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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Corruption Gandhi and The Congress

On 30th Of January,1948 when Mahatma Gandhi was going to say his evening prayers,a so called terrorist Nathuram Godse fell to Mahatmas feet,picked himself up and shot bullets in the old mans chest.Mahatmas last words were "Hey Ram".Today as India and the world celebrate 140th birth anniversary of the man who lived to dignify truth ,poor and down trodden,we wonder what would he be saying had he been alive.I am pretty sure he would still say "Hey Ram".Mahatma wanted India to be free of not only the British but the evils that had trodded her for centuries-hunger,poverty,unemployment,caste etc.However more than 60 years after Independence ,we have hardly achieved any of the great mans dreams.This 2nd October Congress decided to give the ultimate honour to Mahatma by naming its flagship NREGA scheme after gandhi.
Had mahatma been alive he wouldn't only have refused to be associated with NREGA but would have been saddened how a scheme intended to achieve the twin aims of development rural infrastructure and reducing rural unemployment failed at the faint hearts of Indian babus and bastard politicians.A recent investigation in the NREGA scheme revealed the following startling facts:
1)40% NREGA funds are siphoned
2)The corruption is so deep that some districts show old projects as new ones to release funds-talk about Indians being uncreative
3)Most NREGA workers get less than half of their promised salaries that also more than two months late
Clearly NREGA has been a failure.When a social scheme of the scale of NREGA was to be implemented in India-corruption was but expected,but this has however gone beyond the domains of ordinary.The Congress government played a masterstroke on the backdrop of the newly released reports by naming the scheme after Mahatma Gandhi.After all Congress ,the very party Mahatma hoped would lift India out of its problems in its current avtar is nothing more than a power hungry family raised business that has creating perceptions ,one of its core strengths.And yes it might get votes for naming scheme after Bapu or convincing people it is the only party who understands the so called "aam aadmi".(in Congress dictionary aam aadmi probably means the aam babus ,the aam politicians,the aam Mamtas and the aam Rahuls).However is this what will fulfil the dream of Bapu to make India a country of equals,a country which lived in its villages,managed by its own people who were self less or at least honest.
Maybe all of bapus values cannot be followed in the present time period but we can at least try to be more honest and design schemes which reach the masses.The NREGA scheme has flaws in its basic designs,It needs to be revamped and relaunched.
There is no denying of the fact that India needs serious infrastructure investment in Rural sector but unlike NREGA providing infrastructure shouldn't be coupled with providing minimum employment.Ins ted the panchayts and local admnistrators should work to chalk out an action plan for providing sustainable growth and employment to people .While NREGA would last till the scheme an action focused plan would contribute to the overall economic and social growth of nation..
Besides the funding should not be directly by the government ,as the system is inefficient and leads to high leakages.Instead it should be in the form of micro financing small businesses ,providing soft loans to panchayts and infrastructure development on BOT basis.The district administrators ,penchants should have their KRA's clearly defined and their promotions and further commitment of fresh capital should be based on measured growth in social and economic indicators.Also direct government spending if any should be on research,providing quality primary education and promoting fresh ideas and businesses in rural area.The motive should be to promote small businesses which act as feeder to large companies or which have the potential to become big (like Amul or other cooperatives) and thus provide sustainable creation of employment.At this point I remember a famous quote
"Feed a poor man and he is hungry the next day..teach him to fish and you feed him forever"
Clearly our focus should be on the latter part of quotation.World over policies like subsidies,free electricity have failed what is succeeded is direct involvement of govt. in development programs with active local participation and reduced bureaucratic hurdles.
If the above were implemented our netas wont really have to worry so much on creating perceptions ..votes would insted be flowing in ballot boxes...wish Mahatma was there to guide our poor least his principles are.

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