Bribe ‘Em With This!


I didn’t notice it at the time, but this DNA report from August 2007 tells us:

Next time when you are asked to cough up extra money to get a driving licence or a birth certificate, shock the bribe-seekers with a ‘zero rupee’ note.

This is a novel campaign launched by ‘5th Pillar,’ a non-profit non-governmental organisation formed to fight the common enemy of the nation—corruption.

The ‘zero rupee’ note, which resembles an original thousand rupees note, is a sign of unwillingness to bribe. It has the picture of Mahatma Gandhi on it with a pledge “I promise to neither accept nor give bribe” printed both in English and Tamil. It also resolves to ‘eliminate corruption at all levels.’

This is quite cool, but to eliminate corruption from the system, we need to change the system. That means giving our government, and by extension government servants at all levels, less control over our lives. The less discretion they have, the less corruption there will be.

We also need to find mechanisms to make them more accountable, and the RTI is a fabulous instrument in that regard. As for the zero-rupee note, try actually using it!

(Link via email from Ajoy Philip Babu, who found it at I took the image from RTI India.)