Thursday, October 18, 2012

CORRUPTION IN INDIA - A RESULT OF APATHY, COMPULSION OR CORRUPTION MOTIVATED GOVERNANCE ON THE PART OF INDIAN POLITY

India and its development pace are going to dogs because of malaise of corruption which is prospering exponentially. But sadly enough this issue is not getting the due attention it should get from the rulers of the country. This is a known fact, a fact known to all the citizenry of this country that every action, every deed of the government, small or big is mired with corruption and graft but no worthwhile action is coming forth. Still worst the common man has been reduced to being a mute spectator to the demon of corruption and left wondering whether the corruption in India is a result of apathy, compulsion or corruption motivated governance on the part of the polity.
  • Apathy towards corruption is so apparent that a person like me had to rethink about the role of rulers and legislatures. As a youngster like all students I understood that we elect representatives through elections for ruling and governing states as well as nation. But today after witnessing the drama on corruption and the concern of these legislatures for more than a decade I am left with no option but to  conclude that elections are meant for electing informers to the nation in the same way as the police has informers on the streets. Leaders belonging to all parties, starting from grass root level workers to the mightiest of the land are found dutifully informing the voters that corruption and graft are prevailing here there and everywhere. Yet no action comes forth - administrative, judicial, preventive or legislative
  • Compulsion of coalition government in not getting necessary legislation in place cannot be understood by a normal citizen particularly when such legislations cannot come in the way of social, political or economic ideology of any party. A partial explanation can be found when one thinks of the crab mentality of politicians which is an absolute must in politics for denying the credit to the ruling party for anything that can affect the votes. But this explanation is wrought with dangers as no body will like to be seen as a perpetuator of corruption. 
  • Corruption motivated governance is the only plausible explanation as corruption and black money and  allowing such opportunity to one and all of the cadres,bureaucracy, power brokers etc.. are the back bone of politics in India. Money makes the mare go and it is the sole victory ensurer in elections and is equally important for continuance in power as well. The pressures of transfers, promotions, greed of doles of appointments and extensions after superannuation and many a times discretionary allotment of real estate are enough to change the outlook from 'Loyalty to the nation' to 'loyalty to boss or chair' for most of public servants.
When these are the realities on ground, only a systemic change along with quick disposal of cases and plugging loopholes in system as also change of attitude of the polity is a must if India is not to be denied its rightful place of glory amongst the developed world in a foreseeable future.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

GOONS AND BUFFOONS RULING / RUINING INDIA

The every day occurrences of high handedness by the mighty of the land, their views on heinous crimes like gang rapes and economic offences speaks volumes about what they think of their beyond the law of the land status and unlimited powers. The rights of a normal citizen and his existence is that of the worm of the lowest order as seen in the following:

  • Abduction of Chief Medical Officer of a district in Uttar Pradesh by a minister for not acceding to his illegal orders
  • Multitude of gang rapes in Haryana and the apathy and complacency on the part of government and the uttering of senior leaders of the state.Somebody saying that girls should be married when they are minors. Somebody saying that girls themselves are responsible for these rapes. Who knows tomorrow we may be told that girls should be killed before they are born. Not a single word on deteriorating law and order situation and helplessness on the part of government to nab and punish the guilty.
  • A Member of Parliament (MP) from Gujarat brandishing his gun on an attendant at the toll plaza who had the audacity of asking the Demon of an MP his I Card for letting him pass without paying the toll tax. Gone are the days when performing one's duty in the right earnest was rewarded even if meant a little bit of inconvenience to the mighty one's of the land.
  • Financial irregularities by VIPs and their kith and kin and the government instead of taking a serious note of these irregularities and necessary action thereon, is fighting tooth and nail to defend the actions with all its might. It seems that the government and its ministers are either the lawyers to these VIPs or all apparently dubious looking deals are done after seeking their legal opinion. No surprises that the Honorable Law Minister of India earns the epithet of son in law's minister on our media channels. A national spokesperson of the ruling party and an eminent lawyer was heard on a TV channel the other day saying that the government cannot act in matters of business deals between private parties. A  small question for the guidance of fellow citizens to these legal luminaries. A powerful individual X in government does a favour to a private party and tells the firm to give the benefit to his major son in cash or kind. Is it in order as far as the government of India is concerned. An Individual Y buys an ordinary wooden table from his son for a few crores. Is the transaction in order in the eyes of the government?
There are 746 MPs and 4063 legislatures from all states of India. Out of these 31 % MPs and MLAs have criminal records and cases pending against them in Indian courts. How many more will fall under the economic offence category? Your guess is as good as mine but needless to emphasize that the number is going to be pretty large. George Bernard Shaw could not have imagined that a country with the credentials of India could also exist when he said,"Politics is the last resort for the scoundrels." Though one feels ashamed even to to say so for your country, but is forced to agree to the slightly modified maxim "Politics is the first refuge of a scoundrel." With this mix of elite and august gathering amongst the polity of India, the ruling class, what else can be expected. All these guys get elected also in elections is the saddest commentary on the democracy of India. So how can the rulers or the parties which form the government ignore them or do something against their interests inter alia their own continuance in power.
Every day we are reminded by the polity that no man is guilty unless convicted by a court of law.The first and foremost deduction from this is that these guys with the connivance of the government of the day will never insist and work towards having a judicial and investigating system for the quick disposal of all cases, ideally in two years time from lower courts to the highest court of law. Unless and until that happens, we in India have to live in an atmosphere of anarchy, hoodlumism, might is right and above all in a thoroughly corrupt country destined to be ruled/ruined by the goons and buffoons at the helm of affairs.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ON CORRUPTION IN INDIA

Indian prime minister today made a passionate speech at the 19th conference of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and state anti corruption agencies wherein he laid stress on the ill effects of so called atmosphere of negativity and pessimism. He has either failed to realize the correct picture and magnitude of the malaise or is deliberately downplaying  it or perhaps it was not the forum where he could lay bare the naked reality of the extent of corruption menace prevailing in the country. As a general citizen of this country, one cannot but scoff at such attempts when corruption and corrupt practices are a rule rather than an exception in business, administration and governance.
These anti corruption agencies no doubt have to upgrade their skills in order to achieve greater success but the real answer has to be found with some out of the box thinking on the part of government. In my opinion  following things are a must if India wants to tackle this menace in a big way. Firstly the anti corruption agencies and related judiciary must be beefed up to an extent that no case drags beyond two years.It is a pity that many times the cases hang on for decades in various courts for one reason or the other. We often hear that justice delayed is justice denied but what about punishment delayed or denied? In my opinion it is a slur on the name of governance, a slur on the name of investigating and convicting agencies and in short on the government.
Secondly, all asset classes real estate, gold, investments in stocks and commodity market, trusts and even the companies should be linked to Unique Identification Number so that at the click of a button total value of an individual or a business entity can be found out year wise along with tax liabilities, tax remittances as also pointers to an economic offence if any.

And lastly the government should not shirk its responsibility to unearth corruption even when two private parties are involved. If it fails to do so, it is giving a unique methodology to all powerful members of the polity and bureaucracy to do everything shady in the name of their near and dear ones ( private parties ) and government just becomes a mute spectator to the rape of country's rightful monetary accruals/gains.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CORRUPTION MITIGATION IN INDIA : A DREAM LIKELY TO REMAIN UNREALIZED WITH PRESENT POLITY

Corruption mitigation and recovery of black money can perhaps be the biggest growth engine of the Indian economy. With a history of scams coming to light one after the other everyday and nothing worthwhile coming out of the probes because of ulterior motives and hidden agenda of one set of polity or the other or powerful bureaucracy on frivolous grounds and with the help of total government machinery and might the solution to this malaise remains a mirage.
It is really surprising that the moment a scam involving some bigwig of the country is brought to light by the efforts of media, some organisation or an individual on the basis of circumstantial or derived evidence, all big wigs of the government jump in to say that no crime has been committed or there is no case of corrupt/ illegal practices followed in the deal or decision. They have never realized that such certificates of clearance can only be given by the person concerned, his accountant, his attorney or his accomplices who no the truth. Others who hold very high offices in the government or happen to be national leaders forget that from them the "country expects loyalty to the nation and not to the chair or the party as is expected out of lowly placed workers". These mighty individuals very conveniently forget that they are enjoying tax payers money and lofty positions to mitigate all wrong doings on the economic front, be it corruption, graft, bribery or black money creation and not for making use of their gift of the gab and legal profession knowledge to help criminals and law offenders.
Recently in the case of 2G scam and Coalgate scam, the ruling polity is taking shelter behind supreme court decision on allocation vs auction route for country's national wealth and natural resources. The court gives a ruling on whatever it is asked. Has the court said that in the name of policy a route will be followed that is detrimental to the national exchequer and in the name of policy a route will be followed that will benefit the kith and kin of those in power, their cronies and stooges. In the most recent case involving Robert Vadra dealings with DLF, the topmost real estate company of the country, government is not willing to probe saying that the dealings between two private parties don't fall under the purview of the government agencies. If this is the case only a couple of thousand individuals in this country fall under the purview of government agencies, for all relatives, friends and near and dear ones of those in power are private citizens of the country and enjoy immunity against probe by government agencies.The millions of people actively involved in corruption, graft and economic offences are left to flourish in this country. For whose benefit? Your guess is as good as mine.
But the fact remains that with this polity who has no inclination, no sincerity and no will to fight and eradicate  the rot of  corruption, corruption is going to stay and flourish in India and the Indian masses will keep on suffering through poverty, harassment at all levels and giving bribes for even their legitimate rights.


Monday, October 8, 2012

REFORMS IN INDIA ONLY SCRATCHING THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG Of GROWTH POTENTIAL

Of late government of India has initiated some reforms like the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, insurance and pension along with a small attack on the subsidy bill which are likely to have positive effect on the fiscal health of the country. No doubt the country needs funds to control high current account deficit and investments by way of FDI and Foreign Institution investments (FII) which results in perking up Indian rupee visa a vis dollar. Rupee has appreciated about 8% as a result and this will reduce country's oil import bill by the same amount. The feel good factor about the Indian economy brought about by this and likely to be strengthened further through continuing of the reform process only can at best help in changing the course of GDP growth trajectory but cannot take it to the highs of a good double digit growth which is there for the asking in the light of global turmoil and the opportunity window that has come India's way because of low cost skilled manpower, right demography and a huge insatiable internal market.
The next gen drivers of  Indian economy i.e. infrastructure and human resource development, corruption mitigation and good governance, and Indian energy security have been actually left unattended and unaddressed. It is hard to understand the logic and wisdom of trying to develop India through service industry alone rather than through the hard core manufacturing and industrialization approach. No country on this globe has achieved prosperity through this route, least of all a country of the size and population density of 650 per square kilometer.Though a meaningful reform process is needed in all the sectors mentioned above, the following need attention on topmost priority basis if the intentions of the government are to make a sincere whole hearted effort to make India a prosperous country and catapult it to the status of an economic superpower in the foreseeable future.

  • Corruption mitigation and bringing out black money whether stashed in banks abroad or packed in gunny bags and lockers in the country itself or invested in real estate or other asset classes  or businesses generating and thriving on black money is the first and foremost reform that is needed in the country. A concerted effort on a war footing in administrative, judicial and legislative reforms/measures  to achieve this goal is required. This can come through only when " Loyalty to the nation is the motto" rather than loyalty to the chair or party as is professed in power corridors now a days.
  • Austerity in all government spending and cutting down all infructuous expenditures.
  • Rationalization of subsidies (already existing and likely to be provided in the near future) and defining a clear road map for doing away with them. No doubt subsidies are a must in a poor country with a large population living below subsistence level but the country cannot afford to have them for eternity and it is the responsibility of the government to come out out with ways and means so that the number of beneficiaries decreases by at least 10 % each year. Subsidy in no case can be an open ended scheme. Simultaneously it is the responsibility of the government to see that there is no pilferage/ theft of subsidized goods and subsidy going into undeserving hands.
  • Doing away with all discretionary powers vested with executive and legislative executive particularly for doling out favours of real estate, promotions and postings, post retirement jobs/extensions which are generally used for obtaining favourable decisions/rulings by who's who of the power corridors. After all there is no dearth of talent and experience in this country and people remain in the power corridors by virtue of their manipulative skills and ability to fit in the jig saw puzzle of the government.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

INDIAN GOVERNANCE COMES ONLY THROUGH COURTS

India is perhaps the only country on this globe where the total polity and the governments in states and centre, day in and day out are busy yelling at the top of their voice that they are working overtime for the benefit of the poor citizenry of the country and the governance is solely aimed at improving the lot of have nots. The basic fact however remains that Indian government is a government sans any governance and is busy filling up personal and party coffers through actions which on paper are people centric and for the good of the country and its hapless millions.
Whatever iota of governance comes is because of the intervention of the courts, be it in the small matters of preventing pollution, safety of drivers, cleanliness and collection of garbage or bigger concern of corruption, graft and bribe. This has been going on for umpteen years and is still going on. The two recent examples, namely, providing of toilets in all schools in six months  and the time and petrol wasted at Delhi Gurgaon toll plaza speak of little concern by the governments to the woes of people and country. In another case where the court had to step in is the case of bringing 348 drugs ( National list of Essential Medicines ). This has been pending with the government for the last 9 years in spite of intervention of the highest court of the land. The court has made it amply clear that it cannot run the government but still even for small administrative decisions it has to intervene and force the government for taking decisions for the good of the country and its masses. The irony is that the ruling class and polity of all hues is always claiming to be working for the benefit and welfare of common man.

FDI IN RETAIL IN INDIA : WHAT IS THE FUSS ABOUT?

With great difficulty and hesitation the UPA government has taken a small step in the reforms towards building a modern prosperous India. Most of the opposition parties have taken a position against this measure based on their so called political ideology which only caters to populism and vote catching rhetoric. Surprisingly even the principle opposition party which was a strong exponent of this reform when in power has shown the famous crab mentality and is vehemently opposing the measure.
The main advantages of this measure were discussed in FDI in retail in India : A step in the right direction and its direct and indirect contribution to the fiscal health of the country cannot be undermined. However India as a country has to take a call on few basic postulates of Growth of the Indian economy and mitigation of poverty. Unless and until polity takes a forward looking stance on major policies Indian poor will remain poor and a neglected lot.

  • The first and foremost step in the right direction will be aiming at bringing in majority of Indian workforce in the organised sector with a shift from daily wage workers to regular employees in the quickest possible time so that they also start living a meaningful life with a better work place environment, medical care and retirement benefits. Such things can happen only when the scales of operation of every business whether in manufacturing, service industry, retail or construction industry are increased manifolds. FDI in retail and encouragement to Indian organised retail with strict adherence to employer employee relationship is definitely a game changer in this direction.
  • A farmer is a producer of goods no doubt, but is he not a consumer. He produces say five items but consumes hundreds of other everyday requirement items and is going to be doubly benefited through higher prices for his produce and at the same time getting his everyday requirements at cheaper prices.
  • Industrialisation, automation and large scale operations in any field are cost effective and ultimately result in lowering down of prices of products. These processes and operations have not harmed any country on this globe and there is no reason or truth that they will harm the Indian citizenry. In fact the woes of the advanced countries and their economies emanate from over doing of social security and unfavourable demographic mix . The Indian polity will do well if they foresee all this and succeed in not letting the country ultimately fall in this trap.
The Indian rulers and polity will do a service to the nation if they become a little forward looking and try to spend their energies in putting every Indian worker in the organised sector with proper policy decisions and legislative measures wherever required instead of harping upon the rhetoric of retrograde vote catching slogans.