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A few days ago, ‘a scam a day’ was exploding in India. Today, ‘a submarine a day’ is going down. Will the day be far when the country’s fate would hang by a thread if the monster of corruption penetrates even the security of the country? An ominous cloud of corruption has enveloped the country. If we can obliterate it, most of the woes the country is facing would evaporate.
In the last five years, the appalling face of corruption, plundering enormous sums of money from the exchequer’s pocket, has come to light: ‘CoalGate Scam’ – US$30 billion, ‘2G Spectrum Scam’ – US$28 billion, Commonwealth Games Scam – US$11 billion; the endless list, which is said to be the tip of the iceberg, has convinced citizens that in every project, every deal, every scheme the government undertakes, a large amount is siphoned away and the cancer has spread to all the organs of the establishment. The Government responded to pleas to investigate the major frauds with a brazenness so shocking, and a wickedness so flagrant, that one wonders whether the primary purpose of governance is to loot the country. The system has efficiently achieved the vertical integration of this corrupt culture from the CEO of the country down to a peon in the village revenue office. It has bred and encouraged a race for greed and amassing wealth at the cost of the sufferers. The Central Bureau of Investigation director has said that Indians have deposited illegally US$ 600 billion in tax havens. Retrieval of such colossal sums by an honest government or even thwarting further money laundering would neutralise India’s high fiscal deficit of US$ 88 billion(4.8% of GDP) and invigorate every initiative, every plan, and every dream that has foundered on the rock of exhausted resources.
However, a substantial section of the population – intelligentsia, ruling party members, educated, and illiterates – sermonise that other vital issues should be tackled first. According to the opinion poll conducted by Z News channel, for 39% of the population, the most important concern was ‘price rise’ whereas only 14% voted for ‘corruption’ as the key issue. Unemployment (13%), Economic Development (12%), and ‘Road-Electricity-Water’ (12%) were equally crucial. Many intellectuals believe that illiteracy is the main reason for India’s backwardness, while communalism is the only menace sensed by the ruling politicians.This, I am afraid, is flawed thinking.Since each of the above predicaments is an offshoot of corruption, elimination of corruption would ameliorate setbacks on every front. Because of the dried up coffers, a meager fund, which keeps on depleting until it reaches the town level, is earmarked for education. After satisfying the greed of the village officers, hardly any finances are available to build and maintain schools and pay salaries regularly. Can such a scenario encourage competent teachers and backward, rural and poor children to join the schools? We must exorcise corruption and the literacy levels will shoot up.
Regarding the economic problems like price-rise mentioned above, the common person should realize the principle of ‘conservation of money’: when funds are sucked away from the treasury, someone has to replenish it. And who makes amends for this wrongdoing? Of course the common person. He does it by toiling harder, by lowering his standard of living, by cutting down on his essential requirements, to struggle to make both ends meet because of inflation and stagnating earnings, by paying higher taxes, by paying more for items like fuel, thus spiralling inflation. Government funds and investor confidence are at a low ebb for economic development triggering unemployment. Evidently, corruption free India will forge ahead economically too. Another example is that of the defence procurement, which is mired in corruption and a prime threat to the existence of the country itself. The top authorities have never looked back since the legendary ‘Bofors scam’ was ‘defended’ successfully. Every defence procurement involves massive kickbacks leading to purchase of substandard equipments, delays in critical acquisitions once the fraud is exposed, and the possibility of blackmail of high authorities by foreign agencies. In the last seven months, ten submarines and warships have met with major accidents.
A corruption-free India is the only key to acquiring the glory she deserves. Resourceful and focused, India showed signs of becoming an economic and military power, in spite of governmental frauds and obstructions, because of its ingenious professionals, inspired industrialists, young manpower, and natural resources. Rooting out corruption in India, however, is not an easy task for the next Prime Minister, and with a thin majority and even thinner intentions of the alliance partners, the mission is anything but a smooth ride. Nevertheless, Indians are hopeful that an honest Prime Minister can still pull back the nation from the precipice of disaster and lead her to the path of eminence. With a heavy transition now going on in India, it is all set to enter the league of first-class nations and join it’s rival china.
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