the donors after elections? I am not talking about limits on expenditure, as u have perceived, but suggesting ban on expenditure other than what is available from the state.  An honest man can’t afford even the legal expenditure. There are several laws which are considered against freedom in some countries but acceptable in others.  In India we can’t spend on liquor in Gujarat but can do so in other states.  You can’t spend on drugs, gambling or prostitution.  Is that not infringement?  If we ban personal expenditure on elections that will not be any infringement, but an improvement in the system making honest people capable for contesting.  If honest can’t come to fore then all other measures would be like cutting the branches.  Roots need to be cut.  Problem with some intellectuals is that in stead of brain storming for exploring they rely on self intellect, and then protecting rigidly what has been explored in stead of providing flexibility to accommodate different views.  That might be the reason for not reading my work and opining without evaluating it.  Our obsession with the West is such that we consider their every act as correct.  To think that West is corruption free is an immature thinking.  Only difference is of degree and social behaviors.  There act of corruption fetches embarrassment whereas here the indulger boasts about it. Examples of defeat of corrupt candidates despite purchasing of votes, especially in West, don't justify unlimited expenditure.  How can you expect honesty from a person whose election expenditure increases total earnings from that post?  Respect and authority attached to such posts as additional allurement to a person is ok for rich but not for an ordinary honest and capable person. 

  54. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant

    Freedom doesn’t come for free. It DOES cost money to promote one’s message.

    It is not true to suggest that an honest man can’t afford to spend at least something on elections. In BFN I’ve give the detailed case study of a VERY honest man.

    And it is not true that “In India we can’t spend on liquor in Gujarat but can do so in other states. You can’t spend on drugs, gambling or prostitution. Is that not infringement? If we ban personal expenditure on elections that will not be any infringement”.

    Big difference between illegal things and legal things. Election is a LEGALLY approved activity. To ban funds being spent on elections is absurd, impractical, and violative of basic freedom of expression.

    Note that state funding wont’ solve the problem entirely – it requires other aspects as well, such as very well paid MPs and MLAs.


  55. akwchoudhary

    if we want to remove corruption then govt. should passed resolution all work in govt. office in number system so automatic work done in particular time. there is no place for bribe govt. check what is work efficiency as per qualification etc. every govt. office has board in mention every day work efficiecy, good person should be awarded by top officer annualy. make system for good governce.

  56. G M

    I respectfully disagree. While some of your observations seem plausible in the first look, your interpretation of incentive system is very naive. 
    You think people who join politics are motivated by salary money? The salaries and the percentage amounts you mention are nothing but a fraction of the money that these politicians can spend on a simple event like a marriage ceremony. A favorable vote on a simple issue in the parliament can fetch 1 crore rupees for a union minister these days.
    I think what Anna is doing is the right thing. He is trying to get rid of such corruption. Unless that happens your system is a wishful thinking. 
    I do not see anything in your resume that suggests you are a suitable candidate to be as part of the government. What have you been able to deliver except philosophy. On the other hand look at the latest Bihar CM or the Maharashtra CM. These are highly capable people, extremely rich to begin with and still decided to join politics. They did it not for the salary or money but because they believed in making a change.

  57. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear GM

    I’m afraid you don’t get the point I am making.

    Unless you set the incentives right, you’ll corrupt to ONLY attract the corrupt (inc. “latest Bihar CM etc. – all GUARANTEED corrupt).

    I invite you to consider the detailed arguments in BFN.

    Re; who will make a better politician for India – I have no doubt that I will do 100 times more for India than any existing politician. But I’m not talking about one person, but about an entire national team. So if YOU have it in you to lead India (and presumably you are more suitable than I), please join FTI. India is desperate for good leaders. Sure, I may not be the best but are YOU? That’s the only question.


  58. G M

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Your incentive system proposal sounds extremely naive and wishful thinking as I pointed out.
    You forget to understand that as long as a single vote can fetch you multiples of your salary, no matter what incentive you provide for good people, the corrupt people will figure out a way to get in and make their money. Good people will not stand a chance until Anna delivers his goods first.

    [Rest deleted – being a personal attack that added no value to the discussion- Sanjeev]

  59. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear GM

    An excellent point was made on Catallaxy files today: “human behaviour doesn’t suddenly improve simply because you’re involved in a non-profit or in politics. Mechanisms to align the interests of the leadership (elected officials broadly defined) and the members (be they voters, unionists or shareholders) must exist and must be enforced.”

    The point is that I’m creating a system where good people will HAVE A CHANCE of seriously contesting elections. We don’t build human systems for perfection, but for improving things. If the corrupt get in even then (and before that another 4-10 other reforms need to be implemented), then LP can make a difference.

    Under the current model, LP is basically pointless.

    I notice you are an engineer by qualification. I’d urge you to read ch.4 of BFN. That’s basic economics. You’ll get my point when you read it.

    Other points – let’s not get personal. I’m offering a THEORETICALLY and EMPIRICALLY sound classical liberal model. If you have another one that works please propose it. And note I’m happy to persuade why model works and will work. I’m writing books to explain – BFN was vetted, for instance, by India’s best author (Gurcharan Das) and two of the world’s best public administration experts in US and Australia. I don’t write junk.

  60. Prakash

    You are misreading Sanjeev's intentions. The incentive structure is to make political positions appealing to ordinary salaried indians, so that they are enthused enough to contest elections.
    When a sufficient number of these people contest together and the people see their policies and understand their intentions, the people vote out the present bunch and vote them in.
    Right now, there is no payoff to honesty for the civil servant or the politician.
    The strategy can be said to be similar to incentive structures for people who join startups leaving large firms. You don't get a large payoff at first, but because you have a larger share earlier in, you get paid in the long run by growth.
    regards, Prakash


  61. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Prakash. You’ve got it exactly right. Let me repeat what you’ve said since that is so important:

    “The incentive structure is to make political positions appealing to ordinary salaried indians, so that they are enthused enough to contest elections. When a sufficient number of these people contest together and the people see their policies and understand their intentions, the people vote out the present bunch and vote them in.”

    I’m not sure about the comparison with venture capital. There is no “long run” payoff for the contestant in my proposed model (which is already followed – relatively successfully – in Australia). You receive a decent salary if you are elected. And if you are not elected, you have at least recovered part of your costs through state funding (say Rs. 20 per valid vote). That way good people are given a CHANCE to contest. Today the good people have NO chance of seriously fighting elections – and no interest in earning pathetic salaries as MPs (although they may get a lot of secret perks – which I want abolished).


  62. Prakash

    Hi Sanjeev,
    All I meant by the VC analogy was one this thoughts that had struck me when I read about the incentives.
    Since the MPs will be paid on basis of national GDP and the MLAs on the basis of state GDP, being an MLA in a poorer state will have a greater chance of growth of salary, because of higher growth rate.
    warm regards,

  63. Girish

    I think linking MLAs and MPs remunerations is the most weirdest idea I have ever heard…….people must know that this country is on auto pilot for decades….opening of economy and globalization boom coupled with private entrepreneurship has brought us to the stage where we are now….we are growing at 8% in spite of inefficient politicians and babus…….GDP is growing but this growth hasnt changed the public infrastructure…….Roads are still bad…..PDS system doesnt functions…Traffic woes continues and getting worse…rivers and canals are fast becoming stinking nallahs …………we are sitting on environmental time bomb……… wonder rich and famous choose to comforts of private townships …so we are looking at 2 India- 1 that lives in plush townships and other in congested ghettos and mohallas ………….surely India is not a profit centre unit haha……I'm not saying they should not be measly paid but I want to know how much is too much for our MPS….How will u satisfy the likes of  Pawars,Marans ,Laloos and Mayawatis whose greed knows no limit………they will only be happy to be part of  such incentive schemes bcos they wud want all this(corruption monies) and some more…hahah…..instead of rewarding MPS we must offer tax cuts for hardworking middle class …haha….why GDP ?………GDPs are no measure of actual growth….road in front of my house is in the same state for last 20yrs……haha…….State funding of elections will not solve any problems……..people will still spend black monies during the elections…….why are we beating around the bush- we have become morally corrupt people…….money has become the mainsprings of motivation in the society …..thats where the whole problems is…..

  64. Girish

    there is too much emphasis on incentives as the only motivating factor …..I wud say lets do completely opposite -Remove all the incentives,perks and other amenities for MPS and MLA and choke all their avenues for making wealth…and then see how many genuine people turn up to serve the country and its people…….in any case as things stands today CTC or CTG(cost to govt) of a MP is 67 lacs per annum…………now thats a decent sum of money …but surely super rich politicians are not there for these peanuts…hahaha……….and what is the guarantee that by increasing salaries you will be able to attract competent and honest people into the parliament and legislatures……going by the magnitude of scam unearthed recently even increasing to 3.5 lacs per month wud not deter these people and make them sober bcos they are in it mind boggling sums………

  65. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I can’t refute every idle speculation. Please try to read BFN, else please continue with your half-baked understandings. I can’t debate with every half-baked “educated” Indian.

  66. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Once again, you are a typical “educated” Indian who doesn’t understand basic economics. You are speaking like a socialist at every step, so deeply has Nehru influenced everyone in India. If you CAN pl. read BFN first before commenting further on this blog.
    I honestly don’t have time to debate with every half-baked “educated” Indian.

  67. Satwant Kalkat

    Dear Sanjeev,
    Views of Girish are not half baked but your remarks on these views is simple arrogance. You are doubting his knowledge of basic economics but you are needlessly mixing this issue with economic issues.  Governance is not an economics issue.  If you still insist that it is an economic issue then your incentive model is total flop, as politicians are getting many times more than your proposed incentives through corruption.  Idea of state funding and allowing limitless expenses are contradictory to each other but you are favoring both.  It speaks volumes of your puzzled state of mind.  This uncertainty coupled with your arrogance is enough not to let you come out of your world of self righteousness.  The fact is that your solutions would not reduce but enhance corruption further.  Answer to all the questions raised by Girish lies in the model given by me in 'Survival of Humanity' at but you will take no pains to read it though it can help in improving your model.  I request Girish to read it to find solutions to the genuine problems raised by him  

  68. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Satwant

    Please let Girish read BFN, understand, and respond. I’m responding after reading numerous comments from him, so I know why I say what I do. Re: arrogance, that’s up to you or others to consider. I don’t have the time to repeat everything 100 times. So I refer people to BFN so they can at least understand me first.

    Re: your point: ” Idea of state funding and allowing limitless expenses are contradictory to each other” – I’m afraid if you were to LIMIT election expenditure then you’d be contradicting the idea of state funding (which is meant to allow good people a chance – not to limit the freedom of others who use white money to contest). I’ve already explained. Can’t do more.

    India has harmed itself through very poor thinking. I’m afraid the results you see won’t change if such thinking continues.

  69. R.P.Mishra

    Corruption in IIT Kanpur

    Everybody will be thinking that how and why I am against the administration of I.I.T. Kanpur what I have personal benefits. You are thinking, I say no?  But this is  not true. I wish to clearly state here that I am fully against the corruption as well as Administration till rectification in the entire process and moreover if anybody will be gainer, only & only I will. I am watching the future of our country in the students of I.I.T.K. Although I passed my childhood as well as young hood because I am aged about 60 years.
                I have seen so many circumstances/incidents with my naked I in current passed in my life and became helpless with tears in eyes. The Administration in corruption still gradually day by day and the entire I.I.Tians/ Employee are watching and understand the whole process on deaf and dump.
                In last Eight years, I have seen which I have not seen before? I found scene the fear able faces of either Prof. or students a unforeseen lines of their faces always, which drastically hamper their working style, who is not knowledgeable but backbone of future of our country. The knowledgeable professor/ students/administrator are forcibly set-aside. A person not know the administration rules, conducts etc. simply by a upper division clerk run the entire I.I.T.K. in the shadow of our Hon'ble Director. I became stund and curious to knowing the original picture behind the original facts. The actual facts which was  run  in  a  very  planned  way was simply 'corruption' and hidden the other unparliamently way by our Hon'ble C.P. Singh 'Assistant Registrar' (Legal Cell) of mercy hand of our Hon'ble Director Sri S.G. Dhandhe.
                During the course of investigation I found the misuse of National money/property in Hitlersahi way (andaj) more than 500 crores in past Eight years. Even though they do not hesitate to violate the prescribed process, norms of Administration, for exemplary account one, which is completely under control by Govt. of India. Accounts two and Projects Accounts is not highlighted and in future the bundles of scandals will be opened.
                In this context, I have served a legal notice to Chief Secretary, M.H.R.D. which is annexed herewith, in which the entire stories can easily readout.
                Importantly, I pin down with tear eyes that the brilliant students belongs to middle class family are maximum harass and mentally and financially way to inspire and put the position for suicide in last three years.
                As example, no students come forward and say/speak a word in any way, otherwise and humiliation and hitlersahi is behind the whole career will be spoiled by the Administration.
                A media lab is one of the major projects of I.I.T.K., a senior technician (Telephone) appointed as In-charge Media spoke person/contact person inspite of so much so talents in this fields are available there  but to my  surprise  how and why the qualitative person aforesaid appointed named Sri Ravi Shukla Ji. Here most importantly pointed out the reason behind 'National Money' as flow like water. Student can not meet with media during the course of suicide.
                To my great surprise the Warden's are residing 3 to 5 Km. from the Hostel. It is necessary to highlighted that after suicide by the student I.I.T.K. firstly investigated and assure that they are completely safe and thereafter they reported to police to do the rest formalities.
                Recently a case of suicide was a student, who allegate the whole Administration of I.I.T.K., in this connection a committee form by Administration in their own safeguard.
                The whole aforesaid information is not for entertainment, Gossip or a story, requested to please read it and try to understand the feelings of sufferer. I am awaiting your valuable opinions, suggestions in the interest of IITK.
    Encl. Below attached scanned copy of notice which is issued to several authorities related to IIT kanpur and Indian Government.

                                                                                   R. P. Mishra

  70. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear RP Mishra

    I’m afraid your msg is incoherent. All I gather is that you believe corruption is underway in IIT Kanpur. Well, Mishra, that’s probably good training for the way India works. ALL government agencies in India are thoroughly corrupt. So you should stop fighting IIT Kanpur and step back and think about the underlying causes.

    That is what this blog post (and my work) is about.

    Please realise that corruption is INEVITABLE in India. In socialist societies, corruption is as inevitable as gravity.

    So please stop wasting your time with IIT Kanpur and think of the underlying reasons and what can be done to address. them.


  71. mahesh

    Hi to all
    To remove corruptions in india .
    1)we should have strong laws for politicians to punish them .if they fits to any cases.  
    2) we should  ban family politics  and political influences on areas.
    3)life long ban for  any politician with respect of his position .if  he goes to the  jail for any cases.Even though he/she get bail.until case cleared .  
    4)we should have only 3 national political parties  in each and every states .And in central also.
    give equal opportunities  to each and every citizen of country to contest elections.To contest in elections he/she should have minimum  graduation ,should not have any case in them.
    5)There should be strong and truth lokayukta in each and every states.They should all ways keep an eye   on politicians and governament works. 

  72. sabhlok

    Dear Mahesh

    I’m afraid you are displaying the same half-baked incompetent thinking that is typical of MOST Indians. You are beating down the wrong path. Please do consider reading BFN to understand the issues. Unfortunately I know that is easier said that done, since 99 per cent of India’s “educated” people have no capacity to read a book. But try. And then let’s discuss.


  73. Sriram

    Dear Sanjeev,
    I  admire your patience in dealing with low quality comments from presumably well-meaning commenters.  Most educated Indians* have basic problems in comprehension and are unable to have a coherent content-focused discussion.  This is not surprising given the very poor quality of liberal education which also filters down to the mass media.  Take a look at the comments sections of most of the online newspapers and see how utterly pointless it is (that's not saying that the CNN comments are any better but there are plenty of high quality discussions in the West among outlets with broad reach as well as on television (cspan, for example) and forums in universities). The one clear exception among Indian newspapers is the Hindu and of course specialty magazines that have a very low reach.l
    The reason why it is not possible for someone with your experience and knowledge to have a meaningful discussion with some random fellow who has vague, poorly formed opinions on "corruption" (the only clear thing about it might feelings of disgust or that corruption is bad) is that the chances of said random person of having some reasonable level of meta-cognition is very low.  People who in general don't know all that much are also blind to the gaps in their knowledge and so this is a vicious cycle: If you think you know all there is to know and that your positions are true regardless of the evidence, then it is very hard to learn something new and accommodate that new learning within your belief system.  This type of meta-cognitive blindness is less of a problem among more knowledgeable folks who more readily realize their areas of ignorance or uncertainty.
    * I also include people like Vivek Wadhwa (the fellow in Duke who waxes forth on the tech industry and India) who makes all sorts of dubious claims and shows very poor debating skills.  See his performance and compare it to the other folks.  See this for example.  Its downright embarrassing.  I attribute it to the complete lack of a liberal education during his formative years.  Since he has google alerts setup maybe he'll discover you this way.  Since I mentioned Vivek, let me offer the opposite, someone who writes and talks well and is a doer. Sridhar Vembu at 

  74. sabhlok

    Thanks, Sriram

    I’ve faced similar problems since 1998 when I first started this effort (at that time pre-IPI mailing list). At that time there were only IIT graduates and a few other top science graduates in the mailing list. And they had very similar problems, too. I later met the topmost Indian CEOs of Silicon Valley and found the same problem. And I’ve met hundreds of IAS officers and face the same problem – low quality critical thinking skills.

    There are a few, but very few, who can rise above their poor quality education and enter complex debates. But most are immediately bowled out by the simplest issues.

    The problem is – unless the quality of discourse changes in India, we’ll be led by Ramdevs, Anna Hazares and Kejriwals – or by corrupt leaders from socialist parties. Very difficult situation.

    I’ll try to subscribe to Sridhar’s blog.


  75. Kiran

    42 lakhs per annum is not  enough salary IMO. I think an MP should get atleast Rs 10 cr per year and an MLA should get Rs 5 cr per year along with appropriate bonuses. Their pay should be equivalent to CEOs of major companies as formulating policies for a huge country like India is not a small task.

  76. Bhanu

    Breaking free nehru is really a very powerful thought very impressive, i know there is a lot of hard work behind it. But we need to have people like you in our parliament. I believe that people like you will be able to change the situation. I don’t have experience and intellect like you but i believe that major issue in Indian politics is cast system. Even if you come with good policies a few people only vote for you and ultimately you will not be able to bring changes the level you want. In most of the states and for most of the parties quota system is an lucrative option like congress and samajwadi parties done in u.p and andhra. People think about their community and their share in jobs first then corruption and any other issue. So you need to give india a solution for right quota system you need to tell the people pros and cons of quota system. I

  77. Rahul

    Dear Mr. Sanjeev,

    Excellent website. i truly believe you have the interest of the country at heart as do i. Incentive compatibility is indeed the appropriate solution for India, and if governance systems are tailored to realize this principle, most of the corruption would be gone. Just a couple of points on this:

    1. Corruption generally results when resources are not adequate. from your own comment, about 75% of the population is poor (pardon me but cost of living factored in, that no is down to about 50%). This suggests that if u were to be chosen, please implement a one child policy to decrease population. when population goes down, and standard of living is increased, a lot of corruption would melt away.

    2. Incentive compatibility even in its most efficient form generally does not control for externalities. when a balloon is poked on one end, it will tend to expand somewhere else. it is nearly impossible to devise a system that is perfect for everyone involved. Elinor Ostrom’s ideas on community based governance (where people exercise self control due to disincentives such as shaming) can be particularly useful in a country like india where social bonds are very valued.

    I truly wish i could implement a number of ideas i got along these lines in the state of maharashtra. Like you said, i believe i could transform the state in a span of 5 years. Food for thought, we have a 700 km coast line in maharashtra, yet we do not use wave power to produce electricity. virtually every point in the state could get electricity and water and have a booming economy.

  78. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    You are incorrect in your view that “a one child policy to decrease population. when population goes down, and standard of living is increased, a lot of corruption would melt away”. You are imagining that the problem is a supply side issue (and the poor don’t go about “supplying” corrupt money anyway: they are victims). It is a demand side (bureaucrats and politicians) issue. Population has nothing to do with corruption. And I firmly and vigorously oppose any attempt by governments to regulate people’s freedom to have whatever number of children they want. The bedroom and family is ENTIRELY off limits for government.

    I doubt that the “shaming” solution can work in India. First, the corrupt are ESTEEMED not disrespected. The honest are laughed at. Second, WHO will shame others when everyone at the TOP is corrupt?

    You need to study governance systems. Read BFN to get a bit of a flavour of the key issues.

    No point in trying to reinvent the wheel of good governance on your own when 1000s of academics and experienced experts (like me, with 30 years of experience in governance) have studied the issues and identified key solutions. Indians need to study the disciplines of economics, public choice and public administration.


  79. Rahul

    Dear Mr. Sanjeev

    Should have clarified further, apologies for that. Population imho is a central issue, not only in regards to corruption but general welfare. i am assuming you are in Australia. Part of the reason why Australians enjoy a high standard of living is they don’t have the population problems India grapples with. In a democracy, surely population should not be under the control of the government, but the issue is so central to having a good economy (and high standard of living) that it simply cannot be ignored. We don’t have to go too far, countries which are rich and developed (US, Australia, Norway among others) have their populations in check.

    Too much population (and arguably finite resources) place too much burden on a society. If people don’t have jobs its not surprising they turn to crime which then demands precious resources be spent in crime fighting as opposed to development. I can provide more examples, but the point is population is a root issue and especially in a country like India needs to be taken over ( populations exploded from 400 million in 1970 to 1.2 billion in a span of 40 years).

    Coming to the argument that corruption is not fueled by lack of resources, perhaps that is true at the top. Unfortunately corruption in India happens at every level of the society (police taking bribes and so on… ) and while a part of the reason is poor governance, reality also is we cannot enough resources to the people to shy away from being corrupt. what after all is a policeman who earns 5000 rs supposed to do with a family of 5 to support?

    Similarly in regards to the issue of shaming, the argument is not that shaming or similar such moves should be the sole form of governance. Obviously incentive based governance is necessary but it needs to supplemented by some form of social control mechanisms. One cannot monitor and keep a check on everything that happens or can possibly go wrong. In some instances, the goodwill of people is equally important for a true transformation. For instance, tossing garbage on the street can be made illegal and fines can be imposed but that needs to be combined with some form of governance where people think twice before tossing garbage on the streets (not for fear of prosecution but more from a concern for their environment).

  80. VIJAY

    Dear Sanjeev,

    Happy that someone of your stature is thinking through these problems and providing solutions. Now if only someone in the government would listen. I have’nt gone through all your solutions in detail, but I do agree in part with whatever you have written so far.

    what do you think about following points with respect to corruption removal. These are a collection of my random thoughts on this issue over the years. Not a day or week goes by when I cannot stop thinking about this. So here they are:

    1. I call it nonsense when people come on TV and say people should just stop giving bribes, as if people have viable and pratical alternatives and yet chose to give bribes. If the system is good, why would anyone give bribes? Passport seva kendra is a recent example where instituing a system for issuing passports has mostly removed middlemen out of the way. We need hundred more like this in all areas. Another example is Tamilnadu(Chennai) initiative to upload birth certificates online so that they can be downloaded anytime. You dont have to bribe anyone to get these. Automatically corruptions comes down.

    2. Transparency and accountability needed – RTI is just a step. OI think our bureaucrats and politicans nees to be made accountable and every financial transaction recorded somewhere and available for scrutiny easily

    3. top-down approach to eliminate corruption: I believe if corruption is eliminated at the highest level first, it will have a “tricke down” effect. So make laws more stringent for errign politicans, cabinet scertaries, buraucrats etc. Fast track courts for quick resolution of these cases.

    FEAR is the biggest deterrent. If they know that they will be punished they wont be so brazen in their stealing ways

    4. Make Lokayukta compulsory in all states and give them suo moto powers for easy prosecution. Even Gujarat and Tamilnadu do not have Lokayukta

    5. Make voting process easier. Right from issue of voters ID to getting the right poll booth make the entire process simple. I think a lot of urban voters dont bother to vote simply because it is difficult for them to get a voters ID, then take a day off for voting, and then finding their name in electoral rolls in the right booth etc. They dont want to go through all those hassles. I am sure if the the whole process is made easier(say e-voting for example) a lot more urban and educated voters will vote. why not?

    6. Strict monitoring and sanctioning of electoral expenses for all parties.It should be possible even for a regular middle class guy to contest elections on the same level as that of a rich bureaucrat from the ruling party

    7. Corruption monitors installed at all police stations/Registrar offices/corporations/RTO offices etc. A box with a button. Anyone who is being asked to pay bribe should be, jusyt with the push of a button, be able to raise an alarm that will be tracked by a central office. Name of the corrupt officer will be recorded after investigation. Make the reporting process easier

    8. Incentives and strong laws for whistleblowers :- Poor RTI activists get killed for being selfless by land and oil and sand mafias. Make reporting corruption a financially rewardable process and have strong laws for whistleblower protection .If I help Lokayukta catch an errant officer at the corporation, I might be rewarded based on the magnitude of corruption unearthed. This can be followed until the corruption levels come down after systemic reforms.

    9. Decouple CBI and other investigative arms from the government. Given them powers to investigate and prosecute politicans independently.

    10. Reserve highest punishment for PM,cabinet ministers, followed by MLA/MP and so on. Chaneg laws accordingly. Same for police and IAS officers. Higher the rank, the more the punishment will be

    Hope to know your thoughts on above.

    I also wish you urge the likes of Jayaprakahs Narayan and Loksatta to be more proactive and publicize their campaign better. In a sttae like Karnataka or AP, where corruption is rampant it is sad that there are no alternatives and no one has even heard of Loksatta.What steps are LS taking to publicize their party?With the comon man being disillusioned with most parties and siding with Team Anna, parties like LS should not squander this opportunity to make atleast a dent on the votebank of current major parties.

    I also want to know your thoughts on eradicating all the mafias-oil, sand, land, water etc. Even for breathing air, we might have a mafia soo if we are not careful.


  81. VIJAY

    Rahul I disagree that population is an issue. Look at China and other smaller countries which are populous but have still managed successfully. If you think population is really the problem then for that also only our politicans and their failed population control policies are to be blamed. In fact politicans WANT population to be high in states like UP, MP etc. so that they will have a larger illiterate votebank. Attack the politicans and correct the system first. India has enough resources to support 120 crores, provided systemic reforms are brought about.

    India’s biggest problems are the lack of clean governance and the mechanisms to correct them and punish the corrupt QUICKLY.

    Commissioners handling RTI are purposely delaying the reolution of cases. Soon RTI will go the way of our courts. THat needs to be corrected first

  82. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    On most things I agree with you.

    Just one difference. Who do you think is going to bring about the changes that will allow good people to enter politics and change the policies?

    Nobody from existing corrupt political parties.

    I would suggest you consider either joining LS or FTI (which has a longer term plan) and fight.

    Without a fight, expect bad policies to continue.


  83. vijay

    Thanks for your response.

    “Just one difference. Who do you think is going to bring about the changes that will allow good people to enter politics and change the policies?

    Nobody from existing corrupt political parties.

    I know that. It is a sad situation. I will do whatever I can to help organizations like LS or FTI. I was hoping Team Anna would put some pressure to change some policies that would enable good people to enter govt. But they have been hoodwinked by the govt and worse, they themselves dont seem to have clarity of thought.

    I hope Lok satta/FTI is able to win atleast councillor posts in urban centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad, where Iam sure a lot of educated middle class voters are fed up of all the major parties.That would be a start.

  84. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    Team Anna is an almost entirely socialist entity. It can’t deliver any meaningful reform. Even Jan Lokpal is a non-solution.

    Second, there is NO “organisation” called “FTI” or “LokSatta”. Only individual citizens who are working together, within their capacity, to deliver better governance to India.

    Just like you expected “magic” by supporting “Team Anna”, you are expecting magic from “FTI” or “LokSatta”. There is no magic in real life. There is ONLY responsibility and hard work in life.

    The point I’m making is that there is virtually no way you can support these entities from the outside – unless you are a multi-crorepati in which case you can help by contributing a few crores. Else the ONLY way you can support is by joining them. These feeble ideas can’t grow unless India adopts them as its own.


  85. vijay

    Sajjneev, thanks. I will consider it very well, take my time and then make a decision. In the meantime if there is any way some of us not directly involved with FTI, but can help somehow(like say, online donation or word of mouth propagation) please let know.

    I have this doubt which I wanted to ask you. Going beyond just systemic reforms and punishment, I want to explore the root cause of the mentality that breeds corruption. what is the motivation that drives leaders to be corrupt? Is it just money? Or being in power?
    Because, I read elsewhere that someone like Rahul Gandhi has amassed close to billions of dollars in black money. So if it is money he is after, he already has it. If it is power he is after, he already has that too.

    So what prevents him from stopping to being corrupt now? He can use some of that ill wealth he has amasses to help him win elections. Now that he in power he can actually do something good and see if that helps him win votes, so that he doesnt haveto spend tons of money again in winning elections. But I dont understand this sustained effort to amass black money. what is the use of all that? Is his mother going to even spend a fraction of that money in her lifetime? what could be the motivation to keep lotting even after you have amassed power and wealth? why are these guys not convinced that it is good governance and not money power that will ultimately help them sustain their chances of coming to power? DMK found out recently that their money power could not fool voters in Tamilnadu. So why is the Congress not learning?
    I am at a loss to explain all this looting by the Gandhi clan whne they had achance to make a solid difference.
    I can understand some newbie ministers in the UPA trying to make some money, in order to recover what theh spent or maybe even secure their future in cse they do not get re-elected. But Rahul has already amassed for 10 generations and I am sure he doesnt care about what happens after he is dead. So why the looting still? Do you have answers for this?

  86. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Vijay

    The Gandhi family has clearly acquired many millions if not billions in black money.That seems to be self-evident from the magnitude of corruption I’ve seen in my life (in Congress) and the amounts of black money spent on elections.

    It is not possible to say why someone would become corrupt. But one thing is clear: once you have become corrupt it is IMPOSSIBLE to become honest. That is because now your story is known to so many people who will blackmail you if you try to be honest. In any event, for someone to become corrupt is a major decision which, if taken, indicates a particular crooked mindset. Such crooks have a fraternity, a brotherhood, like dacoits and thugs.

    Re: FTI, please consider donating, if that’s what you wish to do. Links are available at its website. Don’t donate much, since the organisation is just growing, and I’ve not yet seen the statement of accounts which should have been published some time ago. I’d like to see FTI release its accounts publicly, soon, after which I’ll get more confidence in suggesting that you donate more to it.


  87. vijay

    Sanjeev, thanks. Interesting , your point, about how corruption becomes sort of a vicious cycle. You can enter it, but cannot come out of it and are stuck inside like Abhimanyu inside Chakra Vyuha.

    Few more questions.
    1. Do you think someone who is inside the system(atleast sort of) but fighting against corrupt elements in the system , like say, a Subramania swamy can be of help to our cause? Or is he politically aligned with corrupt parties which will prevent him from helping your cause?

    2. What are your strategies to win elections? I feel awareness at the grassroots level(village/gram panchayat) is necessary for your organization. I also feel if all the 550 contestants happens to be well educated upper middle class, it might alienate the poor and might work against you, wont it? After all public perception matters and they kight want to see a son-of-the-soil type figures amongst those 550.
    Canvassing for votes is like marketing and you should know your target crowd and they should know what you are capable of.

    3. I also suggest that you try to rope in any honest and politically neutral(as of now) celebrity who can just like that create awareness for FTI by mentioning it in a public forum. As an example, say, an Aamir khan. Politically neutral, but socially inclined.I know it wont be easy but maybe JP can help you there also. Otherwise creating enough awareness for FTI wont be possible atleast for the next 10 years.Kejriwal of Team Anna used to appear regularly in national TV channels debate shows before his movement. Something like that is also needed for LS/FTI.

    4. Success in elections could be a gradual process. You cannot expect to contest 550 seats and win 300+ in one go. You might win only 5 seats in your first go. So I wonder if you should concentrate on potentially strong(for you) constituencies(where the target crowd is already aligned or alignable with your policies) for a start and work off from there. JP is already elected from a constituency. Maybe you can use that as a base and spot similar constituencies to make your mark.

    5. Please take advantage of the viral marketing strategies prevalent now via youtube(for promoting movies, songs etc.) to popularize your goals.A well made video(short, 10-15 minsfeauting yourselfand JP and selected FTI members and shot on a low budget) if promoted well can quickly get a million hits in youtube, if you title it attractively.

    6. Please ask your team to learn from the failure of similar well intended organizations (like those party started by IITians which failed) so that you dont repeat the same mistakes. In a lot of such cases in-fighting and ego tussles has lead to doom. It is important that FTI members debate but do not quarrel.In the end there should not be tussle for power within FTI.
    How would you decide who would be the leader(CM/PM) even if you, say hypothetically, win the elections? That is, leader amongst leaders.

    More thoughts later…

  88. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Vijay. Clearly FTI is the result of 14 years of experience in this area, so the issues you raise have been considered and positions arrived at. Most such issues are discussed within FTI. Some earlier on my blog, as well. If and when you join FTI, further refinements can be considered. Nothing is gained by advising me. Either do it, or let things take their course.


  89. Rahul

    Dear Vijay,

    Population is in fact a central issue. Governance reforms are necessary. That is not a point of contention. I only took issue with Mr Sanjeev’s argument that population is not an issue & that governance reforms in themselves are sufficient to solve India’s problems. I will write a detailed post regarding this issue in a day or so.

    and you did suggest some good ideas, keep up the spirits we can make a change

  90. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Rahul, I don’t usually publish cross-conversations between commentators. I*m publishing this but re-emphasise two things:
    a) other people’s children is NOT your business
    b) with governance reforms and privatisation of education, people will automatically have less children.

    I resist ANY attempt at “population policy” or “population control”. My only recommendation stands, if you are so concerned about the number of people in India: go ahead and commit suicide.


  91. vijay

    As Sanjeev said, true liberalism doesnt restrict people from having as many children as they want. If education and reforms are successful and awareness increases, automatically this will come down. How come the middle class these days rarely have more than 2 kids? Think about that

    Dear Sanjeev, Team Anna’s fasts are going on.I know that FTI has ideological differences with them, but still

    1. To provide support for the intent/cause I wish FTI takes a part in it by giving external support. Even Baba Ramdev and Team Aanna are not together ideologically yet they support the cause together.

    2. IN recent times Team Anna has hinted more and more about supporting a political outfit in the form of a third front against the two big parties that have let this nation down. This was not there earlier.
    Once again, I request FTI&Loksatta to use this oppurtunity if feasible. Aanna doesnt want to contest any elections himself but his support along with that of JP’s migh help you atleast grab some attention in 2014 in a few constituencies. It would be a jumpstart. Are you considering this?

  92. vijay

    Adding to above, I feel all the middle class-based outfits that have come up in recent times calling for anti-corruption measures, good governance etc. should join hands at some point of time and try to find a middle ground. United you gain. The aim should be to atleast get in a few good honest people in the parliament first. Later on, that number could grow automatically once people see the performance of these elected candidates.

  93. Munish Raizada

    The whole concept of Freedom Team of India rests upon the basic principle of “Classical Liberalism” which in brief says: Free markets (hence. subsidies, bail outs do not apply, sorry!). liberty of speech and action (unless it poses harm to others).
    We Indians have been brought up with the ideas that all are equal (whereas the focus should have been on “equality of opportunity), caste-based reservations and subsidies. For us, nothing seems to be moving without sarkaar (sarkaari naukri (job for which our mouths start watering for it is a job where we get life-long salaries and pensions without the need of performing much) , sarkaari schools, sarkaari colleges, sarkaari rail, and even sarkaari companies (PSUs). Whereas, Govt is actually needed just to provide us infrastructure (roads for eg), safety domestic and at borders and judiciary.
    Nehru’s initiated socialist economic policy has kept us under fetters for 2 generations. It has inhibited unleashing of the human potential. License-raj has kept us poorer and aborted untold entrepreneurs.

  94. ramanujam s

    it is a better way to abolish corruption that all information be exchanged through electronic media only. if the authorities fail to answer within a speculated time , then they should be be dismissed right away. from their post.

    no verbal communication be allowed . it must be only putting an petition to get anything , and the answer to come should be through an electronic media only.
    if any one complaint that the concerned authority not replied in a speculated time, he should be sent home without any enquery.

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