If you measure the level of corruption in India using Ipaidabribe.com, it appears many more citizens in the world’s largest democracy are getting ripped off than not. On the site, regular Indians blog about their brushes with bribery or share tales of hoodwinking the hoodwinkers. Right now, though, there is only one story of triumph for every 10 tales of sleaze. The site’s creators hope the ratio will tip the other way, as Ipaidabribe.com becomes one of many recent Internet tools intended to shame governments into addressing the problem of bribery—part of an anti-corruption campaign that’s sweeping India. In some states, applications for birth and death certificates have gone online, as have bids for government contracts, minimizing the opportunity for petty in-person bribery.
For now, Ipaidabribe.com will serve as a cultural document of India’s ubiquitous culture of graft, and as a repository of frustrated Indians’ stories. One user in Hyderabad had to fork out an “appalling” 15,000 rupees for electricity; another in New Delhi says it took 2,000 rupees to get her medical school to hand over her medical certificates. And another threw his hands up after a brush with a crooked customs officer at the airport: “God bless India,” he wrote, “because India needs God more than ever.”
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