FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
Post.7 Dated 24,Aug, 2011
PROGRESS IN SIGHT
RESOLVING CONTENTIOUS ISSUES
Now – things have started happening. PM has chosen his emissaries well. Talks have started. Government has become flexible. So has Team Anna. It is good to see Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan talking highly sensibly and flexibly. Many contentious issues appear to have been resolved. Some more are there – but I do expect them to be resolved in 24 to 48 hours time. We are now gaining that confidence.
Dirty Politics have taken back seat – for the present at least. But, those who have that itch will come to the fore – some time or other.
The PM, MMS also deserves appreciation for a significant change in Government stand.
Some sections of people are not joining the FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION – for their own reasons. India – like any other country – has not one issue to be solved, but many. Caste, Communalism, electoral reforms, education reforms and many others are ongoing processes. All these are to be sorted out with non-violent, Gandhian methods. Communalism is world-wide - not peculiar to India. Caste may be specific to India – but there are different forms of separation of people in all countries. So are the other problems. When we fight against corruption – sink all other differences – and join the fight. That way – the potential for strengthening the battle against other problems will increase. But, if different people withdraw from each fight on different grounds – each fight gets weakened.
Great sages have said – Hate the sin – not the sinner. In case of corruption also, this is true. We cannot jail crores of Indians for corruption. I strongly feel that more than 50% population will need to go to jail – either for taking a bribe or for giving a bribe, if that is the punishment for corruption. But, this seems to be what both the Draft Bills (of team Anna and of Government) seem to prescribe. This is meaningless.
Punishments should not be punitive and destructive – but must be reformative and constructive.
This blog has many times said – let the punishment be a deterrent FINE for the first time (and even second time). If the person has amassed wealth on corruption – seize all his ill-gotten wealth too. But, if he persists in corruption even after that – put him in Jail for any number of years. Most people will reform with the fine itself.
But, in India, the legal system is hell-bent on jailing a person for every simple offence. This should change. Our mind-sets should change. This attitude of “Hate the sin – Not the sinner” must permeate all of our other struggles.
Coming to the FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION : Lok Ayukth must definitely be part of this Bill itself. Most states are stinking with corruption. This is a huge Augean stables of corruption.
We need Hercules type of Lok Pals/ Lok Ayukths for the first time – to put some fear against corruption into our erring Politicians and bureaucracy. This means – the first appointee for the Posts of Lok Pal / Lok Ayukth – must be daring, transparent and whole-hearted in this mission. This selection is going to be crucial.
On Prime Minister coming under Lok Pal – this blog has already said that he should come under Lok Pal – but should be investigated only on a petition by 50 / 100 MPs and not on every Public petition. PM is an august Post and in many ways, much more important for the progress of the nation, than any Lok Pal. If a PM is sincere, efficient and fast working, Lok Pal must be kept in check from troubling him. Countries like USA give their president many Powers – without legislative permission – and these are necessary for the Prime Minister of India as well. We can build safeguards like consultation with a standing committee (of ALL PARTIES) – for exceeding certain rules – but such powers are necessary for the Prime Minister, for the sake of country’s progress. In our Euphoria of fighting Corruption, let us not bring down the importance of the office of Prime Minister.
On many other points there seem to be broad agreement already. This blog is happy that –most of the solutions which so far appeared to have been reached – are in line with what this Blog has always advocated.
On Gr. C & D staff also – this blog had given a viable 3rd alternative. Let Gr. C & D be seen by the respective administrative Anti-corruption wings as at present. But, let these wings come under control of Lok Pal /Lok Ayukth as the case may be. Lok Pal will have full authority over selection of personnel, removal etc – for these wings and their functioning. But, he need not see individual cases. Where he feels it necessary, he can always investigate specially. The Individual Administrative wings can be overseen by an Assistant Lok Pal / Deputy Lok Pal to be appointed by the Lok Pal. Also – centrally, let them be overseen by the present CVC, who can also be re-designated as CVC (Lok Pal). This arrangement will work well.
Citizen’s charter – is essential for every department. But, let us understand that the targets go on changing. With each computerization improvements, procedural improvements, transparency improvements – the targets will need to change. A Bihar may not match a Maharashtra today – but it will, in due course of time.
Citizen’s charter is not enough. The way, tenders are called for, works are awarded, works are done and supervised, payments are made to contractors etc – is a huge source of corruption. Here, usually no one complains. Neither the contractor nor the official. But, the users of the roads, dams, bridges, buildings suffer. A road laid today is washed off tomorrow (in one day) if a rain comes.
So, Lok Pal/ Lok Ayuktha must have technical teams to look at quality aspects in tenders vis-a-vis actual construction later. Lok Pal’s jurisdiction should not be fettered in this case – as done in the case of CAG. CAG is allowed to see records – but not the work done. If in 2 G / CWG’s cases, CAG was also allowed to test check the work done, many more scams could possibly come out.
Unfortunately – no independent authority does this quality check today. That’s why we pay salaries for teachers without schools/teachers existing, lay roads/ renovate without actually doing them – and so on. So – Lok Pal /Lok Ayuktha should enjoy full powers to check records, and check work done as well. India needs this badly.
These seem to be the only contentious issues remaining. Hope both sides reach agreement on them – and I do hope these 3rd alternatives will help in resolving differences.
Good Luck to all.
* * * JAI HIND * * *