The Jan Lok Pal Bill is an anti-corruption bill drafted and drawn up by civil society activists in India seeking the appointment of an independent body to investigate corruption cases.
The words Jan and Lok are Common nouns, both signifying ‘the People.’ Might sound unnecessary to have the two words, but they are Needed to differentiate this particular bill from an existing, Toothless one passed by the administration.
…I have seen reason to criticize the media left and right in these pages, for being Partial. But there seems to be a goodly difference between the reports over the TV versus the ‘net editions’ of the same groups. I have found that timesofindia.indiatimes.com gives more balanced reports. Different Editors, perhaps. I shall quote certain sections from its article on the subject. (Reference to article in comments).
‘Delhi Cabinet cleared the draft of the much talked-about Jan Lokpal bill which provides for COVERING ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS – FROM CHIEF MINISTER TO GROUP D EMPLOYEES – and seeks life term as maximum punishment for those found guilty of corruption.’ (Emphasis mine).
The Emphasized section shows one of the main differences between AAP’s bill and the government’s one. Let me offer some tidbits that would clarify things.
At present it is Exceedingly difficult to prosecute chief ministers and such. In physical terms, they talk of a 5 layer security and things like that. For creatures like cms, one has to go to the moon to get clearance to bring them to court. And even if cases are filed, in the run of the mill courts, things drag on for a-g-e-s. The ‘law’ is really loaded on the side of those who play hanky-panky.
Coming down to ‘Group D employees.’ These are seemingly harmless people, last on the rung of the ladder. But let me speak more of the Clerks. Bill Dwyer had said: ‘A Clerk is a Jerk.’ Clerks like to prove it.
You go to an office, to a particular department. And You will Very probably find that the clerk at that desk is simply Not there. This will happen to You many times. Then one day You find him there. And seeing You, You find that he is saying to his companion at the next table: ‘The Tyres on my Cycle have got completely Worn Out.’ You go out, get a pair of the blessed things, go back to the desk, and say, with a Garfield like grin: ‘One of my Friends presented me with these; I do not really need them just now. Wonder if You could use them.’ Your work gets done.
That happened in My day, more than 40 years ago. Today, they travel by Motorized vehicles. And comparatively bigger bribes are expected. And that is the only difference.
You have a problem connected with Your Land/Path or things like that? First You have to search for the VAO (village administrative officer). It takes Quite a Long while to locate these people, as they are ‘supposed’ to be on rounds, though, according to rules, they ‘have’ to be present in their office on certain days. But, in the meantime, they have found out all about Your issue, evaluated how much they can collect from ‘which’ party, etc.
In the meantime You also have to get the ‘Surveyor’ of the area. You go through the same Rigmarole to locate ‘him.’ Then they all come, have a look see, and quietly ask for, say, (as it happened in a case I know), rs. 1500. They say it is for Expenses. Everybody knows just ‘What’ expenses they are going to be. It will keep them in Free lunch and drinks for a while. The amount seems measly. But everybody also knows that this is merely the ‘first’ installment. …The problem is that after a few days You get a letter from the department, informing You that because of this reason, and that paper being not just right, Your work cannot get done. …The other party either coughed up more, or was more influential.
This kind of ‘looting’ happens at Every office. I could go On and On with Examples. …The Common Man calculates that the Cost, in terms of Time, Energy and Money spent, may be greater than throwing some money on these fellow’s plates. There are Many who can afford to pay bribes. But there are Millions who simply cannot meet the ‘rates,’ and thus lose even their Lands and Homes.
And there are Two more problems with this. Those who take the Bribes are Already Quite Well to do. A government employee gets ‘At Least’ rs. 10,000 pm, if We take the case of humble Peons who stand at the doors. Whereas, outside of government jobs, in the private sector, there are Thousands who get about rs. 1,500 pm for a 10-12 hour day’s work. You want proof? Come to me. I will take You around. …So, point number one is, Why Should the ‘Haves’ have more?
These Individual cases of Corruption in the offices affect Every Citizen Directly and Personally. Affecting Citizens Collectively, first, politicos simply carve out large chunk of the taxes for themselves. Next, in the Projects, they ‘dupe’ the Common Man by giving outlandishly false accounts, like charging a Hundred Thousand rupees for an Ordinary, Stadium Chair! Whether it is issuing licences for the mining of Natural Resources, providing Electrical Power, putting up schools and hospitals or running them, politicos, having taken money from the business houses, Cheat, Fool and Denude the Citizen. Any and Every Project is merely seen as a means of raking in Commissions.
Heads of states and political parties spend Crores claiming to have Put up Hundreds of Projects in motion. On the one hand, many of their claims are false. On the other, those projects are badly executed, and are of Not of great use to Citizens. Take government hospitals. Only the Poorest go there.
But if the politicos had Not been Corrupt, Thousands and Tens of thousands of Projects would have come up along the Length and Breadth of India, all running Well. There indeed ‘are’ good roads. Somebody said that he felt as if he were ‘flying’ while going on one those by car. But for every such road, there are literally Thousands that are Ruts. Because of rampant corruption, Water and Electrical projects in particular have not been put into effect. This is something that is going to affect Generations to come.
In all this, the Citizen is the Loser, the business houses and politicos, and very many government employees, the gainers. And courts and police form a ring around these, protecting them from effective Prosecution.
And ‘that’ is what Kejriwal’s Jan Lokpal bill hopes to address. It may be good to recap the differences between the govt’s so called ‘lokpal’ bill – which We call the Jokepal bill, and Kejriwal’s one. In the former, neither higher govt officials, nor the lower cadres can be brought to court. And the agency that would examine the cases would be under …govt control! Any wonder why We call it the Jokepal?!
But Why should there be so much Controversy over this? …It is an artificially created controversy, created by political parties, because, if this comes through, their freeloading will come to an End. Going back to the Times of India article:
- ‘They (Congress) realise that if there is a strong Lokpal then many of these people will get into trouble. For seven years BJP is in power in MCD and they may also get into trouble. If the bill is passed then all these CWG cases will go to Lokpal’
- Translation: The congress party realizes that if there is a strong Lokpal, then many of Its Own people will get into trouble. …For 7 years, the bjp had been incharge of the MCD, (The Municipal Corporation of Delhi), and so they will also get into trouble. Also, all CWG (Common Wealth Games) cases will go to Lokpal.
The administration of Delhi is under the AAP now, and Arvind Kejriwal, as its Chief Minister, is at the helm of things there. So, for the congress and the bjp, in particular, and for every political party, the Easiest way to avoid all these cases would be to see that Kejriwal’s Jan Lokpal bill does Not get passed!