Warning: This is a long post and on the present anti-corruption drive by the people of India a.k.a the Lokpal bill movement. Do not say that you weren’t warned!
India, the biggest republic in Asia, nowadays has become the giant of Information Technology. Economy is developing and the GDP as well. But have we ever had a glance at the reverse side? India has been independent for 64 years. But has there been any significant growth in the country other than industries and knowledge sector?
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, called India a country of villages. The economy is developing as per lawmakers. But the per capita income is only $550, which is less than that of a beggar’s earning in the Western countries. Till date, some villages of our country remain isolated. People don’t have facilities like education, healthcare, transport, etc.
If we try to find out the reason, everybody will try to take the responsibility off them and put it upon someone else. The cycle continues and it is we and only we who are going to suffer. Do you think that only lawmakers are responsible for this situation? Have we ever looked upon our faults?
According to Abraham Lincoln, former US President, “Democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people.” The common public plays a big role in a country’s development too. China and Japan became independent close to India’s independence. But they are much more developed and they have a stable economy. If they can have, then why can’t we have? If we think for a while, the result will be our lack of responsibility, may it be directly or indirectly.
The Constitution of India is declared by the people of India. But I will like to put a question. How many
people are aware of their fundamental rights and duties mentioned in the constitution? Indian constitution sees each people in the same manner irrespective of their caste, religion, colour, sex. Then why communal
riots are taking place in India?
Education has now become a fundamental right in India. But how many people are aware of it? Even
a clean and healthy environment is something which they can claim for. Indian regulation allows free education to children in the age group 6-14. But how many children continue their studies?
Agriculture in India is one of the sides always talked much and neglected most. Even farmers are committing suicide due to various problems. Irrigation has not been possible to all suitable areas. Government is talking about a lot of plans. But how many people are getting benefited? In every five years, new promises are made by different parties and after the election, everyone forget their promises. Someone has truely said, “promises are made to be broken”.
Legislators are always talking about the increasing demands of India. Ironically and to cut costs, they are
moving free of cost in cars, aeroplanes. Has anyone asked a question about their expenses? One of our lady legislators in the Rajya Sabha made a bill of Rs.50,000/- for the refreshments consumed by her and her guests in the Parliament where a large section of the population are unable to feed themselves twice a day. Politicians
are given a lot of security. Security is all right. But why spend so much when this can be done with much
less effort? If a VVIP visits any place, the roads are evacuated and suddenly everyone becomes alert for the VVIP. Has any body ever taken the pain just to think about the problems caused to the public?
Without the public, the netas would be nowhere. Someone may raise the question of threat from terrorists. But I would like to say that after 9/11 incident in US and 7/7 in UK, no terrorist activities has taken place
there. But here, nearly everyday you will find the newspapers mentioning the glorious activities of our
esteemed terrorists with much glory.
I would like to put a point here. I came across a photo in a leading newspaper few years ago. The photo
was showing Britain’s Prime Minister in a metro train in London and another one below showing Mr.
Blair travelling in the same train. To my utter surprise I could hardly find any security cordon for him in that
train and to add to the surprise, he did not even find a seat for him and was standing in the train. Had this
been the case in India, I suppose the entire Indian Railway would have been paralysed by the route of the
journey making security arrangements and the entire train would have been evacuated.
India has now become a country of scams and the lawmakers have made the constitution the paradise
of lawyers with loopholes everywhere. Scams have covered all areas of the government ranging from the state level to the top secret levels like army, navy and union ministeries. Even some of the Prime Ministers and their families are involved in such scams. Some of India’s so called celebrated scams are, Bofors Scam, Hawla Scam, JMM MP Bribery Scam, Fodder Scams, Coffin Scam, Sugar Scam, Urea Scam, Stamp Paper Scam,
Navy War Room Leak Scam, 2G spectrum scam, telephone scam, antarix-ISRO scam have really stood as a challenge to the Indian Constitution and the accused are enjoying a lot of benefits instead of being punished.
One of the Former Prime Ministers who passed away in early 1990’s was acquitted from the charges of Bofors Scam as the court said that the person charged is not alive. One of the main accused in the Fodder Scam has enjoyed tenure as a powerful union minister. Another accused in the JMM MP Scam is also enjoying himself as a power broker. Another deceased Prime Minister was called the most corrupt CM of Andhra Pradesh and later, his son was involved in the Rs.133 crore Urea Scam. One of the shameful scam is that of the Coffins used to carry our martyrs who sacrifice their lives for our safety.
Now the Election Commission of India has made it mandatory for candidates to declare their property
details during the filing the nomination for the election. I think none of them or a handful of them have given their actual property details. It is surprising that many of them have given “judicial affidavit” that they don’t even own a car or a telephone. But recently a survey of the Parliament revealed that there was not enough parking spaces for MP’s to park their imported cars. This is a game of Volte Face where the public is the sufferer.
Indian politics is not a newborn thing. It existed even in time of Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya. But it was intended towards the development of the nation as well as the people. But it has got a new avatar, called as Ballot Box politics. Once the election is over, the game is over. Recently, one of the leading politicians gave a controversial view of politics which was rather shocking and heartbreaking.
Another hurdle in the development is the procedural delay in the Government Processes. Here, the bureaucrats are the winners and again the poor public is the looser. A file remains pending with our so
called babus for days, weeks, months, years and in the worst case the file may be lost. Even some IAS
officers, who hold a prestigious position as the holder of the country’s highest civil services post, have joined the club of politics and misuse their post. A senior IAS officer, who was the topper of his batch, was grilled for his financial misappropriations in a State undertaking firm by the vigilance.
Corruption has entangled each and every node of the government like a spider with a fly in its web. Police system was developed to help the poor people in need. But they have also been involved in spreading corruption. A poor person comes with all his goods stolen to file a complaint and he will be directed to produce some cash or kind to the officers in the police station. A vehicle emitting high levels of pollutants and without the fitness will be allowed to ply on the roads if a huge sum is paid to the MVI. Recently, a raid in the house of an MVI in Orissa revealed that he lived a status no less than highly paid official. Even doctors are
taking bribes for conducting operations. MP’s are taking bribes to ask questions in the Parliament sessions which is one of their duties as per the rules.
Solution? It’s not simple. But it’s not difficult. Have we ever asked a policeman why shall we pay the bribe for something which is their duty? How many times have we denied bribing to the babus at the state secretariat? We see traffic police taking bribe from parked vehicles in the no-parking area. How many times have we protested that? How many of us know the fundamental duties and rights mentioned in the constitution? Forget the constitution. I think very few of us know our National Anthem and how to respect it. Because, I came across the photograph of one of our so called powerful and influential ministers talking to his wife in his seat while all others were standing to pay the respect to the National Anthem. How many times have we protested
over the excess billing of any goods or anything else?
Recently, while buying ticket from the state government bus counter to move to my native place, the person
in the counter charged me Rs.2.50/- more than that mentioned in the computerized ticket. The price is
Rs.107.50/-. As I handed him Rs.110/- and asked the change, he said me, “What sir, where shall I find
the change? Nobody is asking for it.” I asked him, “Had I given Rs.2.50/- less than the printed amount, would have given me the ticket? It’s your duty to keep only the printed money from the travelers and return the rest to them. I think you are making a good amount everyday from this business.” After a lot of discussion, he could realize his mistake and returned me the rest of the amount. After seeing me, other people also demanded the money and got it back.
Similarly, have we ever put a question over our processes and other things? Processes in the govt sector a longer period. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months and even years. In the worst case, the required file for the process may get vanished. Only the bureaucrats are getting benefits from this. Any reasons, any guesses? It’s because of the people. Have we ever denied bribe to a clerk in a govt office? Have we ever questioned about their working process? The answer is no.
Finally, if we look at these aspects, we will see that all of us are in wrong side. So the way to stop corruption is to increase awareness among the people. If some of us raise voice, then it will slowly gain momentum and will spread like fire. This will lead to the healthy and economically improved India we are dreaming of.