April 21, 2011

Indian Proposal To Legalise Bribes To Government Officials! Oh WOW! Legalise Corruption? That's All They Know! :/ This Is Some Pretty TWISTED Logic He Uses!!!

The Telegraph UK
written by Dean Nelson, New Delhi
Thursday April 21, 2011

India should legalise the giving of bribes to government officials to reduce corruption, according to a proposal by one of its leading economic advisers.

Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor to India's Ministry of Finance, believes that by decriminalising those who pay what he calls 'harassment bribes' – cash demands from officials to do what they are required to do – they will have more incentive to give evidence against corrupt officials.

Because both are currently criminalised by the offer of a bribe, each has an interest in keeping quiet about it.

His proposal has emerged amid growing public anger about the scale of corruption among politicians, officials and some of India's corporate leaders. India loses an estimated $19 billion a year to corruption and the black economy.

In his paper 'Why, for a Class of Bribes, the Act of Giving a Bribe Should be Treated as Legal', Mr Basu argues that while the offer of a bribe by a company to influence the award of a government contract should remain illegal, the payment of 'harassment bribes' should not.

His definition includes a bribe to an official to receive a benefit the giver is legally entitled to. "The law should be changed, so that, at the time of committing harassment bribery, both parties know that the giver has immunity and that the taker not only has a heftier penalty but also has to return the bribe," he argues.

This will sharply reduce corruption because "after the act of bribery is committed, the interests of the bribe giver and the bribe taker will be at divergence. The bribe giver will be willing to co-operate in getting the bribe taker caught. Knowing that this will happen, the bribe taker will be deterred from taking a bribe." According to critics, however, his proposal overlooks the power imbalance between usually poor bribe givers and the powerful officials who demand the bribes. Those giving may be too afraid to make notes or take secret photographs to entrap officials.

Economic commentator Gurcharan Das said the proposal is a useful starting point, but further work was needed on how to protect 'whistle-blowers.' "If you refused to pay, or entrapped an official, other officials could take action against you as a vendetta. If I was a small-scale entrepreneur, I would be scared," he said.

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