The purpose of this article is threefold :
1- To understand what corruption is and how it affects ‘aam aadmi’.
2- To know the difference in two Drafts of the Lok Pal Bill, again in relation to ‘aam aadmi’, and
3- To clear myths created by the Government in the name of democracy .
To take our example, just imagine the cost we pay to buy sweets (or other eatables for that matter) or pay to dine in a restaurant. The bribe the sweetshop owner gives to the police constable, DDA/MCD inspector, health inspector is built in the cost of the product, we buy. Not only this, his margin of profit is fixed, say 30% or 40%. So if he pays Rs 100/- bribe, we pay Rs. 130/140, which is built in the cost of the product. But we never realize it. Not only these, by giving bribe, the compromises the shopkeeper or restaurant owner makes on hygiene and the quality of products cannot be converted into costs. Same is the case where fake medicines are provided in hospitals in small towns resulting into health hazards to lacs of people and many times into deaths. This is just one example.
True no legislation can remove these things. But an environment can be created where people indulging into these activities have the fear of being caught and punished. This has to be a deterrent. Right now there is a premium on wrong doing which encourages people to indulge in these activities.
Second, the Jan Lok Pal Bill covers the whole Lok of bureaucracy i.e. all government employees. This is the main difference between the two drafts as far as the common man is concerned. Govt. version excludes the lower ladder. Coupled with the procedure the Govt. Draft envisages (in case of a corrupt practice is detected), it makes the Govt. draft a ‘jok Pal Bill’.
The differences over the inclusion of PM and the judiciary are not so directly affecting the common man. Judiciary can be made accountable through the Judicial Accountability Bill. As far as the PM ‘s inclusion is concerned the position in Jan Lok Pal Bill can be compromised for the large benefit of crores of people. If the whole lot of Ministers and MP’s are brought under an effective anti corruption mechanism, the PM cannot afford to be a corrupt person. What is required of the Prime Minister is an efficient and good administrator. Mere honesty could prove to be counterproductive as is happening in the present case.
Third, the ISSUES raised from the Government’s side since April 2011 have been made to mislead the people and create confusion.
The Prime Minister telling 1200 million people that he doesn’t have a magic wand, doesn’t behave well of or person so learned and so respected by the people. No body or institution have ever had or will ever have a magic wand to remove corruption. It is as simple as that. Why in the last 64 years we could not contain this monster, is the simple fact that no government had the will power to check corruption. Infect the seeds were sown 50 years back when the then Prime Minister was asked a question on prevalent corruption. The great visionary and most respected PM replied that it is not an issue –“ Desh ka paisa Desh mein toh hai”.
So it is not the magic wand but the will power and the concrete steps, to eradicate this all pervasive social menace, are required. A beginning has to be made in the guise of a strong Lok Pal Bill. We have already lost two generations since 1968 when this bill was first introduced. In the last 42 years, the World has changed upside down and we are still playing with the soft ball.
Parliament is Supreme, who says it is not. It is spread by the senior ministers that people on road want to pass the Bill in Public places, they want to make laws on road. This canard is spread by the Govt. Ministers/ Spokespersons. The men on the roads were demonstrating to put pressure on the Government to bring the strong Bill and not an ‘eye wash’ Bill. But if someone says that the MPs once elected are to rule like dictator for 5 years, is a fool. An MP is not the Boss, he is still the public servant. His first appearance on declaration of an election process , is of a servant with folded hands asking for the orders from his masters ( Voters). He gets crores of rupees in the shape of facilities and MPLAD funds to serve his constituency, which in turn is provided by Tax Payers. So how can he be the boss for 5 years. In a period of 5 years an MP attends the parliament on an average for one year. So for 4 years he has to be in touch with his constituency, its development and to feel the pulse of the people, their needs and aspirations. If they have been among their people, these people would not have been on roads in lacs and lacs – day and night. In a would which is changing by day (and in fact by hour) how can you say we are these for 5 years get elected and then change the things, you want. It is total disconnect with the people they represent. In an age where communication is so fast and so vital, how can the elected representatives be so inimical?
The Parliament doesn’t work in a vacuum. It works for the people, their hopes and aspirations, albeit through their representatives. It certainly does not work for the people there in, though they have hijacked it for fixing their remuneration and all attending benefits.
The ministers tell public that Anna Team says make our Bill the law’. It is misinformation spread by government representatives. The Team Anna Only said present our Bill and put it to debate and whatever the decisions of Parliament will be acceptable to them. But this is the Govt’s dilemma, so the misinformation. Because if they present the civil society’s version of the bill, they will have to insure its passage, otherwise the Government falls.
For the last four years, the Govt. has been ‘in the bind’ (coalition dharma) and for the last four months it is ‘in the mess’. Our learned Prime Minister has listened to all good and bad advice of his advisors/colleagues, it is time to take charge, be assertive and look to people who are in the open spaces – in parks, play grounds and on roads, make his cabinet agree to bring the jan Lok Pal Bill in Parliament (after talking to Team Anna if need be) As a face saver to his colleagues persuade Team Anna to exclude PM. & Judiciary out of the peer new of LokPal.
We must not forget that passage of the strong Lok Pal bill is not the panacea for corruption, it is NECESSARY but not sufficient condition for eradication of corruption, it will be just the beginning of the People’s Power and citizens of the counting will have to ever vigilant.
Please sign the petition and forward.