Does government really want to end corruption?
FRANKLY SPEAKING SEEMA MUSTAFA
After meeting for the nth time, the two sides decided to part ways carrying each others versions of the Bill. Hazare left saying he will
begin his fast on August 16, while the government, nowadays in perpetual panic, postponed the Parliament session by two weeks.
The headlines say that the Anna Hazare team of civil society representatives and the senior Ministers of the UPA government have agreed to disagree on the Lokpal Bill. After meeting for the nth time, the two sides decided to part ways carrying each others versions of the Bill.
Hazare left saying he will begin his fast on August 16, while the government, nowadays in perpetual panic, postponed the Parliament session by two weeks.
Since journalists are now no longer required just to report, but use the news space on both television and in newspapers to come up with solutions, this columnist has decided to join those who cannot be beaten. So here is the solution that is not just out of the box, a favourite phrase of Prime Ministers these days, but one will have to confess modestly, rather ingenuous.
And it will not only solve the problem of corruption but will make all the stake holders- that is most of the country that matters- happy.
The solution rests on the premise that the government does not want an end to corruption at all. Not just the government, but the UPA and its allies, the BJP and the Opposition and all those regional parties whose leaders have some case or the other still pending against them. In other words our political class, our rulers do not want to fight corruption and who is civil society to join swords with the powerful and the influential.
The premise of course rests on facts, whereby one has seen Ministers rushing to appease self pronounced gurus, warring amongst themselves, attacking ordinary members of civil society with every weapon they can dig out, and now even postponing a Parliament session to buy more time.
It is thus imperative to suggest a solution that should give the Congress and its allies, including that poor Raja and Kanimozhi lying in jail, peaceful nights. First legalise corruption. The government should pass a law saying corruption is good, it is fine, it has given India a flourishing parallel economy, it has made so many politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, industrialists rich, it has allowed shopkeepers, cops , MCD workers to stash away lakhs, it makes life liveable! No longer does India need to remain embarrassed about being making it to the list of the top most corrupt nations of the world, such a law will allow us to flaunt our status and even taunt those who are not following the same route.
Two, set grades for corruption. In that take out the average for instance, of how much a traffic policeman earns in bribes in a month and then grade this. So a lower ranking cop should cover at least Rs whatever in bribes to make the grade, a DCP should cover a higher amount etc. The politicians of course will top the grades, with the top brass of the ruling party being at the top of the chart. In that a Prime Minister will have to collect as much, if not more, than the ruling party President.
Those who surpass the grade and collect more commission/ bribes call it what you will, than others, will make it to the short list for promotions. A police inspector can get his next promotion only when he makes the grade, in that collects as much in bribes as the next grade requires. A MP can become a Minister only when he gets into the bigger league, and in fact politicians can get tickets only if their coffers reflect their skill in collecting unaccounted money.
Three, let corruption determine national awards. There has been a tendency to nominate many not very well known persons for the national honours every year just because they are close to the party in power.
This invites criticism and muted mumblings in corridors connected to p