Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Corrupt? Who, us?

People’s power asserted itself peacefully and forcefully-as would be expected in a vibrant and functioning democracy- when the Government agreed to form a committee to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill.

I remained in ignorant bliss as history was being made. After the cricket world cup, I did not consider any event as worthy of being reported. So I had stopped reading the newspaper and did not pay my cable television subscription. Now, with the impending Jan Lokpal Bill, I told myself to take my obligations as a responsible citizen  very seriously.   I must make amends quickly.

First, I will get myself and a few friends photographed with the national flag. Then I will superimpose our picture on a newspaper photo of the scene of the historic fast. Many years hence, I must not be found wanting when my grandchildren ask me about “the second struggle of independence”. I must have a good story to tell. But, on second thoughts, that is still too far into the future.Life is so short and uncertain. Instead, I will put the photo on my Facebook page.

I am also concerned over reports of disagreements amongst the committee members. In my opinion-which is just one out a 1.21 billion- they are not focused on the basics. As I also have the right to be heard, I have decided to write to the committee with a few suggestions.

In my view the committee must address two fundamental points:

DEFINE CORRUPTION:   The effectiveness of the Lokpal Bill depends on the clarity that it brings to the meaning of the word corruption. Because of the far reaching effects of the  Bill, corruption must be defined and explained in all our constitutional languages so that it is understood by all Indians in the manner it is intended. If necessary, sub- committees must be formed to select regional language experts. This is serious work and its importance must not be underestimated. We cannot afford to have lawyers holding up cases while courts deliberate on the interpretation of the word. India has waited for forty years and a few decades more will not matter.

HEAR THE VOICE OF THE COMMON MAN. The common man supports the Bill, but is also worried that the rhythm and flow of his daily routine may be disturbed. The Committee must take these concerns into consideration. Let me explain.

Managing situations are an integral component of our everyday lives. We manage the policeman when we break a traffic rule. We manage the lineman when he arrives in our premises to cut the electricity because we have not paid the bill. A friend of mine also manages the VAT department whenever he misses the pay-by date. (The VAT officer will also vouch for my friend’s excellent hospitality). These are just a few examples that came immediately to my mind.

The committee must understand that we are honest, hardworking citizens. Most of us who cannot afford Chartered Accountants even pay our income tax on time. It is just that we do not want to bring any inconvenience and trouble upon ourselves.

So, would the committee kindly see to it that the Bill does not apply to us common folk? I am sure that there will be enough scams, frauds and Swiss Bank accounts to keep the courts busy


Hitesh said...

This has precisely been my concern from the time Anna Hazare and the other folks stood up against (or is it for?) corruption.

Firstly, who is the father of corruption in India. Dhirubhai Ambani. Others are only followers. Till we have people like these, corruption can only flourish.

Why blame poor Raja? He is a part of democratic India. In a democracy, majority prevails. And the fact is, the majority want corruption!! So it gets voted in. Who are the people who paid Raja the 1.7 lakh crores? The very same people who will now stand up (like Mr. Tata) and say that Raja is a fine man. And, in the same breath, also say that corruption should not be tolerated.

I think we have imbibed too much from US. The only problem - it is without the polish.

Srinayan said...

Thanks Hitesh. Jan Lokpal Bill or not, the art of Jugaad and Managing will continue to flourish.