A man shows 500 rupees note as the Prime minister ordered to ban 500 and 1000 rupees notes as part of NDA govt’s fight against black money and corruption in Allahabad on Wednesday. (Source: PTI)

This Bengaluru-Based NGO Has A Plan To Reduce Corruption In India 

A Google search would reveal how grave the corruption problem is in India. But, over the last few years, an anti-corruption movement has been gaining momentum across the country.

The Indian government too has launched a number of initiatives to tackle the menace – be it the law for undisclosed foreign income and assets, income disclosure schemes, or even the ambitious demonetisation drive carried out in November.

Much before the note ban, Janaagraha, an NGO in Bengaluru, launched an initiative in 2010 with the same objective – to tackle corruption.

Its online platform, “I Paid A Bribe”, allows citizens to report the nature, number, pattern, types, location, frequency and values of actual corrupt acts, anonymously or by revealing their identity.

And it’s not just a platform for complaints. A citizen can also commend an honest official by posting a report on the platform.

After a citizen posts a report, the platform’s algorithm analyses the report and sends it to a panel of experts. I Paid a Bribe also communicates the incident to government officials and the media.

Not only does the site focus on crowdsourced reports of corruption and bribery from India, but it also looks at cases from countries like Pakistan, Syria and Sri Lanka. The platform will soon launch in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Nepal.

The founders wanted it to focus on something they call “Retail Corruption” – the kind of corruption that the common man faces every day. This would include paying a bribe when getting a driver’s licence or a birth certificate or availing any service which one is entitled to from the government.

The site sorts the data by states, cities and government departments, so a user can access corruption trends across the country.

According to Dheeman Ghosh of Janaagraha, the site saw a lot of activity post November 8, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi invalidated old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes.

“Post demonetisation, for the police department we have seen a much lesser number of bribes reported, even in amounts. That’s because in terms of traffic fines, the ambit is less and people are actually ready to go forward and fight,” he says. At the same time, since there were a lot of new Rs 2,000 notes in the system, people have paid higher amounts of bribes in the new notes at public service departments, he adds.