Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Indian politics-Scamathon

Rupees one lakh seventy six thousand crore. To read, this is just a number in news paper prints. But just imagine the magnitude of this amount. Ours is a country of scams- Adarsh society scam, Common Wealth Games scam, Lalu’s fodder scam, Mayawati’s Taj corridor scam, Telgi scam, IPL Modi scam, Vedurappa scam, Harshad Mehta scam, 2G Spectrum scam, Justice Sen scam and now the latest in line, LIC and nationalized banks’ scam. You name it, we have it. In this marathon race of scams A.Raja of 2G scam wins the race hands down. Most of these scamsters are moving scot-free and even enjoying their ill gotten wealth.

Most of our politicians come into politics with the sole aim of making money. How they make it is of no consequence. There may be few, in fact very few exceptions like our PM Manmohan Singh. But he too is guilty of a blind eye. A coalition government is a compromise government. In order to retain coalition PM too has to remain silent on certain issues. So these rare few honest persons too are not entirely above water. Alas, gone are the days of Sri Rajendra Prasad and Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri.

But it is all very well for us lesser mortals to blame politicians, bureaucrats etc. The temptations of making quick bucks through scams and kickbacks are too huge to ignore. No more a few thousand or a few lakhs. It is now a few crores, not to mention a few hundred or a few thousand crores. We who criticize them are probably jealous of them that they are in a position to make money and we are left behind. If we were in one of their positions, would we ignore an opportunity to make a few crores? Our projects are too big, ambitions too high, development too fast. The result is, it is very easy to siphon money and our system is too lazy to punish the guilty. Few people would be able to resist such an opportunity. Frankly, I for one would not. I would be tempted. But the grapes are sore.

Imagine this picture. An ordinary person earning a decent amount of Rupees one lakh a month with smallest possible family, will not be able to save more then twenty five-thirty thousand a month, that is, three lakhs a year. It will take his life time to save fifty lakhs, if that. But if you are in the right position, you can make a few crores, a few hundred crores in a year or even in a month, too huge a temptation to ignore. It would take Swami Vivekanand type of mindset and determination to remain aloof. Sadly, Swami Vivekanand types are not born anymore and if born, are not accepted and appreciated. Even our God men, Gurus and preachers are basking in money, staying in air conditioned Ashrams and moving in air conditioned cars. Sure, I am jealous and so are you.

Seriously, in all this, you and I are made to compensate for these scams by way of increased taxes, direct and indirect. The need of the hour is not to find honest politicians. You won’t find any, in this day and time. The need is to find a system of checks and balances. The need is to find expert economists and such other persons who can suggest full proof and transparent system of government spending, like we use valve to stop liking water. The need is punish the guilty without any delay and that punishment should be exemplary. And last but most important – the perpetrator or even a suspect, should be crippled financially immediately. All his properties, bank accounts, lockers etc. should be sealed and frozen till the judgment and that judgment should be prompt and severe.

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Header image credit: adapted from David Niblack

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