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March 16, 2011

Corruption, convenience money?

Filed under: social change — neosurya @ 17:31

If regulators in our country cannot control things like pilot licenses, can we trust them to run large projects like nuclear reactors?

In recent news, it came out that an Indigo flight landed with its nose down. Initially, Indigo placed this pilot “Captain Parminder Kaur Gulati” on a training program [1, 2]. Further inquiries revealed that the said pilot had used fake documents to get a license and a promotion for the post of a captain from a co-pilot [1]. The lady in question has been arrested; I hope that her flying career is finished and that she would be punished. Following this disclosure, another pilot has been arrested for fake mark sheets. It appears that there are several such pilots, and the rabbit hole seems to run deeper. To quote an article from ANI [1]:

Commenting on the recent detection of pilots for possessing fake CPLs (Commercial Pilot Licences) as qualified commanders,    Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari on Tuesday slammed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for not being a stern regulator of the aviation sector.

…..

“The real problem lies with the DGCA itself. The fact of the matter is that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is not an independent regulator. It is not mandated by an act of this Parliament. So therefore, they are susceptible to all kinds of pulls and pressure, which makes even the examining arm of the DGCA not talk to the licensing arm,” Tiwari said in the Lok Sabha.

“So, therefore there is no verification, whether a particular mark sheet is correct, whether a particular person has passed a particular test before a license is submitted (issued),” he added.

Co-pilots themselves are paid very well; If they cheated in order to be paid more, that speaks volumes about how corruption and greed is causing problems even in professional fields. Corruption is a known issue in large projects, especially in India. There is nothing new in that. The concern I now have is that increasingly, even professionals are starting to look at corruption as the way to go.

There is also an argument that corruption is just convenience money. If it is ONLY convenience money, I would prefer that it should be formalized across the board, for example like Tatkal tickets. But when convenience money is not made institutional, the line between corruption and convenience gets blurred.

It is also extremely lame if people cannot wait a while to get what they want. And this is worse when it concerns exams, degrees, job experience and other such. To give an extreme example, I find this behavior first seen in people who run after a “job guarantee with the least effort”. Students have often come to me and ask about what is the easiest way to get “a project”. Worse, people pay fake companies about 15-20K to give them equally fake experience certificates. The very same people will not be willing to pay this amount to their college for decent education. I find it difficult to explain that engineering requires hard work, that passing an exam or getting a fake degree is not a gate to smooth sailing. You have to put in reasonably good amount of work each day and people will see through your on the job performance. I then get a horrified silent look in return :).

Given the wide prevalence of such habits, I wonder if our society forgotten hard work? Or maybe, a majority do not see how convenience and corruption can closely go together. Or maybe, mediocrity has come to be accepted in our society (My earlier blog post on this).

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