You take a problem in India, trace its contours and you end up with a myriad of sub-sets of problems and then it goes on. After trying to go, come back and unravel all the links, there is despair. Viewed from this situation, any offer of solution is either seen as ‘magic wand’, or ‘no solution’, depending on the person’s perspicacity.
Manmohan Singh has understood this predicament, in the psyche of Indians in the ‘comfort’ zone, because they influence the media debates. In meeting after meeting, he would say a particular solution, which is generally endorsed by many people, as no magic wand. and, in meetings where he steers the arrival of a decision, he would say ‘there is no alternative’, but to take ‘tough decisions’.
He did say Lokpal bill is no magic wand, and also the various controversial provisions in the bill(s). There is discussion everywhere. I am under no illusion that he alone said it and the debate followed him. But, he being the Prime Minister, it is important to listen to him, to understand his ‘state of mind’. In various other meetings, after he said this about Lokpal bill, he said there is no alternative but to bring in more economic reforms, second green revolution and PPP model of development. In a way, he said these are the ‘magic wands’. Who is debating them?
I have my share of opinion on Lokpal bill and its efficacy. But, the point here is if Lokpal bill is no magic wand, as the government wants us to believe, why it is not being enacted in the last 40 years or so. If corruption cannot be ‘solved’ by this Act, or with whatever, why can’t the government talk of ‘planned strategy’. Why is MMS stopping himself at saying Lokpal is no solution? Why can’t he announce a ‘road map’, instead of announcing that his government is working in an atmosphere of ‘uncertainty’. After atleast 60 years of planned development, with more intellectual and information resources at hand, it is a shame to hear a economics professor talking of ‘uncertain’ atmosphere.
Why are the cynics not talking of ‘closing’ the avenues of corruption, which includes the steps taken towards changing the ownership of natural resources to private goods? I feel the corrupt, in whatever way, would keep debating around the periphery of the problem. While the agitation is going on, and ‘skeletons are tumbling out, government is quietly announcing a $1 trillion PPP-based infrastructure development programme, of which atleast $140 billion dollars would be public money, and the remaining would come from ‘transferring’ the ownership of Indian natural resources, germplasm, biodiversity, intellectual property, health and wealth to corporates, jointly owned by Indians and foreigners.
When the policies have given scope for money laundering, benami companies, corruption, corporate philandering, in telecom, energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, government is continuing to ‘travel’ the same path, and there is no questioning of the same.
I think it is time that Indians, especially those in the ‘comfort’ zone, recognised the fundamentals of systemic corruption – bad governance and inappropriate, shortsighted policies. Harping on number of compliance’s, speed money, etc., is akin to concern over pilferage by ants, instead of noticing the rambunctiousness of voracious elephants. Recent cases of corruption, in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere, has clearly highlighted the networks, of persons who had/have access to democratically assured powers and resources, and the failure of policies. Corruption is also a social evil, as much as policy failure. As is the case with many social evils, the fight against corruption would continue for years, if not centuries. But, it is the policies which wreak havoc, as they sanctify exploitation and inequitous development. We need to work on rescinding this policy atmosphere, which says there is no alternative but to ‘sell India to Western corporates’.
All recent happenings, across the world, in Britain, Arab region, do also highlight the public response to systemic exploitation, rooted in the philosophy of globalisation and corporatisation.