Indian Bureaucrats More Corrupt than Politicians


 Indian Bureaucrats More Corrupt than Politicians

Corruption in Indian society is a well entrenched phenomenon. The politician-bureaucrat nexus is the root cause promoting corruption. We had concluded in an earlier blog that black money and corruption will continue to remain in the system for a considerable long time. When PM Modi talked about getting India’s black money back, he was either fooling the masses, or just joking.  His election as the PM has been fuelled by the power of black money! No one cuts off his own fuel supply! In this blog we discuss an interesting question as to who is more corrupt between the politician and the bureaucrat. The debate is on the degree of corruption. It will be very difficult to get statistics to support arguments on the debate.  Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of India, N Vittal, once stated in an interview to a journalist:
“If you ask me who is more corrupt between the politician and the bureaucrat, for statistical reasons, I would say a bureaucrat. A corrupt politician can be thrown out any second. But a bureaucrat stays for 30 years in the government. In terms of the length and the numbers, bureaucratic corruption is more than political corruption.”
I would request all readers of the blog to respect these views because the CVC’s assessment was based on his lifetime of professional experience. Analysis in this blog tends to concur with his views.

Relevant Common Features of Indian Politician

  • There is a great uncertainty of staying in power. A politician is thus extremely insecure.
  • Rarely a politician can have a long term perspective because he does not know what will happen tomorrow.
  • Prime focus of politician is  to  stay in power.
  • A politician cannot take very drastic actions against bureaucrats because he cannot change the system in a short term perspective. Moreover, bureaucrats are also voters and influence public opinion.
  • Wins elections by use of black money. Thus he has plenty of skeletons in his cupboard and lacks courage and capability to act against corrupt bureaucrats because of fear of getting exposed himself.
  • A politician lacks understanding of the system when compared with a bureaucrat.
  • A politician wants to take advantage of the short tenure to make maximum profit in a short tenure. Indian politics is the most profitable industry!
  • Post Mandal, the average politician has become more corrupt. The backwards in the society desired to cross the forwards at a faster pace. The average dynastic, Congress politician considered it justifiable to generate black money to fund re-election and a little more as ‘rent seeking’ behaviour for promoting businessmen. The ‘Lalus and Mayavatis’ wanted to gain financial parity with the average Congress politician and even cross him. They considered amassing illegal wealth and property as a legitimate right!
  • There is no incentive for eradicating corruption and great incentives to benefit from the status quo.


Relevant Characteristics of Indian Bureaucrat


  • An average bureaucrat is more competent than the politician and he very well knows this fact.
  • A bureaucrat works from the long term perspective of over 30 years’ professional career.
  • The bureaucrat knows that he cannot change the corrupt system. Even if he is not corrupt it will be sensible for him to ignore corruption above him, and try to reduce corruption below him to a limited extent. He knows that some corrupt subordinates would have direct linkages with corrupt seniors and so he better not touch them!
  • Bureaucrats who try to change the system suffer harassment like Khemka, who had shown the courage to take on Vadra and DLF.
  • He considers it justifiable to make money from contractors and businessmen who thrive in the corrupt system by dubious means.
  • Reserved category bureaucrats want to make money faster and more. Thus the system has become more corrupt post ‘Mandalisation’ of Indian society.
  • There is no incentive for eradicating corruption and great incentives to benefit from the status quo.


Relevant Characteristics of the Politician- Bureaucrat Created Indian Public Administration

  • It is a highly corrupt system.
  • It is practically impossible for any individual to change the system.
  • The prevalent culture is of promoting narrow selfish interests and nobody is working for the promotion of national interests.
  • There is a lack of transparency in governance and the bureaucracy enjoys broad discretionary power. It remains a fact that one needs to bribe the officer to get the most simple daily-routine administrative tasks done. The common man has to bribe the SHO to get a FIR registered and Bofors had to bribe Rajiv Gandhi to sell guns to India!
  • The sectors most affected by corruption include public procurement, tax and customs administration, infrastructure, public utilities, the police and agencies in charge of licenses and permits.
  • There is great tolerance for corruption in the Indian society and little deterrence. Firstly there is a very little chance of a person having political and financial power getting convicted. Tainted politicians and bureaucrats continue business as usual because the society knows that those who have not been convicted are little different.
  • The bureaucrats created the corrupt system and it runs primarily with their support. If suddenly all bureaucrats decided to become honest, politicians would not succeed in running a corrupt system. They can try getting pliable bureaucrats posted to run a corrupt administration. In case all bureaucrats are honest the corrupt intentions of politicians will get frustrated.


Conclusion- Bureaucrats More Corrupt Than Politicians

Corrupt politicians cannot run a corrupt administration if all bureaucrats are honest. Corrupt bureaucrats can continue their corrupt practices even if the political masters do not support them because they are smarter, understand the rules and loopholes better than the latter, are more involved in running the system and have great job security. The politician is extremely insecure and has his prime focus on staying in power and can choose to benefit from the corrupt system or not. He has little capability, or incentive to change the system!

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