Aditya Palnitkar is no ordinary teenager. Not only does he believe in a world without corruption, but has also found the means to create the change with his very own website — Corruption Free India. All it takes is an SMS, a tweet or an email, says the 14-year-old anti-corruption crusader, who heads the dynamic team formed to ensure that your grievances don’t go unnoticed. The Class 10 student of Abhinav Vidyalaya, Pune shares his inspiring story with our readers.
The blueprint for the website began in October as part of his project for the Horlicks Whiz Kid competition in Pune that witnessed him ace the city round. The website allows citizens to report cases of bribery, cheating, extortion, and scams in government offices.
“I felt the need for eradicating corruption. And instead of waiting for somebody to come up with a plan, I thought why not be the change,” he said.
Mulling over a unique way to report corruption and ensure quick response resulted in the portal http://corruptionfree.in .
While Aditya laid the initial groundwork for it in October; the website was launched only in November. Within 15 days, the site helped track and solve three bribery cases.
“We even got the authorities to cancel the permit of a rickshawallah who overcharged his customers,” he quips. So how exactly does the student group gear up to fight corruption?
Aditya explains. Every time a complaint is received with details like city, bribe amount, name of the person involved and photographs, if any, a four-member moderator team scrutinises it to decide whether it’s worth following up.
Based on the veracity of the facts, they call and email the complainant to collect relevant information and forward the same to anti-corruption bureaus and NGOs which take remedial action. While the email addresses and phone numbers of citizens are protected, the reports are made accessible in the city-wise chapters on the website.
“Sometimes we even end up receiving jokes and funny forwards. But that doesn’t put us off, we continue doing our job,” says the young visionary, who conceptualised the idea which allows citizens to report cases of corruption even without visiting the website.
Now, with 1,200 complaints so far, 70 per cent of which were received through SMSes, the Pune-based lad has managed to maintain the growing success of his anti-corruption campaign.
Apart from his passion for fighting corruption, Aditya, who has travelled to as many as 28 countries across the globe, also has a keen interest in aviation.
“I’ve been interested in aviation and travelling from an early age. I love learning trivia on flight manuals and the behind-the-scenes action that takes place when you board a plane,” he confides.
Infact, the collection of all such quirky facts culminated in a pet project, Amazing Airlines, a book on aviation for teenagers, due for release in the US in January.
“I wanted to share my knowledge with youngsters in my age group. While most books in aviation are too technical, I wanted my book to be easy to follow,” says the budding writer.
Aditya also dreams of setting up of his own business venture. And his parting lines sum up his mantra for success. “If you have an idea in mind, don’t wait to grow up to realise it. You can always do it now.”