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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independance Day

Today the 15th of August 2009, the main topic of discussion is corruption. Even the Prime Minister in his address to the nation talked about it. In the official function held at Paryatan Bhawan, Janakram Advani, the Vice Chairman of the corporation caused quite a ripple when he lambasted the politicians in general for their corruption.
Is this talk of eradicating corruption fuelled only by the momentary feelings of national pride that occasions like the Independance day and Republic day generate in us indians. The 16th of August and the 27th of January are unique because the feelings generated on the previous day have totally evaporated by then and the business of corruption again takes on speed after a one day speedbreak.
This leads me to ask whether we are really serious? Or are we really mature? If everyone loots will there be anything left to share? If some people devour everything what shall happen to the common man? Or whether the common man has any right to survival?
This independance day, I am again convinced that this country is not for its countrymen. Our great nation is only for the rich, the powerful, the corrupt and the unethical. It is also meant for the manipulative, the thieves and the crooks. It is definitely not meant for the "aam aadmi".
The politician of today, who represents the society from which he has evolved is definitely a very important constituent of today's India. His primary focus is self gratification. Secondary focus is at times development, but the sincerity for the same is often not genuine. He is focussed in his efforts to help his family, friends and relatives or whosoever can give him greenbucks for his efforts. Well such focus shall definitiely take the politician places, but not the country. The country shall continue to bleed with such focussed efforts of politicians, ably assisted by a fleet of sarkari mulazims who are also thriving at the cost of the ordinary countrymen. Well there are exceptions. There are politicians, many of whom I see in my state, who are in politics for a cause, the cause of nation building and service to the society. They give hope, but they are generally in a minority. Their numbers can be counted on fingertips. Similarly we also have many honest bureaucrats who are committed to their jobs and are busy delivering. They also give hope, but both these categories are generally overwhelmed by the corrupt and inefficient class.
This brings us to the basic question of whether we should start accepting corruption as a way of life. Whether we should give up on things like integrity, values and welfare. No doubt, corruption has been accepted by the society at large, but it can never get the respect that true acceptance from the heart begets. We have evolved into a society that gloats in corrupt practices but also overtly criticizes corruption. Therefore I am convinced that corruption shall forever continue to be indulged into surreptitiously by a very large chunk of all those who really matter in the running of the nation. God bless this nation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Corruption control is quality control

Building World class infrastructure is the talk of the town. Everyone in the sarkari sector cutting across state boundaries talks about building world class infrastructure. It is akin to someone driving a dilapidated "Fiat" car talking about winning the "Grand Prix".
When shall we ever learn? Or shall we ever learn? Or Will we ever learn? Or Do we want to learn? What is the right question? The answer is "None of the above". The talk is just to impress the hoi polloi and also the "not so hoi polloi". Fortunately or unfortunately we live in a country where a mere statement is adequate to impress people, to get awards or to win elections. The tragedy is that no one is serious, cutting across state boundaries, cutting across political boundaries or cutting across bureaucratic fiefdom in improving matters including building world class infrastructure. This is and shall remain pure rhetoric.
The omnipresent cloud of corruption that has almost engulfed everyone who has a say or hand in matters relating to the state is responsible. The engulfing is so effective that even the corrupt has started blaming the system for his corruption. The corrupt individuals have lost all uneasy qualms they may have earlier had about themselves. Well they are not be blamed. The system conveniently takes all the blame.
Deal with the sarkari tantra as an ordinary citizen and then one would know the real power of the government, a government that has everything on sale, be a transfer, registering your house, an electrical connection, registering an FIR or getting a clearence for setting up an industry. I would also taste it after 10 years when I retire, But the taste shall not be real for we government servants, maintain vestiges of our power after retirement till we die.
But why this omnipresent corruption in the sarkari sector. Is the compensation provided by the job alone not enough? Obviously it is not! Probably the lack of pride in the organization one is working for leads one to seek gratification in the form of greenbucks. And the loot is really on. All rungs of governments cutting across state boundaries and political divide are partaking of the loot. Well there are exceptions of curse, but they are exceptions in the true sense of the word. And therefore new roads give up at the onset of the first monsoon, all excise departments sell excise licenses, all RTO's sell licenses and permits, all transport checkposts at the borders indulge in free loot, all property registeration offices do not register unless they are heavily bribed and so on and so on. But mind you everyone demanding and taking bribes has an excuse. He is not corrupt but is indulging in it as he has to satisfy those above. And so the loot is on. When everyone loots, will there be any bounty left behind? The answer is "No".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Air India stinks

The Air India episode stinks and anyone who cannot smell the stink has obviously contributed to the creation of the muck that caused the stink.
I wonder when shall the Indian bureaucrats and politicians realize that the primary function of the public sector in India is not, repeat not "getting milched". That the avowed aim of the public sector is serving the society and not the ministry officials and the minister in charge is a fact that needs to be realized. But keeping the feudal mindset of the indian society at large in mind, it appears extremely unlikely now or at any time in the future. Well there have been exceptions and the most notable that I experienced was during my shortlived stint as the CMD of ITDC in 2001 & 2002. The then Minister of tourism who who made me the CMD despite stiff opposition from the bureaucracy, let me totally free, while at the same time making it clear that I had his full support and backing. He not even once, during my entire tenure sought any favor from the corporation and that was one singular factor that led to a turnaround in an organization that in 2001 stinked more than the Air India of today. The Minister who followed also sought deliverance, only deliverance and nothing else and deliverance followed suit.
The major factor in the working of any corporate is its HR and anyone, particularly the CEO who does not realize it is bound to hit the dirt very soon. This concern, genuine concern for the HR coupled with a spine that is not supple and integrity, total integrity, sound common sense and guts on the part of the CEO is bound to pull even the "totally gone case" corporate out of the abyss. Unfortunately all of us from the organized services of the union have nothing but disdain for the HR and a supple spine also does not help.
Possibly they do not make CEO's with these qualities these days.
And so the stink shall continue, forever I am certain.