In states like Tamilnadu, the number of students in certain primary schools is declining to such an extent that it is becoming very expensive to run the schools. For example, in certain schools the total number of students in all the classes is only about 20 and there is one teacher for these 20 students. These 20 students are spread among the 5 classes(class I to Class V) and the teacher will not be able to teach all the classes properly. Thus the standard of education in these schools may also be low.The annual salary of this teacher would be about Rs.300000 at Rs.25000/- per month for 12 months. The cost of teaching one student comes to Rs.15000[/ per year. (there are other benefits which the teachers enjoy; there are employees for preparing and serving mid-day meals etc and if these are included the cost of teaching a student may be much more) The average fees in a good private school is only about Rs.10000/-. It is economical for the government to pay the private school on behalf of the students of such schools. The students would also get better education. The government should seriously consider closing schools with low student strength and admitting the students in private schools in the same or nearby places and pay the tuition fees to the private schools on behalf of the students.
In all the recent bye-elections to the state legislative assembly in Tamilnadu, the ruling party or the member of its alliance won. The ruling party sought and obtained the votes on its performance, mainly of giving to the people (who are also voters) free of cost, colour televisions, cooking gas connection and stove, 2 acres of arable land (to several landless people), house sits, houses, clothes(dhotis and sarees), marriage grant, child allowance,. mid-day meals, bus-passes, bicycles, books, uniforms, etc. to the school children as well as supplying rice at Re.1/a kilogram against its market price of Rs.10 to Rs.15. The ruling party credits its victories to the aforesaid welfare schemes of the government.
Other political parties in the state, ADMK, Communist parties, PMK. MDMK, DMDK, VCK .etc have no objection to the ruling DMK party’s above mentioned welfare schemes
Not only in Tamilnadu, but in all other states also, all or most of the political parties are for such welfare schemes as above.
Now, the question that arises, is whether good governance means, taking care of the basic and entertainment and other needs of the people from government funds, directly
or using the government funds judicially
to control crime,
to provide infrastructure for delivering quality education and medical treatment,
to provide good roads,
to keep the roads and streets clean,
to provide clean drinking water,
to ensure uninterrupted electric supply,
to encourage higher agricultural and industrial production,
and thereby create jobs for all
Mahatma Gandhi said that no one should give to a healthy person, things free, but should instead provide him work which would make him work and enable him to buy his requirements.
There is a need for a debate on what is good governance.
It appears that if the government stops giving subsidies and grants to the people, corruption can be reduced. To ensure that the people do not suffer in the absence of the existing grants and subsidies, full time jobs could be created for them. In countries like India, it is very easy to create jobs. In countries like Japan, no more roads and railway lines need to be constructed but in India, the present length of these facilities need to be increased by five fold.
In Tamilnadu, people get rice in the ration shops (government distribution shops) at Rs.1 per kilo. In the shops, the minimum price of the rice sold (the quality of course is a little better) is Rs. 20. Every month, a family gets 20 kilograms of rice for Rs. 20 from ration shops. They save Rs.380. If issuing ration cards is delayed by even two months, the family would lose Rs.760. The officials in charge of issuing ration cards may think that when the family saves Rs.380 per month on rice alone (sugar, pulses, kerosene etc are also supplied at ration shops at lower rates), why should the family not pay him Rs.250 for his signature. This is how corruption starts. The family may feel that even after paying Rs.250, they would save substantial amount in getting ration card without much delay and so, may not mind bribing.
The Government provides scholarships to children and the amount is substantial. The Government also provides Television sets, cooking gas and stoves, agricultural land, certain seedlings, electricity for agriculture, house sites, clothes for festivals, marriage grants for girls, meals for pregnant women, expenses for childcare at the time birth, school books, uniforms, mid-day meals and much more all free of cost. The Government also provides grants and subsidies for certain industries. Depending on the benefit that the grant/subsidy receiver gets, the official concerned may demand and the individual may not mind paying a bribe. Mainly, a few, who do not get any benefit for the service for which bribe is demanded complain.
Few people say that they got government jobs by paying bribes. None of them has any complaint. All of them seem to think that they can earn this money through corruption in a few months.
The other reason for the breeding of corruption is that there is no transparency in handling the issues. None of the employees including the senior most officers of a department or even the senior most officers of the government replies to the correspondence he receive, either by mail or by email. If people think that they can petition to the senior officers and get their due, they would not bribe lower rank officials. If every office is made to render their services to the extent possible, corruption would come down. For example, a person could apply for a ration card by post to the Village Administrative Officer who should be required to forward the same to the revenue officials after verification. The revenue officials should be asked to prepare the ration card and send the same directly to the concerned family, with a copy of the covering letter to the village official for his record.
In India, common people are the ones who breed corruption. They demand money for their votes. They demand several things, free of cost. There was an instance of people in a few places going to the private jewellery shop and demanding them to sell gold at Rs.500 per 8 grams against the prevailing price of Rs.10,000, saying that they heard that government had issued orders for the same.
After independence people have become lazy with the introduction of modern farming methods and modern gadgets in households. The time saved by the use of machineries is not used to do other work. They just rest and this has made them lazy. The governments have taken upon themselves the duties which the parents and other family members are to perform. In return, the government does not get any thing free from the people.
Corruption could be reduced considerably, if the government discontinues the subsidies and grants.