Vijay K. Saluja
Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
The Govt need to take Anna Movement as a `wake-up` call & consider it a welcome-development in the country!? Its mass appeal esp among the educated-lot, in all parts of the country & in various cities of the world is an indication, of the lack of faith amongst its people of the existing governance process..
Though Jan Lok Pal Bill mooted by Team Anna has many impracticalities & is not the panacea of the ills due to corrupt viruses afflicting the governing system, yet ,undoubtedly, it has captured the [dis-
illuisoned] conscience & minds of the populace!
Why Anna Team consisting of just about six to eight active/visible members, have been able to take` head-on` the Govt & engage it at various fronts? It is, because of its focus on the main issue-CORRUPTION. Let us face it.-Corruption has seeped into our governance system in a BIG way. Not ,that it was not there ,earlier in India or in other countries of the world. But, handling of the same, as a good government should have done ,has not happened esp in the last decade & in particular in the last two to three years!.
These have been the ERAs of SCAMS! And,that too of no-less magnitude!-CWG,2G,AIR-INDIA,to name a few. Add to that, the black money stashed abroad in tax havens by some of our prominent Indians also, as the reports say.
Instead of taking bull by the horns & taking concrete & sustainable steps, to stem the rot, the govt has been dithering-diverting its attention , energies & resources in trying to silence in many ways, the `sane` voices.!
This has brought the situation to `Crisis of Faith` in the party[ies] in power& thus the Govt.. If the unfortunate situation is to be retrieved, then,the govt,its ministers & officials will have to win trust of the people, in the face of accumulated & rising discontent?
There is anger, disappointment, dis-illusionment in the minds of the people over corruption, mis-governance in cities, land-acquisition in rural areas, conduct of some of the elected representatives, officials & statements of some of the party spokes-persons.
It will be good for the party in power & the Govt, if the responsible & mature persons in the party take note of the discontentment of the people & advise sustainable measures to handle the situation, before it gets out of control/unpleasant thus involving avoidable dissipation of energy .`Occupy Wall Street Movement`,` Swami Ram Dev Agitation`, `Anna Movement` are good indicators of shape of things, which can come.
There is am immediate & urgent need to pay attention to bridge the gap of mistrust. If it widens, it can bring a negative impact to the development, harmony & stability of the society as has also recently been articulated in an editorial of the `People Daily`-the official paper of the ruling Communist Party of China in reference to a similar crisis in China .It also states that `a ruling party`s governing position & governing power fundamentally comes from the people`
If effective & sustainable steps are not taken by the Govt to tame the monster of rampant corruption, then yawning income gaps & black money will create more disharmony in our society.
In a speech in July to mark the party`s 90th birthday, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the anti-graft fight was key to` winning or losing public support & the life & death of the party` .Perhaps, the main opposition party could be taking a cue from the international experiences?
In China, the central government announced recently that all civil servants will have to undergo at least six hours of ethics teaching by the end of 2015..Topics to be taught to China`s 10 millions civil servants will include the `conscientious discharge of duties` & the `justness & honesty` of government employees. Ethical standards will also be a factor in the selection, assessment & supervision of government employees.
In Singapore, its Ministry of Education, in a recent development has decided to give stress to values & character- building for the school children & the curriculum is being revisited.
It is time, our government also takes adequate & suitable steps to bring back values & ethics in the system of governance, in particular & in education at all levels including community education, in general.
This will be a very worthwhile investment.