Saturday, February 2, 2013

Today's newspaper articles

An interesting article I found on the “Sydney Morning Herald” website this morning:


Currency machine counting the cost of bribery

Date: February 2, 2013

Amrit Dhillon

DELHI: For corrupt Indians, the sacks and suitcases of cash they get as bribes can present a real housekeeping problem when they get their lucre home. Who is to count all the darned notes? Their households teem with servants and flunkeys, of course, but it looks unseemly to have the staff counting wads of notes.

The more enterprising and time conscious among them have opted for an elegant solution: a currency-counting machine, the kind you see in banks.

The government should ban the sale of these machines except to legitimate buyers. 

Last month, income-tax officials in the southern state of Karnataka raided the Bangalore house of the politician K.S. Eshwarappa and were taken aback to find not just the regulation gold, silver and cash stashed everywhere. They found a currency-counting machine.

When asked why a private individual had installed such a machine in his home, his reply made them laugh. According to the Indian Express, he said: ''The children use it as a toy.''

The use of currency-counting machines demonstrates the horrific level of corruption in India. A machine manufacturer in Chennai, south India, refused to reveal how many machine were sold to private citizens every month, beyond saying: ''It's a good business.''

Indians are used to hearing about ill-gotten gains. In 2011, the greed of a civil servant couple in central India stunned many because it seemed limitless. Every cupboard in their house was stuffed with cash, as well as the spice jars, mattresses, pillows and washing machine.

There was so much cash the income-tax officials who raided their house had to commandeer a counting machine.

''Indians are used to corruption. They are also aware that these days we're talking about many billions of rupees, not millions. But even so, to think that these people need to have machines at home to count cash is mind-boggling,'' said a political analyst, Satish Jacob.

For the impatient who can't wait until they get home, a portable currency-counting machine is available, perfect for the car. Another must-have is a machine that detects fake notes.

''This is alarming. The government should ban the sale of these machines except to legitimate buyers such as banks or hotels. We ban the use of ultra-sound machines for sex-determination tests so why not ban machines that are being used to count illegally obtained money,'' an anti-corruption activist in Delhi, Akash Ahluwalia, said.

As currency-counting machines become as routine as washing machines in politicians' homes, Indians are enjoying the irony of dishonest people using such machines to check the honesty of the people giving them bribes.

This article was found at:

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