India 2011-Winds of change and its impact on our lives.
In India, corruption is something we all learn to live with. We have been breast-beating over the sorry state of affairs from the times India marched on a Sovereign nation. Why do I start my essay with a negative note of corruption? We need not be resigned to it or remain cynical about the issue. The economy of India was under socialist-inspired policies for an entire generation from the 1950s until the late 1980s. The economy was characterized by extensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, policies vulnerable to pervasive corruption and slow growth. License Raj was often at the core of corruption. But where are we now? The year 2011 has proved to be a watershed in the public tolerance of political corruption in India, with widespread public protests and movements led by social activists against corruption and for the return of illegal wealth stashed by politicians and businessmen in foreign banks over the six decades since independence. Political, bureaucratic, corporate and individual corruption in India are major concerns. A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 45% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully. Transparency International estimates that truckers pay US$5 billion in bribes annually. In 2010 India was ranked 87th out of 178 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks (approximately USD 1.4 trillion) in the form of black money. According to the data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India has more black money than the rest of the world combined. Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the country’s national debt.
The organizers of Dandi March II in the United States said, “the recent scams involving unimaginably big amounts of money, such as the 2G spectrum scam, are well known. It is estimated that more than trillion dollars are stashed away in foreign havens, while 80% of Indians earn less than 2$ per day and every second child is malnourished. It seems as if only the honest people are poor in India and want to get rid of their poverty by education, emigration to cities, and immigration, whereas all the corrupt ones, like Hasan Ali Khan are getting rich through scams and crime. It seems as if India is a rich country filled with poor people." Talking about data and providing factual information always goes in vain. The reality stands what an INDIVIDUAL does for it? The fact remains that the individual can certainly not shirk responsibility. For the individual is the smallest unit in this complex web of interrelationships we call 'society'. If we are all interconnected, how can a minority (or a majority, as the case might be) only be responsible for a phenomenon as widespread as corruption? The Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as the citizens' ombudsman bill, is a proposed independent anti-corruption law in India. Anti-corruption social activists proposed it as a more effective improvement to the original Lokpal bill, which is currently being proposed by the Government of India. The Jan Lokpal Bill aims to effectively deter corruption, redress grievances of citizens, and protect whistle-blowers. If made into law, the bill would create an independent ombudsman body called the Lokpal (Sanskrit: protector of the people). It would be empowered to register and investigate complaints of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats without prior government approval. In 2011, civil activist Anna Harare started a Satyagraha movement by commencing an indefinite fast in New Delhi to demand the passing of the bill. The movement attracted attention in the media, and hundreds of thousands of supporters, in part due to the organizational skills of...
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