India is today the world’s largest economy and the country is progressing rapidly towards economic prosperity of its citizens. While it is an undeniable fact that the country has made tremendous progress in the last few years, corruption still remains a significant obstacle in the way of development of the country to its full potential. It is due to widespread corruption that the policy implemented by the government doesn’t reach the last person in the wheel. Corruption is so deeply rooted in our country that the government servants have included bribery in their routine.
Realizing that only protests and slogans won’t help, Vijay Anand, founder of 5th Pillar came up with this fantastic idea of printing Zero Rupee Note. 5th Pillar, which was founded in 2007 in Tamil Nadu by Mr. Vijay Anand has got chapters in all the districts of Tamil Nadu. This note has the number and email address of 5th Pillar, an NGO which is run by Mr. Anand. The 5th Pillar is formed with a hope of providing citizens with corruption-free governance system and working towards a better society. Through this NGO, Mr. Anand came up with a brilliant idea of printing – The Zero Rupee Note, an innovative way to fight against corruption.
The Zero Rupee Note empowers the common man to fight against corruption. It gives the common man an opportunity to fight against corrupt officials who oppress him to get his work done. Vijay Anand wanted to tell the common man that he/she was not alone in the fight against corruption and to let people know that they no longer need to fear those in power.
The Zero Rupee Note has been distributed to over 3 million people across the country, and the volunteers of 5th Pillar are working day and night to make sure that the Zero Rupee Note reaches the common man in every nook and corner of the country. 5th Pillar’s volunteers started distributing the Zero Rupee Notes at Railway Stations, local markets, Bus Stands and signals where the government servants look out for the opportunity to take a bribe. The Zero Rupee Note is acting as a perfect non-violent weapon for fighting against corruption by empowering the voiceless and powerless common man of this country. The NGO has also set up an information desk at various points where the notes are distributed to ordinary people along with the pamphlet which has all the required information about the campaign against corruption.
Large banners of Zero Rupee Note were carried across 1200 schools and colleges to make the students aware of the campaign and also to educate them that giving or taking a bribe is like creating obstacles in the smooth progress of the country. Along with creating awareness the volunteers also have managed to collect 5 lakh signatures on the note as their endorsement of 5th Pillars campaign against corruption. The pledge printed on the note makes it very clear for the receiver that the person will neither take nor give bribe. The pledge on the note reads, “I promise to take neither nor accept a bribe.”
You might be wondering whether this initiative has had any impact at all. To understand that you have to visit the 5th Pillars Website which is full of stories of how the Zero Rupee Note has helped common people to get things done without paying even a single penny. The best of them is the experience of Vijay Anand, the founder of 5th Pillar and the brain behind Zero Rupee Note.
In 2011 when Anand was traveling in an auto to the domestic airport, a policeman stops it and when Anand asks for the reason, he says that the orders came from airport manager. Anand who had huge luggage to carry understood the motive of the police officer and offered him Zero Rupee Note. After handing over the note, Vijay Anand explained about the note and also told him that the number printed on the note could be contacted at any moment of time to report about the officials who are demanding price to get the work done. Hearing this police officer let the auto rickshaw take Anand until the entrance of the airport and this small victory helped Anand and people like him to offer Zero Rupee Notes to officers whenever they were in a situation where the officers were demanding a bribe.
This small yet powerful initiative of Mr. Vijay Anand has helped thousands of common people get their work done without any fuss, thus making the ‘Worthless’ Zero Rupee note as the most powerful weapon against corruption.
You can also download the note from www.5thpillar.org and print it for your use.