Thursday, April 1, 2010

5th Pillar conducts Anti- Corruption Awareness Program for NSS students of Presidency College

NSS students of Presidency college who are camping at Thiruninravur near Chennai from March 31st to 5th April, 2010 had invited 5th Pillar to give a presentation about the organization and what it stands for. 5th Pillar's Director of operations, Mr. Subramani, gave a presentation on the topic, “Freedom from corruption”. His detailed account of corruption and ways to tackle it successfully by presenting Zero Rupee Note to the demanding corrupt official, and by petitioning using the Right to Information(RTI) Act raised lot of queries among the active minds of the 75 NSS students present at this event. Students raised interesting questions regarding the nature and limit of tolerance for corruption. One student posed an interesting question like “How much amount demanded as bribe will be considered as corruption?”. He wanted to know if say for example, a peon in a government office who demands Rs.50 for getting information on the status of one's file is considered corruption. Mr. Subramani replied, that demanding even a single rupee for the services to be done as part of their job is considered corruption. Another student's query was, the extent of punishment levied on the perpetrator, for which the answer was as decided by the court of law. Students also had interesting views of corruption which goes unnoticed in our current society, like not reporting the exact amount of income by business enterprises, purchasing gold without a receipt to avoid paying taxes, reporting wrong amount when registering the purchase of the property to evade taxes and so on. Another form of corruption is when one uses his or her power to attain benefits and the role of nepotism in the work environment is also considered corruption. It is really amazing to see the students' views on corruption. It is encouraging to know that as they are aware of the levels of corruption, they will definitely improve the standards of operation when they enter the work force in the coming future. Program coordinator of 5th Pillar, Mr. Sarathbabu distributed the Zero Rupee Notes to all the participants and a pledge was taken by all, to neither accept nor give bribe. Students also demonstrated their solidarity by signing on the Zero Rupee Banner to protest against corruption.
The NSS students who are staying at the Sevalaya Trust in Thiruninravur have portrayed their social consciousness by actively taking part in services for the betterment of the surrounding villages like Kasuva, Sevalaya, Puliyur, Ayaloor and Thottikalai. NSS coordinator of Presidency college, Professor Damodharan showed great interest in initiating a student chapter of 5th Pillar called SAC(Students Against Corruption), in their college. There are already student chapters in some educational institutions like Madras Christian College and Vellore Institute of Technology. There is also an upcoming RTI training session, organized by the SAC of Vellore Institute of Technology on 8th April, 2010.

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