Corruption in India and the need for a lokpal bill. – a grim story by Anupam Dabral

Once upon a time…

George Bernard Shaw had said “ Power does not corrupt men; fools, however if, they got into a position of power, corrupt power.”

Is corruption all about power? Is it a symptom of a sinking democracy or is it a plague that corrodes the entire system on which it thrives. When we look at the Indian history after Independence, corruption has been an inevitable part of the definition of Indian politics marred by the demagogues.

Indira Gandhi was once interviewed and was asked about the rampant corruption in India he reply was “ Every country has corruption and India is not exception to it”. Years after that interview India has achieved certain exceptional milestones in corruption ( The Commonwealth Scam, 2G Spectrum Scam to name a few)

If we go by the simple definition of corruption, it has been defined as the simple misuse of governmental powers by the officials.  But the question is , is corruption so easy to be defined ? It has turned out to be a multi-faceted evil, which generally kills a system. One of the biggest reasons , why corruption thrives in India was the basic conflict between the philosophy and the system. We have had to many preachers but no executors .

Analyzing the history of corruption in Independent it all started with the Jeep Scandal ( 1948), Malaviya Sirrajuddin Scandal ( 1963) and Kairon Case ( 1963), so corruption has been an elixir to all the evils since the past in India.  The Santhanam Committee, which was appointed by the Government in 1962 to examine the issue of corruption in its report submitted in 1964 observed: “There is widespread impression that failure of integrity is not uncommon among ministers and that some ministers, who have held office during the last sixteen years have enriched themselves illegitimately, obtained good jobs for their sons and relations through nepotism and have reaped other advantages inconsistent with any notion of purity in public life.

Criminalization of politics is another facet of corruption.  N.N.Vohra, Union Home Secretary in his report (1995) on this issue observed “A network of mafias is virtually running a parallel Government pushing the state apparatus into irrelevance , there has been a rapid spread and growth of criminal gangs, armed senas, drug mafias, smuggling gangs and economic lobbies in the country, which have over the years developed an intensive network of contacts with bureaucrats, government functionaries at local level, politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in non-state sector.  Some of these syndicates have also international linkages including the foreign agencies.”

2 CORRUPT TITANS

Lalu Prasad Yadav was removed by the court orders from chief-minister ship of Bihar on corruption charges, enabling his wife to come to power, but he landed , heading the railway ministry. You cannot call it a serious political system, it’s just a hoax of which all of us are a part. Jayalalithaa , not only an actual onscreen actress but also an actress in the political battle ground , she very promptly handled C.M Karunanidhi , there were allegations of corruptions but the irony is that the two infamous leaders were fighting for the power and people of Tamil Nadu have been watching this game since long.The purpose of  exemplifying the above mentioned personalities is to state that corruption is not a sin but a requirement in a nation like ours.

According to Management Guru C.K.Prahalad , the cost of corruption to the country might as well exceed Rs. 250,000 crores .The total spending for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections is pegged at a whopping Rs. 10,000 crore .The breakup of this spending throws up some interesting insights too ,Rs 1,300 crore (Rs 13 billion) by the Election Commission ,Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) by the Centre and state governments, Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) were spent by political parties and individual candidates .  Why does the capital expenditure in Lok Sabha elections reach such a whooping amount .

Anna – Just A Mirrage Of Hope Or An Actual Maverick

Padma Bhushan Kisan Baburao Hazare is one name that probably every responsible citizen of India is now aware off. But why is this ex-military man indulged into politics and why has he suddenly taken the charge of the Supreme representative of a common Indian man. It all began  by making his village ‘RALEGAN SIDDHI’ a model village, where his efforts not only made farmers self sufficient he was able to bring electricity in the village, remove untouchablilty , compel the well to do higher cast people to help the harijans, initiated  a campaign against the illicit liquor problems of the village, increased the literacy rates by establishing  SANT SHIKSHAN PRASARAK MANDAL. Anna has done it all, every thing that a social activist does.

But the story does not end here, he is now using his unconventional attitude of getting the government  meet his demands, deep and intricate knowledge of Indian politics and self assured attitude of making the politicians nervous in fighting corruption in India and this time his weapon is THE JAN LOK PAL BILL.

The Jan Lok Pal Bill has a long history. Introduced eight times , is an explosive piece of legislation that would annihilate the successful careers of many Indian politicians.

Anna has been on this fight against corruption since long, people like Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Advocate), Kiran Bedi ( former IPS officer) and Santosh Hegde are some of the people who are with him in his fight and are key brains behind the drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill.The whole idea of having Jan Lok Pal Bill is to have an independent body to control conruption and to maintain vigilance over the beurocrats and politicians and to ensure the speedy trial against corruption. Arguments have been form the other side also calling the bill ‘ A FRANKESTIEN MONSTER’  and ‘A PARALLEL GOVERNMENT ‘.   The government of India also came up with a Lok Pal Bill which was a mere eyewash to fool the already fooled citizens and just to fulfill a statutory requirement.

Some of the most important provisions of the Bill are :

To create the Jan Lokpal, an independent body similar to the Election Commission with the power to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without prior government permission. An ombudsman is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests supported by Lokayukta at the state level. Lokpal to be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission. As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations. Lokpal should have powers to investigate and look into the matters of corruption against judiciary or MPs. If an officer is not fulfilling the requirements of a responsible citizen under the garb of his official designation , he is to be punished. All the public servants to be covered under the ambit of Lok Pal. A selection committee to invite short listed candidates for interviews, video recordings of which will thereafter be made public, the select committee to consist of  2 politicians, four judges and two independent constitutional authorities,  an independent search committee consisting of retired  constitutional authorities to prepare first list overall to create  a detailed transparent and participatory selection process.  Any investigation has to completed in maximum two years   i.e Investigation of each case must be completed in one year,  and any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year.

An insight into the goevrnments draft of the bill :

The government of India has created a draft that is extremely protective of the corrupt and is giving the a leverage to carry on with their activities. The Prime Minister, Judiciary and the Government   has been kept out of the ambit of the Lok Pal Bill in the draft prepared by the government.  The Government also wants to retain it’s anti-corruption cell with the CBI so that , government manages all the activities on it’s own and nothing is exposed. It also wants the Lokpal to be accountable to the Government itself as so as to make it a hand puppet . The government is also ardent to keep the control of the Lower beurocracy to itself, it is quite evident that the Government does not want to leave CBI as all the lower cadre officers will be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. The government has also not proposed any penalty on any officer not acting to be a responsible citizen or is found to be in violation of the Citizens Charter.

There have been protests and processions going on throughout the nation. Anna initiated a Satyagraha movement for passing a stronger lokpal bill. He began a fast unto death on 5th April 2011 and received an unimaginable support throughout the nation. Spiritual leaders like Sri Sri Ravishankar  and Swami Agnivesh , celebs like Kapil Dev joined the movement. On April 9th 2011 , the Government of India  issued a notification in the Gazette of India on formation of the joint committee. He ended his long fast and has promised that the bill will become a reality by August 15, 2011.

One of the strongest factor about Anna’a movement is is that it is ‘socially inclusive’ , where everybody is involved. it is for a nations revival and it’s well being. India is a nation of highest number of unemployed graduates seeking  jobs , filled with stagnant intellect and unexplored dynamism, the movement has provided strong platform to them. The movement has shown that the winds of change have started blowing , it’s just one true leader which is required . Anna says ‘ Every Indian is a one man’s army’ his effort is to conglomerate millions of such armies and the bring down the castles of Indian politicians which have been established on the ruins of Indian hopes and aspirations. His movement has stipulated a  sense among the Indian youths who are angry , frustrated and desperate to bring a change. Be it the draconian reservation policies, the corrupt officials or the billions lying in the Swiss accounts, everything will be brought under the hammer once Anna achieves success.

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3 Comments

3 Comments
  1. hi , thanks leeza.

    Well yes , the lokpal bill might be having certain flaws but at this moment when the government is standing at the zenith of corruption we require a solid legislation to control the very organised nonsense , be it this bill or aruna roys bill or any other legislation , we need a stick to beat them up .

    Rest is yet to come..

  2. well Anna’s story seems too gud to b true,,, but yes results still r awaited,,,janlokpal bill is not free of problems,, it also requires to be updated.!
    Though the article provides an optimistic outline for India, we wait for it!!

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