Tag Archive for 'Corruption'

Accountability of People’s Representatives in a Democracy

We have a classic case at Hyderabad in India where a serving secretary has been arrested for signing a government order under which mining rights have been given to a particular business group without due diligence bringing losses to the government . The secretary’s contention that the order was issued after approval on file by the Minister for Mining did not cut ice with the investigating agency as the agency felt that Ministers are not accountable for such acts and it was the duty of the bureaucrat to advise the Minister correctly .

In India , The Indian Administrative Services [IAS for short] used to be very coveted during the fifties to seventies till it got politicized through frequent interference by politicians in arranging their postings , transfers etc to get the bureaucrats toe the political line . Frequent transfers have now become the norm and the morale of such officers is very low. Many of them have resorted to corrupt methods to curry favors from the politicians and also at times take initiative to even corrupt the politicians with black money and other favors.

It is a sad commentary to the democratic institutions in India that the conscience keepers of the nation whether an elected representative or a bureaucrat become a party to corruption at the cost of public good and bring great harm to the country’s image globally.

An Independence Day bonanza for me !

How do we celebrate our Independence Day ? . Attending parades , starting something new and socially useful ? or service to the society in the true spirit of freedom.

On the 64th anniversary of India’s freedom from British rule , we have mixed feelings . While we have achieved significant results , many issues still remain . And added to this the ugly face of Corruption in public life stares at us threatening to undo the very fabric of Indian culture.

It was in this context , The Atlanta Foundation along with all the Information Technology Industry bodies at Hyderabad including ITsAP  [ www.itsap.org] where I work as Executive Director came together to celebrate the Day with a unique event . We conducted a 64 Km cycle race for the young folks and ended it with a spectacular show featuring and honoring three distinguished citizens of India.

The celebrities were Padma Vibhushan  Sonal Mansingh , the living hero of Siachen Glacier action of 1987 Captain Bana Singh ,Param Vir Chakra and the Internationally acclaimed Sand Artist from Orissa Sudarshan Patnaik who recreated the Siachen action on sand for the audience .

While the  address by Sonal Mansingh lifted the moods and motivated all to follow the Indian culture and traditions , the narration by Captain Bana singh in simple and rustic style recounting his action in capturing the formidable Quaid-e -Azam post from Pakistan [ since renamed Bana post after him] took all of us to another realm of possibility rarely visualized by the young participants.

Believe me , it was a real Bonanza for all of us on this day of re-dedication to the service of the nation. The donations received were to be spent for charity work undertaken by the Atlanta Foundation.

Congratulations to all who made this possible !

Overlooking the Obvious – The India Way.

I got 9,960,000 links  in 10 seconds on a Google search for the caption ” overlooking the obvious ” !. If this is so , why are we still overlooking the obvious when it happens every time in that way ?

The story of Corruption in India can be explained with this phenomena . Any amount of fasting , legislation , ombudsman , Jasmine Revolution will bring about an end to this malady which has deep roots in the Indian Psyche . Some of the basic reasons are given below : –

We pay a bribe to get a baby borne in a decent hospital and we pay a bribe to get a decent cremation or burial when someone dies in the family .

We pay bribe to jump the ‘Q ” to get a passport or even a ration card which is the legitimate right of every citizen .

We have to pay a bribe to a government official to receive money to the government treasury without any harassment and inconvenience to you !!

Many people bribe the recruiters to get a job in the private or public sector .

Most of the policemen do not issue a ticket for your traffic crime and settle for graft money . They even ask you for money if you want to file a FIR in a police station to report an incident !!

Votes are mostly purchased with money – the so called ” Vote Bank ” in politics .

Caste based favors are still rampant in many parts of India !!

The list can go on and on !! .

So what do we do ? . Teach our children how not to be corrupt , even if it takes a few years for the results to show !! . We come very short when it comes to family values and respect for the Individual and Society . The seeds of corruption are sown in these fertile fields .  We need to remove the causes and not merely punish the culprits .

Combating Corruption in India should be more of a social revolution backed by quality education and value based upbringing of children . It begins at home . We need the WILL to do this !!.

The ” Tipping Point ” for Corruption in India – An Year ending reflection.

As the first decade of the 21st Century comes to an end  , we  in India have mixed feelings  . Is the worst over as regards corruption in public life ? or do we see more and bigger things in 2011 and beyond ? . Jagdish Bhagawati  of Columbia University says in India a public figure is assumed to be corrupt culturally unless he/ she  proves otherwise . Probably , the onus is on the person who holds any public office to prove his credentials .

CWG Scam , 2 G Scam , land scams galore , Adarsh scam , Satyam scandal  – there are many to count and ponder about . The young Indian citizen is  frustrated and angry and if this scenario continues , we will soon reach a ” tipping point  ” and the public at large – 60 percent of them below the age group of 40 will revolt and take things in their hand to eradicate the malady through surgical means . It will be a great tragedy if in the bargain we sacrifice our sanity and law and order in this country . It is a wake up call for all those pseudo politicians and lobbyists  who indulge in corrupt practices and a day is not far off when public opinion will force a  paradigm shift in the Indian political and corporate scene – for the common good , I fondly hope . Let us all wish this great country – this RICH – POOR  India well  in the next decade .

Corruption in Low Places !!

Recently , the print media reported the arrest of an official working in the legislative assembly at Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh  , who fell into the net of the Anti Corruption Board [ACB]  ,  based on a tip off  .  The  ACB raided his house and found  unaccounted assets worth approx 3 million US dollars equivalent  and documents pertaining to many apartments , land , not to talk about more than one KG of gold jewelry . I understand the individual started his government job at the lowest rung on an ad hoc vacancy and reportedly worked his way up  currying favor to those who matter or working as a conduit for money laundering . Investigations are still on .

In a democracy , there are agents , gate keepers  and  phantom  middle men   who  live as parasites on the system .  To bend rules or obtain a favor , one has to grease the palms of such people .  They help in moving files ,  breaking red tape or leaking out confidential notes on file  or carry stories from opposite camps in political games .  They are generally faceless people known only to a selected  few  .  They deal  in cash transactions and  create assets for themselves through benami [ ghost] transactions . They do not usually get caught unless given away by hostile agents who wok for a political party  other than the ruling party .

We come across such agents in various government departments dealing with citizen services like issue of ration cards , passports  ,  permits , or deviations to established rules like regularising  unauthorised constructions etc .  At times , officials even employ touts to sell permits or other privileges indirectly to the prospects and collect money  without any tell tale marks .

This “cancer ” in our society needs a surgical operation and for that to happen , the regular channels need to work properly to the satisfaction of the common man .  Electronic transactions , the RTI [ Right to Information Act ] etc can combat this problem to a great extent but we need an ” all hands approach ” to eradicate this malady from our country for ever .