So one topic I haven’t talked about yet, but should at least touch upon is the issue of corruption. In emerging markets such as India, corruption is present everywhere. From the customs official when you first come to the country to the police officer who seizes your moped in exchange for a “contribution”. Still, they are small potatoes compared to the bureaucrats and politicians who steal money by the truckload. It reminds me of the crooked Chinese bureaucrat who had to remove all the furniture from his home so he could hide all his dirty cash.
After speaking to some people ‘in the know’, it appears that there should be a budget line item of about 10-15% of the budget for corruption payments. This might include police, local politicians or bureaucrats or anyone else who comes sniffing around. Inordinate attention is the last thing we need when starting out so we have to make these payments. Does it suck? Absolutely! That money could be used to build the city faster, but we have to deal with reality.
Don’t worry, when we get sizable and can operate from a position of strength, that payment information is going to get leaked to the press 🙂
Until then however, as sick as it makes me upwards of 15% of our budget is going down the rat hole. If we are able to start with $10M, that means $1.5M. That is a big deal but I don’t currently have a way around it.