Category Archives: Political Analysis

Corruption & Lokpal Bill – India

How Corruption works

• Corruption is Top-Down Phenomenon

• Corporate corruption always operates through public officials.

• Monster corporations are growth hungry & political parties are power hungry.

• Elections campaigns get big black money from such monster corporations. In return, the monster corporations dictate govt. policies in their favor.

• With favorable conditions, monster corporations have more financial & other resources (oil, gas, energy, etc…) than 80% of people.

• Economy gets driven by their selfish means. Prices rise, rich become richer & poor become poorer.

• This is how corporations rule and political officials become their agents

• As a result common people suffer due to lack of adequate resources and overall growth of the country is retarded.

• Moreover, corruption thrives even at bottom level because officers who should stop corruption are also corrupt. No one to watch them.

What makes the people of the country handicap?

• CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) is independent but has no power to prosecute.

• CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has power but was not independent (had to wait for central govt.’s permission for prosecution) only until UPA govt. made it independent just pre-lok-sabhaa elecetions 2014.

Where is the missing link?

• Need an independent powerful body to remove corruption by investigating and prosecuting govt. officials impartially.

• Lokpal has only been advisory to govt. without any powers to investigate & prosecute govt. officials.

• 8 attempts (1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998 & 2001) have been failed to in past 42 years for making Lokpal more powerful enough to be able to prosecute corrupt officials impartially.

The trigger point

• Global Financial Integrity (a NGO) pegged outflow of illegal money from India.

• $500 billion – $1400 billion trailed in Swiss banks. All Indian black money.

• Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s steps inadequate to combat this menace.

• Govt. has the necessary information & tools at its disposal to trace & prosecute the offenders. E.g. Swiss banks can provide details if Tax authority registers formal cases against offenders.

• But if names disclosed, entire UPA govt. would fall. There is lack of political will.

Enter Anna Hazare (Former Indian Army Havildar & activist of civil society).

• Anna: “Govt. (merely the trustee of people to safeguard public money) is failing its duty to people (masters in democracy).

• Anna writes letter to PM (Manmohan Singh) with intention of “fast unto death” if govt. didn’t accept his demand by April 5.

• Demand = “Include civil society members in the drafting of Lokpal Bill so as to allow to investigate & prosecute corrupt public servants impartially”.

• Anna’s declaration largely gets immediate acceptance in public (frustrated by corruption menace).

• Public turns angry as Govt. hesitates. People react on Media and the Internet.

• PM Manmohan Singh appealed to Hazare to call off his fast and engage in a discussion with subcommittee to frame the lokpal bill.

• Kapil Sibbal (Union Human Resource Development Minister) opposed and indicated that “outsiders” can’t draft legislation as it would be compromising parliaments’ sovereignty.

• Hazare: “If Govt. alone drafts the Bill, it will be Autocracy, not democracy”. And questioned govt.’s wisdom in calling civil society representatives like him as an “outsider”.

• SERVANTS CAN’T CALL MASTER AN OUTSIDER. IF SERVANTS DIDN’T WORK RIGHT, IT IS DUTY OF MASTER TO TEACH HIM THE RIGHT LESSON.

• 7th April, Govt. in Jittery, with concerns of Hazare’s deteriorating health.

• Number of Hazare’s Co-fasters rose to nearly 500.

• 8th April, Govt. agrees to accept all demands of Hazare. But Hazare waits till 9th April so that Govt. would have enough time to bring out gazette notification.

• Hazare breaks his fast but warns that he would do same again if Jan Lokpal Bill isn’t enacted by 15th August (symbolic deadline of 2nd freedom).

• But merely the Bill is not enough. Policies too should change accordingly.

• Therefore, next agenda is to push for decentralization. This will lead to participatory decision-making in Govt. policies to stop favoring monster corporations.

• Theoretically, Lokpal will have full potential to curb every corruption however it is believed it would wipe out 80% of corruption in the country.

• Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Lokpal_Bill to know more (key features) about Lokpal Bill

    References:

1. FRONTLINE (www.frontline.in), May 6, 2011
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Lokpal_Bill

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