June 16, 2011

New Milestone in Corruption

Milestone is a very positive term, used when man landed on moon, when the genome code was unraveled. But when the concept of corruption is being revamped with such radical corrections, i couldn’t find a better word. We have truly emerged in all the global indicators of progress including corruption .

The biggest scam as far as i know was the Madoff Ponzi Scheme which proved him guilty of misappropriation of 17 Billion $.If the current accusation of 1.7 Lakh Crores in lost revenue( Approx 38 Billion $) is to be believed then we would have overshoot the current record by double. This is something the Chinese would take some time to beat. We are becoming unbeatable in the infamous segment of Corruption, Population Explosion, Poverty etc.

The basic aspect of Indian Jurisprudence is to consider the accused as not guilty until proven otherwise. So we have to give the benefit of the doubt to The Telecom Minister. The Minister states that the telecom licenses for 2G and 3G has been given at a lower price to increase penetration of telecom services and make the service affordable to everyone. But the confusing aspect is on why guidelines as provided by the department of telecom were not followed.

The crux of the issue can be summed up as follows ( Copied from NDTV, Verbatim)

  • 2G licenses issued in the year 2008 at 2001 Prices
  • Telecom Minister insisted on “First come first served “ policy
  • 9 companies were given licenses for nearly 10,800 Crore
  • Some firms sold partial stakes for much higher rates
  • CAG: Govt lost between 1.4 to 1.76 lakh crore
  • CAG: Raja ignored advice of Law, Finance Ministries

In the nitty gritties of coalition politics it becomes very difficult to implement and adapt fool proof review mechanism. DMK which is a major ally of UPA 2 with a grand contribution of 18 MP’s, it is diffiult to displease them. The Status of the minister as a Dalit also adds to the problem, since he claims the whole issue as a dalit targeted act. And the party’s official stand which vindicates the minister from any wrong doing makes it a harder task for the Congress led coalition to act. It won’t be as easy as the way it dealt with Mr. Chavan and Kalmadi.

The coming days will unravel the complexities involved, will the minister be sacked, will there be an investigation which brings out the truth etc. The larger implication out here is not on the future of the minister’s career, but the widespread social apathy and the lackadaisical attitude existing among the people. I recently overheard a young lady calling her father a fool, as he did not take bribes. The new generation aspiring for a public sector career is considering corruption as a means to correct the public-private pay scale difference. Its like a fringe benefit that makes the job more lucrative. If you don’t have ideals in your youth, the future is looking much bleaker than ever.

Corruption has become institutionalized and a normal characteristic like hunger, fear, courage etc. I think the government can give us some reprieve by listing standard rates and charges (under the table) for all relevant activities. At least this could stop the additional charges ( over and above the current) levied by some opportunistic officers.

So where do we go from here, deeper, slimier, dirtier or do we see an end to this, only time will tell. But one thing i can guarantee, the scams will get bigger, the people will get more indifferent and the already disturbing polarity will increase.


Post Script

When i wrote this, The minister had not resigned, so when i woke up today and found him to have resigned and to be replaced by another member of DMK. Same wine in a different bottle or labeling. SO lets see what happens now.

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