Monday, July 1, 2013

Should we punish officers who make the rules instead of the ones who take bribes?

As I read 'Passport verification for sale!', I keep wondering why is there not enough discussion of why our society keeps creating such opportunities.

The key point for me was
However, with a large number of young workers from other parts of India working in the IT and other sectors in Bangalore and needing to travel abroad at short notice....
Even without a short notice, our rules are painful for mobile workforce. IT personnel are very much mobile. They change jobs. They change residences. They change cities.

Even about 5 years ago, I had a tough time opening a new bank account. I was not working full time. I had accounts in other cities but I could not open one locally easily. I succeeded but it would have been even harder if I tried today.

I had a problem trying to register my car. Fortunately, by chance, I got a voter id card just after I bought and replaced the old car.

I once needed to open an account in SBI for what turned out to be an embarrassingly small pension from the PF office. Since my long term plans are to settle in Goa, I tried to open an account in Goa. I own a flat but its address in the sale agreement was in terms of village records and not particularly useful or acceptable by SBI. I had proof of residence for a place in Margao as per my passport. As per the rules, that would have been fine! It did not matter that I did not stay there. However, I would have to open the account in the Margao branch :(

I had a PF account at the same branch but that was not usable for SBI as PF account was an account on behalf of central government and not SBI!

Although I was upset with the SBI officer, but it was not her fault. Fortunately, people in Goa tend to stick to rules.

The real point is - why can't we have a correspondence address and an address for which proof of residence is available. I think it is because our government is too busy  trying to prevent potential illegality that they are oblivious to the inconvenience and irritation to perfectly legal residents. Worse. As the news above implies, perfectly legal citizens are compelled into indulging in, often via an intermediary, in illegalities :(

I can't forget the line of Roman Polanski's Fearless Vampire Killers :
Little did the professor realize that he was carrying away the very evil he had come to destroy
In fact, my biggest disappointment with Manmohan Singh's current government has been that the government has done very little to streamline administration and eliminate pointless rules, which was my understanding of his promise when he became the PM. (Wish I could find a link for that).

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