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"If a poor woman needs her ration card, 5th Pillar helps her to submit the following questions: 'What is the name of the person issuing the ration card which I applied for on _____ date? How many ration cards were pending on that date? How many ration cards have been processed since that date by that official? On what date can I get my ration card?' After she submits this, strong steps immediately kick in and there are consequences for the officials. Usually she will get her ration card right away." Read More.
Courtesy, Peace Magazine, 10/2016
“The most important piece of advice we give to anyone that comes to us is to not act violently or be rude or raise your voice at an official,” she says, adding that you have to stay firm about what you want and not leave until you accomplish your task. Read More.
Courtesy, PRI.Org, 05/17/2016
It empowers common citizens with the knowledge that they are not alone in this fight, and also gives them a very strong weapon to say no to corrupt practices. Read More.
Courtesy, The Better India, 22/02/2016
An expatriate Indian physics professor, when traveling back home to India, found himself harassed by endless extortion demands. As a way to fight corruption by shaming the officials who ask for bribes, the professor created a fake currency bill: the zero-rupee note. Read More.
Courtesy, Governance for Development, The World Bank, 12/02/2015
In India, the 5th Pillar movement uses a variety of tactics to counter demands for bribes, including producing a zero-rupee note, a pseudo-currency that can be offered whenever a bribe is solicited. The zero-rupee note signals the existence of an anti-bribery network as well as providing information about 5th Pillar. Read More.
Courtesy, OpenDemocracy.net, 10/22/2014
It looks like a 50-rupee note, but it’s more like a slap in the face to corrupt officials. Read More.
Courtesy, The Epoch Times, 07/22/2013
Five years in the world’s most powerful city — Washington DC, USA — was an eye-opener for anti-corruption crusader Vijay Anand. The ease at which he could get things done there shocked him. With no corruption and red-tapism, visits to government offices was a breeze. What’s more, there was no disrespect or humiliation. Like many other NRIs, he too wondered why India hadn’t reached that level of professionalism. Read More
Courtesy, Indian Express, 07/08/2013
Chennai: The Non-Governmental Organization, The Fifth Pillar, has introduced the concept of Zero rupee note to fight corruption. The zero denomination currency notes were introduced by the organization in 2007 with an objective to fight corruption. Read More.
Courtesy, DailyBhaskar.com, 06/24/2013
Courtesy, Radio New Zealand, 04/01/2013
Vijay Anand is the founder of Fifth Pillar of India, a grassroots corruption watchdog that uses the power of a collective message to stand up against street-level graft. The group’s message to public officials: ask for a bribe and you’re asking for trouble. Read More.
Courtesy, 100 Reporters, 01/10/2013
Parker Mah sat down with social reformer and innovator Vijay Anand at the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference to talk about the Zero Rupee Note, one of the most successful initiatives developed by 5th Pillar, an Indian anti-corruption organization co-founded by Anand. Read More
Courtesy, IACC, 12/21/2012
History, particularly India's history, has shown us that people power can be a formidable force when pitted against the injustices of a dictator, regime, or foreign occupation. But how can these power dynamics be applied to struggles against a more insidious foe like corruption? Read More
Courtesy: Open India, 08/06/2012
Returning home after starting his own technology firm in the U.S., Vijay Anand was appalled by the corruption in his home state of Tamil Nadu, India. Read More.
Courtesy, US Embassy, 10/05/2011
The 5th Pillar successfully encourages and empowers citizens to take a stand against acts of corruption. One of their most successful campaigns - the Zero Rupee Note - gave concerned citizens a practical tool in confronting daily corruption attempts of public officials. Read More
Courtesy, ERCAS, 08/03/2011
He's the real-life version of Sivaji, the software engineer-turned-corruption crusader essayed by Rajinikanth in the blockbuster of the same name. Forty-two-year-old Vijay Anand closed down his software solutions firm in Washington D.C. in 2004 and returned to Chennai to inspire Indians to resist corruption. What prompted the drastic step? "I was running a business in Coimbatore in the early 1990s. Every little thing I needed to get done was possible only by paying a bribe. When I went to the US in 1997, getting my driving licence was a cinch. I made up my mind to do something to stem the rot in the system," he says. Read More.
Courtesy, India Today, 07/16/2011
Common citizens often believe that they are helpless when it comes to fighting corruption. Be it paying a ‘fine’ to the traffic police for no reason or an under-the-table donation to the college they wish to send their children to, bribes , unfortunately have become an inseparable part of everyday life. Even worse, most people have begun to accept it. Surprisingly, few people understand that the national attitude towards corruption can be changed with just a little effort. Read More.
Courtesy, Morning Media Project, 07/12/2011
The next time a traffic cop asks for ‘chai paani’, give him the bribe without any moral compunctions whatsoever. Fish out a zero rupee note from your wallet—it’s the newest campaign on the block against corruption. Read More.
Courtesy, Open, 06/04/2011
They’re not even worth the paper they’re printed on, but Zero Rupee Notes could save Indians millions of dollars by shaming corrupt officials into foregoing their usual bribes. Read More.
Courtesy, Allianz, 05/24/2011
It is now a way-of-life to bribe someone for getting a job done in a Government office. Even though the government officer is supposed to do his duty, we are pushed to bribe to get a birth certificate or driving license or marriage certificate or land registration etc. Read More
Courtesy, Infoineed, 04/11/2011
In India, where corruption costs the public and private sectors millions of dollars a year, demands for petty bribes are frequently signaled in code: "Take care of me" or, for a two-note handout, "Make Gandhi smile twice." Illegal demands by police and bureaucrats are "deeply ingrained in the culture," says anti-corruption crusader Vijay Anand, and are "taken as the norm." Read More
Courtesy, Lets Fix It, 03/28/2011
Minimizing corruption in India is about a lot more than getting citizens to report on bribe requests. The real challenge lies in addressing a climate wherein corruption is status quo -- people expect to encounter it, anticipate paying bribes in exchange for basic government services, and don’t think that reporting on it will change anything. Read More.
Courtesy, Movements.org, 02/28/2011
Courtesy, National Geographic, 01/02/2011
5th Pillar India, a Chennai-based NGO, has come up with an innovative way to fight corruption. The NGO has designed, printed and distributed notes in zero-rupee denominations, urging people to hand them out whenever anyone asked for a bribe. The notes, which look like the normal rupee notes, carry the name and telephone number of 5th Pillar, and the pledge, “I promise to neither accept nor give bribe.” Read More.
Courtesy, Business Standard, 11/28/2010
CAMDEN, Maine - Birth certificates. Driver's licenses. Ration cards.
In India, these and other documents are the essential records of everyday life, as they are in most of the developed world. Government papers are necessary for virtually every aspect of professional and family life: applying to college, getting a job, buying a home. Read More.
Courtesy, PBS, 10/22/2010
"Corruption starts right before birth until death for an Indian citizen," Vijay Anand, the President anti-corruption organization of Fifth Pillar told PRI's "Here and Now." Parents have to pay bribes to learn the sex of their children. People have to pay bribes to go to school, to start a business and to pay taxes. Once a person dies, the family has to pay a bribe to get the death certificate. "So for a single Indian citizen," Anand said, "it does not stop even after death." Read More.
Courtesy, PRI, 06/04/2010
The strange but true tale of a phony currency, shame, and a grass-roots movement that could go global. Read More (Subscription Required)
Courtesy, Boston Globe, 04/04/2010
Corruption is a huge problem is India – Trust me, even if we are able to bring down the corruption even by 50%, it will skyrocket India’s GDP. More than 90% of all government transactions are fraught with corruption either directly or indirectly (This figure I came across last year in some survey, unable to find the link). Read More.
Courtesy, Trak.In, 04/04/2010
CHENNAI, INDIA–Senthil Ramalingam was chatting on his cellphone as he cruised through the streets of this southern Indian city when he saw something that depresses drivers everywhere: flashing police car lights in his rear-view mirror. Read More.
Courtesy, The Star, 02/27/2010
Imagine going to a government office to get some work done. The “babu” there refuses to sign on your file until you give him some “chai-paani”. What will you do in such a case? Read More.
Courtesy, KnowledgeHub, 02/24/2010
The protest note - literally worth only the paper it is printed on - is being promoted by 5th Pillar, a group that campaigns on behalf of ordinary Indians who are forced to grease the palms of millions of civil servants. Read More
Courtesy, The Telegraph, 02/17/2010
Due to the requirement of practical solutions for tackling corruption, 5th Pillar started distributing the worthless Zero Rupee Note. Vijay Anand, from the lobby group 5th Pillar explains that it may sound self-defeating, but Fifth Pillar (an NGO headquartered in Chennai) is printing its own Zero Rupee Notes in an effort to halt bribery and corruption. When asked for a bribe, Indians are being urged to hand over a note worth zero rupees, in a bid to stamp out corruption among officials. Read More
Courtesy, Ready2Beat, 02/13/2010
Last year, international corruption watchdog Transparency International said almost four million Indian families had to bribe officials for access to basic services. India also dropped in Transparency's corruption index from 72nd to 85th in a list of 180 countries. now Indians are fighting corruption using a novel idea - the zero rupee. Read More.
Courtesy, ABC Radio Australia, 02/12/2010
An Indian lobby group has launched a novel anti-corruption tool: the zero-rupee note that can be handed over to any crooked bureaucrat who seeks a little extra payment. Read More.
Courtesy, Hindustan Times, 02/11/2010
In 1997 an expat Indian physics professor was so fed up with the corruption he witnessed on a trip home from the United States, he created the zero rupee note. Now, 13 years later, his idea is gaining currency around the world. Read More
Courtesy, CNN Travel, 02/09/2010
In India, people often face situations where they are asked to pay bribes for public services that should be provided free. In response to this the organization 5th Pillar has begun to distribute zero rupee notes in the hope that ordinary indians can use them as a means to protest bribe demands by public officials. Read More
Courtesy: Design Bloom, 02/09/2010
The seemingly constant redesigning of U.S. currency and the rise of the design-community-approved, architecture-centric Euro (only the Netherlands could get away with a coin this cool) has led to a wave of art and design projects that toy with what our money looks like, and what it says about us. (DesignBoom has a great round-up here, but they missed my favorite, the Lil' Rhody-themed Noney.)
A new design for the Indian rupee has a more immediate message. Indians pressured into giving bribes can now flash this zero-rupee note instead. The Indian NGO Fifth Pillar has been handing out the fake bills for a few years now, and they say they've put more than one million into circulation. Read More.
Courtesy, Fast Company, 02/08/2010
I was forced to mull on this question by the runway popularity of a recent post by Fumiko Nagano on the World Bank blog regarding the efforts of 5th Pillar to fight Corruption in India with Zero Rupee Notes. Since then, it has taken the digital world by storm with several hundred twitterattis including @ShashiTharoor and @Gulpanag retweeting its link and several prominent websites including The Economist, CNN, Boing Boing featuring related posts. Read More.
Courtesy, NoBribe, 02/07/2010
An Indian U of Maryland physics prof came up with these zero rupee notes that Indians can slip to officials who demand bribes. They've been wildly successful, with a total run over over 1,000,000 notes, and the reports from the field suggest that they shock grafters into honesty. Fifth Pillar is the NGO that produces the notes, and they're available for download in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Read More.
Courtesy, Boing Boing, 02/05/2010
In a country where corruption is embedded in everyday life, encouraging someone to hand over yet another banknote to a grabbing hand might not seem the best way to stop the problem. Read More.
Courtesy, The Independent, 02/03/2010
Chennai: At the second-floor office of 5th Pillar, a three-year-old Chennai-based non-governmental organization (NGO), 40-year-old Vijay Anand vociferously evangelizes to a crowd of 25 people on a Saturday evening. He urges the group—a mix of students and working professionals who are there to learn about how to get information on public officials—to fight corruption and shame corrupt government workers by offering the zero- rupee note that contains the promise to neither accept nor pay a bribe. Read More.
Courtesy, Live Mint, 02/02/2010
Campaigners from the Fifth Pillar charity, which confronts corrupt officials using freedom of information legislation, have issued notes bearing the image of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of its freedom struggle. Read More
Courtesy, The Telegraph, 02/02/2010
A ZERO-SUM game is one in which the gains of one player are exactly balanced by the losses of another. In India a local non-governmental organization has invented a new sort of zero sum which, it hopes, will leave everyone better off: the zero-rupee note. Read More
Courtesy, The Economist, 01/28/2010
Imagine that you are an old lady from a poor household in a town in the outskirts of Chennai city, India. All you have wanted desperately for the last year and a half is to get a title in your name for the land you own, called patta. You need this land title to serve as a collateral for a bank loan you have been hoping to borrow to finance your granddaughter's college education. But there has been a problem: the Revenue Department official responsible for giving out the patta has been asking you to pay a little fee for this service. Read More.
Courtesy, WorldBank, 12/29/2009
The drive against corruption and bribes has taken a new turn in India. The zero rupee experiment started in Chennai is now reaching other parts of the country. Read More.
Courtesy, HitXP, 09/09/2007
Coimbatore Aug. 23: Fifth Pillar India, an NGO set up to fight corruption, has printed over 200,000 zero-denomination notes that resemble Indian currency and has begun distributing them around the country. It is asking people to give the notes to anyone demanding a bribe. Fifth Pillar will launch the zero rupee currency note campaign in Coimbatore on Saturday. Read More.
Courtesy, RTI India, 08/23/2007
CHENNAI: The next time a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation clerk demands a bribe to issue that clearance certificate, grease his palm with currency that will seem like a kick in the back. Fifth Pillar India, a Chennai-based organization that battles corruption, will release 1 lakh notes of 'zero denomination' in Mumbai next month. Read More.
Courtesy, DNA India, 08/27/2007
CHENNAI: Next time when you are asked to cough up extra money to get a driving licence or a birth certificate, shock the bribe-seekers with a 'zero rupee' note. Read More.
Courtesy, DNA India, 08/20/2007
I want to make a small difference by helping India be a corruption-free nation," says Preethi, a 24-year-old engineer from Salem, Tamil Nadu, who works also as a volunteer at the non-governmental organization 5th Pillar. Read More.
Courtesy, Rediff, 04/25/2007
CHENNAI: The Right to Information (RTI) Act was introduced because people should have the right to information on how public money was spent, said speakers at the inauguration of service centers of 5th Pillar, a non-government organization working to eliminate corruption in the country. Read More.
Courtesy, The Hindu, 03/19/2007
The Anti Corruption movement, 5thPillar recently began distributing “Zero Rupee” notes to Indian citizens to give to any civil servant they come across that asks for a bribe. Corruption in the form of bribery is commonplace in India particularly in Chennai where the campaign began, and the Zero Rupee Note serves as a protest of this trend. Read More.
Courtesy, New Tactics
5th Pillar, an Indian NGO, came up with the idea of printing a zero rupee currency note as a tool to help Indians achieve the goal of zero corruption. The note is a way for people to say NO to corruption without the fear of facing an encounter with persons in authority. Read More
Courtesy, Global Hand
Corruption has been endemic in many developing countries since the end of Colonial rule. We report here on India because there is significant activity occurring in the country to address government corruption, not outwardly prevalent under British rule. India now tops the list of "black money" countries - money that has been acquired illegally. Some unique approaches are being used to finally change the status quo in India as corruption threatens its long term grown as a nation. Read More.
When Vijay Anand moved to the US from India to start his own software company, he realised how much more he could achieve when he didn't have to deal with corrupt officials.“It got me thinking about how citizens in India could fight the corruption that affects them every day.” In 2006 he founded the NGO 5th Pillar; the following year he returned to his home state of Tamil Nadu armed with a brilliant idea which he would use to launch 5th Pillar and to fight corruption: the Zero Rupee note. Read More.
Courtesy, Information Activism