Shazia Ilmi and Arvind Kejriwal had been claiming that Corruption in Delhi has come down substantially. Interestingly, everyone was going on chest beating in AAP until Transparency International came out and dismissed any report done by it.
But have we all stopped to look at what he was saying? Even by just listening to his discourse one should have figured out that he and Shazia were talking nonsense anyways. Why?
Because, they make the claim of corruption having dropped “20 to 30%”. Ok, 20 or 30? Which one? Kejriwal uses it very loosely. In a city of 17 million people with black money in Billions of dollars, 10% is a HUGE amount. So, what is the percentage? Such loose claim should have been a red flag right away.
Second, how do we really measure how much of corruption do we have? Kejriwal seems to talk about Corruption measurement in terms of the number of agents in the Transportation offices. Well, first – nice try! Corruption is FAR more than that.
This is what Transparency International says about how it measures corruption.
By its nature, corruption is secretive and complex. Given that bribes occur illicitly, however, a specific figure can only ever be approximate, and it excludes other corrupt transactions such as the embezzlement of public funds or theft of public assets, or non-monetary bribes such as favours, services and gifts. Analyses which focus on the movement of money also ignore the social costs of corruption, which are impossible to quantify. No one knows how much the loss of a talented entrepreneur or an acclaimed scientist costs a country. Who can say what social malaise, illiteracy, inadequate medical care or means in economic terms? Over time, however, research has shown us that people’s perceptions offer a reliable estimate of the nature and scope of corruption in a given country. The perceptions of country analysts, business people or the general public form the basis of our corruption indices, the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Global Corruption Barometer.
It is pretty obvious that they have their own quite subjective, yet standardized methodology. One may or may not agree with their way, but their way has NOTHING to do with the agents in the Transportation offices in a country.
The way the claim on Transportation offices and level of Corruption reduction was used by Kejriwal and left un-challenged by Rajdeep Sardesai, showed (1) how easy it is for liars in the Indian politics to fib their way through and (2) abysmal level of knowledge and research abilities of our journalists, specially the star ones.
Btw, here is the article which quoted Shazia Ilmi and the letter from Transparency International busting the AAP claim!