Friday, May 29, 2009

The 'Unseen' Deserve Empathy, Too

Here is an interesting article that I read in the Wall Street Journal

The 'Unseen' Deserve Empathy, Too

While announcing Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama praised her as a judge who combined a mastery of the law with "a common touch, a sense of compassion, and an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live." This is in keeping with his earlier statement that he wanted to appoint a justice who possessed the "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles."

Without casting aspersions on Judge Sotomayor, we may ask whether these are really the characteristics we want in a judge.

Clearly, a good judge must have "an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live." Judicial decision-making involves the application of abstract rules to concrete facts; it is impossible to render a proper judicial decision without understanding its practical effect on both the litigants and the wider community.

But what about compassion and empathy? Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy for those stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; empathy is the ability to share in another's emotions, thoughts and feelings. Hence, a compassionate judge would tend to base his or her decisions on sympathy for the unfortunate; an empathetic judge on how the people directly affected by the decision would think and feel. What could be wrong with that?

Frederic Bastiat answered that question in his famous 1850 essay, "What is Seen and What is Not Seen." There the economist and member of the French parliament pointed out that law "produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them." Bastiat further noted that "[t]here is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: The bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen."

This observation is just as true for judges as it is for economists. As important as compassion and empathy are, one can have these feelings only for people that exist and that one knows about -- that is, for those who are "seen."

One can have compassion for workers who lose their jobs when a plant closes. They can be seen. One cannot have compassion for unknown persons in other industries who do not receive job offers when a compassionate government subsidizes an unprofitable plant. The potential employees not hired are unseen.

One can empathize with innocent children born with birth defects. Such children and the adversity they face can be seen. One cannot empathize with as-yet-unborn children in rural communities who may not have access to pediatricians if a judicial decision based on compassion raises the cost of medical malpractice insurance. These children are unseen.

One can feel for unfortunate homeowners about to lose their homes through foreclosure. One cannot feel for unknown individuals who may not be able to afford a home in the future if the compassionate and empathetic protection of current homeowners increases the cost of a mortgage.

In general, one can feel compassion for and empathize with individual plaintiffs in a lawsuit who are facing hardship. They are visible. One cannot feel compassion for or empathize with impersonal corporate defendants, who, should they incur liability, will pass the costs on to consumers, reduce their output, or cut employment. Those who must pay more for products, or are unable to obtain needed goods or services, or cannot find a job are invisible.

The law consists of abstract rules because we know that, as human beings, judges are unable to foresee all of the long-term consequences of their decisions and may be unduly influenced by the immediate, visible effects of these decisions. The rules of law are designed in part to strike the proper balance between the interests of those who are seen and those who are not seen. The purpose of the rules is to enable judges to resist the emotionally engaging temptation to relieve the plight of those they can see and empathize with, even when doing so would be unfair to those they cannot see.

Calling on judges to be compassionate or empathetic is in effect to ask them to undo this balance and favor the seen over the unseen. Paraphrasing Bastiat, if the difference between the bad judge and the good judge is that the bad judge focuses on the visible effects of his or her decisions while the good judge takes into account both the effects that can be seen and those that are unseen, then the compassionate, empathetic judge is very likely to be a bad judge. For this reason, let us hope that Judge Sotomayor proves to be a disappointment to her sponsor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nazm - Sahir Ludhianvi (from his novel Talkhiyan)

Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai
ke zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chaon mein guzarne pati
to shadaab ho bhi sakti thi
ye teergi jo meri zeest ka muqaddar hai
teri nazar ki shuaaon mein kho bhi sakti thi
ajab na tha ke main begaana-e-alam ho kar
tere jamaal ke ranaaiyon mein kho rehta
tera gudaaz badan teri neembaaz aankhen
inhee haseen fasaanon mein mah ho rehta
pukarti mujhe jab talkhiyaan zamaane ki
tere labon se halaavat ke ghoont pee leta
hayaat cheekhti phirti barhanaa sar aur main
ghaneri zulfon ke saaye mein chhup ke jee leta
magar ye ho na saka aur ab ye aalam hai
ke tu nahin, tera gham, teri justjoo bhi nahin
guzar rahi hai kuch is tarah zindagi jaise
ise kisi ke sahaare ki arzoo bhi nahin
zamane bhar ke dukhon ko laga chuka hun gale
guzar raha hun kuch anjaani rahguzaaron se
muheeb saaye meri samt badhte aate hain
hayaat-o-maut ki purhaul khaarzaaron se
na koi jadaa, na manzil, na roshni ka suraag
bhatak rahi hai khalaaon mein zindagi meri
inhi khalaaon mein rah jaoonga kabhi kho kar
main jaanta hoon meri hamnafas magar yun hi
kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A legacy called Sahir Ludhianvi

Jihne naaz hai hind par woh kahan hai

One of the best things to happen to Hindi movie industry was the arrival of Urdu poets. Before that, songs were highly mediocre in nature, like Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon, Kiya Hai Wahan Se Telephoon, Tumhari Yaad Satati Hai, Jiya Mein Aag Lagati Hai (My husband has gone to Rangoon, Has telephoned from there, Your thought troubles me, And it sizzles my heart).
However, with the advent of Urdu poets, all that changed and Hindi movies saw some of the brightest poets and lyricists writing songs. Shakeel Badayuni, Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, Hasrat Jaspuri, actually became so popular that they went on to become almost house-hold names. The greatest and most popular of them was Sahir Ludhianvi. His songs mesmerized people across the Indian sub-continent for decades and will probably continue to do so for many more years.
Sahir was born in Ludhiana, Punjab, on March 8, 1921 into a wealthy family of property owners, as Abdul Hayee. His childhood suffered a setback when his feudal-minded father married for a second time, forcing his first wife, i.e. Sahir’s mother to flee, along with the young child. Sahir was thirteen years young then.
Sahir studied at the Khalsa High School in Ludhiana and later at Government College, where Amrita Pritam, the famous author, became his most ardent fan. He was quite popular for his ghazals and nazms while in college. He was expelled from the college at the behest of Amrita Pritam’s father. The story goes like this- Amrita Pritam's father did not like Sahir as a suitable match for his daughter because she was a Punjabi and Sahir a Muslim and because he was poor.
Disillusioned with the expulsion, he left for Lahore, in 1943. He almost settled down there and started a career as editor of many Urdu publications. It is pertinent to mention that he was deeply influenced by communist world-view; he was a member of the Progressive Writers Association. In 1949, his writings in “Savera”, an Urdu magazine, were viewed as inflammatory and prompted the Pakistan government to issue arrest warrants against him. To escape arrest, he fled Lahore and came down to Delhi, and finally then to Mumbai. His friends recalled that Sahir was deeply upset with the partition and that in any case, he would have preferred secular India to an Islamic Pakistan.
Sahir made his debut in films writing lyrics for the film Aazadi Ki Raah Par (1949). The film had four songs written by him and his first song was Badal Rahi Hai Zindagi.... Both the film and its songs went unnoticed. But two years later, he gained recognition for his lyrics for the movie Naujawan (1951). The film's lilting song Thandi Hawayen Lehrake Aaye remains popular even today. However, his first major success came the same year with Guru Dutt's directorial debut, Baazi, again pairing him with composer S.D. Burman. The best of Sahir and S.D. Burman came in the movie Pyaasa (1957). His critics and admirers rate Pyaasa as his finest. He was very versatile and wrote a range of songs and worked with many music composers, like Ravi, Naushad, Roshan, O.P.Nayyar and Khayyam, Jaidev and Dutta.
In 1958, he wrote the lyrics for Ramesh Saigal's film Phir Subah Hogi, which was based on
Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment. The male lead was Raj Kapoor and it was presumed that Shankar-Jaikishan would be the music composers. Sahir was insistent that only someone who had read the novel could compose music for the songs. Thus, Khayyam ended up as the music composer for the film. The song Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi even today remains an all-time hit. Khayyam went on to work with Sahir in many films including Kabhie Kabhie and Trishul. One of the characteristics of Sahir was his ability to bring constrasting emotions in the same song. For example, in the song Mohabbat bade kaam ki cheez hai, he glorifies love in the first stanza (mohabbat ke dam se hai duniya ki raunak…) only to ridicule it in the very next (kitabon mein chchapte hai chahat ke kisse…). Similarly, in the movie, his concern for the poor comes out very well when he says har cheez hai daulat walon ki, muflis ka sahara dil hi to hai, meaning everything on this earth belongs to the rich, for the poor the heart is the sole consolation.

Sahir was the first lyricist to insist on royalty for his songs from music companies. At the height of his popularity, he demanded an excess payment of one rupee more over and above paid to Lata Mangeshkar, the most popular playback singer and a legend by then. He was instrumental in ensuring that All India Radio mentioned the names of lyricist for songs that were aired; the earlier practice was to mention the names of playback singer and music composer alone. Sahir won Filmfare Awards twice, once for his songs for the movie Taj Mahal (1963) and another for the movie Kabhie Kabhie (1976). Apart from this, government of India honored with the National Award in 1971 for his contribution to Hindi cinema.

Sahir died on October 25, 1980 at the age of 49 as a result of a severe heart attack. At the time of his death, he had some collections of songs when became part of the movied Lakshmi in 1982.

Sahir leaves behind a legacy that will be cherished for ever. He was not the poet who would praise God, liquor or beauty forever. Instead, he was quite vocal in bringing out the bitterness, declines values of society, the foolishness of conflicts and the dominance of materialism over love. Even his love songs were often filled with sufferings of the poor, umemployment, war-mongerings arrogance of the rich and exploitation of the poor, particulary women.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Knesset holds the key to peace process

This piece was written in November, 2008
Kadima’s projected ascent to power will also mean that the Arab League’s peace plan (originally proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002), which has the backing of all major players in the region – Israel, Palestinian Authority, Arab countries and the US, will be pursued more vigorously. Livni has publicly voiced her support for the plan.

On February 10, 2009 Israel will go to polls to elect a new 120-member Knesset (parliament) for a four-year term. The composition of the Knesset will be a key determinant to the future of Israel and volatile West Asian peace process.

The election process that began on November 11 has already thrown up important indications about its composition. Electoral system of Israel is based on the list system of proportional representation and is different from the first-past-the-post system followed by several liberal democracies. Citizens here, vote for party lists based on which Knesset seats are assigned in proportion to each party’s percentage of total national votes. The voting is however, directly influenced by the profile and ideological leanings of the parties and to a certain extent, that of the candidates.

The major parties in the fray – Likud, Kadima, Labor and Meretz, with their divergent ideological positions have a direct bearing on the policies and programmes that will be pursued, the most crucial of them being the resolution of the worsening Israel-Palestinian conflict. However, Labor and Meretz are still marginal players in Israeli politics, without much reckoning in the peace process.

The main contest is between the centrist Kadima, headed by foreign minister Tzipi Livni (she was earlier a Mossad agent), and the right-wing Likud, led by leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Opinion polls conducted by Haaretz-Dialog in November, predicted a clear lead of 64 seats for the right-wing bloc as against 56 seats for the centrist parties (Elections 2009: Latest poll gives Likud big edge over Kadima, The Hareetz, November 24, 2008). But the scenario is likely to change significantly in the wake of a potential development – the possible election of hard-liners as party candidates for Knesset.

These hard-liners have displayed a highly belligerent posturing in the past with the potential to derail an already fragile peace process.

One of them, Moshe Feiglin, a settler is said to have advocated withdrawing Israel from the membership of the United Nations (UN) and barring Arabs from Knesset. The British government actually had to ban his entry to Britain. Another member is retired General Moshe Yaalon, who suggested in an interview that Israel should contemplate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad’s assassination.

These developments could not have come at a more opportune moment for Kadima, which can now position itself as the best alternative, both for Israel and for the international community that has interests in the peace process. With its centrist image, Kadima will be able to consolidate public opinion among Jews, who have veered to the view of a two-state solution and withdrawal of settlements from the occupied areas.

A recent report quoted a settler Monika Yzchaki (who moved in 16 years ago to West Bank) as saying: “It used to be that I thought it was my country and they (Palestinians) thought it was theirs. Today it is very clear it is their country.”

Kadima, along with Labor, has actively supported the passage of a law that proposes to re-settle Jewish settlers from the occupied areas to mainstream territories in Israel. The proposal is estimated to cost around $6 billion. It is widely perceived that should Kadima come to power, this would soon become a reality paving the way for a positive beginning.

It needs to be recalled that the outgoing Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert (Kadima) too had a mandate in 2006 that supported withdrawal of settlements, but not much could happen. The situation worsened due to the conflict between Israel and Lebanon in July that year, as a result of which public opinion in Israel became belligerent.

Kadima’s ascent to power will also mean that the Arab League’s peace plan (originally proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002), which has the backing of all major players in the region – Israel, Palestinian Authority, Arab countries and the US, will be pursued more vigorously. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has publicly voiced her support for the plan. It may not give Israel as some suggest “peace with the Muslim world from Indonesia to Morocco”, but certainly will render a consensual framework to work among the concerned players. The Arab League’s peace plan includes withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 borders.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s leader, is opposed to any such move that demands withdrawal by Israel. A Likud government therefore, would be highly reluctant to carry forward the peace process. This will have serious consequences for the entire West Asia region – escalation of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, halting of the (slow) withdrawal of settlements from the occupied areas and a further deepening of the rift between Israel and the Arab countries.

Politics being unpredictable in Israel, the likelihood of a Likud victory cannot be ruled out. If that happens, it would be an unfortunate development. The recent visits of President Shimon Peres and the outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to London and Washington respectively were perhaps to create a favourable environment in Israel, where the Arab League’s peace plan remains a strong reality. Israel also probably realises that the US, pre-occupied with its own domestic crises, may not attach as much priority as Israel would expect it to.
The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, addressing a Palestinian Investment Conference said, "Let us together seize the opportunity we have before us to make 2009 the Middle East year of peace.," One can only hope that the new dispensation in Israel translates it into reality.
It’s time that Knesset members remember the famous Greek philosopher, Thycidide’s statement, “It may be your interest to be our masters, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?” This may well be the question that every Palestinian will be asking to Knesset members.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ice makes for some cool business

As the deep-sea trawler Metilar Metz makes ready to set sail from the Nagapattinam harbour, two men haul carts bearing blocks of ice from the nearby Matha Ice Plant. Indirect dependants on fishing, the ice plants around the harbour are part of the underlying economy, which supports the fishing industry and, at the same time, draws sustenance from it as well. There are about 20 ice plants around Nagapattinam that generate an annual turnover of Rs. 17.5 million.
Kavimani, the owner of Kavitha Ice Plant, says each plant employs about 10 workers who keep it running round the clock in 12-hour shifts. They earn about Rs. 250 a day. The ice plant industry is thus responsible for providing livelihood to about 200 people in the area.Maniazhagan, the owner of Matha Ice Plant, explains the process of making ice blocks. “First of all sea water is poured into the master tank. To this, salt got from Vedaranayam is added. Then, clean water sourced from Sikkal is poured into ice cans (moulds) which are lowered into the master tank. Ammonia gas is passed through a network of pipes called the cooling coil. It cools the water in the master tank. Since the water in the ice cans is purer than the seawater used in the master tank, it freezes to form ice blocks. The whole process takes 24 hours.”
On an average, Maniazhagan sells 300 ice blocks a day, each priced at Rs. 55. This amounts to monthly earnings of Rs. 5 lakhs. Accounting for the expenditure on various inputs, with Rs. 75,000 spent on wages alone, he makes a profit of about 2 lakhs a month.Though ice plant owners like Maniazhagan make a hefty profit, their fortunes swing with those of the fishing industry. “At times we sell all 500 blocks that we produce in a cycle. Then there are times when we don’t sell anything at all. It all depends on how many boats go out to sea –” Then with a long look at the Nagapattinam sea, he adds, “– and if they go out at all.”

Midnight’s Children

Fifteen-year-old Sunder seems to be without a care as the sea-breeze ruffles his hair. He stands on the deck of a boat, looking exuberant. His happy face, however, belies the difficulties that forced him to leave his family and work as a night watchman on one of the mechanised boats docked at the Nagapattinam harbour.“I had to drop out of school after standard XII to take up this job,” he says. “My family has debts running into lakhs and this is my bit to help out.”Sunder earns Rs. 50 a day for a job that involves a lot more than guarding the boat at night. When it arrives at the harbour, typically after a four-day trip, it is his job to clean it up. Every two hours, he must pump out any water that gets in and make sure that the deck and the engine-room are dry. Finally, he has to stay the nights on the boat as long as it remains in the harbour.
Sunder is not alone. All the 300-odd boats docked at the harbour have night watchmen. Most of them are between 14 and 16 years of age. Some, like 19-year-old Shiva, have even grown up on boats. Education, he says, is not a priority. “What is the point of studying when so many educated people are unemployed?” he asks. His friends, who also serve as night watchmen, nod in agreement.Though supplementing family income is the main reason why they work as watchmen, most aren’t in the job just to clear debts. They see it as a stepping stone to a brighter future. “When we grow up, we may venture into the sea as coolies; we may even own boats some day,” says 14-year-old Karthick.Some also aspire to work abroad. “If you go to Qatar, Singapore, or Malaysia,” says Tamizharasu whose brother recently returned from Singapore, “there are good chances of finding work as fishermen and earning good money.”There are times when the boat owner lets them travel out to sea on a four-day fishing trip.
But this is dangerous, as they don’t have fishermen’s identification cards. “When our boats are stopped for checking by the Indian navy, we hide in the engine-room,” says Sunder. “But if they find us out, they let us off with a warning.”So what do they do to stave off the boredom of looking after the boat at night once their chores are done? “We talk to each other, listen to music and we dance,” says Sunder. “Karthick is the dancing master,” he adds.Then Tamizharasu says, “Of course, we would like to play cricket, but we can’t afford a bat and a ball.”

Tsunami bounty brings mixed blessings

Resilience and economic compulsions brought the tsunami-affected fisherfolk back to the sea in 2005, and today fishing is a thriving business along the 188 km coast of Nagapattinam district.However, the occupation is constantly subject to nature’s fury, the most devastating being the December 2004 tsunami. Tamil Nadu (TN) was India’s worst affected state, and Nagapattinam the worst affected district. About 6,000 people were washed away, and thousands were affected economically and psychologically.
Nagapattinam is a major contributor to Tamil Nadu’s (TN) marine production. In 2006-07, its share was 20 per cent. Fishing employs about 75,000 people directly and indirectly.The government supports the occupation in various ways, one of which is subsidising diesel. Also, to compensate for boats damaged by the tsunami, the government gave boat owners a subsidy of Rs 5 lakhs and a loan of Rs 15 lakhs at a seven per cent rate of interest.The flip side to such a policy has been an increase in the number of boats. Pandurangan, Fisheries inspector , says, “Post-tsunami, there has been a 20 per cent rise. This has led to a significant fall in the catch per trip.”
This view is echoed by many boat owners. Mechanised boats (MB), fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats, and catamarans are the three types of boats used for commercial fishing. At present, there are 1,014 MBs, 4,200 FRPs and 2,500 catamarans in the district. While an MB costs Rs 20 lakhs, an FRP costs Rs 85,000. Fisheries department officials say about 35 per cent of the boats are at sea at a given point of time. An MB employs about six fishermen, while FRPs employ four and catamarans two. These boats go out for a fishing trip at night and stay at sea for three days to return with around 500 kgs of fish. Once docked at the harbour, they stay for 35-40 hours before venturing on another trip. During this period, the boats are cleaned and maintained by boys called “night watchmen”.The expenditure for an MB is around Rs 22,000, while the value of the catch is about Rs 26,000 to 28,000. The profit margins for FRPs and catamarans are similar.
Fishing has a cascading effect on other industries. In Nagapattinam town, 20 ice plants employ about 200 workers. Net-making employs about 50 workers.Women play a critical role. When the boats reach the harbour, the catch is offloaded to the fish-landing centre (FLC). The biggest FLC is in Keechankuppam. At the FLC, boat owners employ elakaaris, who facilitate the auction of the catch and hand over the collection to the boat owners. The women charge a percentage of the collection for their services. While most of the buyers are fisherwomen who sell fish in the nearby towns, there are also separate counters for wholesale agents; these agents then sell the fish to other cities in and outside TN. While the womenfolk buy in terms of aluminium creels (chattis), the agents buy on the basis of weight. In Keechankuppam alone, there are about 100 auction women, 1,000 fisherwomen and 25 agents.
The risks involved in this occupation are many; to mitigate some of the adverse impacts arising from them, the government helps fishermen in various ways. It gives them a compensation of Rs 500 for the fish-breeding season from April 15 to May 31, during which period fishing is banned. When fishermen stray into Sri Lankan waters or go missing otherwise, the government provides a daily relief of Rs 50 till the fishermen are traced.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Indian business: Corruption Inc.

When it comes to bribery, Indian businessmen are almost on par with their counterparts in China and Russia, according to a report released by Transparency International (TI), a Berlin-based global corruption watchdog.

TI released the Bribe Payers Index (BPI) for the year 2008 at a function in London today. It ranks 22 developed and developing countries on the tendency of their firms to bribe abroad. It is based on the Bribe Payers Survey (BPS) conducted among 2,742 business executives of 26 countries, between August 5 and October 29 this year.

Countries are ranked on a scale of zero to 10. The higher the score, the lower is the possibility of the companies engaging in bribery. These 22 countries together account for approximately 75% of global exports.

While Belgium and Canada top the list with a score of 8.8, Russia is at the bottom with 5.9 points. India, with a score of 6.8 ranks 19th; there are two countries below India – Mexico (6.6) and China (6.5). It may be noted that the previous index released in 2006 had placed India at the bottom out of a list of 30 countries.

"The BPI provides evidence that a number of companies from major exporting countries still use bribery to win business abroad, despite awareness of its damaging impact on corporate reputations and ordinary communities," said Transparency International Chair, Huguette Labelle in a statement.

The BPS revealed sector-wise analysis to the incidence of bribe worldwide. Companies engaged in the business of public works contracts and construction; real estate and property development; oil and gas; heavy manufacturing and mining were seen to indulge in bribery most frequently. In other words, these companies were identified as most likely to use illegal means to influence the state.

On the other hand, information technology, fisheries and banking and finance were identified as “cleanest.”
While most of the world’s wealthiest countries already subscribe to a ban on foreign bribery, under the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Anti-Bribery Convention, there is little awareness of the convention among the senior business executives interviewed in the Bribe Payers Survey.

The timing of the report could not have been more appropriate; December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day. India has been consistently ranked as one of the highly corrupt countries in the world. Mr. P.N. Veda Narayanan, a retired Vigilance Commissioner, Tamil Nadu government, said, “Those who are in contact with public, like policemen, income-tax officials, etc. are the most corrupt. But we can’t always blame them. What is a policeman’s get as salary, for guarding me, you and our families throughout the year? Pittance. It’s natural that he looks for other sources, to make ends meet.”

A member of a chamber of commerce said, on condition of anonymity, “I know of a minister who demanded a ransom from a person for the top post of a port trust. But such cases are hard to prove, for want of clinching evidence.”
The Corruption Perception Index released by TI earlier this year ranked India at 85th position among 122 countries. In fact, India has slipped from its 72nd position last year.

In a related development, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) announced in a press release the establishment of “Anti-Corruption Center of Excellence.”

The release quoted PwC’s global CEO Samuel A. DiaPizza Jr. as saying the center would “provide clients unparalleled access to our deep expertise in addressing the corruption challenges of today and tomorrow.”

TI’s India chapter (TII) and Centre for Media Studies (CMS) released a report titled TII-CMS India Corruption Study, 2007 in June this year. The report was based on a survey of 22,728 below the poverty line (BPL) households and covered 11 kinds of basic services availed by them like police, medical services, land records/registration, housing, water supply, NREGS, school education, among others. Some of the major observations were:

· These households were forced to pay about Rs. 883 crores as bribe to avail the services
· Police perceived as the most corrupt; with the bribe amount paid estimated at Rs. 214 crores
· Land records and registration services came a close second, the bribe amount being Rs. 122 crores
· Medical services accounted for an estimated Rs. 87 crores
· Extrapolating the data, the report said that nearly a million households could not avail of medical
services, because they either refused to pay bribes or could not afford to pay