Sunday, August 21, 2011

                                               THE  ‘ANNA’ EFFECT

Bribery and corruption are common words for most of the Indians. It’s such a menace in the Indian society that corruption has been permanently imbibed in the psyche of common people as a way of living. The recent 2G scam, Adarsh scam, CWG scam etc only helped in reducing the confidence that people have on our democratic system.

There is a long history behind this corruption. Our fore fathers chose the path of democracy over communism to give each and every Indian equal rights and the power to decide the future course of our great nation. The first four decades after independence were very crucial for our country. We had to establish ourselves on the world stage after more than 150 years of systematic plunder and looting done by the British. Most of our wealth had been disappeared by the time we got independence. So our leaders had to prioritize and bring up strategies to elevate the poor and to usher in the era of development. In that context we must appreciate what our great leaders have done in the past. To protect our domestic market from global competition the policies were mainly on the swadeshi lines which aims  to make our country self sufficient and not depend on any other foreign nation on any needs. It helped in protecting our rural small scale industries although our gross domestic product remained much below than what it is now during those times. The policy decisions with regard to our economy began to change in the last decade of 20th century. As the cold war ended the global economic equations changed. So to keep up with that change, our markets were opened up. But the core industries still remained under governmental control. This shift towards a capitalistic ideology was received with a lot of criticism and skepticism at first. But that move proved to be a boon to our economy. Our growth rate doubled. Industrial output & Economic activity increased. India thus began to attain global recognition for its impressive growth story. Our development thus began adding momentum. So our growth rate started to increase on yearly basis.More foreign investments began to flow into the Indian markets. More and more rich domestic entrepreneurs came up and began floating their companies.

All this development translated into the tremendous growth and increase in the Indian middle class. But this development still couldn’t get trickled down adequately to the rural poor of India who constitute the majority Indian population. What this essentially meant is that all this development was one sided. Small scale local industries were not able to withstand this sudden inflow of foreign investments and the competition that ensued effectively sealed the fate of such small rural industries.

This unraveling scenario of huge increase in the Indian middle class provided more and more opportunities for corporate companies to increase their market foot hold. So in order to get higher share of market access and get more concessions from the governmental agencies these market giants began influencing our economic policy makers. I firmly believe that corruption first began at the highest levels of governmental agencies. This paved way for chain reactions. More and more people began to know about this and started giving bribes in order to get unfair advantages and concessions from the officials. This process began to trickle down even to the lowest levels of officials who implement the policies taken by the government. As time went by the acts of bribing became a normal procedure. Even the poorest people of our society have to pay bribes to get things done in governmental agencies. None of the so called intellectuals in our country tried to change this situation because one way or the other they too were involved in corrupting the governing system.

It is in this context that we must view the ongoing struggle against corruption that’s been happening in our country which got particular media attention over the past two weeks. At the time of writing this post Sri: Anna Hazare has entered his sixth day of hunger strike. Nobody knows if the issue will be resolved any sooner. All he is asking for is the parliament to pass the Jan Lokpal bill (Citizen Ombudsman bill) and not the weak Lokpal bill proposed by the government which accounts for only 5% of the total governmental work force. The UPA government obviously disagrees with some of the provisions in the bill, rightly so because most of the irregularities and corruption charges are being accused on their members. They have been launching counter arguments and trying to foster support against this movement saying that such a protest is undermining the whole democratic and parliamentary system in India. According to me that argument is pretty lame. No law can be framed in the parliament without the popular support from the people. Also we must change the system into a participatory democracy where civil society representatives also get a say in framing of important laws such as the Janlokpal bill. This movement has now struck a common cord with most of the young people who wish to see a change in the state of system. So whatever be the counter offensive launched by the government or by any other political party may be, none would halt this renewed sense of change and responsibility that’s sweeping across the country. There would be many people who would find fault with what Anna is doing but none of those critics do anything productively to change the system other than talking against Anna’s peaceful protest. The actual work is being done by people like Anna Hazare. If it were some political party doing this, they would have easily called for a strike or hartal thus disrupting the daily life of people. Nobody would have questioned that. But when an eminent social worker like Anna does something peacefully against a social evil such as corruption everyone tries to find fault with it. 

I just hope and pray that this anti corruption movement doesn’t fizzle out or end without a strong anti corruption bill being passed by the parliament. Such a bill would help in strengthening and restoring our confidence in the democratic system. So I urge all the critics and also the common people to join this historic movement lead by Anna Hazare and help bring about a positive change in our nation


V.Lekshmi said...

well written sreehari.:)according to me the vast support that annaji is able to harness is the result of resentment in the minds of people and its not that people fully support his version of the lokpal bill.As for the origin of corruption,it existed long before independence.Or else how could foreigners control us for 150 long years???

Snair said...

i do agree that we needed such a bill but i believe that the bill passed now is not enough. one of the most corrupted people are the MP's and they should've been included rather than PM.But ya this is a start.

gE said...

I dont completely agree with all what you've written, but i dont condemn it as well. good writing :)

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