Is there a need for another social movement against corruption from Anna Hazare?

Anna Hazare, anti-corruption crusader, during his release after spending three days at a prison in New Delhi; Photo:

Results for studies conducted by Transparency International and CMS India have once again put corruption issue under the spotlight. 

When it comes to dealing with corruption, even some of the Bhartiya Janta Party’s supporters would agree that there is a disconnect between what the party had promised before Lok Sabha polls and what it has been doing after winning the same.

The nation heard a lot of statements from BJP leaders who hold significant positions in the government. But, the sincerity to deal with corruption is still missing. A SIT was formed to deal with black money holders who have accounts with Swiss banks only after a push from the SC to do so. The committee has not shown any fruitful results or disclosures as of now.

Now, results of studies conducted by Transparency International and CMS India have once again put corruption issue under the spotlight.  Even social activist Anna Hazare has declared that he will come out on the street against the government in March next year.

Hazare’s letters remain unanswered:

Demonetization hit the economy badly and utterly failed to tackle corruption. It won’t be wrong to claim that the Modi Government has been unable to make any credible efforts to reduce fraud in the government machinery. In fact, many BJP ruled states tried to pass laws that offered protection to corrupt government servants.

Rajasthan Government went one step further and passed an undemocratic ordinance making it mandatory for journalists and police to take permission from the government before investigating or reporting about public servants involved in corruption. The Prime Minister often talks about corruption free India, and CM Vasundhara Raje probably thought that restricting reporters from reporting about corruption would help in portraying Rajasthan as a corruption-free state.

“Dr. Singh’s government had already weakened Lokpal. Now, Modi Government further diluted it by amending Section 44. Due to this, relatives of government officials do not have to share the details of the properties that they own. Both, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the concerned Amendment Bill quickly, without any discussion. On the other hand, five anti-corruption related bills are pending since the last five years, but no one is interested in passing them. I did not speak much during the last three years and gave the time to the government to act, now, I will speak against them,” said the 80-year-old social activist Anna Hazare.

During the last 22 years, more than 12 lakh farmers have committed suicide in India. BJP promised to bring farmer-friendly policies. But the party did nothing after coming to power. Anna also said that the government has not even bothered to answer even one out of his 32 letters sent to the prime minister.

He pointed out that the Modi Government has amended the Lokpal Act to weaken it even further. Thus, he has planned to start his agitation from March 23, 2018, in Delhi. The protest aims to urge PM Modi to look into farmers’ plight and focus on acting against the corrupt.

It’s excruciatingly painful to see BJP supporters and leaders rejecting Anna’s claims about corruption. These are the same people who supported Hazare’s agitation back in 2010-11. Even RSS activists in some cities had joined the IAC movement.

Transparency international’s stats managed to embarrass the government:

Results for a recently conducted study by Transparency International suggested that India is the most corrupt nation on the Asian continent.

As far as bribery rate is concerned, India is ahead of Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam according to the list released by Forbes magazine. Bribery rate in our country has been rated as 69 percent.

Respondents of the survey shared their opinion that they had to pay a bribe while availing public services of police, hospitals, utility services, schools and also while availing ID documents. Out of these, 54 percent people said they had to pay a bribe to the police at some point.

Surprisingly, even in spite of the need to pay a bribe for getting their job done, 53 percent of the participants said they were happy with PM Modi’s work.

Maharashtra is most corrupt according to the NCRB:

National Crime Records Bureau’s data suggests that Maharashtra is the most corrupt state since the last three years. Out of the total corruption cases registered in 2016, 22.9 percent of them were from Maharashtra.

Out of Maharashtra’s 1,016 cases, 14 of them were related to criminal misconduct, 17 of them for holding were disproportionate assets, and 985 were trap cases in which government servants were trapped accepting bribes.

We interacted with Mumbai Police’s anti-corruption crusader, Constable Sunil Toke on this issue. Here’s what he had to say.

“I have filed multiple petitions in the Mumbai HC and given several suggestions to the government in the past. From my overall experience, I wish to point out that the Modi Government, as well as certain BJP ruled states are not doing much to reduce farmers’ suicides. This government not only supports corrupt bureaucrats but also offers them lucrative posts. Thus, I completely support Anna Hazare’s decision to start agitation,” said Sunil Toke, who is often referred as Mumbai’s anti-corruption crusader.

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“Maharashtra Government stands in support of its corrupt bureaucrats. Maharashtra’s “Cash for transfer” scam happened right under the Chief Minister’s nose.  I have also recently exposed how some police officials and bureaucrats facing corruption charges are occupying important posts for several years in Mumbai Police as well as the DGP office.  Take Mumbai’s Additional Commissioner-R. D. Shinde as an example. He is facing multiple cases and was transferred to Gadchiroli by the Congress-NCP regime, but this government brought him back and made him in charge of the Department of Surveillance and Security. There are many such examples, now, what else can I say?”

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As far as Transparency International’s survey is concerned, they have exposed the bitter truth. No matter if it’s an employee from the education department, civil hospital, revenue department, police force, ministerial staff or IAS officers, the common man has to pay a bribe to get his job done at most places today. In some cities, one has to pay a bribe to get death certificate as well. The condition is set to worsen, said Toke.