Tag Corruption Free India

Why is everyone gunning for Anna Hazare? 4

Apr23

Since his moral victory in forcing the government to form a joint panel for drafting the long pending Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare has been facing sniper attacks from politicians of all hues.

Anna Hazare

Kapil Sibal took a pot shot at him for his obsession with the Lokpal bill claiming that the people’s problems were different and that the bill had no significance for the illiterate and thirsty.  This was a specious argument, considering the fact that the poor and the illiterate are most affected by corruption because it denies them the their much needed entitlements. Digvijay Singh then suggested that Anna Hazare should fight elections. This was a subtle reminder that the influence veiled by him was extra constitutional and that the government may not be willing to oblige him all the time.  His reference to elections is consistent with the thinking of the political class that considers electoral victory (by fare or foul means) to be the touch stone of all power in a Democracy and attaches no significance to morality. Pranab Mukeherjee dubbed the joint panel as a ‘new experiment‘, the success or failure of which will determine its outcome, hinting government unease and a possible future snub. L.K. Advani in a veiled attack, criticized persons close to Anna Hazare for demonizing politicians. There was even a tame protest by various political parties against the overt attempt of agitating Civil Society activists to distance themselves from all political parties by refusing entry to them. To top it all, an anonymous CD surfaced just days before the first meeting of the joint panel, accusing the Civil society co-chair,Shanti Bhushan of trying to negotiate to fix a judge. Another bomb shell was dropped by the Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, who is also a civil society representative on the panel, by his statement that he was considering to resign from the panel in view of the ongoing slander campaign against them.

All of the above may seem like disparate and disjointed criticism, but their real target is the Lokpal Bill itself. Politicians fear that the presence of civil society  members will throw up a draft that will be politically very costly to oppose. This is why they are desperately trying to nibble away the credibility of the civil society members to turn the panel into a nonstarter . They were all together in condemning Anna Hazare for his denigrating of the politicians. This despite the fact that everyone agrees that the movement would have fallen flat on its face, had it been perceived to be obligated to any political party. This predicament of politicians where it is hard even to argue that there are good as well as bad politicians, is what worries the top political leaders most. Yet the decline has not been sudden. Things have grown from bad to worse. For years civil society activists have waged a loosing battle for reforms. Thinks have failed to take off wherever interests of the ruling elite have converged. Political leadership have also failed miserably in isolating the bad apples amongst them. For too long the law makers have reveled in being the chief law breakers.

Even though in the past too there have been many fasts unto death inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, most have faced public apathy, some were dubbed as maverick acts, some were even made fun of. Very few have received  the wide spread public support that Anna Hazare got. His honesty and simplicity though were only part of the reason. The other important reason was the in rising public anger against rampant corruption and the recently unleashed season of corruption that never ends. Even though there is no denying the danger of a sustained denigration of politicians in general, corrective measures are needed to restore the balance of public concern in governance. Only massive public support can ensure that the involvement of civil society does not remain an isolated experiment but leads to more responsive governance that acts instead of stalling crucial reform legislations such as Women’s reservation, Election reform, Police reform, Witness protection act etc. apart from the Lokpal Bill and the anti corruption measures.

The Art of Doublespeak 7

Jul2

‘Satyamev Jayate’, being the motto of the country has not stopped Indian politicians from mastering the art of doublespeak. Indian political discourse  is full of stonewalls, falsehoods, propaganda and disinformation.

Indian Poitics Doublespeak Image

continue reading »

Have you paid a Bribe lately? 5

Jun11

If yes, then tell us about it. The fight against Corruption may well begin with simple acts of documentation. Bribe Payment Graphics
continue reading »

Why Social Media can Fight Corruption? 13

May27

Social Media platforms seem tailor made to fight Corruption. Many of their characteristics are ideally suited for building  a sustainable forum against Corruption. Fighting Corruption in India with Social Media

continue reading »

Social Media roundup of Corruption 5

Jan29

The beginning of a new decade is a time to look back and set new strategic goals for future. A decade is a definitive period in a country’s history that can shape its fortunes for a long time to come. So let us review the progress of our fight against Corruption and resolve for a decade of concerted actions culminating in a Corruption Free India.

After I started this blog in May last year, I have seen the issue of ‘Corruption’ rise up steadily in public consciousness. Earlier Corruption used to hit the headlines whenever there was a new ‘expose’ only to fade away in oblivion after that. A lot seems to have changed in the past few months with Corruption being recognized as the key bottleneck inhibiting India’s progress. Several key opinion leaders have in unison thrown their weight behind the issue of Corruption in India. Some people might say that this is just a storm in the teacup. It might well be that. Yet many a cataclysmic change have started on more insignificant notes.

Anti Corruption India Image

One such storm in the tea cup happened when ‘Jaago Re’, the much acclaimed campaign of Tata Tea, decided to adopt ‘Corruption’ as their next focal issue after running a successful voter turnout campaign for several years. The credibility of their earlier campaign as well as the strength of the Tata brand together promise a sustained campaign against corruption. It began with new TV spots Khilana Band Pilana Shuru as well as a brand new interactive website www.jaagore.com .

Several prominent bloggers too have zeroed in on ‘Corruption’ as being the key to India’s future. Atanu Dey has been most incisive of them all. He has written several posts on the issue of Corruption and how it inhibits economic development. At the end of one such post A Digression on Corruption… , he aptly concluded that India is poor because it is Corrupt. Another regular blogger, a Delhi based foreign correspondent, John Elliott wrote The Blight of Corruption in India . It explores how corruption at state levels have risen by leaps and bounds and it often forces the hands of the Central Government in the federal structure of our democracy.

Rajesh Jain, India’s numero uno Internet entrepreneur,too spelt out his thoughts on Corruption in a 5 part series Corruption in India declaring that fighting Corruption could be the next game changer for India. Gurcharan Das, the famous author of ‘India Unbound’ too emphasized the need to wage a war against Corruption in his new year post Future is ours to seek .

The ‘Corruption’ expose of the year was undoubtedly the Madhu Koda scam where almost a Billion Dollar graft by the ex Chief Minister of Jharkhand was unearthed Outlookindia – Cover Story on Madhu Koda . The sheer size of the scam has put the spot light back on Corruption. Our effort now should be to keep it there.

On my blog, I started by laying the groundwork for a greater role of Social Media in fighting Corruption. I followed it up in a 3 part series starting with Gods of Corruption detailing how easy it was to find Corruption in India. My regular activity on Twitter can be followed at nobribe . A Facebook Fan Page Corruption Free India was launched a few months back to facilitate interactivity among the support group. At this stage however, there are many more questions than answers – Why are we corrupt? ; Is Corruption in India inevitable? ; How can we tackle Corruption? ; What is the extent of Corruption? ; Why do we need to measure Corruption? ; How to measure Corruption? ; How can Social Media fight Corruption? and many more such questions. I do not claim to have all the answers but I am sure we will find our way if we keep looking for the answers together. A lot of you have encouraged me in my journey to unravel this mystery and offered your active support. I propose to take up some of the questions (not in the same order) in the weeks and months to come. Also working on a ‘wiki’ based solution that will allow for greater collaboration.

Recently the most influential management guru in the world, C. K. Prahlad dwelt at length on the issue of Corruption in India while delivering the Nani A Palkhivala memorial lecture Business Standard – Corruption Costs… estimating its cost to the Indian economy to be $54.3 Billion. He exhorted the nation to confront this issue with all the resources at its command. On a similar wintry, cold Delhi morning at the start of the previous decade Prahlad had boldly suggested that India should target 10% GDP growth rate . This was the time when India was just coming out of its customary slow growth rate and even a 7% target seemed awfully ambitious. Yet there he was,fresh from his success of the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid theory’ propounding a bold path forward for India to move on. Many people felt at that stage that he might just be shooting from his hips, yet by end of that decade, even though we didn’t actually attain 10% growth rate, yet the number does not raise any eyebrows anymore. Here is hoping that this new decade will mark the beginning of the end of Corruption in India. Let’s all work for it.