Monday, February 13, 2012

Holier Than Thou

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Since PV Narasimha Rao’s government at the Center, every government seem to be embroiled in some scam or the other.  Every government has been under the scanner for irregularities and misappropriation of funds.  The cost of elections also has been going up with each election cycle, and successive governments have engaged in behavior that is not befitting a democratically elected government.

Democratically elected government’s definitely spend election money to get messages across to the population and promote their programs as the best option available for the country each time an election is held, and certainly the candidates and the parties that are contesting need to raise money to promote their messages.  The creation of political parties, political funding and promoting the agenda is all a democratic and transparent process which is simple to manage and has a process of money and message management.  The global democracies foster in open elections where every party and candidate has equal opportunity to present and promote their messages and the people decide who they would like their representation from.

No democracy is a ticket for embezzlement and stealing from the public and government coffers by electing individual for a certain amount of time, just because people believe in the message and elect the individual for a certain period of time.  The last few governments in New Delhi have gone to great extent in creating and fostering massive amounts of funneling of public resources into private and individual coffers, just because the people elected were placed in position of decision making and creating the environment for embezzlement of public resources.

Granted that the system’s created by the elected officials allowed for such loopholes leading to the scams and embezzlement, the systems should also have been practical in approaching the rules set by the same to monitor any discrepancies in implementation of policies that should be in public interest.  Even the individual push to a truly transparent and public interest policy has been difficult to be upheld in the center and also state and local levels of administrations.  A push for ombudsman failed at the gate and only had a short life, and fizzled out when it came for vote in the parliament.

Scams are not limited to the center but each state and local levels are also heavily involved in creating their own money making process at the expense of public policy and benefit.  All most all the state governments are embroiled in some controversy or other, and it always leads to money making by people in power.  Just that each successive government has gone with greater and greater schemes to siphon the money into a few pockets.

When in power the government is funneling the money into their pockets without abandon, and next government coming in starts to dig into the action of their predecessors, and will unearth the irregularities and start to which hunt the previous administration to either push them into oblivion and jail, or demonstrate that the previous administration was corrupt.  At the same time they will begin engaging in greater siphoning of resources into their coffers.  Granted that the cost of elections and promotional activity is expensive, the money siphoned is never used for electioneering, always to the benefit of individuals and typically moved out of the country and never entering into private or public sector investments.

In the current environment the government itself is not even waiting to go out of the office and chasing its own tail by identifying and going after their own party men who are scamming, and this is a phenomenon that is unlike the previous governments of chasing down the past.  It is now and current government identifying their own party men and brining them to task.  Everyone pleads innocent until they are somehow or the other linked to the embezzlement, and everyone pleads ignorance when the scams surface.

How difficult it is to create public interest policy that fosters openness and corrupt free environment?  If the elected government itself is sending its appointed ministers to jail, then who else but the entire government is at fault.  A political party cannot simply claim that its own elected and appointed ministries are conducting massive fraud or embezzlement without the consent of the party chiefs.  Even if party chiefs say that they are unaware of the scams and are not involved in the process of scamming, they are responsible for actions of the party men, and cannot simply say I did not know, or I am not a party to it.

There are no holy cows in the process, as the party of elected officials and their chiefs are responsible for the actions of the party men.  They are not innocent or ignorant of the scams, as they are not ignorant of the election process, money management, party mandates, or decision making of the part men.  There is no such thing as an individual scam as the magnitude and scope of decision making is across the board and everyone is responsible, whether or not they are directly involved.  The responsibility lies with the entire government; both elected and bureaucratic.

The public should hold every government accountable for all its actions and not just listen to the rhetoric of the elected representatives.  Each government must be accountable for all actions of all the party men, and should stop pointing fingers at one or the other.  There are no holy cows, except that the individuals involved should be responsible and not be left out as outcasts, who are acting alone as they are never alone in scamming a country.

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