Sunday, September 18, 2011

Asymmetric Views on lokpal

I was planning to write on lokpal long back but always decided not to write. The famous and august non violent uproar of Indian public immediately after the dawn of 65th Independence Day was in many ways historic. I refrained myself from calling it “revolution, upheaval or second independence moment” because by calling so in one way or the other we would be equating our present system with the colonial rule which in reality poles apart. The iconic and enigmatic social activist Anna Hazare was spearheading the movement against the corrupt and arrogant government which tabled a relatively much weaker ombudsman bill.
The frivolous attitude of government towards the corruption cases circumscribed the people to find salvage in Jan lokpal. The media in this regard played the role of catalyst which presented the people with only two options.
a) Either u are with govt version of lokpal.
b) Or u r with Jan lokpal.
It was hard to find anyone with first option. Even the partisan of the ruling party didn’t want to openly go for first option.
But what about people like me who are not even satisfied with second option? The common perception was that if u don’t support Jan lokpal then u r anti- Anna and pro government people.
I believe the Government has already many anti corruption laws and its implementing agencies. The only thing required is the will power of the presiding officer. Even though there may be certain corruption cases in judiciary but it should not be brought under the lokpal. There should be separate accountability bill for them. If lokpal is given immense power then the possibility of miss utilization of power may take place. Prime Minister should come under the lokpal barring certain security related issues. I believe the top bureaucrats and politician should come under lokpal as for the lower level we have Income Tax Dept and CVC to look after such issues. My above notion is based on the premise that in most of the cases the lower level officers are forced to do corruption.
Now let us ask our self that why do we have corruption in India?
The corruption is a major problem in developing countries. Now consider a village of 100 people where there is hunger. The government decides to provide one bread to each and every person. After sometime the authority has 125 bread and it decides the distribute it. Now people will try to cheat the authority to have extra bread so that they can satisfy their tomorrow’s need. The government decides to provide more then one bread to each and every needy person. Eventually the rate of cheating will reduce.

The village is our country INDIA and the people are 100 crore plus. With increase in prosperity of the country the corruption will decrease. Corruption should not be related only to the politicians and government servants. If a traffic police ask for bribe; it is corruption then the road side dhabawalla who is not paying the tax is equally corrupt. How many pan shop does pay Income tax? (i know it depends upon the IT slab, but please try to understand the inherent point that i want to raise regarding the ubiquitous nature of corruption) The salary of a peon is not more than the panwalla who sits outside a typical government office. A peon tends to do demand bribe to fulfil the aspiration of his huge family because compare to his salary the cost of fulfilling the basic necessity is not at par. The same case is with the panwalla, if starts paying taxes (VAT etc) and other things then he will eventually end up his next generation in his pan shop. So here we can say that the cause of corruption is miss match of salary with the day to day basic requirement of the person. Though sixth pay commission has improved there standards but the day to day increases in cost of essential commodities may put them at the same position.
Similarly our politicians are corrupt mostly because they have party which runs on money, i.e the party fund. If every politician stop miss utilizing the funds then there wont be money left various party works in different elections. What I believe is that it can be solved by restricting all type of elections within one year of general election and restricting the amount of money a candidate can spend in his/her constituency during campaigning.
There was 50% tax slab before 1990. I believe the black money will reduce by subsequent tax relaxation and providing a sense of security among investors. Most of the entrepreneurs are first generation entrepreneur subsequently as our prosperity will increase along with a sense of security the amount of black money will naturally decrease. The time required to shed the third world category will finally be determined by how pragmatic we are in dealing with corruption.

I may be wrong in many of my above argument and many people may challenge my premise but I strongly believe no lokpal will curb corruption until we look out the answer for “WHY CORRUPTION?”
Make the following changes and we will hopefully make a stronger democracy with less corruption.
1. Reduce the delivery time of judgment in both civil and criminal cases.
2. No tainted person should contest election.
3. Make voting compulsory.
4. (As most of the youth live in different part of India away from the home town) Even if I live in x y z part of India I can vote for my constituency.
5. Remove unnecessary forms in various govt offices.

I wanted to write more but I think I should stop here. At last I would like to give three examples who without lokpal have done better job.
Dr. Subramanyam Swami didn’t use any Jan lokpal to dig the biggest scam of India i.e. 2G scam.
Nitish Kumar in Bihar used the same machinery which the previous government used. but now he has transformed the face of Bihar in all dimensions.
Love him or hate him but u cannot ignore Narendra Modi. He transformed Gujarat into one of the most prosperous state of India.