Thursday, February 11, 2010
Zero Rupee Banknotes Issued In India
Campaigners from the Fifth Pillar charity, which confronts corrupt officials using freedom of information legislation, have issued notes bearing the image of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of its freedom struggle.
The notes are identical to Indian banknotes, but carry the slogan "Eliminate corruption at all levels" and the pledge "I promise to neither accept not give bribe".
The group claims the notes have been very successful in challenging train ticket inspectors, police officers and civil servants demanding "backsheesh" for performing their public duties.
Corruption is endemic in India, where members of the public are forced to pay cash bribes to register cars, homes, get a broadband connection installed, or even in many cases to claim benefits they are entitled to from government schemes.
The charity claims £3 billion is paid each year in bribes in India, but insiders believe the figure is considerably higher, and that several leading politicians have become billionaires through corruption.
Fifth Pillar believes the Zero Rupee note is a way for powerless people to make a stand. The note is a way for any human being to say no to corruption without the fear of facing an encounter with persons in authority.
"Next time someone asks you for a bribe, just take your country's zero currency note and hand it to them. This will let the other person know that you refuse to give or take any money to perform services required by law or to give or take money to do something illegal," the charity said in a statement.