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Scams And Scums:SAVE INDIA FROM SHAME, by Dr P K Vasudeva, 11 Aug 2010 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 11 August 2010

Scams And Scums


BY Dr P K Vasudeva


The Planning Commission recently reported that corruption “has permeated the entire social fabric” leading to “large-scale mis-utilisation of resources”. At the same time, it offered totally workable solutions. Provided there is a political will to act firmly and severely punish the culprits. Namely, quick identification of the guilty; swift decision; deterrent punishment; dispensing with the scope for discretion in decision-making and ushering in more transparency.


Recall, in the 50s-60s scams and scums were few and far between, and it was feasible to bring them to book. Finance Ministers, R. K. Shanmukham Chetty and T. T. Krishnamachari, left the Cabinet for lapses which today seem piffle.  During the Janata rule, Morarji Desai and Charan Singh came in for a lot of criticism due to the former's son and latter's wife besides other relatives dabbling in Government affairs for a consideration. Particularly, as corruption was then considered unethical and punishable acts.


 But, by today's standards, the former Prime Ministers’ progenies’ transgressions are a mere speck in the political spectrum. Even the Bofors payoff is considered peanuts compared to the dizzying heights of sleaze scaled by persons in positions of authority in recent years.  


The day is not far off, if not already there, when a passer-by will demand a few rupees for telling you the time or guiding you to some unfamiliar location. No public figure, institution, authority, politician and bureaucrat any longer command the people's confidence for unimpeachable rectitude. Every one is assumed to be in on the take, to have a price tag.


Right from the registration of one’s vehicle, issue of passport, ration card, No Objection Certificate for setting up an institution, licence for starting a business, publishing news, admission in a professional college, employment for a class IV job to the purchase of property everything is seeped in corruption with unscrupulous elements amassing colossal wealth in Swiss banks.


From Central-State Ministers and Chief Ministers, MPs, MLAs down Supreme Court and High Court Judges, University Vice-Chancellors, bureaucracy, police, media barons to the last but not least, the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee’s office-bearers --- the cancer has metastasised into every nook and corner of the country. There is a regular flow of news, almost by the hour, of some big shot or the other being either caught in the act or covering up his and his cohorts' corrupt misdeeds.


The monumental sums being bandied about in the corruption-infested CWG are beyond belief. It is not even the tip of the iceberg. In fact, we will never know the actual amount of the taxpayers' money that has gone into private pockets. This is highly shameful. Where will the buck stop?


The international community has started looking down upon Indians for our corrupt practices. Time is not far when we will not be issued visas to travel to some of the countries lest their citizens get infected with corrupt practices, unless corruption is ruthlessly crushed.


Remember, when Bihar’s infamous fodder scam touched Rs. 900 crore, it seemed like a huge amount. Today, the plunderers of public coffers might sue one for defamation if they are accused of fleecing such ‘paltry’ sums. Specially in a milieu where the Madhu Koda’s and their ilk have swindled over Rs 4,000-6,000 crore as the minimum ‘respectable' amount for qualifying as a star swindler, to be conferred with a Satyavadi Ratna.


Sadly, our judicial system cannot guarantee justice, fairness and equality. The police cannot protect simple, poor and honest citizens. The law makers are law breakers. Casteism and nepotism thrive among the corrupt to protect each other. They revel in being “thick as thieves”. Thanks to vote bank politics where castes and corruption are supreme, not people below the poverty line.


Most of the alleged ‘kleptomaniac’ politicians and bureaucrats lack empathy and therefore rarely regret or fear the consequences of their misdeeds. This only makes them more culpable and perilous. A scourge on the nation.


Significantly, in the US during the last five years, two Governors and six Senators and   Congressmen have been sentenced to serve 6-12 years in jail for crimes.  In the same period, China executed five top officials, including a Mayor and the head of a Government agency after summary trial. Worse, many Europeans believe India is irredeemable and incorrigible.


Corruption has eroded the nation's foundation to such an extent that not a few consider it wishful thinking to expect that corruption could be reduced to manageable levels. The tragedy is that India is perceived as among the most corrupt nations, occupying a prominent position in the intercontinental rogues' gallery. 


The impression is of a disorganised, muddled, messy, free-for-all country which lacks patriotism.  Moral values seem to have rapidly and irrevocably declined. The fact that many citizens intentionally disobey the laws of the land is a reflection of the insanity and breakdown of law and order. Wherein the country continues to wear the badge of dishonour and infamy.



What next? Indians need to realize we are all fighting a common enemy in corruption. Plainly, all the corrupt need to be taken to task. Be it motorists, armed robbers, militants and Naxalites, as also fraudulent Government officials. Another way to curb this scourge is through external control, whereby the Government makes corruption a very dangerous exercise.  


If truth be told, India’s survival and that of our future generations depends on eradicating corruption. Answers to this can be found in our ancient scriptures. The Rig Veda which has been accorded “Heritage” status by UNESCO contains a large number of hymns on the causes of corruption and how to eliminate the same in any mosaic society. In the other three Holy Vedas too a few mantras/hymns relate to corruption. Will India stand by its heritage?


Unquestionably, the time is ripe to nail all guilty of misdemeanor who violate India’s pride and continue to humiliate the nation before the international community.  The ‘corrupt’ buck must stop at all levels. Especially the top! ----INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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