I am taking about India without taking names.
The economist prime minister and his government saturated with articulate, rich lawyers who have no understanding of the popular mood of the nation, have been suggesting very innovative (almost bordering to stupidity) ways of taking the country to a higher growth trajectory.
They argue for an extra leverage, almost immunity, for corrupt corporate to carry out scams with the partnership of government. That will allow them to pocket public money, the managers in the government--bureaucrats and politicians--will get the facilitation fee, this would also ensure a growth trajectory of 10 percent plus per annum.
If we punish the corrupt industrialists for committing frauds and scams, and dump them in jails, and not allow them special home cooked food, it will send, understandably so, a wrong message to the business community that the laws are meant to be followed. This would vitiate the economic environment and make India a not so preferred destination for future investments. That would be a suicide given the growing economic might of China next door.
One minister, again a lawyer, advised the Supreme Court of India--which is supervising various corruption cases, one of them a multi-billion dollar telecom scam where soon prime minister’s office along with home minister might come under scrutiny for their role as facilitators—to understand the larger picture: overlook scams involving industrialists in the larger interest of healthy economic growth of the country.
The other argument put forward by this government for their poor show is greater transparency that the working of the government is subjected to actually hampers its functioning and is therefore counterproductive. Earlier, the government functioned peacefully without the fear of favors extended to certain client corporate getting exposed. Their dealings in public money were shrouded in mystery. The opaqueness in the functioning of the government ensured a safe environment to carry out corrupt dealings. And whenever questioned about something that was prima-facie fishy, just these couple of words uttered in defense: official secret!
Thanks to RTI or Right to Information Act (which is the gift of this very government to the nation in their previous avatar) can make their secret dealings, files noting and opinions public. The so-called public servants (are no more master custodian of information) do not feel secure enough to express their opinion simply because it is no more a secret. And, thus, in effect they can be held accountable. They are so shit scared to be held accountable that they prefer not to make any noting on a file at all, the functioning of the government is thus paralyzed.
The message is clear, options available are limited, the people of India have to choose between these two: no governance at all or corrupt governance. As clean governance is a notional concept, it does not exist in real life.
Corruption cannot be eliminated, we have heard a thousand times. But, for sure, it can be made a less safe crime. RTI and judicial activism, with a lot of qualifications, have done well in this regard. Lokpal has the potential to do wonders by actually making corruption a risky preposition. But, according to government, Lokpal with both the teeth and ability to bite is unconstitutional. Is corruption a fundamental right?
The arguments and justifications of the government infested by lawyers who make enormous wealth doing corporate litigation, perhaps are paid to make this argument, try makes us believe that like inflation, bit of corruption is good for the economic growth. It lubricates the growth cycle by providing extra personal incentives. What if it is a crime? These additional incentives to select corporate allow them to milk economy, make them rich beyond reason, and also ensure ten percent growth.
This government has no business to be in power. But alas! they still have the numbers in the Parliament. And that is what matters. But for how long?