FAQ: Why Anna Hazare is wrong and Lok Pal a bad idea

Don’t fall for the miracle cure that is being offered. Corruption must be fought differently and it’s not easy.

1. Is Lok Pal is necessary to fight corruption?
No, not only is it unnecessary, it will make the problem worse. Corruption in India arises because of too much government, too many rules, too much complexity and too much ambiguity. Adding one more, huge, powerful layer to an already complex system will make the system even more complicated. Complexity creates the incentives for corruption–both on the part of the bribe giver and the bribe taker.

See my article on why Jan Lok Pal is no solution and Amba Salelkar’s article in Pragati.

1A. Is the government’s version of the Lok Pal bill better?
No. We don’t need a Lok Pal at all. Making existing constitutional institutions—like CAG, CVC, CBI and the Election Commission—more independent will serve the purpose equally well. If we have been unable to prevent the politicisation and undermining of these instutitions why would we be able to prevent the Lok Pal from being politicised and undermined? If we can prevent Lok Pal from being politicised and undermined, why can’t we restore the independence and credibility of CAG, CVC, CBI and the Election Commission?

2. What’s the alternative to Lok Pal then?

The alternative is to proceed with second-generation reforms, or Reforms 2.0. Contrary to conventional wisdom reforms have reduced corruption, albeit by moving it to higher up the government. In 1989 an ordinary person would have to pay a bribe to get a telephone connection. By 2005, there was no need to pay a bribe at all and anyone could get a phone in minutes. Yes, 2010 saw the 2G scam in telecoms, but that was because the UPA government reversed the reform process.

In fact, data show that perceptions of corruption are lower in some sectors of the economy, usually those that have been liberalised.

If you are interested in exploring real alternatives, you can start by reading Atanu Dey’s slim, easily readable and inexpensive new book, “Transforming India”.

3. Doesn’t Hong Kong have an Ombudsman and doesn’t it enjoy low corruption?

This is a specious argument. There is little evidence to prove that Hong Kong has low corruption because it has an Ombudsman. On the contrary, there is empirical evidence from across the world suggesting that countries with high economic freedom are perceived to suffer from less corruption.

Hong Kong is one of the freest economies of the world, and therefore, incentives for government officials to be corrupt are relatively low. The Ombudsman is useful to address the residual corruption in economic sectors and in sectors like law enforcement that do not have discretionary powers over economic sectors.

4. How can we have economic reforms if the corrupt politicians don’t allow it?
We have not really demanded them at all, actually. If we did, they are bound to register in the national political agenda. We should persuade politicians that their political future is linked to implementing economic reforms.


5. Easy to say, but how can we do this?

By voting. The constituencies that stand to benefit from economic reforms—the middle class—needs to vote in larger numbers. In the absence of the middle class vote base, politicians appease the poor by giving handouts and entitlements, and cater to the super rich by allowing the crony sector to exploit the half-reformed economy. It’s not easy, and we have to be innovative. See for instance, Atanu Dey’s interesting idea to form middle-class vote banks to induce good governance.

Whatever may be the claims made by the people promoting Lok Pal, there is no miracle solution. They are peddling miracle weight-loss pills. Sadly, such pills usually don’t work and can cause severe damage to your health. If you are cautioned not to take those pills, you can’t ask “which other miracle weight-loss pill do you recommend”? The answer is in diet and exercise, which is hard work.

6. In the meantime, what’s wrong with Jan Lok Pal?
This question has already been answered above, but it’s usual to encounter it again at this stage. The problem with Jan Lok Pal is that it’ll make the problem worse. Does anyone seriously think we can hire tens of thousands of absolutely honest officials who will constitute the Lok Pal? Who will keep watch on them? Maybe we need a Super Lok Pal, and then a Hyper Lok Pal to watch over the Super Lok Pal and so on…This isn’t sarcasm, this is the logical extension of the Lok Pal argument.

7. Don’t we have the right to protest peacefully? Why do you say that a fast-until-death lacks legitimacy?
Of course we have the right to protest peacefully. But it’s not about whether we have the right or not. It’s about are we using that right wisely. (You have the freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to blast Eminem using a loudspeaker at 2am in a residential district.)

As Ambedkar said while introducing the Constitution in November 1949, once the Constitution came into force, we should avoid all non-constitutional methods like protests and satyagraha, for they are the grammar of anarchy. If two persons go on fasts until death for two opposing reasons, we cannot decide the issue by allowing one person to die first.

Fast until death is political blackmail. It is a form of theatre engaged in to coerce the government into doing something that the agitators want. Whatever may be the cause, a single person cannot be allowed to dictate laws to the whole nation.

8. Doesn’t Anna Hazare have the right to fast until death?
Anna Hazare has the right to protest peacefully. However to the extent that his actions amount to an attempt to commit suicide, they are illegal. The government can legitimately prevent him from killing himself whatsoever the reason he might have to attempt suicide.

9. You are an armchair intellectual. Shouldn’t we trust activists more?
Pilots don’t design aircraft. Practicing doctors don’t discover new drugs and treatments. These jobs are usually done by armchair intellectuals. So being an armchair intellectual is not a disqualification.

You shouldn’t trust intellectuals or activists because of what they are. You should examine their arguments and make your own judgement. Most of the people supporting Lok Pal have not examined what the proposal is, have not tried to consider opposing arguments and blindly accept it as a solution because some famous people said so.

11. Aren’t those who oppose Anna Hazare’s agitation supporting the corrupt politicians?
No. It takes an enormous amount of arrogance to claim that Anna Hazare and his supporters have the exclusive hold on the right way to fight corruption.

In the real world, it is foolish to expect 100% clean and non-corrupt politicians. The real world challenge is to achieve good governance with imperfect constitutions, imperfect institutions, imperfect leaders and imperfect citizens. This requires us to realise that individuals respond to incentives. If we remove incentives for taking or giving bribes, then corruption will be lowered. We can reduce incentives for corruption by following through with the reforms that started in 1991 but have stalled since 2004.

It is entirely possible to oppose the UPA government’s politics and policies, while recognising that it is the legitimately constituted government of the country. Individuals and parties might suffer from a legitimacy deficit because of flagrant corruption, but the Government of India as an institution remains the legitimate authority to make policy decisions for the whole nation.

12. Why is fasting illegitimate when Mahatma Gandhi used it in our struggle for independence from the British?
There is a huge difference in context between 26th January 1950 when the Constitution of India came into force and the time before it.

Mahatma Gandhi used civil disobedience against laws imposed on India by the British government. Indians had no say in how the laws were made and how they were implemented. Indians could not repeal laws we didn’t want. Civil disobedience was justified in this context.

Gandhi also used it to coerce Indian nationalist leaders too, including Ambedkar and the Indian National Congress, into accepting his views. Whatever might be the wisdom of Gandhi’s intentions, this was undemocratic and created a culture of ‘high command’ that lives on to this day. Fasting was not justified in this context. This part of Gandhi receives little attention in the dominant narrative of Indian history.

With the formation of the Republic of India on 26 January 1950, things changed profoundly. All Indians have a say in how laws are made and how they are implemented. We can amend or repeal laws that we do not like. There is, of course, a method to do this, which must be followed. These are the constitutional methods that Ambedkar referred to in his grammar of anarchy speech. When constitutional methods are available, there is no case for non-constitutional methods like satyagraha or hunger strikes.

There is thus no equivalence between Gandhi’s satyagraha against the British ruling us and Mr Hazare’s hunger strikes against we ruling ourselves.

Update: Read this FAQ in Kannada, at Vasant Shetty’s blog. Read it in Hindi, via Milind Bhate on INI BroadMind.

NOTE (August 18th, 2011, 3pm): Comments from first-timer & those who use abusive language are held up for moderation. A large number of responses are in the moderation queue. It might take a couple of days for me to go through the queue, so if your comment has not appeared, please bear with me. All comments made in a civil manner will be published.

534 thoughts on “FAQ: Why Anna Hazare is wrong and Lok Pal a bad idea”

  1. As the writer stated, there are too many laws to prevent corruption and act against corruption. The problem is on the person who is implementing it. So, to get that right, you need HONEST people. Honest people cannot be created, It should be in their system. It should be habitual. It should start from their home even before kinder garden. When PEOPLE are not felt being dishonest about jumping a red signal, jumping a queue, bribing the TTE for a train ticket, and how would these people teach their children about honest?. Is these are a big crime to jump a red signal? No, but this erases the conscious within us and allows us to go for big things.

    Why there are so many supporters for Annaji? Because every one is fed-up with the magnitude of corruption. Why now?, why not 10 years earlier? Because, 10 years earlier the officials demanded less money which we can afford, but now they are asking for too much.

    So, in-effect, we all accept corruption if it is within our affordability and cry foul when it is not.

    Who started corruption, We the PEOPLE. If the first person did not offer some money to break law, How on the world an officer going to ask the second person.

    What we can do about corruption.
    Since Anna Hazare having a big followers across India, Why not he start a Non-Bribers movement. Ask all their supporters to take a oath not to pay bribe to any one for any thing. Campaign and get more people join your movement. If not today, but eventually corruption will be stopped.

    Why don’t he do that. Why don’t he start that from his constituency, his State, and show the progress to rest of India. We will follow him

  2. I agree with you completely. The LP or JLP will never solve anything, freeing the economy and minimizing government control is the answer. I offer a parallel: I worked for three years in a company that had over a 100 employees, and it didn’t have an attendance register or a leave record. The MD of the company used to say – I employ responsible people, and I don’t want to be a school master. The system worked well while I was there, and I think it continues to work, as that company has grown much bigger over time.

    1. As, an economics student, i ve a say here… its cos of our large domestic market, d financial crises didn’t dent our economy to a great extent since d past many years. Making a free market will no doubt, improve d existing system, n may benefit d non agricultural workers for a short term. But in d state of financial crises, even we will suffer very badly, if v r an export oriented economy like some European Countries. So, this is d flip side of being a “free market economy”. There r better ways to make our country corruption free & prosperous.

  3. Neat.

    But think it from the point of view of the poorest of the poor. How much would it mean to them.

    Their lives will go on, as usual. But, the satisfaction that the oppresser’s could be nabbed, and prosecuted, will probably allay their fears.

    Neat, I said, for people with words, but futile for the countless, who can’t read this post.

  4. Very good points.

    However, I do not think the Jan Lokpal is adding any complicated laws to the already existing laws. The laws to do business still remains the same. It is a law to check the corruption, when these same laws are misused.

    I also support that there should be more reforms and the sectors has to be opened up to see that the corruption is going down. But how is that going to tackle the corruption in day to day process, in making passport, getting ration card, traffic police. Not every sector can be reformed.

    No one is saying, that Jan LokPal will stop the corruption completely. It is a big step forward. We need many more steps to fix corruption.

  5. this one is a good article but it has got no effect on those idiots who are supporting anna hazare, the thing is that lokpal is not going to eradicate bottom level corrutpion which is related to us the common people….i cud see many people here disagreeing with this article but its not their fault,,actually indians are too emotional and they feel that some bill cud prevent from corruption ( abil of whioch they even dont have knowledge abt)

  6. I respect your opinion. May be you are right about reform2.0 but I think that also not sufficient.
    .
    regarding your point that who will monitor or check the members of jan-lokpall bill, so i want you to that there is criteria in it that if found any member corrupt you can raise complaint against it directly to supreme court and that member will be out of Lokpall commitee within 5 days.
    .
    for more details you can watch Anna Hazare in Apki Adaalat show @ Zee news(easily available on youtube)
    Anna and Arvind Kejriwal had cleared all doubts and justified the jan-lokpall bill.
    .
    Mudda sahi hai..Virodh karne ka tarika bhi sahi hai…
    to galat kya hai…
    .
    I am with Annaa…

  7. Am Not agree with this article because if the current system in INDIA is good then why corruption is here?

    You can see along with this article the advertisement of other books are also there. Why they are posting this not able to understand.

    If you check the Lok Pal Bill which was presented by Government then you got to know that there is no way to stop the corruption because in that government forget to mention that if anyone do the money scam then he will face the punishment but what about the money they forget to mention this in their LOK PAL bill. He/ She will simple come outside after the few month imprisonment and enjoy the money……

    Mr. Rahul Gandhi did the protest in Bhatta Parsol (Noida) where is the constitution at time time nobody from the government took any action against him why????????
    And if ANNA Hazare doing the same then whole goverenment come in front and against his protest why??????? DO U HAVE ANY ANSWER OF THIS….

    For your information there was only 1 Lac Crore scam when British ruled out from INDIA.
    But within 64 years of freedom our corrupt people did 1456 Lacs crore scam…….

    See the BILL Which was presented by govt. and which is proposed by civil society.

    Existing LOK PAL BILL Presented By Government

    1. No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government. Before starting investigation or initiating prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.

    2. No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.

    3. No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges.

    4. Nowhere to go – People expose corruption but no action is taken on their complaints.

    5. There is so much corruption within CBI and vigilance departments. Their functioning is so secret that it encourages corruption within these agencies.

    6. Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of anti-corruption agencies.

    7. Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complaint to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.

    8. Nothing in law to recover ill gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.

    9. Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years.

    LOK PAL BILL Proposed by civil society

    1. Lokpal at centre and Lokayukta at state level will be independent bodies. ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission. Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year. Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.

    2. Lokpal and Lokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged into Lokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.

    3. Lokpal & Lokayukta shall have powers to investigate and prosecute any judge without needing anyone’s permission.

    4. Lokpal & Lokayukta will have to enquire into and hear every complaint.

    5. All investigations in Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be transparent. After completion of investigation, all case records shall be open to public. Complaint against any staff of Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be enquired and punishment announced within two months.

    6. Politicians will have absolutely no say in selections of Chairperson and members of Lokpal & Lokayukta. Selections will take place through a transparent and public participatory process.

    7. Lokpal & Lokayukta will get public grievances resolved in time bound manner, impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay to be deducted from the salary of guilty officer and award that amount as compensation to the aggrieved citizen.

    8. Loss caused to the government due to corruptionwill be recovered from all accused.

    9. Enhanced punishment – The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

    NOW you tell are they (CIVIL SOCIETY) WRONG???????????????????

    1. The author is not trying to say that the current Indian System is right in every sense. He’s just trying to say that we need a radical change through other means. Each & every Indian is against corruption. But different people have different ways to fight it. Please don’t mistake the author.

  8. For every action there could be many ways of interpretation and resolutions.

    It does not mean that this resolution is good. It is madness to allow corruption and the way suggested in this article will FIRST KILL THE PEOPLE then it can be implemented.

    At some point of time a stick is need to resolve issue. No logic works.

    Keep these ideas to your self, we do not need it.

  9. Why these author didn’t take the initiatives before ? It is well known that One of our prime minister quantified the amount of cooruption in central fund distribution in 1987 but even after 23 years nonbody took initiative to stop corruption. As per the author more reforms will reduce the corruption but at the same time it will also increase the discrepeancy . No law are perfect and it evolves with time. So lets support the current anticorruption movement.

    1. Even the Jan Lokpal Bill will not set things right over night. It takes a while to bring changes in a huge diversified country like. People should become more responsible more than anything.

  10. Like other article this article has also some good and some bad judgemnt.
    Good One’s :-
    1. De-politiciation of various body’s such as CBI, CVC, CAG etc.
    2. Complete Voting. Everbody need to vote.
    3. Avoid fasting/ anshan as sole medium.

    Bad One’s
    1. Practically Complete voting is impossible as u said complete corruption is not remove by Janlokpal.
    2. And if voting happen then in many cases voting is forced by candidates.
    3. In most of the cases we have to choose one least corrupted out of many.
    4. If various bodies such as CBI, CVC, CAG etc. work with intreset of individual then this type of protests did not happen.

    We want each officer/ employee and legislative members must be answerable

  11. Hi All,

    Lets assume I agree with your argument we dont need any Lokpal. Its ok, but did you try to understand, that the people out are not only in favour of Lokpal, they all are against corruption. You are blaming the middle class, which is mostly involved in accumulating a better bread and butter. People before Anna protest were hopeless about the ending of coruption, because CBI, CVC, Lokayukt, Election Commission all are part of government system, and they are equally corrupt.

    People out are against corruption, they want a stringent action or law against corruption. This corruption can be of any type, for everybody its in different form. For a tribal person, its land acquisition and dragging its family to poverty is corruption, daily wagers not getting there complete daily wage is a corruption, Military person’s family not getting there actual right and support after its death at war is corruption, murdering a RTI activist is corruption. Move forward you will found that much of corruption, and all are joined to a big root of corruption,
    ” The Parliament”. “Loktanrt ka Mandir, ab Brastachar ke Jad” ban gaya hai.

    If you dont want any lokpal, ask government to come forward with a altername solution which is equally effective and stringent, which is very unlikely (example is Govt version of Lokpal)beacuse they are equally involved in this corruption.People outside are aginst govt willingness to curb corruption. They are more against govt, rather than with Anna.

    Why not government opening the names of people having account in swiss bank, because it had names of people, on whom Birthday and death anniversary they spend crores of tax payers money, for which they didn’t have any justification.

  12. The root cause of Corruption in this country is in the Donations given by Industrialist to Political Parties..! This donation is nothing but the BIG BRIBE to get things done by whatever possible ways..!

    All Political Parties and their expenses should be brought under CAG..!
    Publish Name of Industries who gives bog donations to these parties or NGOs of Politicians..!
    Don’t Purchase and trade with such industries..! and see the changes…!!
    We want 585 Anna for 585 MPs to keep an eye on their unrelaistic election promises..!!

    Corruption started from People themselves..!
    Poor People support Corrupt Politicians by giving Bulk of Votes to Legalize their Illegal encroachments and other illegal things..!
    Rich people support Corrupt Politicians to get things done faster by giving Bunch of Money..!!

  13. Lokpal is necessary , now no reverse turn now , after this bill is pass we should listen to all different ideas and necessary amendment for better regulation cane be done. There will be no clean person who can fight with this corrupt politician and Anna with tremendous will power is doing so we need to support him ,stop discouraging people wither do it yourself or accept the Anna way, we cant accept lying down scam worth 1000crore , 5000 cr , 16000 cr and so on , all other method of fighting corruption will take long time and we are not having time now. Just imagine a small child going 5 kms for water for his familiy this is what these politician has given to us after 54 years of inedependence. I am astonished how people simply say that Anna method is wrong when you dont have solution and will power . ANNA IS RIGHT .

  14. The authors be asked what solution (s) they have for the scams that have no ends under the very nose of the Prime Minister and other Ministers and not excluding the supreme power of the democracy. Man in the street knew but the Prime Minister was not aware. You question judicial activism and public activism where you wish to lead us to and believe you and your logic. When somebody questions the money stashed in Swiss Banks you are reminded that the Country is a party to the declaration against corruption. Why enter into agreement that has no meaning when you say that transactions after 2011 be subject to enquiry and question. What do you want to lead us to believe. While there may be many Hasan Alis in the business circle but there are no less in the political and bureaucratic circle.Government is blind so are these people to the demands of the man in the street.

  15. Hi,

    You mentioned that the liberalized economy / open economy will carved the corruption from this country. you have given a example of Telecom industry. then I like to ask you why this is not applicable in real estate market. it is open, liberalized. no Govt operations. all private players, still everyone knows its most corrupt market. all those including builders, agents, officials are corrupt & ruined the life of common man. there is no such law to punish these kind of people. they continue to do corruption. then answer how to stop it. in present system we can not do anything. there is a law to sell flat on carpet area, how many builders do so. law for not to sell parking ,who honor it?
    please answer these questions and proved that no need of lokpal or such kind of system in this country.

  16. I totally agree with what you say. Creating yet another body is not going to solve the issue plaguing the country. It will only create another body which can misuse/ abuse its powers. We need a stronger system to punish the offenders & set them up as an example. And I strongly advocate we need educated politicians – not uneducated gundas to lead the country

  17. awesome article! logical views! nice analysis!
    perfectly written to make common people understand what they are doing by supporting Mr. Anna Hazare.
    Jan Lokpal Bill is surely gonna be a Frankenstein monster if gets implemented.
    Wants to know the name of this armchair intellectual who have written this. So, sir/mam do oblige me with your name if possible.
    thank you!

  18. I absolutely agree with the Content of this page.

    I think Anna is useless and he cannot erase corrution by not eating.

    The best way to reduce Corruption (If not remove) are these 2 simple steps.

    1) Give a Chance to Indians to declare the Black money before 6 months and collect 2% Tax over it.

    2) Ban 100, 500 and 1000 Rupee note.

    Thank you.

  19. Corruption is a moral issue than a leagel issue. See how cleverly the anticorruption movement has been used subtly for subverting the parliamentary procedures. There is a anticorruption bill being tabled in the Parliamment. Debate it, change it, reject it, bring new. All stakeholders should allow that to happen. The Anti-corruption cruseders tit appears are not open to this idea. I have seen school children being paraded in support of the anti-corruption movement. Ask the management how much donations (in the name of various fee facility etc.) did they take for giving admission to their schools. This is the farcical side of what is happening today on the street.

  20. Corruption is a moral issue than a leagel issue. See how cleverly the anticorruption movement has been used subtly for subverting the parliamentary procedures. There is a anticorruption bill being tabled in the Parliamment. Debate it, change it, reject it, bring new. All stakeholders should allow that to happen. The Anti-corruption cruseders it appears are not open to this idea. I have seen school children being paraded in support of the anti-corruption movement. Ask the management how much donations (in the name of various fee facility etc.) do they take for giving admission in their schools. This is the farcical side of what is happening today on the street.

  21. yes i am in complete agreement with the authur.
    introduction of one more bill or act will not ensure us that there will be zero corruption. if it did so then in india we have almost laws and acts for all thing and in has the provisons for punishment and penalty.
    in india we have a problem of having too many laws which are toothless.

    what we require is continuation of reforms like the author has cited the example of telephone there are several others.

    inequality in distribution of wealth and inadequate reforms are main resaons for courrption.

    if we have come on top of the courrption the fight has to begin withinone self. stop doing and getting favour.
    first try to reform onself and then the society will itself get rid of this evil.if you cant change our self we should worring about others.

  22. We dont need LOKPAL…. If the people who are on street now want to curb corruption really, the corruption would not be there now if they all stop indulging in corruption…(paying bribe at signals, paying more than meter for autos,etc. in those cases for them the comfort is required than moral.) Corruption is byproduct of bad-governance. But now we are concentrating on by product whereas we should be infact heal the root cause first….

  23. I just wonder about the state of affairs in India, With all the intelligent people migrating out of India, A virtual Brain Drain, and the elections are sort of managed, cash for vote and and on the top of it fractured mandate by voters, tends to increase corruption, by taking assistance in govt. formation from petty political parties with no nationalist view.in bartering key ministeries to its allies.
    Money has remained in the forefront for political class, because they have learnt that if u have money, u can buy votes and remain in power.And wooing the minorities, Dalits,tend to devide the country. And there are no real issues, on which voting is done, It is the caste, creed,or religion, which is at the helm of affairs.
    Anna is right or wrong,I donot want to fall into discussions,it may be a matter of debate, and still parliament is still discussing.But Anna is the product of the dictastorship kind of behaviour of the ruling alliance.Where the opposition is not consulted on the real issues, rather they invite civil society members for discussion for Lokpal.It is just mockery of the parliamentary democracy by the ruling alliance. And the derogatory remarks by the the party spokesman about everybody who opposes them is an uncivilised manner of treatment for the people of the country..And hence the people`s support to real issue, which the political class is unable to address.is the key word, which have emerged out of this crusade.At least people have awakened and rose to the occasion, and discuss the real issues, which concerns their day today life.The govt. is not interested in reforms,because that will simplify the things and they will not get the cuts in the govt. spending., Which is the sole attraction of their coming to the politics.Politics has become a dirty word, and no person of sense will ever enter into it.So let us make stricter punishment for the wrong doers, thatis what the janlokpal bill is meant for. And automatically, the reforms will be forthcoming, when the political class would fear of the wrong doing,They will be totally exposed. So That way I think that Anna kind of crusades are necessary in this country, to take out this country out of shackles of corruption.
    If the people themselves can dictate the govt. to form certain legislation,Which otherwise, irrespective of any party in the center, All are same as far as governance is concerned.Becaulse “absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.”It is first time in the history of India, People has shown solidarity with a cause which is not at all on agenda of any political party.Because corruption is the sole benefit and reward of to be in politics, and got elected for five years.And once elected, they are acting indifferantly towards peoples woes.I hate those people, who talk that they are helpless in stopping corruption., including ruling parties PM.Let us frame one rule, hang them till death, for the traitors of the public.

  24. Hay.. NIce article… At least it has to be appreciated that reasoning is the base for your stand. I partially agree to the fact that a new Law cannot turn around things. However it is really time for someone to take some step… Anna has put the first step ahead in this direction….. Lokpal is not the main outcome of this episode. I really would love to see a strong messgae passed to government that people will not keep quite every time….

    If you believe in revolution, then yes we need people with complete selflessness to come together and use the wepon of fear to change things but that is highly impractical for present world…. What we can expect is only an evolution and what Anna has done here is a first step….

    It would be great if our base attitude of getting used to situation changes and we start questioning things to bring a steady evolution….

    Hope this doesn’t end up being another “political drama”

  25. Please dont quote Dr. Ambedkar. When he said that particular sentence, he didnt realize that people like you and the babus would be in existence.
    You and the politicians of this country are mistakes and they need to be corrected.

    About too much laws and regulations, its time to consolidate them, someone has to do it but nobody is allowing, so this I guess should be the first step.

  26. If I have read it right, no where anna said that this lokpal bill will remove the corruption 100%… it just stated that it can be reduced! So what’s the harm in that demand. If government is right, den why can’t they just pass the bill. I belive there is something wrong that’s why government is not ready to accept it!!!

  27. 1. No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government. Before starting investigation or prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.
    but
    Lokpal at centre and Lokayukta at state level will be independent bodies. ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission. Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year.Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.

  28. 2. No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.

    but

    Lokpal and Lokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged into Lokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.

  29. what will the LOKPAL bill do if multiple people will keep a watch on them, more than 90% of the people who are supporting ANNA do not even know what LOKPAL bill is. They dont even know that ANNA’s team is fighting for LOKPAL bill and not corruption. ANNA is a mere public figure and all the planning is being led by the ‘so called’ 4 social activists.Another bill is not an answer to eradicate corruption. As Sanjay rightly said lets see how people can come together and work for a cause (led by the Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal etc) rather than protesting on the streets….

  30. We definitely need privatisation. But pvt will not finish the role of govt. It’ll be there as a regulator and there will be scope of corruption. There has to be system to make it accountable. Example : Power distribution in delhi has been privatised, however BSES has raised charges exorbitantly and state they are making loses, they sold of delhi’s electricity and claimed shortage in supply. When DERC objected it was overruled by Sheila. People are struggling against this. Question : When you pay taxes , why do should you skip office to struggle against corruption. Why can’ there be an independent authority of Govt which will look into this ?

  31. How can you say
    Anna, The Great man is wrong.. you should think 100 times before putting this statement on web. People are not fool, they know whats right and whats wrong. Can you tell me why people accross the
    world supporting Anna………

  32. hong kong is listed as one of d most corrupt city states in asia
    d only reason it doesnt get any flak is bcoz its a chinese SAR now and china doesnt wash its dirty laundry in public

  33. I would not say that I am not appreciating! But a BILL passed would not be enough! It would not be enough to eradicate corruption at every level which I have seen in some parts of the country!
    Moreover, I am not interested as to why THIS Govt would not allow the bill to be passed! ANY Government would have done the same! None of the parties would have politicians who are not corrupted! Moreover, for sure it is about the renowned politicians that would work wonder! What about the base level corruption? How long would it take to remove them? It is not about idealism and take a leisurely pace to SOLVE such things!
    We have to give DONATIONS to let our children admitted to famous schools!! How many politicians are involved in the process? If we consider that LOKPAL bill would recognize the apolitically recognized peoples doing corruption, we can better frame another MEGHDUTAM as well!

  34. Dear Author

    My first & final question to you: Are you an aide of Manish Tiwari or Digvijay Singh?

  35. Hi,

    These are my exact views. I am really glad that someone has very similar views and has expressed them out so clearly (which I should admit, I could not do this perfectly).

    Thanks for writing such a great article. It makes me feel happy that someone out there has similar views like those I have (though it is a very small minority). Atleast I am not the only one trying to explain most of the people about the other side of this whole ‘Anna Hazare circus”.

    Thanks a lot!!!

  36. Hello,

    U r right in each and every argument of yours. But this movement is a first of a kind in the country and it’s just brilliant. There are two many committees which is suppose to monitor corruption and all have failed. This too can fail and infact will not be entirely successful. Hence civil society has to be a part of this committee too even after the bill has passed, just like rti where activist shailesh Gandhi now heads. Also, we have tried putting up our own clean candidate in elections but lost miserably. I don’t have the patience to see change coming at a slow place. This is pretty much dictatorship but it’s compassionate enough. As long as the intentions are good, it’s all good. And of course this is not the end. We need such movements every three months so bring about crucial changes so that a number of issues can be covered before the next general elections 3 yrs from now. Let people power prevail for the next three years! Doesn’t matter if things go wrong…nothin is rite anyways!

  37. I am agree with you all ideal proposel , but since 65 year this is happening , country never think very seriously on curruption, and now one man united maximum indian in the curruption issue this is great sign. and he is honest man who never did any things for his life more then country. ideal alwsy work in paper. so lets do in real , now every one giving they own ideal opinion, but in real no one come forward. now u can implement any ideal for curruption , because ANNA ji made proper ground and people is ready to clean socity from curruption , so you cant say this is wrong way, yes may be there is some nigative things , but the aim and thought is right . or inteligent people will write ideal on paper and sit at home.

  38. Notice how we encourage our children to lie and cheat ?
    What do u expect of a morally bankrupt unethical society.
    Look at what serials are on television, what advertising is around us and the movies Bollywood produces? They give us what we want!
    The government will tread cautiously if they know they will get their butts kicked , but they know we will sit at home quietly.
    We get the goverenance we vote( in this case dont vote)for!
    Sic!!!!!!

  39. I respect Nitin Pai’s democratic right of freedom of expression however; I do believe that his insight of the underlying issues and his arguments on how and who should lead this fight are incorrect and therefore would politely ask him to refrain from spreading confusion. The way this debate is shaping up, I believe, one can either support it or keep quiet about it else you end up (being perceived as) supporting corruption. I am not denying the fact that we have other avenues to choose in our fight against corruption. Who is stopping one from employing them? Using Nitin Pai’s own argument, how can he be sure that his other recommendations will succeed? On the other hand, we know that the current system lacks metal to fight corruption. Therefore, why not support a system (i.e. Jan Lokpal Bill) which, besides including civil society in to decision making, uses fear to keep things in control? If the Judicial judgment process in developed world can have Jury members from civil society, what is the harm in having Jan Lokpal bill? And going by Indian history and human psychology, fear can and has been employed by many civilizations and society to improve systems and living conditions. I firmly believe that the fear of “getting caught and then punished” would go a long way in bringing down corruption in India.

  40. Going through the reactions to the brilliantly articulated narration, I could not help thinking that the essentially Indian trait ,of willingly getting conditioned by our cultural attitudes,beliefs and affiliations, do necessarily influence our ability to rationalise. We should be really worrying about the spectacle of INDIA going behind a well meaning pied piper who innocently carry our children away into a world of imaginary magic pill solutions instead of destroying the rats of corruption. Let us promote real public participation by reasoning rather than following pied pipers, however lovable they are!

  41. Is this propaganda supposed to pass off for a critique? Privatisation cures corruption, but just in a definitional sense. :-/ Appropriation of everything to pvt sector leaves no scope of corruption by govt offiials… Even if pvt institutes, operatives, etc. continue demanding ‘donations’, it is no longer punishable as it is not defined at ‘corruption’. Liberalisation is a great way of institutionalising veiled corruption.

  42. People are tired of corrupted politicians ruining our nation. This is the only issue that has got the attention of the civilians. Till before it was “who-the-hell-cares, kuch nahi hoga” attitute. Lokpal or no Lokpal, people do believe something can be done. Thats what is important.

  43. In 1989 an ordinary person would have to pay a bribe to get a telephone connection. By 2005, there was no need to pay a bribe at all and anyone could get a phone in minutes.

    *** There was no mobile phones in 1989, in 2005 :-??
    The bribe is to get the new facilities…. not like your example….

  44. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” And this thread does not disappoint.

    Even so, the article seems overly ideological to me. Take this, for example: “Corruption in India arises because of too much government, too many rules, too much complexity and too much ambiguity.”

    Really? Is the Indian tax code more complex than the American tax code? (It is simpler by an order of magnitude.) Is there any ambiguity at all in how much we need to pay for imports, and what the rules for buying and selling land are? You quote the recent 2G scam, which should have been a straightforward government auction, like one of those held in dozens of countries; instead, it turned into a huge scam. Maybe there is some dastardly ambiguity in the law that lets politicians patronize ganglords using the wealth illegally acquired through corruption? Not that I’m aware of, at least.

    There is much less corruption in China, which is as socialist as they come, and much less corruption in the US, which the closest you can get to pure capitalism today — so it seems facetious to argue that corruption is correlated with economic openness.

    In trying to provide evidence for this point of view, you show a correlation between transparency and economic freedom. There are two problems with this: first, transparency is not the opposite of corruption, though one could argue that they are correlated. Second, as you point out yourself, correlation is not causation, so I wonder why you feel justified in making this argument at all. Just to be clear, greater economic freedom is generally a good thing (though not always) but there’s no evidence it will remove corruption from India.

    Speaking of transparency, you might know that the 2005 Right To Information act was also passed largely through activism: maybe sometimes the ends justify the means?

    But even if your analysis of corruption is flawed, that doesn’t mean your points against Hazare’s actions are wrong. However, in a representative democracy your argument — “if you don’t like something, go and vote against it” — comes with a few caveats. The ones relevant here are called “barrier to entry” and “monopoly”, surely terms you are familiar with. Money is a huge barrier to politics, one that has been erected partly because of the monopoly of politicians who have jumped over the same barrier using corruption, and partly because of human nature. This ensures that corruption is inevitable unless — as is the case in other countries — being found corrupt is the kiss of death for your political career. Since all or most candidates are corrupt, you can hardly expect anti-corruption laws to come from the govt, no matter which way the people vote. It’s not that it’s impossible, but it’s easier, structurally, to vote into power people who would commit genocide and then go scott free than to elect people who would work against corruption. And every Indian knows this.

    And, “Why not just make the CBI independent and powerful and trustworthy?” This suggests to me that you have not read even the wikipedia article of the lokpal bill. The lokpal would do exactly that, since a large portion of the lokpal would actually be the CBI’s anti-corruption branch.

    Ultimately, though, you are right. The lokpal will not end all corruption. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It will do far more good than harm.

  45. u r looking frustrated with the system of the government, but model of the government is the same in any country. Besides that we need to make it more fruitful than putting up with these kinds of illogical explanations. Simply speaking, no one will get impressed with ur points, it seems to be more complex than the current turmoilation ….

  46. “Corruption must be fought differently and it’s not easy.” – What is the “different” solution then?
    —————————
    “Corruption in India arises because of too much government, too many rules, too much complexity and too much ambiguity.” – That’s the problem no? too many things,too much power – none in the hands of citizens.
    ————————–
    “—like CAG, CVC, CBI and the Election Commission—more independent” – Even the many so called “independent” institutions are already bought up by the govt.Bravo.
    ————————–
    “why can’t we restore the independence and credibility of CAG, CVC, CBI and the Election Commission?” – Yeah,Why can’t we? DO you have an answer?
    ————————–
    “but that was because the UPA government reversed the reform process. ” – there you go.They hold the power hence they can revese any shit they want.
    ————————–
    Reading a book won’t solve the problems.
    ————————–
    Hong Kong cannot be compared to India.I don’t know why are the people bringing up this comparision.
    ————————–
    “We should persuade politicians that their political future is linked to implementing economic reforms. ” – How many years would it take?
    ————————–
    “The answer is in diet and exercise, which is hard work. ” – Yeah and truly a powerless category is entilted to do the hard work.HAven’t you read the other stories out there of commoners facing no solution to their problems?Bravo.
    ————————–
    “Maybe we need a Super Lok Pal, and then a Hyper Lok Pal to watch over the Super Lok Pal and so on…” True in a country like India that might happen.But your solutions aren’t practical either.I am glad to see the mass actually fighting for something at least,which is neither totally negative or positive.
    ————————–
    “You should examine their arguments and make your own judgement.” – Exactly.I believe not all but many of them do know what they are supporting.Don’t expect lawfully correct answers from the public when you ask about the bill and other’s assertions.
    Bleh at the last two points.

  47. After being a distant viewer of this ravenous puppetry swept across the nation, I would like to share some views and in hopes of getting some kind of clarity from individuals who might be more informed and to engage in a kind of dialogue, this note had to be created.

    First things first, I am very open to contradicting opinions and dissections of mine wherein felt necessary. Do take this solely as an opinion and do understand that being against Lokpal does not elucidate one to be agreeable to corruption. And no, I am not a congress/bjp/mark zuckerberg/cia agent systematically appointed to brainwash you.

    So the story goes that we elected our representatives through our own votes, we bribed them whenever we could to get our work done and now when corruption has seeped into the basic realms of society, we demand them to be accountable? Where was our accountability when this whole process had started? I believe we are walking oxymorons to suddenly have this upsurge of reform when each one of us has been corrupt in some way or the other.

    What I understand of Lokpal bill and the Jan Lokpal bill is that it aims to act as an effective deterrent to corruption and seeks to appoint an ombudsman that would, in literal terms, keep a check on the government functionalities and its representatives through investigating complaints registered against government officials. The Jan Lokpal, which is easily the better bill, will have seven high level members and can investigate the Prime Minister, Judiciary, Members of Parliament and all public servants. The Lokpall staff will be assessed by further independent boards in each state and will comprise of judges, bureaucrats etc. Whistleblowers will be encouraged and apparently protected, don’t know how that will be possible, unless India will come out with their own version of Witness Protection Program. As for the deterrent, punishment for corruption are directly imposed penalties, or reference of the matter to the judiciary, which would be equivalent to the current standards of law.

    So what we are proposing is to govern our own elected government by appointing a higher authority to keep check on the same people that we elect to represent us? Doesn’t it sound very vague? Why are we even resorting to elect officials that we do not trust in the first place? Oh that’s right, because most of us do not vote and those who vote are pretty much bought through corruption itself.

    So let me get this straight, we acknowledge the fact that corruption is born immediately at the election process and instead of nipping it in the bud, we are letting it be conceived, letting it grow, nurturing it with our own bribes and when it’s all healthy and strong only then we would want to fight it through a series of anonymous complaints that will eventually have to go through the long judiciary process of multiple trial courts and higher courts and eventually come to a resolution? And this we expect out of a judiciary that as of 2007 had 2.5 lakh cases pending which may take 124 years for clearing.

    I commend what Mr. Hazare has done. It takes strong will power to stand in his shoes and do what he is doing. The fact that he has been able to rile up the nation enough to gather support from the masses is truly a mammoth accomplishment but let’s be honest and accept the fact that the masses are doing it just because of the tag “Anti-Corruption”. They are clueless as to what Mr.Hazare is offering, or what the consequences of such a deterrent would be. I am not implying that it is an ineffective methodology, but I do see this as mob mentality wherein the aam aadmi is joining the revolution for anti-corruption and in the behest of it blindly supporting a bill that will not solve the current impediment of the nation.

    What we need to understand is human psyche, that corruption has literally been ingrained into our lives. The parallel economy is so inert in nature that it gives new meaning to the term India Shining. More governance can never be the solution, as its just human to find loop holes and cheat the system. Having an extra layer of governance is not a magic solution that will inflict fear amongst the corrupt and suddenly everything will be hail and hearty. To accept an ombudsman and be like “chalo, now that we have this in place, corruption is a gone case” is completely and absolutely illusive in nature. To not expect corruption to seep into this new set of governance would be highly naive as any and every single government institution, no matter how they were appointed or elected, has been plagued by corruption only because it consists of people and where there are people, with the current set of undignified ethical values, corruption is our literal shadow.

    To rid the system of its poison, one needs to tackle it at the core rather that try to bludgeon it at the exterior. Only when each one of us stop being corrupt, the society as a whole can progress into a nation wherein the basic necessities are affordable by each and every citizen. Giving that Rs. 100 to the traffic cop may save you from the hassles of getting ticketed and the eventual visit to the courts, but what we don’t perceive is that it literally pushes us years behind as a nation. Why are we letting ignorant, illiterate people to stand for elections and eventually winning that core seat in the parliament? Most of us do not vote, because there either isn’t a proper candidate or we are least bothered to. Most of us shun paying taxes or pretty much abiding by any of the rules set to be a proper citizen and now we harmoniously want change? Weren’t we taught to seek reform in ourselves before expecting it from others?

    It’s very easy to talk or to show your support by lighting a candle or to be a belligerent but it’s hard to accept the fact that we created this monster ourselves and it is too powerful. I can truly admit that I have been corrupt myself, even if it is that odd 100 bucks to a random traffic cop, and hence for me to demand accountability and reform from these politicians is highly pretentious, self contradictory and unbecoming. Change happens only when it is done within and even though it will be a very slow process, but it is the only true solution to corruption. Yes, Mr. Hazare has brought the nation together, to at least let know the government and politicians that we have had enough, and its endearing to see such high support for anti corruption but I really really REALLY hope that after this frenzy cools down, the same people that have been all high and mighty at these rallies do not continue their swindling ways of being internally corrupt.

  48. Sir, your arguments are valid in an absolute sense if India is an advanced economy or a
    seasoned democracy like the UK or France. There are sectors and services that can and
    should be privatized; but in a country like ours, there should be a strong presence of the
    state via a ciizen-oriented public service, judiciary, local panchayats, state assemblies and central parliament. Unfortunately for us, the elected representatives(law enforcement
    forces, public servants, etc who come under them) of the people have miserably failed to be more or less impartial in their actions. They are completely dependent on the bureaucrats(who are in their large majority safeguard their vested interests) instead of being able to command and direct the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy has poisoned the
    the politicians(wielding power in the name of the people!) and since liberalization this duo is joined by the big money operating on a national scale. Less governance and more entrepreneurial freedom are slogans that have sunk the Euro-zone into an abyss.
    Serious economists and activists are clamoring for more stringent state regulations to
    discourage rapacious speculations and off shore tax-evading deals in Euro-countries;
    American style capitalism is not what India needs. We need a strong state apparatus,
    concerned about the rights and welfare of the ordinary people, bringing to books all those misappropriating public funds at a time when we needs billions to improve the
    infrastructure. If people demand the installation of a JLP, it is because the so called
    Ant -coruption/Vigilance agencies have proved themselves inefficient for not being
    able to function autonomously. So why not a JLP? It might turn out eventually to be
    corrupt too! So should we clamor for a military rule or a dictatorship? In any case I
    do not/cannot accept that the government refuses to take up the matter with all those
    concerned. Instead proposes a JLP bill which excludes lots many corrupt and corruptible ones from its jurisdiction? And say, we are a democracy?

  49. Your points are well framed. Liked it. But the fact that the existing system can be made better is not feasible. We need someone who can nip the problem in the bud and that should only be done once. The blow should be so hard that people with think 100 times before taking bribes or breaking the rules.

    For ex. I was in US for some days. Many visitors loiter around here and there. I couple who tried to cross the road from between (without using the crossings) was caught by the LAPD and were fined $500. The officer did not care whether the couple was there for the first time or not. Such should be the intensity of discipline and implementation of rules.

    I am not saying that US or any other country for that matter does not have corruption, but at least it should be kept to minimum so that the common man is not affected.

  50. I have certain questions.. still waiting for responses…
    1) what is the guarantee that after the introduction of JLP Bill, inclusive with a clause on being watch-dog over PM n Juries, the committee of such Bill will never be proven corrupt ? and who again are going to watch-dog such committee ? an appointment of auditor over them also is required equally than.
    2) how and what miracle is gonna happen that the corruption at micro level in my day to day affairs that i m facing will be stopped after the introduction of JLP Bill, that includes PM n Juries also under scanner? i face corruption when i try to move my file a step ahead in any deptt when chaprasi keep waiting for some bribe. telephone workers keep waiting for some bakshish. and even when chaprasi not waiting, i allure him with some bribe to make my work faster.. now how such process is gonna stop ?? isnt this also a corruption ??? than how this anti-corruption movement as so called and misled here by few people, who wanted their certain demands be accepted, becomes anti-corruption movement as a whole…?? people involving Anna’s pure desire of making India free of corruption, and so keeping gun on his shoulder, such JLP Bill is asked to be introduced…
    3) isnt the person, who is believing in imposings only, feeling self above Consitution, without giving a patience waiting till the Mosoon Sadan, as assured, begins the discussion over both the bills to carry it out with majority and before time only, terms his such imposings as anshan pressuring to pass it now itself.. isnt that Hitlarship ? how can this be compared with Gandhigiri ?? the base itself is under doubt. i agree with atul with a fear apprehending that democracy will be wiped away… completely if he is made our next Leader this way atleast.
    4) last but not least and the most important is that Corruption is a choice of an Individual.. and no Law has ever been able to stop that till date. I m sure.. such introduction of any of the Bills is never gonna help in stopping corruption until unless 120 crore Indians gonna follow strictly this belief applying on self. hv been asking two questions as marked here in 1 and 2 since long.. but till date no satisfactory response. People need to understand this movement is carried only for introduction of one bill which is misled as anti-corruption movement at a Mass and people joining hands as a result of their frustration without realising the facts coz.. we have no willingness to look our self- faults and thats the autonomy of my Mother Land. may be such Bill will carry some anti-corruption clauses, bringing CBI, Police, etc.. under the scanner, but than, hafty black-mailing on a most precious level now will begin and so, corruption will increase internally actually.

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