Top on corruption list, low on resolve to fight it?
Understanding Corruption and the Lokpal Bill, MV Kamath & Gayatri Pagdi, Indus Source Books, Pp 323, Rs 299.00?
The Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizens Ombudsman Bill) is a draft anti-corruption Bill drawn up by prominent civil society activists seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body that would investigate corruption cases, complete the investigation within a year and envisage trial in the case in the next one year.
India has been ranked 87th out of 178 nations in corruption cutting across all castes, creeds and communities, business, industry and administrative forces, not to mention the judiciary and the Army. What has been shocking was to learn that a Pune-based stud-farm owner, Hasan Ali Khan, had laundered money not only for politicians but for a large number of bureaucrats as well. Corruption-tainted money was sent abroad through Hasan Ali’s hawala network to safe havens. How much money could be stashed in foreign banks? According to one report Indians have over US dollars worth 1,456 billion in black money stored in Swiss banks.
Corruption has many faces. What about paid news? Surely it is cheating? What steps did the government take against the offending media? No one knows. One has only to look at the 2G scams and the Commonwealth Games scams that one starts feeling that corruption has become an everyday affair and is carried out right under our noses.
Mining is another area of corruption. On July 29, 2011, the Supreme Court had ordered a ban on mining and transportation of iron ore from Bellary but not long after, 49 lorries transported ore for OMC, a firm with which the Reddy brothers are closely associated.
Social activist Anna Hazare and his team did get into action, demanding the introduction of the Lok Pal Bill to keep a check and take action on illegal activities but for now, the Bill has been kept in abeyance. The Parliament witnessed a sordid drama with several parties walking out. On seeing such scenes, one is prompted to ask, is the government allowing the will of the people to be reflected in policy and law making or is it being held hostage by parties and their leaderships to be determined by their own whims and fancies and corrupt considerations?
The book provides a whole range of suggestions for the pubic to ponder upon. That is its USP, but all said and done, it remains to be said that we cannot allow democracy to be run down by a bunch of politicians who put their rights as elected representatives ahead of the rights of the people who have elected them.
(Indus Source Books, PO Box 6194, Malabar Hill, Mumbai – 400 006; www.indussource.com)