Arrest Corruption

The arrest of the present UPA Government’s former Telecom Minister A. Raja in one of India’s biggest ever corruption probes, the 2G telecom scam is significant in more ways than one. While the BJP and other opposition parties may describe the arrest of A Raja as “too little too late”, nevertheless the CBI’s move to arrest the former Telecom Minister needs to be appreciated. Even though skeptics may abound on the future course of action as far as the 2G scam probe goes, the fact of the matter is that a person in the rank of a top politician and former Union Cabinet Minister is now facing corruption charges. All of us know that such arrest is rare. As one news paper report put it: “It is rare for a senior political figure who left the government just 10 weeks ago to be arrested”. It is also being reported that in six decades (60 years), only one senior Indian politician at the national level, Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh, has been convicted of graft and served a jail term -- for taking a bribe back in 1949. And as per record, A. Raja is the second central ex-minister, after Sukh Ram (another former Communication Minister), to be arrested in the past 15 years. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren was the only serving minister to be held during this period, although his case was related to murder. A country known for its corruption, the government system needs to revamp in order to tackle this menace. Whether it is the CBI or the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), both need to be strengthened if we are to improve our institutional mechanism to fight corruption. The three organs of the government—the executive, legislature and judiciary—must perform its due role of keeping a check on the abuse of power whether by any of the three wings of government. In this regard, the crusading role of the Supreme Court needs to be applauded. In fact if it had not been for the judiciary, the political executive would in all probability have found its way to hijack the system to its own benefits.
To fight corruption from the top it will require more than just action plan/s. If administrative reforms committees or anti-corruption action plans alone would determine the outcome, India would have by now won the battle against corruption. For many decades now the country has contemplated on bringing about systemic change to our State and Polity. Even the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has come out with such high sounding powerful names such as the Zero Tolerance Action Plan to check corruption. However all this has failed because we do not have leaders who are bold enough to address the issue. Our bureaucracy and political establishment speak about reforms but they do not have the political will to do the needful. In recent weeks and months the present UPA government has announced several initiatives to be taken up such as fast tracking corruption cases, transparency in procurement, etc. However we doubt whether anything meaningful can be achieved from these initial start off. To remind, the UPA government had set up the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) to revamp the country’s public administrative system. Nothing tangible has come out despite the fact that the committee has already submitted its report. This is the true face of reform in India i.e. high on rhetoric but low on results.