in Politics

Some Q&A’s about Corruption and the ongoing movement against it

I have been hearing many questions in the minds of people regarding the ongoing movement against corruption. In this post, I have tried to document and answer (according to my thinking) some of the most frequently asked questions. These questions have been asked on social media websites or on my blog on the articles I have written related to the Anna Hazare led movement.

Q – I do not identify myself with no corruption. Can those lakhs of people pledge on their life that they will never ever engage in corruption?

A –  It is very important to see people who give bribes (for small/individual corruption) as victims and not culprits.. I think most of the us will prefer not giving bribe if work can be done without it. Big corporate and large scale corruption is another matter altogether. They use corruption for their own advantage, while the common man mostly has to shelve money to get something which is his/her right, like getting the passport, or a birth or marriage certificate, etc.

People supported in their own unique ways

People supported in their own unique ways

Q –  It’s a part of our mindset. Its more of a psychology thing. It can be reduced, but never totally eradicated.

A – Yes, it is a part of mindset and can’t be totally eradicated. But it can be reduced from 90% to say 10-20%.. And to do so, it means people will have to be disciplined (not jumping red lights, wearing helmets, following rules, etc) and might have to suffer some hardships or harassments in the short term. But we need to take these in our strides for long term benefits.

Q – The only factor that prevents corruption is fear. Until that is very strong, it cannot stop. My only wish is Jan lok pal bill will instill the fear in the hearts of corrupt people, of strict punishment. If not then I think it wont prove worthy..

A –  I agree. Corruption is a high profit and low risk business now… A strong law will make it low profit high risk business… If this happens most people will automatically become non-corrupt… It’s simple human psychology to not indulge in high risk activities. See what happened in Hong Kong..

Q –  Its a vicious circle. Who will make the law ? What if the lawmakers are themselves corrupt ? What if the Jan Lok Pal Bill committee members are themselves corrupt ? Who will preside over them ? What if they are corrupt too ?

A -The government / parliament has to make the law.. I agree the lawmakers are themselves corrupt and hence they will make law only under public pressure.. They will make it only if they know that people will not vote for them if they don’t make this law… We saw a glimpse of that in the current protests… and thats why keeping public pressure is VERY important… Infact I would say that, Public Pressure is not only important but also necessary in a democracy…

Ganesha Chaturthi idol like Anna

Ganesha Chaturthi idol like Anna

Q – Can a single law stop corruption?

A – The answer is YES and NO. A single law can act as a strong deterrent for people who want to indulge in corrupt activities. It can reduce the corruption levels considerably by turning corruption into a low profit high risk business, but it can’t eradicate corruption totally, for sure. We need to work on three areas in parallel if we want to reduce corruption –

1. Punishment for corrupt – Jan Lokpal Bill will serve this purpose.

2. Education : Moral and Legal – We need to spread moral awareness among our youth, preferably from the school level, about why is it bad to indulge in corruption, and how it can harm ourselves, the society and the country in the long term. We need to bring up our children in an environment of high moral standards.

3. Constant modifications of laws and processes – We are in a democracy, and we can always made amendments to laws, systems and processes if we feel the need to. There should be constant monitoring of laws and systems already in place, and constant modifications to them must be suggested and implemented to reduce the possibility of anybody indulging in corruption. Examples are putting CVC and CBI under Lokpal, implementing Citizen’s Charter, etc

Q – These methods of protests are undemocratic?

A – Actually, this was the biggest win of the democratic process!! What we saw was parliament doing what the public wants.. that is what democracy is all about. A little public pressure is always required for a democracy to work properly. But it’s just half the battle won, if the government backtracks on this commitment, this movement will spread across every nook and corner of the country and they won’t get any votes in 2014… What was heartening was seeing even the opposition engaging in proper debates and not just adjournment drama as even they have a responsibility in a democracy.. and the failure of the opposition was the reason in the first place why someone like Anna got such huge following from the people… If the protests by the people made the government take corruption seriously and even made the opposition work sincerely, how can this be against democracy!!

Q – Are we expecting a ”Nayak” movie scenario where thousands of government and corrupt people would be affected?? Can we expect govt. services to be reliable and affordable rather than private sectors? Can we see common man benefitting and in what areas??

A – Considering the levels at which corruption has seeped into our babudom, it won’t be a surprise if a large number of officials are suspended or penalized after Lokpal becomes official. But it would be foolish to believe that change will happen overnight and corruption will disappear. Even after Lokpal Bill, it will take a long time (in years) to eradicate the cancer of corruption from our society. Even Lokpal will have its loopholes and limitations which would need to plugged by further amendments to the law as and when required. Expecting government services to be better than private sector is another matter as a lot more than corruption need to be tamed for that. Government companies need to be run by CEOs in a professional manner rather than politicians and babus for that to happen. The common man will certainly benefit, and in every area, directly or indirectly, as he won’t have to shell out money as bribes, and secondly, his tax money will be properly used in public services which will come to benefit him sooner or later.

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15 Comments

  1. Sumit, what percentage of the people who express concerns about Team Anna’s movement, democracy etc do you think have actually read the IAC version of the Jan Lokpal Bill?

  2. Not many, and even those who have read it might not understand it. But the point is that they are standing against corruption united and in support of leaders like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal whom they trust more than the people in the government..

  3. Corruption is rampant because of:
    1. It happens when you are in the midst of a requirement and you want to make progress on it. Building resistance at this stage only backfires.
    2. There is no proper avenue and mechanism to report such demands without fear or retaliation and there are no expectation of redressal.
    3. You can complain to no one, since each of them is supporting this.
    4. You are individually affected, and so unable to garner external support and publicity

  4. The janlokpal bill is not a SANJIVNI BOOTI to eradicate corruption. Kiran Bedi, Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal call themselves civil society, who made them civil society? Rather I call them pseudo civil society. They just want to take revenge. They are not angels. At first the self propagated saint Anna who backed Raj Thakrey when they were beating north Indians in Mumbai. Anna never raised the questions about the suicide of farmers in his own state. Lastly he established same type of institute in Maharashtra to stop corruption and the district presidents were appointed by Anna in 1991, 13 out of 20 representatives appointed by Anna were corrupt according to the investigation carried by justice of Hon. Supreme court Justice Savant, after that that institute was closed. Why NGOs are not the part of JAN LOKPAL? Because Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sishodia run NGOs too.Their NGOs are getting crores from FORD FOUNDATION, COCA COLA and LEHMAN BROTHERS. Please do not say it a win for democracy because there have never been more than 50,000 people who supported Anna it is country of 121 crore people. The self appointed civil society dictated their terms on democratically elected body. The thing is that not making new laws but ensuring the which already we have. There are people who are corrupt but supporting and fighting against corruption. What a joke?

  5. The millions of people who walked and came in support of them made them civil society representatives… And I think we dilute the issue here by focussing on individuals and not on the cause.. They are fighting for a strong anti-corruption law which will curb their corruption too (if we assume they are corrupt too).. And they don’t want to occupy any office in Lokpal or government so no vested interests here… Regarding NGOs, it is there in the govt bill and it might very well be there when the final draft comes out of parliament..

  6. Dear sumit, nice piece of writting. I hope it will publish in more places. The real democracy is the participation of people to make the laws itself. Actually people have to realize this. Them only the dream of our patriot people will come true.

  7. Agree with all the points you make. We may not be able to foresee if Jan Lokpal will indeed act as a Sanjivni Booti but to not push for transparent systems and pulling in babus and politicians in their ambit, who’re instrumental in creating and enacting laws, we’d be doing the current and future generations a big disservice.
    My point to Mr. Neyaz Ahmad is that instead of picking on activists and diluting the importance of creating and enforcing anti-corruption laws, let’s make specific suggestions on filling gaps among the existing laws or multiple draft bills.

  8. Answer 1 “I think most of the us will prefer not giving bribe if work can be done without it.”
    we give bribe to traffic police wala to avoid actual penaly. we do not take bill from shopkeeper to avoid paying tax. we do not show our actual income to save income tax even we will pay bribe in temples mosque also ….. the list is long & such thin we do by choice. Cursing politicians or the beuracracy will not achieve any thing. we have to change ourselves.

    People are with them because of the issue but at the end it went govt V/S team anna. Issue was lost?
    The language used on the stage by many speakers were similar to what the politicians do?
    In an interview on AAj tak Kiran Bedi said Advani – Patriot(Babri masjid Hawala Scam). Sushma Swaraj – Outstanding women(Reddy brothers, Not supporting JLP) Ramdev – has hidden agenda & congres-xxxx. Now all of us can understand what agenda Kiran bedi is having.

    People In other part of world is facing bullet for get voting rights & in india we want non elected people to make laws. what happen if similar approch will be adopted by people of any community, Union etc. & try to blacmail the govt.

  9. you have an interesting point of view, but answers to your questions lie in the above article itself.. read it again.. i have clearly mentioned we have to be more disciplines (not jumping traffic lights) and where I mention ourselves as victim are situations like getting birth and death certificate, getting pension.. etc…
    I don’t think issue was lost.. do you know IAC is working at ground levels now to file RTIs for potholes, PDS schemes and other local matters.. They have made local volunteer groups in every locality and actually training them to fight corruption in ways possible by existing laws.. and everybody is still focussed on JanLokpal Bill.. it not against govt.. infact it can be done only with support of government…

  10. I completely agree with Somesh , he has rightly pointed out the problems its we the people who give bribe. If we wont give bribe still they will issue above mentioned certificates. We do not want to follow the process of issuing these certificates but we give bribe to them to issue these certificates. We are fully responsible for electing such corrupt politicians. Its tough to understand the hidden agenda of Team Anna. Look the sponsors of this movement and many more. Team Anna is emotionally blackmailing the people of India and I think the writer one of the victims, who cant see the truth that Anna is not India and India is not Anna.Think impartially.

  11. IAC members
    Swami Agnivesh
    Kiran Bedi
    Doubtful intensions.
    Media use the forum for TRP & So does the bollywood actors
    I Saw Aamir khan & raju Hirani preaching about corruption while chetan bhagat was wathching them sitting on timesnow studio.

    Well if u ask every single person of this country he will said oh we hate corruption lets fight against it.
    The great middle-class Indian iconolatry is an amalgam of feudalism, Bollywood and corporate glitz that piggybacks Boswellian media attention. As a corollary, the persona becomes larger than the issue.

    The issue or the institution recedes to secondary significance, if occasionally it is not completely lost. The star is bigger than the film, the CEO is bigger than the company, the minister is bigger than the ministry and the activist is bigger than the cause.

    There are not many people who would have the gumption to openly support corruption. Such practices are usually covert unless one has enjoyed power and privilege for too long to seek sanctuary in their own stupidity and become immune to discriminating nuances of shadowy human conduct. So when someone takes up the cudgels to resist the all that divides unequal India from more than equal India, it is appreciable. For this Anna Hazare needs to be applauded.

    But there are some compelling questions that come to mind. This is related to the very foundations of parliamentary democracy. The people of India elect representatives to Parliament with the mandate to enact laws of governance. Civil society (the nomenclature has been debated often) now wishes to appropriate that responsibility.

    The other issue that is disturbing is the basis on which certain individuals have appropriated the right to represent ‘civil society’. Who has authorized this representation?

    The sixth is the responsibility of Parliament to be sensitive to the voice of the people.

    Orchestrated civil coercion can never be a substitute for parliamentary debate in a free country.
    And for those that compare the present civil disobedience with Gandhi’s anti-colonial struggle, it seems to be a Martian metaphor. The colonial government was not voted to power by the people of India. This Central government, like all state governments, for good or bad, enjoys the popular mandate of free people of a free country.

    Few would support corruption but its eradication must not become a greater evil.

  12. It’s great to see so many differing viewpoints in the comments above and I appreciate each one for their opinions. I think difference in opinions and debating them is the essence of any democracy.

    Even I don’t agree with many tactics / methodologies of Anna Hazare and others, but I reserve my opinion because I stand for the cause and not for individuals. If I was doing it, I would have done it differently. But I am not, and those who are doing it might have their own ways of doing it (which might not be agreeable to all).

    I will end with these quotes from Thomas Jefferson –
    – When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
    – A little Rebellion now and then is a good thing. It’s a medicine necessary for the sound health of the Government