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Updated: July 31, 2012 01:58 IST

How the political class has looted India

A. G. Noorani
Comment (93)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

Politicians dutifully disclose their increasing assets at each election but no questions are ever asked about how they acquired this wealth nor are any explanations provided

“Study these four men washing down the steps of this unpalatable Bombay hotel. The first pours water from a bucket, the second scratches the tiles with a twig broom, the third uses a rag to slop the dirty water down the steps into another bucket, which is held by the fourth. After they have passed, the steps are as dirty as before… They are not required to clean,” but simply to execute an assigned duty. V.S. Naipaul’s famous remarks in his early work An Area of Darkness aptly describes the sheer futility of the ritual disclosures of assets by election candidates. The media performs its duty, each time, of comparing the latest figures with the ones disclosed only a few years earlier; marvelling each time at the talent our political class has of amassing money in a short time with none to demand that they account for the dramatic increase. We have moved far from the early days of independence when Rajaji described the tribe as gentlemen without any ostensible means of livelihood who can be rounded up by any magistrate on a charge of vagrancy. At whose expense have they acquired this wealth? And to whom should it be returned?

Consider but one instance, on which judgment must be withheld till the courts pronounce on it, but which nonetheless cannot but raise a suspicious eyebrow. It is the case of that champion of the downtrodden, Ms Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had claimed that her assets increased from Rs.1 crore in 2003 to Rs.50 crore in 2007. Its affidavit in the Supreme Court talked of 96 plots, houses and orchards acquired by her and her close relatives between 1998 and 2003. The affidavit filed along with Ms Mayawati’s nomination for the Rajya Sabha a few months ago contains an estimation of her own wealth: Rs.111.64 crore.

This is by no means an unusual case. The fact that income-tax returns are so readily accepted by IT offices reflects on the officers. Prosecutions for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income are rare and the CBI’s conduct is not above suspicion. The only procedure in which the gains, prima facie unusual, have to be explained by the fortunate one is a rusty instrument. Meanwhile, like the four in Naipaul’s hotel, disclosures are made but there is no clearing.

Four-point system

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had foreseen this. K.T. Shah and H.V. Kamath proposed in the Constituent Assembly that ministers should be obligated to declare their interests, rights and properties before they assumed office. His reply in the Constituent Assembly on December 31, 1948 is strikingly relevant today. Mere disclosure was not enough. It must be part of a four-point system.

“One is this, namely, that we should require by law and by Constitution — if this provision is to be effective — not only that the Ministers should make a declaration of their assets and their liabilities at the time when they assume office, but we must also have two supplementary provisions. One is that every Minister on quitting office shall also make a declaration of his assets on the day on which he resigns, so that everybody who is interested in assessing whether the administration was corrupt or not during the tenure of his office should be able to see what increase there is in the assets of the Minister and whether that increase can be accounted for by the savings which he can make out of his salary.

“The other provision would be that if we find that a Minister’s increases in his assets on the day on which he resigns are not explainable by the normal increases due to his savings, then there must be a third provision to charge the Minister for explaining how he managed to increase his assets to an abnormal degree during that period. In my judgment, if you want to make this clause effective, then there must be three provisions as I stated. One is a declaration at the outset; second is a declaration at the end of the quitting of this office; thirdly, responsibility for explaining as to how the assets have come to be so abnormal and fourthly, declaring that to be an offence, followed up by a penalty or by a fine … the legal sanction is inadequate. Have we no other sanction at all? In my judgment, we have a better sanction for the enforcement of the purity of administration, and that is public opinion as mobilised and focussed in the Legislative Assembly.”

Ambedkar was right on the futility of mere disclosure and the inadequacy of the legal remedy. He was altogether wrong on the weight of public opinion and the capacity of legislatures to act in a non-partisan spirit in matters of corruption. But if the Election Commission can keep tabs on the election expenditure of hundreds of candidates, why cannot the tax authorities probe efficiently into the astonishing gains of at least the taller poppies? Dr. Ambedkar’s insistence on an efficacious legal sanction, neglected then, must be explored today.

Bengal, 1924

Even in 1948, when he spoke, the vice had become rampant. Truth to tell, corruption in public life was fairly widespread even before independence. On August 16, 1924, G.F. de Montmorency, private secretary to the Viceroy, sought Home Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council Sir James Crerar’s opinion on “cases of corruption” in the Bengal Council. There were “offers to pay sums” to some members “to abstain from voting in the division on Ministers’ salaries”; “actual payments” were made to some others; offers of salaried posts in the money spinning Calcutta Municipal Corporation; and regular “monthly payments to nominated members” as well. On December 2, 1926, Motilal Nehru bitterly complained to Jawaharlal that “heavy bribing of the voters was the order of the day. I am thoroughly disgusted and am now seriously thinking of retiring from public life… The Malaviya-Lala (Lajpat Rai) gang aided by Birla’s money are making frantic efforts to capture the Congress.”

The steep deterioration after Congress ministries were formed in the Provinces in 1937 is well documented in B.R. Tomlinson’s mini-classic The Indian National Congress and the Raj, based on material in the National Archives. Very many Congress candidates spent “lavishly” on their campaigns. Ministers like Syed Mahmud in Bihar were pestered with demands by Congressmen “to provide posts for them whether it is possible or not. They seem to think that I have the power to give them even Government money.”

On January 13, 1948, Gandhiji read out to a prayer meeting a letter he had received from a friend describing the mounting corruption. In 1964, the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption reported “there is widespread impression that failure of integrity is not uncommon among ministers and that some ministers, who have held office during the last sixteen years have enriched themselves illegitimately…”

Meaningless ritual

That was nearly 50 years ago. The political class continues to loot the land with yet greater abandon while dutifully disclosing its increasing assets at the time of each election. No questions asked; no answers provided. Established norms have ceased to apply. Vilasrao Deshmukh was censured by the Supreme Court and ordered to pay a fine of Rs.25,000, later increased to Rs.10 lakh. The Maharashtra Government chose to pay it, to spare the proven delinquent’s purse.

Despite their loud rancorous exchanges, political parties join hands against greater measures for accountability. In the hawala case, the Supreme Court struck down the Single Directive which required prior permission from the state even before a preliminary inquiry into charges of corruption is launched. It was reinstated by law enacted by Parliament as an amendment to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946; still the CBI’s charter. No major party dissented.

The Penal Code of 1860 and the Cr.P.C. of 1895 were enacted when there were no “Ministers.” They came much later. The sanctions provisions in the Cr.P.C. were designed to protect minions of the Raj. Today they make the government judge in its own cause if a Minister comes under a cloud. No other democracy has it. The Supreme Court will not strike it down.

Just power

Peter Oborne’s description of the situation in his book The Triumph of the Political Class is very true of our predicament today. Party differences have become blurred. Ideology, programmes and policies matter not. Power alone matters and power alone divides the parties.

It is a hark back to The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III written by the great historian Sir Lewis Namier in 1929. He demolished Macaulay’s Whig interpretation of history. The Whig-Tory clash was unreal. Changes of government were no more than reshuffles among political cliques and politicians were primarily motivated by venality and self-interest. Clashes within parties are more real than the ones between them. The start will proceed apace and all will faithfully disclose their assets to an admiring public — while India is being looted by this political class.

Of a piece with this is its clamour for privilege and special treatment — on housing, transport, by air or rail and in umpteen different ways. They aspired to be a class apart and have succeeded handsomely.

(A.G. Noorani is a lawyer and commentator. His volume, Constitutional Questions and Citizens’ Rights, was published by Oxford University Press in 2006.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

Is the following a fair picture of India today?

(1) The controlling POLITICAL PARTIES nominate anyone to be the PM
(via RS); appoint the Cabinet & other Ministers, bureaucrats and
judges to leading influential roles; choose the President and the VP.
The media report that the dynastic Political Parties rule over India
by fair means or foul, and have alleged cases of corruption pending
against them. The media also report that they exercise ABSOLUTE
CONTROL over the country by (i) subverting the Constitution,
Parliament, the Electoral System, Democratic Institutions, Democratic
Checks & Balances, the Laws (ii) forming a nexus of the legislature,
the executive and the judiciary (iii) buying up electoral votes in
many different ways using allegedly ill-gotten wealth, or political
patronage. It is also alleged that sections of the media are under the
control of political parties and used for propaganda.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 23:33 IST

A wag once said:

"I want either less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it"

Perhaps not altogether ir-relevant in the Indian context, I am afraid.

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 15:52 IST

People are the strength of any democracy. This power is being diluted by Divide and Rule technique by Indian politics. People has been divided by their religion, cast and geography. Politian’s are elected by their respective cast, religion and geography have the confidence that they will again elected upon these cards, even if they loot nations prosperity.

from:  Anuraj R
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 15:17 IST

Mr. D Mahapatra, Bribes and corruption are unfortunately extremely well entrenched in India. To use the terminology of Transparency International, in India, you see "with the law corruption" where the citizen has to pay a bribe to obtain what the law says is his right; you also see "against the law corruption" where the citizen pays a bribe to make the authorities to look the other way when he does something illegal.
You confirm my point - citizens are indeed coerced into bribing and those who
can, do so. Consequently, the poor who cant pay bribes dont get a public service
they are entitled to. Clearly, when resources are scarce, there are enough bribe
payers who are able to crowd out the poorer ones, to the glee of bribe takers.
Politicians are simply more successful Indians who get to the top of the food chain, usually by bribing to make the lawmakers look the other way.
Rent seeking behaviour does not create economic gains for society and I do not
justify or condone it.

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 13:02 IST

This article is very relevant today, especially when the only hope we are left with is a new political alternative. People seem to be worried about the future of the movement lead by Anna Hajare. Even if the movement succeeds in bringing a change in the law, it will be very much short sightedness on behalf of the Team Anna.. not to go for major overhaul in the political system.

As someone has rightly said about the present state of the politics:
"Party differences have become blurred. Ideology, programmes and policies matter not. Power alone matters and power alone divides the parties."

The Team Anna should seriously think of a political alternative as they have the ideology, programmes and policies, not to mention.. integrity, transparency and support of the people.

from:  Ganesh Pande
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 09:25 IST

Such kind of articles and responses have been periodically published without any firm
results except reflecting utmost in by-elections. People who do researches in exposing
politicians should also show the way to counter their activities by concerted ACTIONS,
otherwise these articles will be a passing cloud in everyday life of an Indian.

from:  G.V.Venugopal
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 05:56 IST

Perhaps its time to revisit the more important reasons why the political
class is looting at will and completely oblivious to the plight of the
electorate. It is time to recognise the fact that the very people that
voted these miscreants into office are themselves to blame. Politicians
are masters at playing the mind game. So long as the people vote them in
along caste lines, religious affinity, or tolerate their misdeeds simply
because they are after all "one of us", or vote them in for immediate
gratification as seen when they are showered with money during election
time, or do not believe in zero tolerance, politicians will do as they
please. On another note, the waning support for Anna Hazare is by
default empowering the politician. I rest my case.

from:  Raghunath
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 05:53 IST

It appears:
1 Problems are huge and endemic.
2 Solutions multi-faceted - legal, political, moral etc - involving
everyone in the country.
3 Many vested interests blocking any progress.
4 Need is for several action programmes to run in parallel.
5 Yet, Sponsorship or support from the stakeholders - ie the citizens
- is not readily visible!
6 Leaders to lead the programmes - at national and local level - are
essential, but not yet there in the numbers required.

Despite the daunting tasks, in the best interests of India and her
citizens, a start should be made. Every effort should be made to not
get bogged-down in a war of recriminations.

7 All well-meaning Leaders should join-hands.
8 All citizens should support the programmes to save the country for
themselves, their children and their grandchildren.
9 The media - print and electronic - have a crucial role to play in
informing and educating the public.

The tasks are long overdue - little time to lose!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 05:07 IST

Kudos to Mr Noorani. An excellent perspective of Indian Corrupt Politics!
Just as an example, in Andhra, Mr jaganmohan Reddy's assets were estimated by the CBI at about 35,000 Crores. Did the IT dept or any body bothered to find how in the world one could accumulate such an enormous amount in a matter of 4 may be 6 years when his father was the CM of the Andhra state??? The amazing thing is that every one knows these figures but why no one bothered to do any thing??? it is because the whole country is ruled by the useless people!

from:  narahari reddy
Posted on: Aug 1, 2012 at 00:28 IST

Whatever the learned author has described has been the daylight fact in India. Of course a significant number of Indians have no easy access to many of such sad state of affairs. However, now knowing fully well all these things that have become the regular stories of the day what can and must be done to wipe out/ellimate this menace in the country in next five years or a decade? Indian citizens need to ponder seriously in the interest of our future generations. While Anna Hazare has rightly to its best of abilities at this age initiated a right step in a right direction there are a large number of citizens, media and agencies criticizing the movement rather than coming forward to implement their own suggestions, if they have. It is most unfortunate in India that we have most intellectual class criticizing any possible good idea rather than demonstrating their concrete initiatives. Our politicians, law makers and bureaucrats shall never like to wipe out this cancer. Dr Amrit Patel

from:  Dr Amrit Patel
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 23:15 IST

As long as the people do not understand the potent value of their
franchise to elect a good government but eagerly wait for the offer of
money and freebies to barter their sacred votes for corrupt political
leaders whose only aim to win the elections is to amass wealth and
fatten their bank balances, there is little chance of India ever
getting rid of the corrupt political class from the mainstream of
politics. It is only the people who can root out the corrupt political
system that the country is ridden with by not succumbing to the offers
of and to pay bribes. No enactment of any law in this respect could
bring the change that the people are hoping for.

from:  T.Sathyamurthi
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 21:59 IST

First most things we Indians should learn is to stand by unity irrespective of regional feelings. Everyone need to raise voice. No one is safe in this country with these corrupted politicians ruling the country. Now may be the poor class is suffering due to inefficient policies, but one day its will reach ur door steps too. All the people should unite & need to clean India from the corrupts. We are very old civilazation & have better Knowledge than the westerns.

from:  Muthu
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 21:37 IST

Enlightening as well as self serving piece. Author quotes letter of
Motilal Nehru blaming Lajpat Rai, MM Malviya of taking money from the
Birlas to run the Congress, but doesnt mention name of Bofors Scam,
Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and how successive Congress Law ministers
worked to ensure Quatrocchi is not probed.

from:  Bhaskar Chatterjee
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 19:21 IST

Unless people are willing to change their present way of life and think seriously how they can collectively expose the corrupt from running their lives, the status quo will continue. People know what is going on but not much can be done. People can directly demand countries such as Switzerland, UAE and Mauritius to stop accepting black money deposits in their banks. If they do not agree, people can boycot travel to those countries.

from:  vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 18:22 IST

Corruption is the biggest problem in the India democracy. As a matter of fact it's the biggest problem in all democracies of the world leading to a thought whether the democratic system is good for humans or is it just made to appear so. It's a sad note that all the huge loans that India has been taking from private international banks goes down in a blackhole with people ending up paying the debt back forever.

from:  Ruhail
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 17:58 IST

India has become a slave to a cunning political and corporate class which has a mask of democracy for real dictatorship. The solution is absolute overhauling of the politics, administration and constitution. Finish the political parties. Candidates should contest election independently.

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 16:55 IST

Every nation gets the government it deserves!

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 16:09 IST

@ V.Suresh: Before saying "the ordinary man does not mind paying a
bribe" should one consider the totality of the picture?

Eg how easy or difficult is it for ordinary Indians without power and
influence to survive in Indian society today? A few days ago a baby
was denied treatment in a govt hospital and died because the father
could not pay Rs200 bribe.
It is a well-documented fact that victims acted as guards and agents
of the Nazis in the Concentration Camps. Should one blame those
victims for cooperating, or consider the role of the perpetrators of
those inhuman crimes?
Would a thoughtful man look at the factors that created the situation
whereby an Indian mother sells her wedding ring (or much worse) to pay
a bribe to have a child/husband treated? Would a just man question the
actions of the plunderers and the corrupt, who are destroying Indian
society for everyone?
I hope you are not justifying "rent seeking behaviour" (clever
economists' euphemism for looting public funds)!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 16:04 IST

Wonderful article, a big salute to the writter. This message should reach to the whole population of India, we have the technology to do that now. Enough of letting the politicians to loot public money. So many accidents are happening, people are losing their lives, people are facing unnecessary hassles, people are paying their hard earned money to pay bribe to get their work done from government. why would they ask bribe to do their duty? Isn't it shame on us to elect such corrupt politicians? Everything is possible if public join hands. Lets root out the corruption completely at any cost. Our aim is one and that is wiping out corruption, nothing should come in between.

from:  Kumar S.
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 15:47 IST

I think only CM of Tamil Nadu has been pulled up for assets
disproportionate to known sources of income. The money country spends on
it is large.
Almost 95% of our elected rulers in assembly, lok sabha, Municipalities,
etc and also office bearers of political parties fall in this category.

from:  R Vaidyanathan
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 15:27 IST

I think only the salried class are forced to pay the taxes regularly , where policital members have so much of money in swiss bank and all the banks , but what is the source in income ?
who did they mobilize their capital? are they paying taxex properly ?

hope when we get answers for theses questions, hope everything will be sorted out .

Or else use card everywhere teashop to supermarket, ultilamtely everything will be forced to accounted

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 14:22 IST

The French philosopher & lawyer, Joseph de Maistre once said "People get the
governments they deserve". The plight of India seems to validate that.

After all, if the ordinary man does not mind paying a bribe, use his connections to
jump the queue, use his caste or class to throw his weight about an indulge in rent
seeking behaviour, you cannot expect his representatives to be cut of an entirely
different cloth.

Sad, but true.

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 13:58 IST

The fact that the Indian political class has looted the country is
certainly undisputable. But the question is are they the only
culprits? It is very easy and simplistic to criminalise the political
class alone. Corruption is embedded in Indian society. It is
everywhere and practically impossible to escape. It is a system set up
by the rich and powerful to confiscate the wealth of the nation. In
this perpective it is essential to dominate the political sphere in
order to prevent any fair redistribution of wealth. Accusing
politicians alone will never be sufficient to eradicate the problem
which will be very tough to unravel. Many people benefit from
corruption and are certainly not ready to relinquish their position
and will do anything to resist changes.

from:  Gilles GEORGET
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 13:18 IST

Some people think that the solution is to introduce more punitive measures to rope in the tax evaders. With the jungle of tax laws we have today, even ordinary people can become tax evaders. The political class have learned to avoid paying taxes, and they will continue to loot the nation. With every new piece of legislation ostensibly designed to curb corruption, ordinary hard working people will find their daily harassment increasing.

from:  Dinesh
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 13:07 IST

Nice article. Well written. The constitution of India is under seige. The whole of India and all the public agencies have been reduced to a single entity which is under the complete and total control of the political organisations, who, incidentally are solely responsible for drafting newer and newer laws to protect their own interests. Its a vicious chain and the ballooning assets of active agents within these political organisations point to this grim fact. Those who lose in spectacular fashion to these flourishing political organisations are those in the fringes - the dispossessed people in the fringes - for reasons that look very attractive for the middle class citizenry. Once middle-class vets the usurping tendencies of political organisations, internal security agencies are made to turn their ammunition against rebellious people who attempt to protect their land and other assets. Its a great shame that one of the earliest civilisations prefer to perish this way.

from:  CK Raju
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 12:45 IST

Jagan Mohan Reddy, the founder of YSR Congress party declared his net
asset worth as Rs 365 crore in recent by-elections. In 2003, their asset
worth was just a few lakhs.

from:  Srihari
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 12:24 IST

The article is simply splendid. All want a changed people friendly administered India. The need of the hour for us is to unite and see that 95% of the present leaders to Parliament and Assemblies must be defeated in 2014 elections and new faces with character are elected.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 11:16 IST

Nice article! But i think its enough of saying already. We need to act. Words will not make changes. What we can do? Atleast we can support the persons who are trying to make changes- Anna Hazare and Amir Khan(to an extent).

from:  Saurabh
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 11:05 IST

The article is very aptly describing what is happenong in India for the past five decades. The glorified role of the media is also vividly described. But then again the question remains that what is really being done to overcome all these vices. I dont know if the fresh incidences relating to Team Anna's valiant efforts and the government's promises are being lived up to. It is just a matter of time before the elections will be looming again. A new government will be elected and the promises made earlier be forgotten and make way for new, fresh, greener promises that as always will just languish in pages. The common man will never rise above problems.

from:  Rahul Dalal
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 09:36 IST

A non- cooperation movement is required as was done during the Independence struggle. One way is for all citizens to withhold paying tax of which 90 per cent anyways goes into the pockets of various people. This for salaried employees is not possible since tax is deducted at source. However as a first step everyone should stay away from filing returns. The voting process doesn't help since if you have all corrupt candidates it is foolish to vote anyone in. In such cases a boycott of the vote is better.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 09:21 IST

Even if 50%of the corruption is eliminated India can be a very prosperous nation.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 08:23 IST

Waiting for Politicians to end corruption is like wolf guarding the hen house. The reported figures do not account for money stashed abroad by our political elite.

from:  Senthil Natarajan
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 07:29 IST

Added to this blatant misuse of this Scheme the State Exchequer is deprived of
huge sums of money earned by this class and other vested interests by evading
payment of taxes and resort to other unethical means which are thus stashed in
Swiss Banks. Government in spite of repeated demands both in Parliament and
outside by the Opposition parties and the general public for bringing back this
money is lukewarm in its approach and uses the ploy of Double Taxation Treaty
for its inept handling of the issue. It is for this reason that there is growing
agitation by leaders like Anna Hazare and others for the early introduction of the
general Lok Pal bill which the politicians in collusion with vested interests do their
utmost to prevent the bill from becoming a law. As long as the present
government is in power there is not the remotest possibility of the bill going
through Parliament. However, the agitation on this account should continue
relentlessly till such time as the government yields.

from:  T.S.SREENIIVASAN
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 05:45 IST

A thought-provoking article by the author. It’s a well known fact that at the time
of filing the nomination papers every politician does mention the assets in various
kinds that he possesses and the matter is left at that. But as the writer has rightly
pointed out, why no further action is being taken by the investigation agencies
regarding how those disproportionate assets have been acquired and further
action taken thereon. The answer lies in the fact that since the politicians
themselves wield the offices of power they necessarily have to turn a Nelson’s eye
on this important issue. It is also well known that the politicians are a pampered
lot and enjoy besides a fat salary various other perks such as travel, housing, free
electricity, water etc., and to top it all the infamous MP Laud scheme which enables
this class to utilize the funds thereof to serve their own ends rather than public
interest. (to be continued)

from:  T.S.SREENIIVASAN
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 05:44 IST

Words are inadequate to express the outrage. Tagore's dream as captured in his epic poem and cited by Aamar Khan in his last column has indeed turned into the worst nightmare imaginable. Shows how hollow the political class has turned the preamble to the country's constitution. We have the political class on one side and and 836 million people (in shining India) living on less than Rs. 20 a day on the other to keep the poltical class luxuriating. Clearly there is no shame in this class. No wonder people like Anna Hazare are made to twist in the wind. Unless honest ordinary folk get serious and take action to reform things not much is likely to change ever.

from:  vgupta
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 05:19 IST

Every constituency of an elected representative should form an accountability office that holds these corrupt, and useless purveyors of so-called national self interest to account. Right to recall is required. That such measure is destabilizing is a specious argument if compared to the outcomes that the country has to go through.

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 05:06 IST

Why blame only the politicians? Today in the media Anna Hazare and his team who areb
fighting against corruption are given a raw deal. Media counts the number of people who
come to listen to them and satisfies themselves that it is a small crowd. Not only that, what
the crusaders say is virtually laughed off as gibberish. Corruption,for sure, is here to stay.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 04:48 IST

The fact that the Indian political class has looted the country is
certainly undisputable. But the question is are they the only
culprits? It is very easy and simplistic to criminalise the political
class alone. Corruption is embedded in Indian society. It is
everywhere and practically impossible to escape. It is a system set up
by the rich and powerful to confiscate the wealth of the nation. In
this perpective it is essential to dominate the political sphere in
order to prevent any fair redistribution of wealth. Accusing
politicians alone will never be sufficient to eradicate the problem
which will be very tough to unravel. Many people benefit from
corruption and are certainly not ready to relinquish their position
and will do anything to resist changes.

from:  Gilles GEORGET
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 02:14 IST

A well thought out article. Regarding usage of IT dept for candidature affidavit some simple measures introduction can be done to tighten the screws. Election Commission of India (EC) can get the Representation of People Act (RPA) changed by introducing two items in it. 1) To make Mandatory for each contesting candidate and immediate family members to have filled return for atleast 3 financial years before the election in which one is contesting (even if the candidate's annual income is less than the mandatory limit wherein there is no need to file the return as per IT act, still this clause has to be introduced). Any candidate who is contesting as an MLA/MP must atleast have 3 years prior public life. Some exceptions like spouses/kids jumping into fray after a popular MLA/MP becomes unable to contest (decease or otherwise). Even that would have got covered in the immediate family members case. Contd...

from:  K G
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 01:17 IST

It is so sad, India has descended into this grotesque display of greed and disrespect
for law, or fairness.
Indian elite are looting the poor, which has never been this bad since independence.
When Mrs Gandhi ended privy purse, in late 1960s, it was a sign, even a signal for
the clever and lucky that they can't have unbridled privileges any longer. But then
the liberalization came. Redistribution of wealth and income from bottom up went
on, unchallenged, with total disregard for the constitution. The preamble says, India
as a ... SOCIALIST Republic.... But then again, so are China and North Korea, and
"Kampuchia." Only in India, the world's largest Democracy, with most number of
poor people than anywhere else, where the per capita caloric consumption went up
steadily between 1961 to 1991, but went down from 1992 onwards, the world's
most expensive $1 billion-mansion is allowed to be built! $1 billion = 1 million
housing units in Mumbai, for >5 million homeless & slum-dwellers!

from:  A.G. Alias
Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 at 00:09 IST

Union government can create a website and should make it mandatory for
all level politicians to update their accounts, every month, with
details of assets and property he/she buy. To verify it, state election
commissions, at the state level, can play their roles and at center,
ECI. Moreover, the kind of role ECI plays during elections it must do
it on daily basis.

from:  baninder rahi
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 23:55 IST

It is useless to divulge asset details if they are not used to impeach
politicians. To takeout these details from politician with niceties is a
predicament. Even if we impeach them they would be wrapped in cotton
wool by incumbents.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 23:51 IST

do not know how many meals could be provided to the children who
are in hunger (for sure they do not need many crores...)

from:  samal
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 23:29 IST

a good article but who is going to bell the cat?Many of the people who read this article do not excise their Vote and elect suitable person.
Corruption exist even during the golden period of the erstwhile Emperors but the depending upon the conviction of the Ruling class the percentage was less.It is in our hands to elect suitable persons and no point in finding fault with the existing class.

from:  R.Appathurai
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 23:16 IST

Instead of Change in whole we can make change in small . In Tamilnadu , Ask your local Municipality to computerise land records and verify with taluk Sub-register office will provide major list of tax evaders then link to bank accounts . we can do this every panchayat /muni then everything will be alright . but it takes another 10~ 15 years but atleast future generations will be in healthier state ,.

from:  Raveendran Chinnasamy
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 22:54 IST


What is the solution? How could India get rid of the dictatorship of
politicians and their special status in Indian society? Politicians
are after all human beings and human beings are instinctively
selfish and just because an individual becomes politician it
unrealistic to expect him to be a saintly overnight. When Adam Smith
observed that “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the
brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their
regard to their own interest” is equally true of politicians too.
One realistic way to reduce the corruption among politicians is
reduce the fertile ground from which corruptions springs i.e.
government run establishments. This can be done by resorting to
large scale privatization of all business. Government should confine
its role governance, defense and police. A start could be made by
denationalizing all the public bus transports which are about most
corrupt inefficient cesspool of corruption and a politician’s
delight.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 21:38 IST

Corruption has penetrated deeply in Indian culture.Even if some system is developed to check the politician, only thing which will change is ...more people will share the corrupt money..politicians can buy anyone.

Only law which can control the situation in India is to implement death penalty for corruption...it should be considered as serious as terrorism...

Terrorists kills roughly 500 people annulay...but corruption has paralyzed whole country...people are living life worst then death in India ....but nothing can be done against these politions ...after all they are the law maker and governance....

from:  Prachi
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 20:56 IST

Very well written and suggestion provided can be improved by a constitutional body otherwise It would be taken care by Anna and him team in his next agenda.

from:  Amit K Gupta
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 20:47 IST

Maybe we need to clean it up one state at a time...Anna's team needs
to start with Maharashtra (or Karnataka). He started his campaign
with creating a model Ralegaon Siddhi. Maybe he (or someone on a
similar cleanup path) can take on Pune/Mumbai/Bangalore (substitute
any major city in India) next, clean it from top to bottom & present
it to the other corrupt states. If we had more of the likes of
personally-honest folks like Manmohan Singh, Prithviraj Chavan or
Abdul Kalam and less of corrupt-to-the-core politicians like
Yedyurappa, Mayawati & Pratibha Patil, this country would truly reach
the first world status in a decade or less!

from:  Sonal
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 20:38 IST


Not only political class is corrupt and looting ndia corporate houses also are sailing in the same boat.

from:  Anil Kumar Choudhury
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 20:02 IST

Forget Lokpal bill - just implement this simple 4 rules as a law and bring in all the Government servants into it. Implement this with an iron hand - you will see corruption free India in 10 years time. Kudos to the writer.

from:  Venkataramani Viswanathan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:26 IST

Mr Noorani has presented a great article after lot of study. But the points being raised is only of academic interest. Politicians have been looting the nation shamelessly for decades and now it has become the primary purpose for most MLAs and MPs to get elected. If they want a seat they have to pay the party. All parties are into this game. The voters on the other hand are divided on caste, sub-caste, class, sub-class, language and all kinds of divisions. Corruption has seeped into the population and become a way of life. So there is no will to tackle their own representatives. Instead supporters of xyz candidate will try to emulate him/her and partake of the loot wherever possible. People like Anna Hazare will be allowed to raise the pitch on corruption upto a point "peacefully", but it is beyond them to move the divided massess. In other words there is no light at the end of the tunnel, only more darkness, so let us all join togother in looting the nation peacefully of course!

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:22 IST

Politicians are not less than parasites sucking our wealth like
voracious beings . Its high time to bring a revolution , We Indians have
once expelled East India company , now its time to kick out Corrupt
politicians. Support Anna's lokpal. Congress has been the biggest looter
of our nation. since 1947 , they have ruled India for nearly 55 years.
They have failed to provide power , water and many other basis necessity
to nation.

from:  Chandra Prakash singh.
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:20 IST

Until the dept.of enforcement become independent of ruling political
party this will continue.When it comes to eradicate corruption all
the politicians,IAS,IPS officers are in one bottle.Even our judicial
system is corrupted to an extend.No accountability that is our
biggest problem.In order to restore our govt's credibility, severe
punishment that is the only solution.Make sure this culprits go to
jail with the common criminals,and let then rotten there.UNTIL such
time we will remain in the same position for a long time.

from:  TPaul
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 19:18 IST

Very well written article, it asks the very basic question: who will guard the guard? Though a few weak measures exist CBI, CVC but they can't go beyond a line but due to centralization of power politicians accounts go unaudited. As the politician should be seen as social workers who want to give their services to the country and its people, there should be a change in constitution that a politician, whether MLA or MP, could not hold any private or govt office of profit other than the given functionaries and can't earn more than a limited amount.

from:  Tapish
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 18:48 IST

I congratulate the Hindu for publishing this great gem of an article. No names are mentioned, yet it is telling the bitter truth of the venality of our netas, irrespective of their party affiliations.

from:  Dr S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 18:37 IST

There is another classic case in Andhra Pradesh. Rather two. One is
now famous Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and the other N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy used his father to loot the country, Chandrababu
Naidu used his position. Both are equally guilty.

from:  hanmi reddy
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 18:11 IST

This is very good comments on loot of country by politician. The point that is suggested by him to check it, would be nice. Here i will add that not only the politician but Babus(IAS, PCS, IPS)also must declared their income annualy and if income is being increased astonishly should be explained by him. Politician and babus both are looting our country and no one is dare to ask, this is shame.
Media please put this matter strongly in general public and support Anna agitation.

from:  Satish K Verma
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:49 IST

Out of utter disgust, caused by the conspicuous absence of loophole-free provisions in the laws of the land to book and punish those belonging to the political class, who, misusing their official position, manage to amass enormous wealth even during the short durations of their tenure in office, A.G.Noorani has poured out his strong feelings in this regard. The facts mentioned in thought-provoking article are absolutely true and they surprise none as everyone is well aware of them. Stringent measures, as suggested by the senior lawyer with rich experience, have become an imperative need at the moment. If the situation is allowed to continue, it will prove to be an 'Open General Licence' for them to loot India.

from:  K.D.Viswanaathan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:39 IST

A good article. I donot know how many of out politicians read this. They should hang their head in shame. Likes of Mayawati, Raja, Kanimozhi and others roam around since the mechanism is not in place and they are tilted more towards the offenders. Unfortunately fresh and new faces crop up in these long list with each passing year. The young CM of UP is also going in that direction though it is premature to judge the same with certainty.

from:  jagannathan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:29 IST

Well said article. In India every part of govt organaisation wheather it is politician, police, beaurocratand and even judiciary. If a person pick pockets he gets arrested and put into jail. Where as the persons at highest levelis opely declaring their looted wealth but no body is qeuestioning them about their source of their income. The unfortunate thing in our country is some families like karunanidhi, Jayalalitha, Badals, Sharad Powar, lalu got the opertunity to loot the nation again and again but our system fail to stop them in doing so. If every front ie Election commission, CVC, CBI, Judiciary has to play pro active role to stiop the loot of the nation by politician.It will take another 25 years to see some reduction in corruption.

from:  Sakthivel
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:28 IST

It is not just enough to point fingers at politicians and find them responsible for all the
ills.

In India we have no appetite for clean life. We reward those who earn money, and all
means of amassing wealth are appreciated.

We like our daughters to get married, to boys who earn more either in India or abroad.

The swamijis,bureaucrats and politicians, support and encourage one another.
Bollywood generates a feel good factor and cricket has killed all other sports.

How many of us have moral strength to stand up to a corrupt officer and take him on?

When I was in India, I used to give tips to the income tax inspector to sign off my tax
returns as legitimate. I used to show less than 20% of my extra income. My chartered
accountant was advising me on how best to pay less in income tax.

How many of us can support Anna Hazare and his team who are taking huge personal
risks? The president of India knows a lot more about corrupt dealings than Anna
Hazare.

Anna is on the road to die

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:15 IST

The article has realy touch upon the points by which we can curb the corruption. It is very difficult to eradicate the corruption completely because all the power lies in with politician and they are the game changer.

from:  swapnil
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:14 IST

Excellent article!

Several readers have bemoaned what they described as problem statements
rather than solution prescriptions. In my opinion, solutions are as
widely known as problems. The problem in bringing about change is that
the law makers are also the ones that have most to lose. And, they'll
not make laws that hurt themselves -- unless the only way they can stay
in power is to pass such laws (e.g. Jan Lokpal). Now, fortunately for
these law makers the public is far too gullible. Aided by sold-out
media, they are able to very easily con people -- repeatedly.
Statements implying that Anna's movement has lost its way are a proof
of our gullibility.

from:  K Palaka
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 17:04 IST

@munzir : "... so we can bring young mind into stream.now this has
to be decided by young politician like rahul ghandi, akhilesh
yadav."

Extremely wrong examples of capable youths.

Akhilesh yadav had no guts to stand against khap's ruling against
love marriages. Also when he came to power his gundas killed at
least a couple of people while celebrating the victory, again he
din't have any control over them.



Please cite the right examples.

from:  Vivek Chaturvedi
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:35 IST

The politicians are corrpupt.Alright. Now what? The author adeptly
raises various arguments about the prevailing corrupt system in India
but fails to assert any immediate measure that could perhaps be taken
into consideraion. All these propositions are obselete in Indian
context. We need to look deeper. The firstv thing we need to do is to
bring people in the domocratic circle. People must get well informed
and that cannot happen overnight. Once people get well informed only
thence these corrupt practices can be constrained by implementation of
I & R ( recent article by Prashant Bhushan in The Hindu ). Until then
we should just try and put into place some pertinent media. All this
is not a digression from the original topic but a remedy that we need
to adopt to put a check against corruption.

from:  Ivanshu Gupta
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:33 IST

The editorial page article by A.G.Noorani (July30, 2012) is well intentioned and published not a minute earlier if at all, later by a long time. Possessing assets disproportionate to one’s permissible sources of income should come under ‘loot’. Assets disclosed by candidates at the time of filing of nominations is one among many instruments to assess his/her suitability to be voted for. However sufficient, verified and timely information to analyse the figures do not reach the voters, rendering disclosure of income merely a political ritual. Therefore, later, these figures shall be left to Lokayukt-like agencies to follow up and punish the culprits. Incidentally, it is not only the political class but also men of higher judiciary and top bureaucracy come within the corrupt. What is required is a common rule binding on all citizens to explain their assets at any time and facing criminal proceedings in case of failure. The rule essentially should have a retrospective effect for at least 25 years.

from:  P.R.V.Raja
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 16:01 IST

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has given the solution to this problem. He had more faith on the people. However, the people of this country have failed miserably in electing good representatives. Now it is very difficult situation because the people have lost their power of voting also. The voting machines are being tampered. It is very easy to buy polling staff to tamper voting machines than to lure voters to vote. So the people are now become real powerless. In recently conducted Pune Corporation elections, it was found that the candidate could not get his own vote due to tampering of the voting machine. There is no use of complaint as entire election machinery and Courts are purchased by the major political parties with the help of corporate people. Recently, you might have seen that the traditional ballot paper voting was conducted in a developed country like Greece. They know that the voting machine can be tampered. So our immediate task is to switch back to ballot paper based voting system.

from:  Anand B.
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:49 IST

Pranab Mukherjee refused divulge the names of the persons who have secreate bank accounts abroad. Reason is a quid pro quo. If the names are released a lot of politicians will find themselves in the pickle. Natwarlal could walk away with lakhs of rupees from SBI mimicking Mrs Gandhi. So the rape of the nation is nothing new. It has been there since 1924 (as you reported). IF we look at the political dynasties in the country like the Gandhis, Karunanidhis, Marans, Pawars and others the lineage is well trained in covering the footprints of their predecessors. What about the poor man on the road? If he can live in poverty and squalor for 60 years he has already got used to it, so why bother?
Mere Bharat Mahan.

from:  mani Sandilya
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:28 IST

(2) The civil service, the police, the judiciary are compliant and/or
complicit in the above crimes against the citizens of India
(3) The middle class, who benefit from corruption in some way, large
or small, keep silent & beaver away at amassing wealth
(4) Large sections of active or retired intelligentsia - academics,
judges, journalists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers – also keep
silent (having sold their soul to “greed”?)
(5) The vast majority of ordinary citizens feel helpless and acquiesce
(i) the poor/illiterate are divided along community/caste lines and
bought off by the Politicians (ii) the educated grin and bear it just
like the poor citizens.

The INDIAN MIDDLE CLASS & INTELLEIGENTSIA APPEAR OBLIVIOUS to the
danger that one day, when the majority can’t tolerate any more,
society could plunge into anarchy & destruction – putting at risk “the
accumulated wealth and privileged lifestyle” of these groups –
illegally acquired or not - as world history repeatedly records!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:17 IST

Those political class, who have been and who are, enjoying the fruits of a corrupt system is
not in any big hurry to change the existing system to become famous and to please the
people in the street they see as 'peasants'! It is those people they call the 'peasants' are the
ones to organize locally and nationally as civic bodies against corruption and demand for
required and urgent changes. It has to be a well thought out and disiplined action with
passion but not with emotion! With the social media and mobile phones, informing and
organizing is on the finger tips of people. Are there some people who are prepared to take to
this battle against the corrupt political class and how much anyone is prepared to personally
sacrifice their resources is what matters!? The alternative is to wince and complain all one's
life and nothing changes ! Remember, they are only there because the people put them
there!!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:13 IST

Income Tax department is the most corrupt department in India. Has anyone checked the Income Tax men's income?
In my home town, they are filthy rich by collecting monthly dole from each and every middle and large establishment. My relative is running a mill and he was even ready to pay the tax due. But the auditor (these are the people who teach how to cheat) and taxmen told him to just shut up and cough up only 50% of that tax to their pocket.So, how India will become sufficient in revenue as long as these IT dept guys are in office?
Please don't you people close your eyes (as if our income tax men are saints) and then throw stones at politicians who are doing exactly the same as advised by their auditors.

from:  sonai
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:09 IST

The solution to all such problems is quite obvious. i.e. implementing
the set of policies which govern the Election Commission and
necessarily act upon the amendments across Tax laws in the country.
but the bigger concern here is the lame progress of the developments.
most of the plans and commissions are built just to look after the
situation submit their report but after that the report is never used
to reach to an effective decision in terms of amendments and policies.
in the wake of the current financial crisis and downfall in the GDP,
country is going through a rough patch GDP hovering around 6 %. If
concerted actions are not taken the crisis may further deteriorate.
globally india was seen as the rising economy few years back but at
this juncture owing to the deed of the politicians and ministers ,
policy paralysis is hampering the image of the country as a whole.
politicians need some ethical training before they join Government,
may be conscious building exercise is needed.

from:  Aksita
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:04 IST

Very thought provoking and bold article.Political corruption existed before Independence and now has spread like cancer in all political parties.Who elects leaders?Why media is silent?Where is anti corruption Department?Why courts are silent and free them by granting bail?Why not fast track courts?History tells us that invaders came time and again looted us,ruled us for centuries took away all our country's wealth but till date we do not want to be united and raise our voice against corruption.Those who dare to raise voice are silenced bySaam(power)Daam(money)Dandd(punishment)Bheyd(Recriminated.)
Even the public and media instead of support make mockery of those fighting against corruption.Public is more to be blamed than their political leaders they support blindly.

from:  Ravindra Raizada
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 14:41 IST

JanLokpal is the only viable solution.

from:  shailesh
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 14:41 IST

Millions of Indians are still deprived of basic necessities like food,
cloths, shelter,medicines and education due the loot of money allotted
for the poor by the politicians. What was the economic condition Lalu
yadav, Mulayam, Sarad yadav, Mayawati 20 years back? Now they have huge
assets. Nobody has asked from where they have accumulated huge assets?
Why political class is against Janlokpal bill? The answer is obvious.
The political class of India has no character and morality like
N.D.Tiwari.

from:  Radha Krishna Kumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 11:37 IST

very good article, but i am agree with previous post that what is solution. i think people are only solution we should take bold step and vote out those i mean all currupt politician and promote young non-currupt political leader, at grass root people accept money for vote then later just shout for their right for next five year. in many area people bycot election for their right this thing highlight on day of election then result come and their voice goes into drum.
we must understand this peoblem is with all parties. due to this decent people got frustrated and start saying i love my india,but it happen only in india.move to ouside india. and then brain drain occur.we know many people migrate to another country and remaining are dreaming about it. i am agree that we should also produce quality politician. so we can bring young mind into stream.now this has to be decided by young politician like rahul ghandi, akhilesh yadav.

from:  munzir
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 11:06 IST

A well and thought provoking written article by the eminent lawyer giving inside story of how some of the politicians who proclaim themselves as champions of the class, creed are ruthless in looting the country since independence. The timing of publishing this article is also equally important as the Of course, On paper UPA-II has set up committee on black money, overseas Income Tax units to curb black money, released a white paper in the august house of parliament and approved an important amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act which inter-alia says that in corruption cases involving Ministers the authority concerned (Department of Personnel) has to decide within 3 months whether or not to sanction prosecution. While the white paper is a damp squib as there are no disclosures in the white paper to make you spill that cup of coffee you may be holding in your hands and so far as the latter decision is concerned the 3 months period just remains in paper as is evident from the fact that Virbhadra Singh resigned from the council of Ministers not because of sanction for prosecution but because of judicial proclamation.
The Apex Court itself has time and again said that ‘we are constrained to observe that criminal justice system is not working in our country as it should’. Therefore, in our to change the rotten system, the first phase of measure to stem the rot to be taken on priority should include, inter-alia, (a) Ratification of UN Convention against Corruption (b) Cancellation of existing treaties in case if DTAAs and TIEAs treaties signed in the past which are impediments in taking criminal action against the Indians who have had stashed money in overseas banks over a period time is correct by taking the recourse of sovereign Parliament instead of making lame excuse that other countries will not give information if the centre reveals the names. establishment of an ‘Independent Commission against Corruption’ that will cover all shades of public servants as also people from the private sector, Charitable Organizations and NGOs (d) repealing the provisions of Section 26 of the CVC Act (e) repealing section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (f) strengthening C&AG, IPC and CRPC Act to provide more stringent punishment in economic offences and white color crimes (g) bringing suitable provision to confiscate properties including the benami property to recover the amount equivalent to misappropriation along with penalties (h) to make tax evasion a cognizable crime punishable with a jail term commensurate with the embezzled/ evaded amount (i) amending the Representation of the People’s Act to debar all charge-sheeted persons from fighting elections or from holding any office in the Government or in any registered political party (j) a comprehensive electoral reforms such as Government funding, provision to right to reject any one or all the candidates, right to caste negative vote to any one of the candidates or all the candidates, debarring the contestant from contesting future election for a limited period if the negative votes secured by him or her is more than the positive votes secured in the preceding election, fixing a tenure for contesting election by an individual, (k) judicial reforms, etc. to make the election process through ballot a meaningful exercise and true reflection of the sentiments of the electorates.

from:  ettirankandath krishandas
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 06:41 IST

A very thoughtful and thought provoking article. Only disagreeable part of this is exit of the politician when alive!! And that is where the biggest whole. Politicians moving up just don't build assets but a also brick with army of supporters which cannot be broken and a public forget their misdeeds. We have schools which have 100% pass in high school and 60% going to IIT. And from there to international companies. But have any school tried produce political leader or political party? We are taught to work hard to be engineers and doctors but not taught to fight for our basic rights but say what can I do? If we could produce a army of public who are ready to challenge these leaders and make ministers not returning to power after 10 years than we can dream about a realistic destination free of corruption. Because we should not forget their mistakes but forget them!! And if they bring big changes appreciate them not stick to them.

from:  marudah
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 06:33 IST

The truth is that corruption is more endemic today than in the past. Transparency
International also links corruption to power - 'the abuse of entrusted power for
private gain'. The political class of India has become too tactful and more cunning in abusing power for personal gains. Individual ministers won't have much difficulty in declaring their wealth. Because, their ill gotten wealth is passed on to benamis. Mr. M. Karunanidhi, before the 2006 elections declared that his total worth was Rs.24.6 crores. Ms. Jayalalitha's was Rs.24.6 crores. Do people believe them? To fight corruption, India needs a very strong government that is not at the mercy of the
coalition partners for its survival. Election manifestos of political parties must state in very specific terms how they will eradicate corruption in public offices.

from:  Sathya
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 06:09 IST

The importance attached to disclosure of one's assets is misplaced in the context of the present day world. Each individual has the right to earn his or her means of livelihood. Politicians cannot be a special specie who who would be expected to meet both ends meet from their ancestral property and serve the nation for free. A relook is required at the entire wealth acquisition structure and rightful income earned. The nation and its rulers seem to be groping in the dark finding it convenient to keep following archaic laws which serve no purpose. The clamour for disclosure of Swiss bank accounts too would fall in the same category. There is no mention of the legions of tax evaders within the country many under the garb of earnings from agriculture which continues to be a holy cow for the rulers of the day. The anomolies in the system which provide ready escape routes should be plugged with a contemporary system in tune with the world of the day.

from:  R.Vijaykumar
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 05:58 IST

If the politicians paid 20% of their hoarded money as a one-off tax(and follow it up every few years) to the Indian Government, and this money is put to good use- like infrastructure,education,health and tax relief to the middle class it will be great for the country.

from:  Nat Iyer
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 04:53 IST

What is the attraction in politics if the politicians cannot loot the treasury of the land? My only complaint is that the politicians are selling their services short to the business people. The business people make millions of times more than what they give to the politicians. Some one testified in U.S.senate that he contributed 300 K Dollars to get the license for an oil pipe line. He did not get the license. Then a senator asked would you do it again. He replied that he will double it next time. The punishment should be severe on both sides of the aisle. Nice article!

from:  KVRao
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 04:29 IST

This learned article, reflecting the anguish of the helpless intellegentia, should be
translated in all Indian languages and posters of the same should be liberally
displayed in very nook and corer of India

from:  Soundararajan Srinivasa
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 04:28 IST

Indian politicians can become rich or have become rich by pocketing the money that is earmarked for development.To say,the M.P funds of a M.P meant for development of the constituency he represents are not spent entirely for the welfare of the people of the constituency. In lieu of development, the M.P himself pockets large portion of allotted money.He submits false utilization certificate to the concerned Authority and chapter is closed accordingly.
Very simply,it can be concluded that the politicians just pocket the money which is allotted for developmental works.And there is nobody to stop it, So, drama goes on

from:  Maheswar Deka
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 04:19 IST

Ah, Starting with Mayawati again! At least she does not do double-speak. She is corrupt but she never said that she is saintly. I thought at least you will start with someone who has blue blood.

from:  Dilawar Singh
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 02:37 IST

A worthy article for every citizen to read. Copies of the article is to
be translated in all languages and circulated so that the citizen will
wake up from the deep slumber.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 02:10 IST

How could India get rid of the dictatorship of politicians and their special status in Indian society? It is the politicians who are corrupt and how could they initiate action to end corruption. The unaccountable riches of politicians is untouchable by the tax authorities because their survival is dependent on the survival of the corrupt politicians. Hence no action is being taken by tax authorities against the politicians. The riches of the politicians are growing several times the GDP. The politicians in India has formed the highest caste and this is the only caste where any other caste, religion or politician can join by choice. All other castes are determined by heridity. This new caste of politicians are untouchable by tax authorities, courts and Election Commission. The politics was the chosen profession of those who do not have any other profession or income. Now it is the profession of choice in India and the politicians become richer and faster than any other professionals.

from:  Davis K. Thanjan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 02:00 IST

What is the solution? The political class has a firm grip on power and its passed down to their children, with a staggering number of MLA's and MP's 'inheriting' constituencies. People want to bring a change, evident by the success of Anna Hazare and Amir Khan's Satyamev Jayate, but 'how' is the question. Is peaceful lokpal agitation the answer or violent revolt?
The article was a good read but pardon me for saying this that we have enough people stating the problem - we need thinkers who can engineer a solution and there will be no dearth of support from the people - as Anna Hazare's team realised (shortly before losing their coherence)

from:  Abhi
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 01:19 IST

Greta article. The mainstream media have sold their souls by not going after the culprits. The judiciary system has failed and the politicians are making a joke out of it. Just look at those pictures of malnourished children and their labours parents who have no idea who is eating their lunch - cartel of politicians and the media.

from:  GM London
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 00:57 IST

The asset of all who contest election and all public contractor must be realeaed by government through website and update it every year this may hope decrease some correption.

from:  s khan
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 00:50 IST

Very well written piece on the ineffective monitoring system we have in
our land. Democracy is indeed overrated!

from:  Manoj
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 00:36 IST

While i am not sure if IT department can go after the elected ones, but
surely the Election commission can pitch in and with the help of IT dept
enquire about a candidates source of assets become permitting him to
contest elections.

from:  sathish
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 00:36 IST
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