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Now a website to fight corruption

Paromita Pain

Austin, Texas: These are crucial times in India indeed as a battle to root out corruption rages on in the subcontinent. Over the past months, the common man in India has elected to be part of decisive action to communicate his disgust with corruption.

If candle light vigils and letters to the Prime Minister's office aren't really your calling then I Paid A Bribe (IPAB) is your chance to have your say. Funded by the Bangalore based non-profit, Janaagraha, that works to enable citizen participation in public governance, the aim of the I Paid A Bribe (http://ipaidabribe.com/) is simple. The initiative was developed to understand the full extent of the ‘under-the-table' economy of corruption and to harness the collective power of citizens to make policy recommendations. Launched on August 15, 2010, the site has evolved into a serious player in citizen engagement, fighting corruption and explaining in easy to understand ways of resisting paying bribes.

“We essentially collect three types of reports from citizens: ‘I paid a bribe,' ‘I didn't pay a bribe' and ‘I didn't have to pay a bribe.' This integration of information directly from the citizens is our USP,” explains T.R. Raghunandan, creator of the site.

A former civil servant with 26 years of experience, Raghunandan gives us the view from within the system. “Tell us your story,” exhorts the site, “Using your stories we'll advocate an improved system for the government. Together let's fight corruption.” Buts it's not just your story. The site has some answers that citizens sure can use.

Initially the site was publicised only online. “However, subsequently, it generated a lot of interest in the print, radio and television media. Citizens from various parts of the country, and even those living abroad have written to us. We have also had requests from more than seven countries asking to start similar sites for them. Till date we've got over 5 lakh visits from 190 countries. Citizens have reported over 10,000 instances of paying and not paying bribes,” says Raghunandan.

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