During the UPA regime, India often made it in the headlines because of ministers involved in corruption. The situation was such that even the Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was angry on Manmohan Singh Government and Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi as her name was dragged into CWG baton relay scam according to reports. It is not known if she discussed this issue officially with the UPA and former PM Manmohan Singh. Perhaps, the ruling party and opposition may have kept this out of public domain as it could have proved a matter of public shame. Thank God, Indians made the right decision and showed the exit to country’s self-declared royal family and their foot soldiers.
Two years of Modi Government
On 26th May 2014, Prime Minister Modi took charge of a country full of an energetic young population that was looking for someone who would offer good governance and work for country’s development. Team Modi started working on various projects immediately after taking over the office. Their first job was to change country’s negative image, and brand Modi has considerably succeeded in doing so.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA Government recently completed its two years. Study conducted by research and analysis expert Kush Sharma’s organization ‘Kulhar‘ recently pointed out that around 70 percent of promises made by the Modi Government during 2014s Lok Sabha polls are either in ‘fulfilled’ status or ‘taken up.’
Modi Government has managed to fulfill around 18 percent of promises made in their election manifesto. New farm insurance scheme, Startup India initiative, skill development mission, crowdsourcing of ideas from countrymen on policy issues, reforms in the power sector, and improving some of previous government’s programs is something that Sharma’s analysis report has tagged as positive aspects.
Out of remaining ones, 52 percent of promises are in ‘taken-up’ stage because they need large timeframe to be completed. This list also includes Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the introduction of GST that is pending in Rajya Sabha and providing broadband connectivity for every village.
Just 30 percent of promises remain completely ignored. This list includes promises like increasing number of judges, creating a national plan for maoist insurgency, and introducing special reservation for women in state Assemblies as well as Parliament.
Overall, ‘Kulhar‘has rated Modi Government as 70/100, and this sounds fair enough from common man’s point-of-view. There are several positive and negative aspects that the report fails to discuss. Corruption is one of the most important ones as this creates hurdles not just for businesses, but also for the common man in day-to-day life.
Corruption in government machinery hampering PM Modi’s initiatives as well
How is it that builders were given permits to construct residential complexes right next to chemical factories? Why is it that government employees need a year or more to simply pass one file from one cubicle to the second one?
Why is it that some nationalized banks were asking people to not to opt for Jan Dhan Yojna account in spite of government’s clear instructions to promote the same? Why it that some cops simply wash their hands by blaming victims of robbery instead of investigating cases and arresting robbers? Why is it that rape victims are forced to get court orders against cops who force them to walk away without registering their case?
The answer to all the above questions is corruption in almost every government department. Congress has ruled the country for more than 60 years, and corruption is something that nurtured under their rule.
Corruption is the element that is hampering several of Modi Government’s initiatives as well. NDA has assured fast track for various processes, but PMO or CMO officials from various states may not be able to personally get all the files passed. Foxconn may get special treatment, but local groups may have to take the same old license raj route.
Ease of doing business ratio has shown improvement since the change in regime, but industrialists and business groups still have to go through several offices consisting of babus (government employees) who use corruption as an easy way to make 3Ms (Money, Mahal, and Mercedes).
From IAS, IPS, ministry secretaries, municipal clerks, to traffic police constables, anti-corruption bureaus across the country arrest and file cases against hundreds of individuals on a daily basis. But, in spite of reading news stories about these arrests, arrogant babus sitting at various government offices won’t hesitate to ask for a bribe because that know that ACB has certain limitations as it lacks manpower. Files related to corrupt employees gather dust on them while they are kept on stands at CMs offices in various states.
“Government must take action against every employee who seeks bribe and extorts money from the common man. Government servants are seeking the 7th pay commission in spite of the fact that their parallel corruption income is equal to 70,000th pay commission. When would the government put an end to all of this? It is essential that Modi Government should treat crony capitalism like he treated foreign funding and grants of NGOs,”-says senior journalist Raju Parulekar in his recent column that highlights Modi Government’s hits and misses.
Modi Government should consider looking at Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s actions against corrupt officials
In May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari took over the country with virtually empty public coffers.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently completed his first year in office. Nigeria’s president had a huge task in front of him. He was elected by people to fight corruption in government, to improve country’s worsening economic health, to handle oil mafias’ in the oil-rich southern region, and to stop Boko Haram’s Islamic militants in country’s northern region.
Comparing Modi with Buhari may not prove to be as bad as comparing Kanhaiya with freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Modi was also elected to fight against corruption, and to improve country’s economy with good governance. The only difference between the two is that Buhari is fighting against Boko Haram and oil mafias, while PM Modi is bravely facing super rich opposition party that has billions to spend on PR firms and journalists for running defamation campaigns.
Anyway, getting back to Buhari, experts suggest that he has taken lesser steps for stopping Africa’s biggest economy from sliding further into recession. Country’s oil region grievances are becoming much more complicated. Buhari has somehow managed to keep his fight on against Boko Haram since taking over the office. But, as far as acting against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats is concerned, he deserves at least nine out of ten.
Buhari appealed to all the countries for helping him in getting corruption money back to Nigeria
Public officials, as well as politicians from Nigeria, have invested and hidden trillions of dollars in their European bank accounts. Sources suggest that these people are mostly related to Goodluck Jonathan Government, and they also own luxury homes in Paris and London.
Buhari made it in the headlines recently when he urged the World Bank to help his government in getting back $320 million owned by corrupt Nigerian leader Sani Abacha in Switzerland. The former military leader believes that his country can benefit a lot if it slowly manages to recover its corruption money with the help of international institutes. He has managed to bring back millions during last one year and has also signed a contract to bring back stolen funds from several countries, including the UAE, the US, and Switzerland.
Buhari acted against opposition party politicians, government employees, and even bank officials under his tough new anti-corruption campaign. Country’s former security adviser Sambo Dasuki is sitting in Abuja jail for his involvement in stealing $15 billion dollars from army’s budget that was supposed to be spent on the army to fight with Boko Haram under Goodluck’s leadership. He is accompanied by several service chiefs, top politicians, and government officials.
During its anti-corruption campaign, Nigerian Government has seized imported cars, jeweler, houses, and even an MRI scanner that was purchased by an official for his private clinic.
Country’s civil rights activist Kemi Okenyodo recently interacted with the BBC and shared her opinion about Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign in the country.
“I am positive about this campaign, this has to work. But I don’t think that everybody is onboard because some people have made a lot of corruption money. These people cannot watch the government cracking down on corruption right now,”-said Kemi Okenyodo.
As seen in many corruption cases within India and abroad, corrupt politicians and business groups operate with the help of banks. Same happened in Nigeria. Without worrying about anti-corruption drive’s effect on the economy, Nigerian president recently asked its financial crimes agency and central bank to investigate and find corrupt bankers who helped people transfer black money abroad.
Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank director Nnamdi Okonkwo, Sterling Bank’s chief executive Yemi Adeola, and Access Bank’s group managing director Herbert Wigwe were recently brought in for questioning. They were asked to explain about their bank’s role in helping some of their Nigerian clients spin off their black money.
NDA Government should focus on recovering black money and assets from politicians
Nigeria’s economy is definitely not as good as that of India. But still, Muhammadu Buhari has not spared anyone involved in corruption. May it be country’s former security advisor, former military leaders, opposition party leaders, or bankers; he has not left any stone unturned.After electing team Modi, Indians were expecting to witness similar steps from NDA government. But, the nation has not seen that as of now.
Instead of confiscating black money, the government decided to allow black money holders to declare their assets and carry on business as usual. Nationalized bank loan defaulters still roam free, and the RBI/ government was not even willing to disclose their names until the SC forced them to do so.
During the last two years of Modi’s rule, the nation has not seen even a single case of corruption involving any central minister. But, people definitely want corrupt UPA ministers to spend few nights in jail. People want government offices to be free from corrupt babus.
If there is no willingness to even act against corrupt bank officials (involved in scams) and industrialists, can we expect NDA government to put UPA ministers involved in scams behind the bars anytime soon?
As Dr. Swamy pointed out in one of his interviews, one senior leader in the government is misguiding everyone with wrong suggestions. Perhaps, it is time for Modi Government to change its ‘legal head’ and rope in someone like Dr. Subramanian Swamy who can easily manage to use the law book and get corrupt babus, bank officials, industrialists, former ministers from the UPA and even relatives of royal family members behind the bars.
Anti-corruption bureau in every city needs to double-up its man power and increase number of daily raids on Government offices.
Seizing corruption money, and assets purchased from corruption funds will quickly fill up public coffers, and the government won’t have to raise service tax again by adding some or the other cess to fund its public welfare programs.