The demonetisation of high value currency notes in the 500/1000 denomination by the Government of India has been warmly welcomed by the people but its implementation has equally been severely criticized. It means that there is nothing wrong with the policy as such. It only exposes the terribly debilitating effects of corruption, black money and extra-constitutional system of government functioning under former corrupt regime.
A corrupt government needs a corrupt “implementation” workforce. The presence, influence and power of such a parallel government had reduced the majority of the workforce into a terribly corrupt bunch of public servants. The honest public servants had been systematically marginalized and rendered pensioners in service.
The constitution of India prescribed a system of recruitment to public services through Public Service Commission at the Centre and States. But it did not provide anything for the further promotion and posting. It was left to evolution of healthy administrative practices, rules and regulations.
A parallel government rose to prominence by taking over the promotion, posting and transfer work of the government.
The Spoils System of America was not adopted by the framers of the Indian constitution thoughtfully, knowing the scope of corruption and its effect on functioning of the government inherent in such a system.
However, in reality, India slowly evolved its own version of the spoils system. Soon it became the most lucrative industry in the country. High public offices started to be entrusted to the highest bidder.
Merit and integrity, the hallmark of honest and dedicated public service was sacrificed for the loyalist breed of public servants prepared to openly indulge in corruption and misuse official authority.
Three current cases illustrate this culture vividly. The former Chief of the Indian Air Force has been arrested for corruption. The others involved in the matter are still roaming free. This arrest was almost forced by the Italian court, which convicted the bribe giver and wanted the bribe taker also to be punished similarly. In another case, a Delhi lawyer has been raided by the police and income tax authorities and Rs. 13.5 crores seized two days ago. This is in addition to 125 crore declared by him under the IDS (income disclosure scheme), which had closed on 30th September this year. In between he had been raided two more times and the total black money seized from him so far comes to Rs. 157 crores. This is just the tip of the iceberg as his bank lockers, properties and documents are yet to be accounted for. He is one of the several others whose black treasures are getting to public notice like the Chennai haul of Rs. 131.5 crores and 177 kg of gold from yet another hidden millionaire/billionaire of India.
What is more shocking in such cases is the recovery of crores of rupees in the new currency notes of Rs. 2000. Such defiance of the law and the Prime Minister’s crusade against corruption and black money speaks volumes. These cases need to be examined for the modus operandi of the parallel government, on whose behalf they have been collecting bribes and keeping it in safe vaults in specially built chambers in the premises owned by them.
They are known as middlemen, fixers, wheeler dealers, lobbyists, advocates and conduits for buying elections to parliament/state assemblies/ municipal bodies/ autonomous institutions/trade & industry organizations; financing disturbances on university campuses by paid jihadists/extremists/separatists/ on behalf of foreign agencies and local political interest groups; purveyors of hooligans for rallies against programmes like demonetization by sending currency mules to queue up before the ATMs for the TV cameras to shoot their photos & get critical bites; recruitment, promotion, posting, transfer to public services; appointments in the UNO, World Bank and other international agencies; ministers at the state or centre and even governors.
With only some bank employees acting foul in implementing it, demonetization doesn’t become a bad scheme. It is a sign of decadence of a system of governance when even the lowest in the hierarchy starts exercising the authority of the government arbitrarily and mint money in the process. Prime Minister Modi is determined to restore health to governance and all corrupt officials are going to be punished.
An honest government needs honest implementers. The Modi government needs them now. Corruption had replaced them with the most corrupt. Whatever little remained, suffered the consequences for trying to do their duty in a lawful manner.
The Modi government has not punished the corrupt demonstratively and appears hesitant to do so at the scale it is required. The replacement of the corrupt with the honest has taken too long. Compliments were showered on the banks for the success of the IDS without even knowing how much fake currency was accepted by the banks in collusion with the same brand of the corrupt who have supplied illegally even the new currency notes in crores to these black money hoarders causing untold misery to the people, bringing flak to the government and contributing to the stalling of the parliament. Corruption can do all such things and also stoke communal riots.
There is urgent need for the government to bring normalcy to banking operations much before 31st December or the parallel government wins an immoral war, revives the old corrupt regime and destroy the nation for centuries.
Prime Minister Modi will see several clandestine attempts to discredit his demonetization policy. Besides poor implementation meant to foment public discontent, shallow policy measures or schemes will be sold to him by his zealous mandarins, negating his efforts to revive public faith in good governance and ethical government.
The lottery of Rs. 1 crore for digital transactions is one such case because it plays on the greed of the most vulnerable sections of society (generally called the poor). The digitally empowered have already been using the facility and the educated understand it. The skilled (farmers, artisans, industrial labour and others) are familiar with mobile phone operations and banking . All of them have also been brought in the banking system under the Jan Dhan Yojana. It would take not more than a year before they too start using less cash and more digital transactions. There is no need to make the people greedy.
The bane of India has been greed stoked by thousands of Chit Funds (Sardha of West Bengal is a recent case) promising windfall benefits to the peasants, farmers, labour and the middle classes. Lotteries have destroyed lakhs of families and led to thousands commit suicide. Company deposits with a bit of higher interest in comparison to what banks pay has robbed even university professors along with the ordinary Indians. Mataka or gambling has killed more people than malaria. Speculation on the bourses has resulted in loss to millions of small investors. The scandals of the Mehta or Shah or their ilk keep happening with unbroken regularity.
Narendra Modi is expected to do differently- he is not permitted to play on this weakness of the poor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to prove that he believes in making the people learn how to fish rather than feed them a fish once a blue moon. Similarly Modi should entertain no suggestions to extend the deadline of 50 days he had sought from the public. It is time to produce results Prime Minister, not for slogans of the Garibi Hatao kind.