De-Lurking on the Net

April 30, 2012

Floundering Democracies, Growing Cynicism and the subcontinent

Filed under: Democracy,Europe,India,World — Geekay @ 5:52 pm

Jai Ho Cynicism (Victory to cynicism)

Recently, I wrote in a comment on a blog – “Nobody wants to be a cynic but one can not be optimist in a vacuum”. When I look most places across world, I do not see any optimism from any events but pessimism permeating everywhere. The very helplessness which gives birth to cynicism. It is not just in trouble spots like Syria, Bahrain etc but also in those parts where there is not much trouble as in China, Russia etc. Of course, exceptions also make occasional occurrence too like Myanmar(Burma)’s elections. Looking at the subcontinent – India, Pakistan in general one confronts more pessimism. Cynicism in that case can not be washed away. I was listening to this summary from Patrick French: Indian democracy fails on almost every count – IQ2 debate. It was pretty perfect analysis from him giving a deep insight into how Indian democracy has degenerated into farce. Pakistan’s democracy gives even more of a alarm.

Look at the falling rose petals on the head of Pakistan PM after a conviction by its own supreme court for not refusing to write a letter about corruption of its president. How brazen the conduct of this Pakistani PM is. I also looked at the struggle of Balochi people. Right towards the end of this long video on Baluchistan, there is firing squad of Pakistani army finishing off rounded up men and kids . A nice blog article by perhaps a Pakistani on minorities kidnap and conversion in Pakistan can be seen here on – Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh. One can think that Pakistan is just facing too many problems so it is not an ideal state to look up to but Indian politicians are only slightly better than Pakistan. Under pressure, they resign and also get jailed. So, they are not brazenly unashamed and only in that respect India ‘s democracy is working better as some pressure still works on Indian politicians. Now, the Anna Hazare’s agitation about enacting legislation of corruption ombudsman is long gone, the politicians are back to their game of lining up their pockets. Both the parties at helm and its opposition who is also ruling in number of states are thoroughly corrupt. All the electorate can do is guess who is less corrupt. So, the democracy in India will keep on failing because there is no prospect of an alternative for the electorate at next elections.

It is any wonder that democratic institution building is required across the world – be that in a nascent democracy like Egypt or one like India who may be 60-70 years old one. We have seen that two NGOs from USA, National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) are helping the countries like Egypt and I guess in Libya too. If these two NGOs become part of UN and start providing consultation to all democracies, then perhaps things could be better. However, the problem with most democracies is that whoever may be in Power may not be interested to bring in transparency in their systems so even if these democracy building institutes become part of UN it will not help as the politicians at helm will never use these bodies offering expertise e.g. will Putin’s Russia ever accept democratic reforms. Will the Indian leaders ever elect a legislation on corruption unless forced. So, cynicism is bound to take roots and prosper when there is no solution in sight. So, jai ho cynicism not that I wish to clamour for it.


April 1, 2012

India’s Lokpal (Corruption Ombudsman) Bill and Scare Mongering

Filed under: Democracy,India — Geekay @ 1:30 pm
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Ever since this bill was proposed and fought for by the civil society in India to curb corruption, vested interests are playing game of scare mongering. Scare mongers are saying that civil society is undermining democracy by erecting a parallel govt though this proposed bill. Mr Markandey Katzu, the retired judge who is now the chairman of press council of India, thinks that the proposed Lokpal body suggested by the civil society members could turn into a ‘Frankenstein monster’ and even double or triple corruption in the country than it currently has. It certainly paints everything unworkable. However, Mr Kumar Vishwas who is a very popular poet and civil society activist thinks totally otherwise. Here, he brushes aside the approach of Mr Katzu in this video – Kumar Viswas refutes Katju’s claim over Lokpal. But does Mr Kumar Vishwas not gloss over some valid points also raised by Mr Katzu.? It is indeed not right that this new proposed body of Lokpall will increase corruption but there is no doubt that there are problems galore on the way after the Lokpal Bill is passed. I think Kumar Vishwas along with civil society should pay heed to what Katzu is hinting at about implementation issues. Nobody knows how much genuine bribery free or honest workforce is there in the India but suppose it is only 5% of the govt machinery . In such scenario, how many cases does one can expect for investigation if the bill is implemented universally. While the law that Anna’s Team is seeking is urgently needed and must be passed without delay but it should not be implemented universally immediately after as it will bring the whole country to halt if no govt person under investigation can take any action and become suspended . Imagine good part of 95% workforce say 5 to 10% of workforce being suspended or unable to do any work at all. Some departments will have none left to work. If the bosses come under cloud and gets investigated then nothing will move in that department. So, the implementation issues can not become clear by merely passing this bill. Therefore, it should be judged first on trial basis in very selected areas around the country . The lessons from such trials should then be learnt . It can become model to assess the new funding requirement for implementation and projection of the new staffing requirement and it should also guide on the changes required in other related legislations etc to help Lokpal function properly. This will allow then to judge if this law will prove effective in curbing corruption or not. All the cases that come up for investigation will definitely need a lot of funding as  CBI personnel strength  will have to go up substantially. Also as after investigation the cases move to the Courts, and because the Indian courts are already full,  it will also mean setting up of new set of courts and that will mean again require recruitment of the court staff. Not only it is a going to be a new financial burden on state at  a massive scale but it will also guarantee that the country ‘s new focus stays on corruption alone and nothing else which can not be acceptable for a big country like India where there are multitude of issues. So, universal implementation goes out of the window. But since we are just looking for the first glimmer of hope of corruption free India, then I guess the passing of Lokpal legislation is definitely needed without delay.

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