Sunday, June 26, 2011

Corruption in India:Our Birth Right

The events of last few months involving the drafting of the Lok Pal Bill, the actions of the government on the 2 G Scam, Adarsh Housing Scam, CWG Scam and the views and actions of Indian Polity on the biggest menace eating into our struggle of developing India gives an impression that we are fighting for Our Birth Right --- i.e. CORRUPTION. In this endeavour all political parties and all politicians seem to be contributing with all their might, passively, actively or silently like they were contributing when Bal Gangadhar Tilak  gave the slogan ' Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it' way back in 1898 irrespective of their political and economic ideologies. The government claims that it has taken action against senior ministers and politicians but only when it became clear that shielding them will be their Waterloo. Who found out these scams? The government with all its powers and machinery never bothered to find out as to what is going on in this country. It was only press and media who exposed manipulations and corruption in these scams. Are these the only scams and corruption cases that have happened in this country during last five years? When black money issues are raised we talk only of Rs 70 lakh crores which is stashed away in foreign countries and the government expresses its helplessness in bringing it back because of international laws and procedures. Government, opposition and everyone in the country who matters does not talk of  Rs 10-15 lakh  crores being generated every year for it requires action solely on their part.
What should we expect from these people when the first small step towards having an effective Lok Pal has generated so much of commotion in political circles that erosion of parliamentary system and democracy are talked about when it comes to incorporating suggestions by a group of people invited by government itself to prepare a blue print of the bill, suggesting thereby that wisdom, morality and national concern are the sole propriety of handful of these politicians half of them are members of parliament through appointment ( indirect election) while the others carry at best a backing of 25% of electorate of their constituency.
It is surprising that every body in politics claims to be gravely concerned about corruption and having a powerful Lok Pal but nobody seems to have even a basic blueprint of the bill ready and are working in damage control mode after the issue has been thrust on them by team Anna. The total effort is not concentrated on having an effective Lok Pal institution but on scoring political points over rivals and ultimately whom to blame for not getting the bill through. In the worst of the circumstances if the bill has to be passed the aim is to have a lame Lok Pal standing on one leg waiting to fall with the slightest whiff of air.
By excluding CBI  from the ambit of  RTI, while the intentions of government about fighting corruption and bringing in transparency in governance are clear, the silence on the part of other parties on the matter only smells of a collusion amongst the polity for maintaining status quo in all matters of national interest. The lame excuse of CBI handling cases involving national security is just a ploy for keeping it outside the purview of RTI, for separate wings must be dealing with cases of corruption and national security and even if this is not the case, separate wings could be created for strengthening the claim of good governance and transparency.
Indian polity has a flair for coining high sounding vote catching slogans. These days we hear a lot about inclusive growth and empowerment of masses. In principle both the phrases are wonderful but in a country where 70% of the money is known to be going into individual pockets when accountability on ground cannot be established. Is it not an effort to establishing your political clout through indirect bribe. Or in simple words, you participate in the national loot in a small way and allow us to grab the major chunk peacefully. We have heard programmes and slogans like Community Development, Roti Kapda aur Makan, Jai Jawan Jai Kissan, Garibi Hatao and we are not any better on these fronts. Similarly after five years or so we will come across some new vote catching phrases and generation after generation the poor will have to live as poor and be at the mercy of free India's democratically elected masters.
In the end one could only say ' God bless this country and millions of deprived, starved and hapless citizens who are being condemned to this fate by the rulers of this country.