Fake Money and Ballot Box Raise Hopes in the Fight on Corruption this International Anti-Corruption Day

By Dr. Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Officer

PTF joins all citizens of the world in celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day, today 9th December 2013, by endorsing the call of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make fighting corruption a central part in “defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda.”

Fighting corruption is never easy and successes are hard to celebrate. However, today I would like to celebrate and congratulate two hopeful citizen-led movements from India that raise hope and provide inspiration to all citizens against corruption.

The first is the unfolding story of fake money as “an increasingly popular weapon in the fight against corruption” according to an article in the Economist magazine on 7th December 2013. It reports on a movement started by 5th Pillar, an NGO in India that encourages people to distribute ‘fake money’ that looks similar to the real thing, but has a message to eliminate corruption at all levels and states: ‘I promise to neither accept nor give bribes.’ This method of protest has a chilling and deterrent effect on the officials seeking bribe. According to the story the idea is catching on and campaigners from Argentina, Nepal, Mexico, Benin, Yemen and Malaysia are replicating. My congratulations to 5th Pillar founder Mr. Vijay Anand.

The second story has emerged from elections in Delhi State of India. According to the results just announced over the weekend, the Aaam Adami Party, formed last year out of the India Against Corruption movement, has routed the Congress Party which had been in power for the last 15 years. This amazing result has shaken all trapos (a Filipino term for traditional politicians) and all political observers. The party fought primarily on an anti-corruption platform.

All PTF partners and supporters can derive hope and resolve to carry on with inspiring success stories like these and all the many success stories told in the PTF’s recent book “Citizens Against Corruption: Report from the Front Line.”