Thursday, October 11, 2012
Anti-corruption stand and Negativity
Speaking to the CBI officers and anti-corruption establishment of the country, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that there was need to focus on the ‘Supply side of corruption”. He was obviously using a terminology familiar to economists making it sound as if the particular aspect was ignored by the laws and the law enforcement system in India. With report of rampant economic sabotage taking place under the very nose of our economist Prime Minister, is he now suggesting that corruption curtailment efforts have to be mainly directed toward the supply-side of corruption, i.e., those who make corrupt payments, and not to those who take bribes, like our A.Raja and company?
Most of us understood that at the root of corruption was the fact that complicated regulations and inefficient, inept and corrupt governance have the givers are persuaded or forced to fork out bribe. If in the beginning it was ‘something’ for getting undue favours, matters worsened over time to require ‘speed-money’ for any work done, any file moved; and then to the present state of affairs when you need to bribe powers that be to get your legitimate rights established and work done. Has our PM got another theory about the supply and demand factors that facilitate or influence corruption?
The whole world has accepted the fact that corruption ranks amongst the biggest threats to global economic prosperity. It is also generally believed that the emerging and developing countries pose a greater corruption risk due to weaker regulations. There indeed is an enormous ethical failure also involved here. Asking pompously for a “clear and unambiguous definition of corruption” at this late stage when corruption is corroding the administration and makes a mockery of governance reveals a certain lack of understanding the problem or a classic case of confounding and confusing the issue seeking an escape route for one’s own responsibility.
The most unfortunate aspect of our Prime Minister’s speech to the anti-corruption establishment is that he glosses over the required thrust on attempting to reduce or eliminate corrupt acts because of their harmful effects on our economy and the quality of life of Indian citizens. He is of course anxious that “ethical and responsible behaviour needs to become the corner-stone of corporate behaviour” but ignores similar behaviour from the executives and their political masters. From these platitudes one sees him jumping to what irritates him currently, and he is more concerned about: “The mindless atmosphere of negativity and pessimism that is sought to be created over the issue of corruption can do us no good. It can damage our country’s image and hit the morale of the executives…”God, if this is not cant, what is?
In another front-page report the newspapers that displayed PM’s speech prominently has BSP chief vouching for the poor performance of her party's political ally, the ruling UPA, but says she will continue to back it obviously because the dispensation had insulated her from the mammoth corruption charges against her. So is the case with Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Laloo Yadav. The people know very well by now that the Income Tax department, the CBI and the anti-corruption system in this country are tools in the hands of the UPA to influence and coerce its opponents as well as allies as needed.
Is the Prime Minister is truly worried about the Opposition seeking to sully his government’s image, or the country’s image? Has he not seen the accolades from the Opposition stalwart and elder statesman LK Advani who praises NREGA at the UN General Assembly as having indeed helped break-down social inequalities, empower rural people, build up rural infrastructure and revive economic growth. The man who campaigned against Manmohan Singh for his being the “weakest PM” was trying to prop up the image of his country at the UN meet on ’Social development’, knowing fully well that back home it was also largely a political gimmick to win votes spending government money, and local operatives of the UPA, and probably many others in power systematically drains money from it.
“Inattentional blindness” is the formal name given to the phenomenon in which humans fail to perceive major activities going on in front of their eyes because their attention is diverted to other things or captured by more interesting things. I strongly feel that our Prime Minister could be accused of this phenomenon.But what else is currently he is attending to?
Tail piece: I wish somebody had told our scholar PM that there are no B-pluses in ethics, it’s just pass/fail.