Thursday, May 26, 2011

Systemic Corruption

In my view the corruption is of 2 types - Systemic and Operational - we have been focusing only on the operational one, which has been our fundamental mistake for a very long time

By looking at 2 examples this would become clear - First - In Tamil Nadu the State Govt. earns enormous income (estimated to be Rs. 15000 crores per month) from Liquor sales (the liquor is distributed and sold by State TN). We have been only focusing on the scams with respect to Liquor manufacturing licensing and the associated corruption, the cost of the liquor when it was sold to Govt., the tendering process, etc. and the associated corruption, the accounting and the associated corruption, distribution and associated corruption. Now even if all the operational corruption is curtailed still the fact remains that the State Government's revenue comes from Liquor sales - which is what I would term as systemic corruption. With money from the poor labours (which they spend on liquor daily) we have roads, street lights and even Govt. festival celebration - isn't this a bigger shame. Dent in revenue will be witnessed if toddy is allowed, that's why Govt. doesn't allow the healthy natural sedative Toddy and promotes unhealthy liquor which costs 10 times

Second - Our central Govt. is making huge money out of Petrol - around 35% of the entire national revenue - if one reads various analysis post budget published in press - the income to Govt. - the pie-chart of how each rupee comes - there one can see that - 2 pieces of the pie, customs duty and import duty - one of these refers exclusively to petroleum. Another major source of income (the pie) excise duty - in which also the major portion is contributed Petrol and by other petroleum products (fertilizer, etc.) and by-products (naphtha, chemicals, plastics, etc.). For a nation which is not a producer of Petrol earns a whopping 35% national revenue (central Govt. alone) from petrol - this by itself is the prime reason for Govt. not promoting, not even encouraging Alternative source of Energy etc. - isn't this a classic example of systemic corruption.

One the one hand Govt. allows Iron ore export - revenue. Also iron ore import - again revenue. Food products export as well as food products import - Govt makes money from both export and import - duties, taxes, licensing fees, Corporate and income tax from both importers and exporters. - what a wonderful way to make money - isn't this the biggest corruption. And why we all don't know about these things because we don't know any other model of governance - know only the model of earn-spend - The model of Earn-Spend only generates the so called GDP.

The solar cell module of a simple solar water heater - costs around Rupees. 5000/- in India (manufactured in India) - whereas in China a similar module costs only Rs. 1500/- equivalent in retail. - where is Government's role in promoting this - this alternative energy product should in fact be encouraged even at the cost of or even loss to Govt's exchequers. - If each household installs a small wind-turbine and a 10ft x 10ft solar cell added with a portable anaerobic digester based natural gas (very similar to Gobar gas but portable one with out the need for Cow dung but works with Organic waste - costs around Rs. 30,000 - 40,000). If all these are subsidized and easily available - One need not look towards Government for energy for the rest of his/her life. If this happens then the Govt. will loose its controlling power over its subjects - the people - which is the primary worry of the Govt. in not decentralization of Energy production. (I'll be writing another article on this) and not encouraging alternative energy sources.

Similarly if the Government promotes Organic farming at national level - people's and environmental health will improve - fertilizer /pesticide sales will drop and the associated revenue to Govt. - Our central Govt. is not even banning the internationally banned Endosulfan - how would they promote Organic farming? - Isn't this a bigger corruption ?

The western ideology is that there should be no operational corruption but they don't care for systemic corruption rather they encourage and exploit - whether the Govt. revenue comes from liquor sales or Arms sales or Seeds patenting or occupation of other countries natural resources like Oil, Gas and even Agricultural lands or countless other white collar crimes

The TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL which publishes the corruption index don't care about these corruption - what double standards. This is like AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL which has double standards for Human Rights violation in the West and East. The biggest human rights violation is when one pays for drinking water, seeds and soon for clean air - yet the so called human rights activists don't care for these violations simply because these watchdogs are leashed and held by businesses which are ones responsible for systemic corruption. I the west it is led by Walmart, Shell, GM, Northorp and the likes and in India it is by Tata, Reliance, Bharti, Vedanta, Essar and the likes.

Gandhiji time and again repeated that it is individual simplicity leads to collective goodness which is what really matter not a so called freedom for namesake - where instead of a khaki (military) oppressor we have white collar (businesses) oppressor. The collective Revenues of the World's Top 1000 corporations are more than the collective GDPs of the G8. (this is for GDP crazy modern economists) - which simply means that the corporations have more financial muscle than the so called Elected /Democratic /people governments. In many western countries the military is controlled almost by businesses - which directly sponsors many military events including R&D and veteran programs.

If one visits - one can clearly understand

What is the solution for all these:

The principles of Gandhiji particularly the Gram swaraj model of Governance - very clearly documented and proven by the great People's Economist - Sri. J C Kumarappa is the solution clearly detailed in his book "Economy of Permanence" but ever since Independence our governance models were not even remotely connected to those principles. All countries are doomed to fail as all have the system developed by Adam Smith in some form or the other including be it communist or capitalist or socialist or military or dictatorship. For those who worship anything foreign the same principles were echoed by the world renowned Economist Dr. E.F Schumacher in his book "Small is beautiful"

But I don't think we have the right education, conviction and perseverance to adopt such a simplistic lifestyle at Individual level and alternative models of governance

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