Thursday, June 09, 2011

Protecting the Corrupt

During the past few weeks, the UPA government has been making a grand display of its incompetence. Faced with mounting public anger over the issue of corruption and black-money it seems have really lost it. Here are some excepts from the press that reflect my own frustration and angst:

* Editorial, BusinessLine (2011). DO PEOPLE MATTER? The Hindu BusinessLine, 8 June 2011
- The main takeaway for the people is that this government will go to any lengths to protect the corrupt. The mistakes have been well chronicled but it is the ingenuous arguments that now stand out. One is that groups of well meaning citizens cannot be allowed to hijack legislative agenda; the other is that the RSS is behind the anti-corruption movement.
- The first argument - that citizens should not drive the legislative agenda - is intellectually identical to what colonial and Soviet style authoritarian governments tend to use: we know what's good for you... This is sheer effrontery.
- It is the Congress party that has created the National Advisory Committee (NAC), chaired by its President. If it is fine for the (unelected members of) NAC to recommend legislation, why is it not all right for Anna Hazare and Ramdev to do likewise? As Shekesphere said, it is surely a tangled web they weave when they seek to deceive.

* Raghavan, B.S (2011). WILL, NOT MAGIC WAND, IS NEEDED. OpEd The Hindu BusinessLine, 8 June 2011
- All we are getting...from Dr. Singh is alibis and excuses: His helplessness because of coalition compulsions, the imperative need to adhere to legal niceties, the inadvisability of second-guessing ongoing investigations and court proceedings, the inability to take action on allegations pending proof to the hilt; the difficulty in dealing with foreign governments in regard to black money.
- Dr. Singh bends over backwards not to hurt perpetrators of serious crimes but is so very quick in unleashing the Delhi police...on peacefully sleeping men, women and children who had come to join the fight against corruption and black money.

* Mehta, Bhanu Pratap (2011). SECOND TIME AS FARCE. Indian Express, 8 JUne 2011
- The UPA government continues to defy all norms of rationality, morality, commonsense and good judgement. These days it is difficult to make sense of what the government is thinking, if it is thinking at all. But on every measure, the midnight raid on Baba Ramdev and his supporters was an act of wilful perversity. The government may have thought its raid was a show of authority. Instead it made the state look like a set of thuggish weaklings: conducting raids on peaceful congregations in the middle of the night.
- The Congress started with cravenness, then descended to impunity. Then it made the mistake of treating citizens like idiots.
- First, no one claims responsibility for anything (“the party had nothing to do with it”)...Second, there is the consistent threat to use state power to intimidate opponents...Third, there is constant dissimulation. Ramdev is a legitimate interlocutor one minute, he is Satan the next...Fourth, there is the old RSS canard...Fifth, the Congress simply does not get it. Its core problem is a crisis of credibility.What is it about the Congress party that repeatedly produces an intellectual culture that turns intelligent people into self-destructive political animals? It has performed the miracle of turning a moment of great hope for India into a moment of political despair.

* Editorial (2011). THE UPA's POLITICAL BANKRUPTCY. The Hindu, 6 June 2011
- India's black & dirty money...has been analyzed powerfully in Nicholas Shaxson's book, Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World (The Bodley Head, London, 2011)
- Beleaguered by a multitude of corruption scandals dominated by the 2G-spectrum allocation, (the UPA) has earned the reputation of being the most corrupt dispensation independent India has seen.

* Varadarajan, Siddharth (2011). A WEAKNESS BORN OF BAD INTENT. The Hindu, 6 June 2011
- Corruption was an integral part of the "license-permit raj" of Nehruvian socialism. But it has grown into frightening proportions in our liberalized free market economy.
- The case of a Delhi Minister, Raj Kumar Chauhan, who sought to interfere with tax inspectors even as they conducted a raid at the premises of a private establishment. A complaint filed by a senior IAS officer, Jala Shrivastava...and indicted by Justice Sarin. But nothing was done by the UPA government...The protection afforded to the Delhi minister...shows the extent to which the "system" is programmed to circle its wagons at the first signs of trouble.

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