Saturday, 16 July 2016

How to reduce the level of corruption in India

In India, we have a limping legislative system, an almost non-functioning and defunct executive system and an infinitely time consuming judicial system. Our political system is very corrupt and that is why the whole society is very corrupt. I am suggesting below some methods to reduce the level of corruption in our society.

State funding of election expenses

Free and fair elections are absolutely essential for the good governance of our country. To run a political party and to contest elections, a lot of money is required. Almost all political parties collect the lion’s share of this money through black means, but all of them deny it. This is the root cause of all corruption in India.

So, all elections shall have to be state funded. For parliamentary elections, the parliament has to decide before each general election how much money will be required for each rural, semi-urban, urban and metropolitan seat. Each registered political party shall get the money in proportion to the percentage of votes obtained by it in the last general election. The above system shall prevail for state assembly elections and each state government will decide before elections how much money will be required for each seat.

At the end of the elections and at the end of each financial year, each political party shall have to submit its audited accounts to the Election Commission. If any political party fails to satisfy the queries of the EC, then the EC can initiate penal proceedings against that party, up to and including criminal proceedings against the state head / central head of that political party (depending on whether the election was to a state assembly or a parliamentary seat) and against the candidates in the seats involved. The penalty should also include the provision of deregistering the political party in extreme cases of violation. This alone will help reduce the level of corruption in our country to a very low level. If required, an election cess may be imposed by the parliament to fund the elections. However, this may not be necessary as the money presently spent by the political parties are genuine Indian currency, even if they are black. State funding may not be in vogue in other countries, but we can introduce it in India.

Civil Service

Above average students join the Civil Service, but ultimately almost all of them, barring some rare exceptions, become door mats of the ruling political parties in the Center and in the States in the course of their career. Due to this, the Executive System has become almost defunct. To prevent this, BDOs, SDOs, DMs, all other IAS, IPS and state Civil Service officers, all senior engineers, revenue officers, etc. shall have to be allowed to work according to the laws of the country. The promotions and punishments of these officers shall have to be decided after thorough discussions by the State/Parliamentary Standing Committees attached to the ministries under which these officers work. The ministers will take policy decisions; but the implementation of these policies shall have to be carried out by the Civil Servants according to the laws of the country. We follow the British system of governance. The British ministers, including the Prime Minister, dare not interfere in the functioning of the Civil Servants.

Vigilance Commissioner, LokPal, Lok Ayuktas, etc

These institutions are not necessary at all. These are manned by retired Civil Servants and retired judges. So, these entail extra revenue consumption. Our aim should be to minimize revenue consumption, but maximize revenue earning. Who will monitor the functioning of these functionaries? Already there are allegations against a Lok Ayukta. We shall have to allow our Civil Servants to follow the laws of the country in letter and spirit and they shall have to uphold the Indian Constitution.

To our dear Civil Servants

You have taken oaths to uphold the Indian Constitution. So, why not uphold it? The MLAs, MPs and ministers also take oaths to uphold the Indian Constitution; but most of them don’t follow their oaths; some of them even have criminal cases against them. I am sure none of you had criminal cases pending against you when you joined the Civil Service. Thousands of our country men and women laid down their lives during the freedom movement and the movement gained momentum and at last we achieved freedom.

During the British days, all eligible citizens of the entire British Empire could compete for the ICS and IP. Each candidate was allowed only two attempts and there were no reservations whatsoever. Had India not attained Independence, most of you would not have been selected at all. You are very lucky that India became Independent before you were born. So, why not uphold the Indian Constitution? The Indian Constitution does not mandate anyone to take or give bribes or to buckle under political pressure. You are public servants and not personal servants of the ministers, Chief ministers or the Prime minister. So, why do you allow yourselves to be treated like doormats? Don’t you have any self-respect? By upholding the Indian Constitution, you will regain your self-respect and the respect of the public at large.

My father told me the following incident: Tamluk and Contai sub-divisions of Midnapore district in the then Bengal declared independence from the British rule in 1942. During this period, these sub-divisions were severely ravaged by high tidal waves, cyclone and incessant rain. The then Relief Commissioner of Bengal wrote to the then British Governor of Bengal seeking his consent to send relief materials to the affected areas; but the Governor refused and wrote back, “Tamluk and Contai sub-divisions have declared Independence; so I don’t want relief materials to be sent to these places.”. The Relief Commissioner wrote back, “The Union Jack is still flying high in Midnapore town which is the headquarters of Midnapore district. The distressed people of Tamluk and Contai sub-divisions are British subjects. I owe allegiance to the British Crown. It is my duty to send succour to the distressed British subjects. If you don’t agree, I am going to overrule you and send succor to the distressed British subjects.” The Governor agreed. I very much hope that you dear friends will follow the Relief Commissioner’s example.

Appointments of Governors

The ruling party at the Centre has been using the Governors as its agents since Independence. A democratically elected state government in the South was wrongly dismissed by the Centre in the 1950s. The dismissals of state governments peaked during the rule of a very powerful Prime Minister. Repeated interventions by the Supreme Court has checked this very bad practice to some extent. To stop this bad practice altogether, let us change the procedure so that the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha shall have to be consulted and his consent obtained before appointing a State Governor.

Appointments to other very important posts

At present only the Chief Election Commissioner is a Constitutional Authority; the other to Election Commissioners shall have to be made Constitutional Authorities too. The CBI Director shall have to be made a Constitutional Authority. The CBI shall also have the authority to start prosecutions on its own. All ECs, CBI Director and CAG shall be appointed after taking the consent of the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha.

Conducting Elections

MLA and MP elections are conducted by the Central Election Commission with the central security forces. In spite of this, reports of booth capturing, intimidation of voters, murdering and maiming of voters are reported during elections. The Civil and Police administrations in all states are totally politicized. In some states they have become slaves of the ruling parties. Anarchies prevail in these states throughout the year. The basis of our democracy rests primarily and heavily on Gram Panchayat and Municipal elections. These elections are conducted by State Election Commissions with the State police forces. Compared to the CEC, the SECs do not have any authority at all. So, these elections are nothing but a total farce. So, how can democracy take deep roots in India? So, the posts of the SECs shall have to be abolished and all elections shall have to be conducted by the CEC with the respective State police forces. The State police forces shall have to be allowed to function as per the laws of the land and they shall have to maintain the rule of law all throughout the year. This will reduce violence during election times to a great extent. The deployment of Central forces need hundreds of crores of additional expense. So, this money can be saved and utilized for other more meaningful causes such as improvement of infrastructure.

Our Armed Forces

The jawans and junior officers of our armed forces march into sure deaths without batting their eyelids. But when the officers advance in their ranks, some of them get involved in corruption. Very senior officers are being alleged to be involved in corrupt practices. That day may not be far off when a serving General/Admiral/Air Chief Marshall will be interrogated by CBI/NIA. Let the selections of Brigadiers and right up to the General level officers be discussed in the Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Defense Ministry and the decisions taken. Same procedures shall be followed for the selections of equivalent rank officers in the Navy and Air Force as well. We are purchasing defense hardware not usually used by the supplying countries or they are selling the same hardware to other countries as well. So, there is hardly any secret not available to our neighbours. So, all defense purchases must be cleared by the Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Defense Ministry.

Public Sector Banks

General Manager level and right up to the Chairman level officers shall be appointed after clearances by the Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Finance Ministry.

Public Sector Undertakings

GM level and right up to the Chairman level officers shall have to be cleared by the Parliamentary Standing Committees attached to the respective ministries.

Bring back black money stashed outside India and recover NPAS of banks

FICCI estimated 5-6 years ago that between 40-50 lakh crore rupees were stashed outside India and they urged the Central government to bring back that money and utilize it for the development of infrastructure There is hardly any progress on this front. No political party is really interested in bringing the black money back; because almost all of them receive money from the big tax evaders, black money holders, money launderers etc. They create ruckus inside and outside the House only to fool the public. Lakhs of crores of rupees are piling up as NPAs in our public sector banks; big borrowers are involved in it; but our leaders are not really bothered about their recovery. At the same time, thousands of farmers are committing suicide because they are unable to pay their loans mostly due to crop failure. Our leaders shed crocodile tears, but do nothing to prevent such things from happening and the same heartrending incidents keep on repeating. What a cruel country is our India!

To our dear politicians

Free and fair elections at regular intervals are absolutely essential to govern our country and you are needed to contest elections. Thousands of our freedom fighters laid down their lives during the freedom movement and lakhs of our country men were murdered and many millions were displaced during the partition, losing all their properties across the newly created borders. The Non-cooperation Movement gained momentum, Azad Hind Fauz entered India, the Indian jawans of the Navy revolted in Bombay and Karachi harbours and at last we achieved freedom.
My father, who was a freedom fighter, used to lament: “We fought for freedom, but our power hungry leaders divided India.” When he used to narrate this, tears would be rolling down his cheeks. The countries created by the partition are still bleeding and I shudder to think how long these separated brothers will keep on bleeding. Almost all of you, barring very few exceptions, were very lucky to be born in independent India and enjoying power and pelf without having to undergo struggles during the freedom movement. The peoples’ representatives shall draw good salaries and perks; but they must ensure that not a single rupee is misspent from MLA and MP funds. You all are our Nation’s Vigilance Commissioners and must ensure that money is not wasted from our government’s expenditure. Those of you who are MLAs, MPs and ministers have taken oaths to uphold the Indian Constitution. Don’t you feel any urge to uphold it? Ordinary people don’t respect you at all; but they are mortally afraid of you, because you can do a lot of harm to them. One must realize that however powerful one may be, one has to die one day leaving everything behind. Then why not earn the admiration and respect of the people? Then our country will again become a very civilized country, become economically very powerful and earn the admiration of the world.

George Washington led the US independence war, became its first President and retired after two terms as the President. He set the norm that a President must retire after two terms; this is still being followed with one exception during the Second World War. Abraham Lincoln prevented the division of the US. In modern India, we are yet to see such great leaders. Sadly, it’s a very bitter truth. We as a nation cannot face bitter truths; this is bogging us down. We are still busy disintegrating the already moth-eaten India in all sorts of manners to satisfy our personal lust for power; our visions are limited only up to the next elections. Division of USA was prevented, but India was divided with catastrophic human calamities. Is it not a fact?

Whatever comments I have made about our civil servants and politicians are all in sorrow and not at all in anger. I respect our politicians who are senior to me in age and particularly those who took part in our freedom struggles. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.

Disturbances in Jangal Mahals. Kashmir and North Eastern States

Disturbances in these areas are mainly due to corruptions (financial and vote bank politics). As per the Central government report, per capita expenditure of the Central government is the highest in Jammu & Kashmir; but the conditions of the people there are not good; so where does all this money go? They want the Army and other Central security forces to be withdrawn from these areas, as if these forces went to these places on their own. They have made the state police forces totally ineffective to create total anarchies, so that they can thrive on corrupt practices. The hapless people, the state police forces (they are all local people) and Central security forces are getting killed on a regular basis. All these things will be checked to a great extent, if the administrative system is corruption-free and strictly enforces the laws of the land to improve the conditions of the people in these areas. Kashmir disturbances have religious colours with the involvement of Pakistan. Pakistan has to realize that its involvement in disturbing Kashmir is causing many more disturbances in Pakistan leading to loss of human lives.

The disturbances in the Jungle Mahals started due to the abject poverty caused by corruption prevailing in these areas. There are no religious colours in their movements. Their movements are justified, but their methods are wrong. The above reasons apply for all disturbed areas, but in Kashmir Valley and some North-Eastern states religious and ethnic corruption are extra factors. Religious and ethnic corruption have divided India, it has started infernos almost all over the Earth and may ultimately destroy the whole of mankind.

I wish I could spend the remaining few years of my life among my adivasi friends in our Jungle Mahals. They are so simple and civilized. Those who grew up in nature’s lap are always simple and innocent. The people of Kashmir and North Eastern states are also simple and civilized; the power-hungry politicians have created unrests in these areas.

When communal flare-ups were raging all over India (pre and post partition), everything was peaceful in Kashmir Valley. Communal flare-ups started in the Valley perhaps in the 1980s and all the Kashmiri Hindus and the Kashmiri Sikhs were forced to leave the Valley. Why and who started these communal flare-ups? We have to thoroughly discuss the reasons; only then we can solve these problems permanently. Can Kashmir Valley survive as an independent country? What about the parts in Pakistan and under Chinese control? If Kashmir becomes independent, what will happen to Ladakh? If Kashmir becomes independent only because it is a Muslim majority state, then what will happen to the about 20 crore Muslims living in the rest of India? Has anyone thought about the consequences? We shall have to discuss all these consequences openly and thoroughly and also with our friends who demand Kashmir’s independence.Will becoming a Muslim majority nation solve any of the problems faced by the Kashmiris? The countries in Arab and Middle East are all Muslim countries and yet they are involved in bitter strife amongst themselves.

If Kashmir becomes independent, the North Eastern states may also demand their own independence. Then will India, already moth-eaten, survive? If India does not survive, will our power hungry politicians survive? If India does not survive, it may have a cascading effect on the rest of South Asia. North-Eastern Frontier province, Baluchistan and Sindh may want independence from Pakistan and so Pakistan itself may not survive. Same may happen to Myanmar as well.

Let us have no-holds barred discussions on these issues. We cannot solve major problems with a local vision; for major problems, we have to keep the whole of India and its neighbourhood within our focus.

In conclusion

My appeal to all our dear politicians: Please help to reduce corruption in our society, give up on practicing vote-bank (communal, ethnic and caste) politics, demand state funding of election and also demand good salaries and perks for yourselves.

My heart cries out for Kashmir Valley, my heart cries out for Jungle Mahal and the North Eastern states. My heart also cries out for Pakistan, the Middle East and for all the other places where human beings are engaged in killing fellow human beings. I also feel an excruciating pain in my heart for the happenings in my dear Bangladesh which has started to burn due to political corruption. If levels of corruptions (political, communal, ethnic, caste and financial) are high in a country, that country will be a hot bed of all types of terrorism including religious terrorism.

My foregoing suggestions will definitely reduce the level of corruption in our society and make our administrative system effective. In thorough public discussions, many better suggestions may come up; then these better suggestions ought to be implemented.

I very much hope that my suggestions will generate thorough public discussions nationwide. May my fellow citizens live happily and with dignity.

1 comment:

  1. I have read the article. I liked it. Very good suggestions.