Rather than simply being an unwanted element in business, corruption itself has become a business today, experts contended at an international conference here on Saturday.
The weak law and the lackadaisical attitude of the law enforcement agencies has pushed the country into the clutches of corruption, senior Supreme Court advocate Francis Julain said while delivering a public lecture on Business Ethics and Corruption in the Globalised world at the India Habitat Centre here.
"From politicians, lawyers, judges all are involved in corrupt practices. So much that you now live in a polluted environment," Julain lamented.
"People have no hesitation in paying for unaccounted money. Privatisation has aggravated corruption," he rued while adding, "now the only hope is with the youth of the country, who raised some serious stands against corruption levels of the country."
The conference attended by experts from India and abroad was organised by O. P. Jindal Global University of Sonipat, Haryana in partnership with The Zicklin Centre for Research on Business Ethics at The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania and the American Society of International Law (ASIL).
"Firm corporate laws and internal control procedures are needed to stop corrupt practices," Poonam Puri, professor of law at York University in Canada, noted.
"Corruption is a seriously politicised affair. It affects people at large and it is something we should all be concerned about," said C Raj Kumar, founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU).
"The business aspects of corruption is a very complex issue and occurs across the globe and requires a detailed insight," added Raj Kumar, who is also the dean, Jindal Global Law School (JGLS).
While there is a lot of political discourse, there is an imperative need to develop a sense of coherence and individual accountability regarding corruption, he maintained.
According to the panellists, the internal nature of a firm can influence its external image as well as the behaviour of its employees. Hence there is an urgent need to have a global perspective when it comes to business ethics.
They gave the example of the most recent sub-prime mortgage crisis, which highlighted the rampant corruption of the Wall Street brokers, leading academics and public policy practitioners of the US.
"What happens inside a company transcends to the general practices outside," Melanie Reed from Tufts University in the US, said.
"Corrupt behaviour has become universal in nature, it has nothing to do with culture or ethnicity of a person," said Bruce Searby, counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, a law firm in New York.