Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bring Private Sector, MNCs, International Donor Agencies, Media, Political Parties, Religious Trusts, Stock Exchanges under the RTI and Lokpal

If at all such a person or such a set of persons can be found out from our system who will be damn honest, whose integrity would be beyond doubt, then why should that person become just Lokpal and why not the Prime Minister of the country. Why should we presume that a Prime Minister, who comes through election, is likely to be corrupt, hence a more honest body or person should be there to supervise him and his work. Let us all be ruled by that set of honest body or people only—let no body have any sense of power without being accountable directly to the people of India.



It is now twenty years since the process of liberalization and globalization started in this country. Since then a kind of parallel set up has emerged in this country in the areas of banking, insurance, education, health etc all of which are directly associated with the common citizens and their resources and expectations. It is strange that the clamour for bringing in probity and integrity in public sector, has not matched similar demands in the context of the delivery system in the private sector. Can I as a common citizen ask as a matter of right how does a private bank or an MNC calculate interest rates on our loans? How do private educational institutions or hospitals do their recruitments? How does a media house decide to run a story of corruption when similar stories remain unreported? On what grounds an international donor agency chooses its partners and invests in social sectors in India?

Are the honchos of private sector more powerful than even the Prime Minister of this country? When there can be a talk of bringing under Lokpal, right or wrong that only time will tell, of the Prime Minister of this country, who is technically elected through a democratic process by more than 75 crore voters, why should we shy away from demanding that the services and conduct of the private sector honchos should also be under the progressive laws like RTI and Lokpal. The Vohra Committee had reported that the nexus between the politicians, bureaucrats, mafia and the corporates is at the root of the large scale corruption in the country. Then what will we gain by only being concerned about the conduct of a babu or a neta, when as seen in recent scams like CWG or 2G, for every neta or babu, a corresponding corporate honcho or a lobbyist or a journalist completed the chain to fleece the national resources.

I wonder, whether by raising the pitch about corruption and inefficiency in the public sector, there is a ploy to keep under the carpet the similar problems in the private sector? When the public watchdogs have failed, they have failed for the Private sector too. My concerns stem from the fact that questioning the mysterious manner in which the private sector works---quite typically symbolized by the robot-like faceless and nameless customer care executives whom we converse with on tall free numbers---the idea may not be palatable for many, whether belonging to civil or uncivil society, because questioning it may actually mean questioning the existing social and economic order and discourse.

Moreover, one thing really baffles me. If at all such a person or such a set of persons can be found out from our system who will be damn honest, whose integrity would be beyond doubt, then why should that person become just Lokpal and why not the Prime Minister of the country. Why should we presume that a Prime Minister, who comes through election, is likely to be corrupt, hence a more honest body or person should be there to supervise him and his work. Let us all be ruled by that set of honest body or people only. Let no body have any sense of power without being accountable directly to the people of India whether Prime Minister or Lokpal or MNCs or Private sector or the Media or Donor Agencies so that the concept of public governance with its idea of creating a just, equitable and egalitarian society as enshrined in our Constitution occupies centrestage of all debates and concerns.

Actually in the climate and culture of corruption, creating a way out is like the story of the King with golden touch with suitable modifications. The so-called system and the people who man it have become so hollow that whatever they touch would turn hollow and making new bodies to stem the rot would take us on a wild goose chase. It is time we get back to the basics and analyse the ideals behind the creation of public offices like those of the Prime Minister without trivializing them, but adding value to them certainly.

Let us get our perspectives clearer…


LET US GET BACK TO THE BASICS: FIRST "READ" ABOUT THE IDEALS OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION