23 Nov 2014

Prerequisites are Needed for a Strong and Acting Lokpal and for a Real Corruption-Free India !

I remember, once the Principal of my Secondary school said, लोकतंत्र मूर्खों का शासन है, अगर कुल सौ लोगों में ५१ मुर्ख हों तो वो ४९ बुद्धिमानों पर शासन करेंगे. 

This line has great philosophy hidden in it. Now coming back to lokpal, the main issue I would like to go is the root cause of corruption and then some constitutional reforms needed before establishment of Lokpal. After 1991, then FM and Ex-PM Dr. Manmohan Singh with full support from P V Narsimha Rao initialized liberalization. Government despite of doing business and production by itself started as a supporting hand to private firms. Government promoted them by helping in Land acquisition, power and other prerequisites to start a business. The idea was a hit then and our economy was booming and businesses were on a high. Getting full support from the government in establishing a certain business they only had to pay taxes to the government. Now the money that would have gone for spending in social and welfare policies, education of illiterate and upliftment of poor went to businessmen. They multiplied it by many folds in by expanding more and getting full support from the government. It created Jobs for middle class but money went to only a certain number of people. The gap was also increasing many folds and in proportionate with the growth rate now the money power enabled them to distort policies in their favor and political parties started getting funds from them. The policies were made to favor them, rich became richer and richer and poor became poorer.  

The cost of fighting an election and to survive in case of winning or losing was also increased tremendously. This started at management level of political party now for smaller members MLAs or MPs who is less known or doesn't hold any ministerial berth forced local traders, contractors and government agencies to fund them if they want to survive in business. It has penetrated to some very basic policies like Indira Awas Yojana, Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgaar Yojana, and MNREGA. Now poor who want to avail these facilities provided by government have to pay babus some percentage of money. If they refused to pay or don’t pay they have never been benefited by the policy.
Pic courtesy : Thehindu.com
This act of giving bribes which started from the top reached to blocks and panchayats and to maximum government policies and schemes which were made to alleviate poverty has failed to do anything. The irony is that people pay money to Mukhiya for getting an Indira Awaas, who was elected by the People only.

Now going back I would like to mention 3 points raised by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, mastermind behind our constitution. These points are the possible dangers to the democracy, first social and economic inequality, second the use of unconstitutional method and third hero worship. As first point is explained earlier I will jump to second one “when there was no way left for the constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods, but using them since that period was nothing less than anarchy, the sooner they are abandoned the better for us as a nation”. But he did not visualize the transition of power from freedom fighters to loyal or puppets, transition of power from national representatives to regional representatives as well as representatives from certain caste and certain religion. If such a thing happens then what people should do was not explained. If the power is trapped by few where should people go was not said. If we have candidates to be elected not competent enough than what should we do was not explained. If good and competent candidates do not have enough money to fight election then what should people do was not explained.
Pic courtesy : trak.in
His third point was his concern about “Hero worship”. He believed that “there is no harm in being grateful to a great man who has rendered lifelong services to the country, but there are limits to greatness. No man can be grateful at the cost of his honor and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty”. He went on to add bhakti or hero worship in religion may be a road to salvation of soul but in politics bhakti or hero worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship. This has also happened in our great country.

Now by the ways suggested by Dr Ambedkar which is being said as constitutional ways, our voice could be heard. Land is acquired for industrial purpose but still Land Acquisition bill has not been passed after 20 years of Liberalisation.When everything under the Sun is being done by unconstitutional methods, how can we look towards Constitution expecting some change.
Pic courtesy : Indianexpress.com
As every policy is reviewed after a certain fixed term, every law should also be reviewed after a certain fixed time so that the loopholes that appeared in those years can be handled for effective governance. People find loopholes in many laws and enjoy the liberty on the basis of that; we need to fix those loopholes.
Pic courtesy : 20twentytwo.blogspot.com
There are certain reforms required and a debate must start on the whole election activity. How to restrict corrupt and incompetent people from reaching Parliament and to ensure that only capable hands are involved .Government should provide money to a candidate to fight elections. By these reforms we must ensure that best people should be elected to Parliament, and then only we can see effective implementation of government policies. Until then I don’t see Lokpal as a success.
Pic courtesy : iop.harvard.edu
What is your view on Lokpal? How corruption can be removed more effectively from each and every level in India?

How a normal citizen of India can contribute for making India fully corruption-free?

(Written by Bibhu Mishra, an alumnus of NIRD (National Institute of Rural Development), Hyderabad and currently working as a Project Coordinator at ICICI Rural Self Employment Training Institute,Jodhpur)



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