Zero Rupee Note for bribe – 5th Pillar fights against corruption in India
Due to the requirement of practical solutions for tackling corruption, 5th Pillar started distributing the worthless Zero Rupee Note. Vijay Anand, from the lobby group 5th Pillar explains that it may sound self-defeating, but Fifth Pillar (an NGO headquartered in Chennai) is printing its own Zero Rupee Notes in an effort to halt bribery and corruption. When asked for a bribe, Indians are being urged to hand over a note worth zero rupees, in a bid to stamp out corruption among officials.
International corruption watchdog Transparency International said last year that nearly 4 million Indian families had to bribe officials for access to basic services.
The idea was first conceived by an expert Indian physics professor in 1997 at the University of Maryland, who, in his travels around India, understand how widespread bribery was and wanted to do something about it. Whenever he was asked for kickbacks as a way to show his confrontation, he came up with the thought of printing zero-denomination notes and handing them out to officials. Now after 13 years, his plan is gaining currency around the world.
Vijay Anand took this thought further: to print them, widely publicize them, and give them out to the Indian people. He considered that to get people shows their disapproval of public service delivery dependent on bribes these notes would be a way and the notes did just that.
Since it commences this initiative, the first batch of 25,000 notes was met with such demand that 5th Pillar has ended up distributing one million zero-rupee notes to date. Moreover, the organization has collected many stories from people using them to successfully resist engaging in bribery.
Anand said "We use the rupee note to kick off conversations”. "When we step out of the office in Chennai to get lunch, we give them out to people waiting for their food. I give them out to people boarding planes. Anywhere where people are waiting. We have distributed over one million notes covering 600-plus institutions including schools and colleges since 2007."
In India’s principally educated southern cities Chennai, Vizag, Bangalore and Hyderabad, most of the success has taken place. For their own purposes, Anand has also received calls from Nepal, Argentina, Mexico, France and Germany, all debating versions of the zero currency concepts. To fight corruption some want their own note, others want to use it in schools to teach children.
Mr Anand told that the notes have been well expected by the public and often shaming officials into getting business done resourcefully.
About Zero Rupee Note
Zero Rupee Note stare like a usual rupee bill complete with the picture of Mahatma Gandhi, but in the right hand corner it has a monetary value of zero. The name 5th Pillar is stated two times on the note. Its most dominant asset is the slogan "Eliminate Corruption at All Levels," boldly inscribed across the front. At the middle-bottom, there is written “I Promise To Neither Accept Nor Give Bribe”.
About Fifth Pillar
5th Pillar is a three-year-old Chennai-based non-governmental organization that strongly believes that the people that make up a democracy are the strongest members of such a system. A democracy would not exist without the people. They suppose that if each person changes their habits, then all of them will be attacking corruption at its roots, and corruption will cease to exist.
Their vision is to “Encourage, Enable and Empower Every Citizen of India to Eliminate Corruption at All Levels of Society”. The official website or homepage of Fifth Pillar is india.5thpillar.org. To get further details click on the option of Zero rupee note from the left side corner. You can see on this page, various images to download of Zero Rupee Note.
For taking such an exclusive initiative, 5th Pillar must be hailed to fight corruption at the grass root level and mobilize people to illustrate resistance to such practices. Will the zero rupee work in practice? Let us wish that it helps in changing the society to some point, if not fully.