In India, Fake Money Is Payback
In India, fake money is payback
Paying bribes to officials at all levels of government is common in India, but an advocacy group for the poor came up with a way to fight back: Make money worth nothing more than the paper it is printed on.
The organization 5th Pillar distributes the zero rupee “protest note” to low-income citizens who can’t afford to pay the daily bribes demanded from them.
The fake currency looks similar to a 50-rupee bill but features a zero for the denomination and the pledge, “I promise to neither accept nor give a bribe.” Volunteers give out the bills anywhere an official would be looking for a handout, such as hospitals or railway stations.
According to Britain’s Telegraph, more than 1 million zero-rupee notes have been printed in five languages. Soliciting bribes is an imprisonable offense in India, but most citizens comply with the requests to avoid problems. Zero-rupee supporters say the bill is designed to be handed to anyone who asks for a bribe and is a simple way to stand against corruption.
Transparency International’s annual report estimates 4 million Indians pay bribes each year for licenses and other basic services, according to the Telegraph.
—Jeff Raderstrong is a Washington, D.C., writer who blogs at changecharity.blogspot.com
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