Monday, July 06, 2015

Human Nature - Part 1 of 3 - Money Matters

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Since India’s Independence from the British in 1947, the prime minister’s office has escaped the taint of money.  From Jawaharlal Nehru to the current PM Narendra Modi (who is just over a year in the office) all the heads of state for India have not been accused of pocketing money.  They have all have had some issues on policy and matters and major portion of the office holders from Nehru/Gandhi family along with the short lived tenure of Lal Bahadur Shastri passed away in the office, and several other short lived tenures in the PM office remained taint free while in the office.  Modi certainly is a candidate that will continue the tradition of Indian PM’s not getting embroiled in the taint of money for favors.  In fact his main electoral message to the nation was “I will not eat and I will not let anyone else eat.”  He was referring to money for favors.  This phrase was probably one of the most endearing thing to hear for the Indian electorate, which believed him and voted his party into the office with a huge majority.

The last two INC governments had a massive share of scams by elected officials.  In just about every area of governance, money was scammed in huge amounts.  Even after the party was voted out of office, the old scams continue to come to light and the ministers facing the investigators and courts.

2014 electoral victory by the BJP and nationwide rejection of INC was primarily associated with the wide spread abuse of the office by the INC leadership in looting the public coffers.

To date with the administration. Modi keeps his immediate group of ministers and bureaucrats on a very short leash.  His reputation for micro management and no money needed approach seems to hold well at the center.

What is beginning to surface is the peripheral issues of his ministers involved in individual decisions that are deviating the government from its focus on issues on hand.  What also is coming as head line news is of the state level leaders being accused of scams and also the past deeds of association with people who are no longer in the good books with government, law and also the public.

The 24/7/365 press and internet play a great part in exposing even the minute issues and there is no escaping the watchful eyes of hundreds of millions of mobile cameras waiting to capture everything.  Nothing and no one is any longer away from the glaring eyes of the prying masses.

The top leadership of the nation barring an instance or two of impropriety, have not gotten in any money related issues in the first year in office.  Modi himself continues to be beyond reproach just like his predecessors.  His public persona is also intact with the money matters.  By and large there is no visible signs of any scams in the center after a year of governance despite the massive drive in investments in both public and private sectors.

There are several instances of the state level BJP leadership where issues have begun to crop up as they did when INC was in power.  Some of the state level ministers have shown their indulgences as the leaders of INC did.  Modi can certainly contain the state level governments as he does the central leadership.  He can crack the whip quickly to enforce the same level of scrutiny as he does at the center with all levels of government.  Exposing the politicians who dig into public coffers and more so to bring them to swift justice will stop future abuse of power.  All Modi has to do is to keep the pressure at all levels of government, and continued scrutiny and continued vigilance will keep the politicians in tow and start to discourage them from digging into public coffers.

The value of communications and constant vigil by the public and the government will slowly eliminate the rampant abuse of power and scams, as it has been shown in the past year.  People getting caught quickly and are taken to task, and the central leadership is dissuading the politicians and bureaucrats form scamming, should at least start to limit the abuses.  Money will continue to matter to politicians as the scale of the economy is only getting bigger and bigger, and the scope for creating loop holes also gets bigger, but the fear of exposure and public censure will definitely limit the blatancy in looting the public wealth.

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