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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Government with a difference!

The difference has started showing within two days. For the first time in the history of the republic, we have a Prime Minister who plays on the front foot, who has clarity on the direction the country should take and the measures that would need to be taken to propel the nation towards prosperity and development.

Inviting the heads of SAARC nations for the historic swearing in served twin purposes – first to convey  the message that the country wants good relations with its neighbors and second that India is emerging into a nation that cannot be messed around with. Our heads swell with pride at the bold assertion of the nation’s sovereignty and self respect.

The setting up of a special investigation team for bringing back black money stashed in safe havens abroad clearly shows the will of the new government to eradicate corrupt practices. The missive in the form of an advisory to the members of his cabinet to abstain from nepotism in all their dealings and also not to splurge on improving offices and residences is akin to long awaited music to the ears. 

His message is loud and clear. Gone are the days when we had a reactive chief executive, we are now in an era where the top guy knows what needs to be achieved, how it needs to be achieved and believes that the conduct of those in the business of governance has to be exemplary and above board. The conduct of the government in the first two days gives me ample confidence that the slogan “Acche din aane wale hain” was not merely an exercise in creating a feel good factor.

I am absolutely certain that the message would also have traveled right across the bureaucratic spectrum and would be giving shivers in the spine of the corrupt, especially those who were brazenly indulging in corrupt practices and also exploitation of the government machinery for their personal gains. Yet fixing the bureaucrats would indeed be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack given the chameleon like traits that are widely prevalent in this tribe. Most of the tainted bureaucrats would have already dumped their old masters and would be busy attempting to attach themselves to the new guy in the chair.

The last ten years in the life of this nation displayed the worst that is possible to showcase in the arena of governance. The series of scams – with CWG taking the cake for brazen corruption and accompanied by the likes of 2G, 3G, Coalgate, Railgate, Chara and Adarsh to name a few had jolted the collective conscience of the nation. Open corruption at apex levels inspired the hoi polloi also to partake of the loot whenever they found an opportunity. It is indeed sad that our nation had emerged as an entity where each and every single interaction of the ruler and the ruled was invariably laced with graft. Apparently the book on ethics was thrown out of the window at the first opportunity.

Corruption is an issue, the biggest issue that now stares at this nation, yet it is merely a symptom of a much deeper malaise in governance, in the complexity of our decision making and contractual processes. Why a system designed for the british to rule over Indians is being continued even after sixty seven years of self rule, I wonder? The large number of thumb impressions that are required both for decision making as well as contracting provide a convenient shroud for the corrupt as well as the waster, and unless this realization dawns in, the republic would never get cleansed of this malaise.

Yet for the first time, we the people of India have great expectations, that have a fair chance of being realized and therein lies the ray of hope, the first ray of a rising sun that has started falling on this land, mercifully.

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