August 24, 2011 is likely to become a historic day for the nation. Anna Hazare’s health has started worrying the nation! Prayers and Good Wishes for his health have increased. Yesterday Dr Man Mohan Singh gave the first signal of his improved political vision on the corruption issue. Indications are that the government has decided to see reason and agree to the public demand for a strong Lokpal Bill. The day is likely to see a satisfactory resolution of an avoidable conflict! If that is done, it will mark the first step towards transparency in governance , worthy of great nations like India.
Let us remember that Anna is not asking for any annuity, pension, pay or any booty from the government for himself or any of his relations. The great soul has no family. He is doing what the government or the parliament should have done on their own. He is only sensitizing them towards their moral, political, constitutional and legislative duty. For this, an old man at the age of 74 has to sit on a fast? He enters the 9th day of his fast at this age!! He represents the disgruntlement, anger and hopelessness of the masses, who have suffered more at the hands of the corrupt system in just 64 years than in the entire history of India. The whole nation stands firmly in support of Anna and his movement. The opponents are those who have accumulated enormous assets through corrupting the system than honest earning. They have grown so shameless that they file income and assets returns with the Election Commission of India, which is not even 1% of their total but hidden assets or black money safely stashed away in foreign banks or complex maze of companies! If democracy doesn’t even agree to such impersonal demand, why should it be our option? A peaceful non violent movement on Mahatma Gandhi’s principles is the best constructive programme to set the governance in order in the country. The other option is only violent armed struggle. The government having realized the significance of the movement in national interest has done well to take the necessary steps to resolve the crisis, has made the right moves.
The so called lower bureaucracy has been so misused by the political class that it is practically the government. Let the government be not misled into believing that the lower bureaucracy is harmless. On the contrary, they are the tyranny of the system, the dictatorship of the system, the agent of oppression of the masses and the extorters of all kinds of illegal gratification. They have direct communication links with the executive! Seeing their approach, the corrupt and sold out senior bureaucracy has come to humour the lower bureaucracy. Would you believe that the senior bureaucracy takes the help of the lower bureaucracy in their own service matters like posting, promotion, foreign assignment and re-employment. Even awards like civilian, military or police honours are not spared by this corrupt system. The height was when the ManMohanSingh cabinet was decided outside the political jurisdiction of the PM and allocation of portfolio too similarly decided, as is public knowledge under the infamous disclosure of the Radia tapes! The lower functionaries are victims of the corrupt practices of the higher bureaucracy and ministers, who find it convenient and safe to deal with. How else should the MLA/MP/Minister know each and every official at every critical post, starting from the police station to the passport office? The PM should not hesitate even a bit to include the lower bureaucracy in the Lokpal Bill as demanded by Anna Hazare.
In so far as the demand for citizens charter is concerned, it has been successfully done and time limits for disposal of work too had been laid down. It definitely brought order in chaos and transparency in a stinking system. Without going into detail, I invite the reader to please spare some time to read my book “Aarthik Sudharon Ka Sutradhar Rajiv Gandhi” published on this site , at least as a case study, because it is an authentic account of the prevailing climate at that time. Had time limits been our habit in official conduct, Anna’s demands for Jan Lokpal Bill would not have taken so long to meet!
I have already expressed myself in favour of the Jan Lokpal Bill. I would again urge the PM to withdraw today the official Lokpal Bill and introduce the new Lokpal (Anna’s Jan Lokpal) Bill with refinement of legislative drafting. Since I know from personal experience that we are capable of delivering when we decide, I assure that the new Bill can be placed before the cabinet before 1200 hours today and can be introduced in the Lok Sabha by the afternoon. The prescribed exercise can be gone through in a couple of days and the legislation can be put on the statute book before the parliament adjourns sine die. The government wins. The people win. Our Anna is happy his contribution has helped fulfill the people’s aspirations.
If this opportunity is missed, God alone can guarantee a peaceful India. In the event of that unfortunate situation developing, the day will make a different history!