Political corruption affects us all..............
In ways intrinsically we are accountable. We elect the politicians and political parties expecting them to act in the public interest. By electing them, we give them access to huge public resources and the power to take decisions that have an impact on our lives.
There are unlimited privileges that stem from the positions they inhabit .From here immense damage can be inflicted by politicians or parties acting out of greed. Worse is, that many of them use the service to nation to bankroll their ascent to power.
Hence it is not surprising at all that people ….. World over…. are demanding absolute probity of their political leaders.
So global is the malaise of corruption in high places that citizens in three out of four countries polled by Gallup International, spot on identified, that our political parties are the institution they perceived as most corrupt.
Party Finance and Campaign funding
Money has always been essential for political parties and candidates to contend elections. It is the fuel required to run their juggernaut.
I think most of us have total clarity in accepting that we do not oppose the political funding…..We are a democracy and willy nilly we need the Political Parties ….The rationale of anti-corruption efforts in the area of political finance is not to curtail funding, but rather to ensure that parties are properly funded from sources that are neither corrupt nor potentially corrupting, and are accountable a for their funding.
It is imperative that corruption menace is addressed….. For, it has serious potential of encouraging corrupt exchanges between Political parties and funders.
Is this the reason people are losing interest in the political process and trust in government?
While on this it is also crucial to tackle the abuse of state resources…the machinery …such as state media, staff time or use of official telephones, vehicles and offices for campaigning by incumbent parties.
Money in politics has to be restricted and somehow political parties have to be prevented from falling into the pockets of their Corporate donors.
Legislatures can try to curb the need for private funding by passing laws to provide funding or subsidised access to the media. They can also lessen the demand for money by shortening campaign periods or capping expenditures….Come to think of it, all this can be brought under the purview of the Lok Pal Bill ….
A second way of tackling corrupt party financing is to regulate the flows of money into politics.
And equally it is imperative to increase transparency of campaign finance by introducing disclosure requirements, whereby the public is informed of who gave how much to whom, for what purpose and when.
Corrupt Money Flows from Corporates on to Political System
Opportunities for purchasing influence in government are not confined to the electoral process.Lobbyists like Nira Radia and many more … stand between the public and private sectors are in an ideal position to broker corrupt transactions. It is perfectly legitimate for companies to expect access to politicians - as it is for NGOs or any other interest group. Where corruption comes into play is when an interest group or corporation gains privileged access or undue influence of policy makers, for example through offers of money or gifts.
Justice In system
The combination of immunity from prosecution and unfettered personal power underpins many of the most infamous corruption cases involving politicians…..Bofors…Fodder….Bhopal …many years ago and now…2 G…CWG … Adarsh…and more.
Immunity should only protect the office that the politician holds – not the politicians –Immunity should not be a shield against justice.Vote Corruption
One of the most blatant symptoms of political corruption is when politicians bribe voters directly. The practice – is upfront prohibited by most national legislations - but is fuelled by money that is not properly accounted for at best, from criminal sources at worst.
It is difficult to really assess how widespread the practice of vote buying is. …However the term encompasses many kinds of inducements…such as the distribution of food, clothing or public services, in addition to direct monetary exchanges.
This is the political landscape in India today….. Rampant corruption at every level…It is at this time that Anna Hazare steps on central stage at Jantar Mantar Delhi…and said It is time to stop the loot…
Is it the second fight for independence ?
Who is Anna hazare ?
Anna Hazare is one of India's well-acclaimed social activists.
A former soldier…..A non commissioned officer of the Indian army. ..He joined after the infamous China aggression in 1963 …after the mauling of the soldiers in extreme conditions.
Today Anna is well known and respected activist.
What did he do that caught the imagination of the people ?
He was instrumental in upgrading the ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi which is located in the drought prone Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state. The erstwhile barren village has metamorphosed into a unique model of rural development due to its effective water conservation methods, which made the villagers self-sufficient. Earlier, the same village witnessed alcoholism, utter poverty and migration to urban slums. Inspired by Hazare’s unique approach of salvaging a hopeless village, the state government has implemented the `Model Village’ scheme as part of its official strategy. Hazare is now synonymous with rural development in India.
From a tenacious soldier… A NCO in ASC he went on to be a social reformer, and a Right to
· Anna Hazare’s journey of four decades has been unprecedented in terms of a non-violent
yet effective campaigns
· Resurrecting a barren village into an `ideal village”… A model ,
· Empowering the faceless citizen through pioneering work on Right to Information.
· His efforts to empower grampanchayats,
· Protect efficient government officers from frequent transfers and fight against
· The red tapism in government offices have also received accolades.
His tryst with the army came when many Indian soldiers became martyrs in the Indo-China War of 1962 and the Government of India had appealed to young Indians to join the Indian army. Being passionate about patriotism, he promptly responded to the appeal and joined the Indian Army in 1963. During his 15-year tenure as a soldier, he was posted to several states like Sikkim, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh and Ladakh and braved challenging weathers.
At times, Hazare used to be frustrated with life and wondered about the very existence of human life. His mind yearned to look out for a solution to this simple and basic question. His frustration reached the peak level and at one particular moment, he also contemplated suicide. For this, he had also penned a two page essay on why he ants to live no more. wanted to die ….Fortunately for him, inspiration came from the most unexpected quarters
Swami Vivekananda’s book and immediately bought it.