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Indians have had it with paying bribes, and they're speaking out on an anti-corruption website.
BANGALORE, India — A man in Pune, in western India, hates himself for forking over $3 to the policeman who accused him of bad parking.
In Bangalore, a young man gripes about how he repeatedly "failed" his driver's license test until he bribed the official.
A Mumbai resident complains that authorities demanded money to transfer over her dead father’s property, even though she was his undisputed heir.
A traveler in New Delhi admits, sheepishly, to coughing up $30 at the airport lest the customs officials "microcheck" his bags.
The list goes on.
Indians have had it up to here with paying bribes, and now they're speaking out. As anti-corruption campaigns gain momentum nationwide, a new website, IPaidABribe.com, has emerged as a place where hundreds of Indians swap stories about paying bribes, discuss the going rates and get advice on how to deal with corrupt officials.
Launched in August by the nonprofit Janaagraha, which works out of Bangalore to improve the quality of life in Indian cities and towns, IPaidABribe resonates with Indians who deal with a seemingly unending avalanche of scandals.
There were the Commonwealth Games, which left behind a legacy of corruption on every level, from the purchase of treadmills to toilet paper. Hardly had that scandal died down, when another cropped up, this time over the illegal construction of a swank high-rise on prime Mumbai real estate. Next, the prime minister himself was implicated in a telecom scam that involved fraud to the tune of $4 billion.
And that's just the last few months.
Each of these scandals has claimed the job of an Indian official and the Supreme Court is currently questioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the telecom scam.
But average Indians are fed up. They want more to be done.
“Take corruption out of the morning papers and we will have nothing to read,” said Bijoy Venugopal on the IPaidABribe. “Take it out of prime-time television and our anchors will have nothing to scream about, take it out of our sports and we will have nothing to play for, take it out of politics and we will have anarchy.”
IPaidABribe is more than just a forum for people to vent frustration. The site seeks to challenge systemic corruption by extensively documenting it and analyzing patterns. The nature and number of corrupt acts, as well as their location and frequency, provide Janaagraha with city snapshots. It then uses the snapshots to argue for improved governance in specific locales and targeted law enforcement.