English: People taking part in protests in support of Jan Lokpal bill in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Depth of corruption in India
Corruption is to India what vegetation is to Forest. The real economy of the country runs on cash. Most businesses have two set of accounts. One for tax purposes and another for actual accounting use. Any person who has bought or sold a house/apartment/land, has indulged in this parallel mess and realized the duplicity of system. Gross tax evasion is a norm in all industries. Higher the rate of taxation, greater is tax evasion. Govt. Officials are making a killing in this process. The State largesses of material resources are distributed without any transparency. This description establishes that in India no person can claim to be free from corruption. The difference exists only in the motive for corruption. Whether it is to accumulate more wealth or to preserve it or to survive everyday life?
Moral fibre has become so thin that nobody can trust nobody. We hire domestic help and send him/her to buy few things, It is well neigh impossible that help will come back with correct prices or will not over-charge. But they are poor people and are trying to survive.
Anna Hazare is practically wrong on corruption even though right in principle.
What Activist, Anna is asking that an office of Ombudsman or Lokpal be established which should be free from Government. This ombudsman should also be invested with power to enquire into allegation of corruption by Ministers, Judges and Civil Servants.
The questions which beg for answers are: Is it possible for any single institution to set others right? What is our past experience?
India is the only country in the world where Judiciary is not only independent but has insulated itself from the rest. Over a decade earlier, it declared that in process of appointment and discipline, Government’s role is only consultative. The final word rest with Judiciary. Thus the office of Chief Justice of India became most powerful office in India. What happened thereafter is noteworthy. Now judiciary is frequently questioned for its sins, not only by others but also from within. Serious allegations of corruption, blatant nepotism in appointments besides lack of transparency, anarchic behavior or shear apt high-handedness. Last five Chief Justices have been mired in allegations of corruption.
The conclusion is that empowering any institution without all round transparency does not yield results.
Ombudsman will help but is not the ultimate solution.
Now that Anna Hazare has taken a back seat in view of shameless stony non-resposiveness of the Government to enact law to create Ombudsman/Lokpal, his ex follower has declared intentions to form a political party to fight corruption. Now to prepare for that purpose what has he been doing? He was finding and revealing dirt of malpractice, impropriety, misappropriation or abuse of power by members of all the parties, business houses and what not. Now in the face of the fact that everyone is corrupt and every rich person is more corrupt than lesser rich, will it serve any purpose? There is no certain answer. But certainly this is not enough.
Aam Aadmi Party
An associate of Anna i.e. Anil Kejriwal aannounced that instead of demanding Lokpal from Government, he will ascend to power to make the changes. A point at which Anna distanced himself from the movement. If Anil Kejriwal has to be politically correct, he has to be travel beyond digging cosmetic dirt and enlist the systemic failures and its causes which promote the corrupt practices and come forward with a blue print to eradicate the problem. He shall have to involve people with no known riches. Above all he has to have a transparent list of members of his party and these members must elect him before he starts lamenting on microphones again. Formation of Aam Aadmi Party or Common Man’s Party, in such colorful label, is not going to eradicate corruption.
Unfortunately there is no mechanism or regulator in India which may be empowered to ensure inner party democracy. All parties are like proprietorship business entities. The command of supreme leader is the law within party. This autocratic set up is the single most corrupt thing as this is the center of corruption. Unless the political parties are democratic, these can not be called as honest. Hence are corrupt and will remain corrupt. Corruption involves money at a rather lower level. At the top it is only about control of material resources which is reservoir of power and corruption.
So far there is no indication of change in sight. Would things actually travel beyond rhetoric? We can only wait and see.
© Sandeep Bhalla
P.S. BTW if anyone finds a link to the list of members of Aam Aadmi Party, please paste it in the comments.