There are clearly two camps: one says Lokpal is the right way, another says we should restructure the existing organizations. Whichever way you go, you need structural changes. They both will have pros and cons and no approach is going to be perfect. At the same time, I don’t see how Lok Pal proposal is a bad idea. It just has different pros and cons.
If I get into the specifics of points made by “The Acorn” in its “faq”:
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 art of the bribe giver and the bribe taker.
Anyone who has designed systems knows that complexity arises not because of layers but because of interfaces that you design. It’s upto the design of the Lokpal (or any other layer for that matter) which will determine the efficacy of the same.
In fact, data show that perceptions of corruption are lower in some sectors of the economy, usually those that have been liberalised.
I don’t know the source of this data and how the survey was conducted. Of course, there are areas where things have improved as a result of liberalization but not everything (like land records) is going to be liberalized. You can’t register a property in Bangalore unless you pay 0.5% of property price as bribe. Period.
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.
This is a fallacy. The current battle started with a demand to remove corruption but it has turned into a battle to be heard by the government.
Easy to say, but how can we do this? By voting.
Another fallacy. This is a variation to the “Everyone should be honest” line of thinking. Moreover, voting requires options. While you & me can vote, what are the options in front of us as of today? There is no data to show that middle class doesn’t vote. Ensuring that a good candidate wins is far more complicated in this country than what can be influenced by a single person.
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?
The same question holds for other structural changes proposed by the author in the beginning (i.e. make other agencies independent). The way you ensure honesty in those agencies is the way you ensure it here.
Pilots don’t design aircraft. Practicing doctors don’t discover new drugs and treatments. These jobs are usually done by armchair inte
Should I laugh at this? Armchair intellectuals don’t design aircrafts or discover new drugs. There are practitioners and there are designers. And well, there are armchair intellectuals who are neither practitioners nor designers.
I keep seeing this “Everybody should be honest” solution being promoted by friends & colleagues to solve the corruption problems in India. My personal assessment is that they have never tried to be honest in India otherwise, they wouldn’t be promoting this solution.
In response to someone, somewhere, I wrote the following which I decided to share here.
There are 3 parts to it:
a) I don’t want any inconvenience for being honest. I have always paid full penalty whenever caught by traffic cops but there were times when I had to fight with the cop to get a receipt for penalty and was finally punished by double the penalty because I dared ask for a receipt. I took the matter upto DCP who asked me to go to the court. Finally, I wasted more money, a lot of time & energy for being honest. And this is one of the many things on a long list of items. And I don’t want that.
b) I want punishment for the guy who is corrupt. “Everybody should be honest” doesn’t mean anything because I am only I and not Everybody. Ultimately, wherever there is corruption, I am paying for it in one form or the other. And I want right systems in place so that the corrupts can be booked.
c) There are some corruptions (like 2G scam, CWG scam) which are not prompted by general public. These are cases of pure abuse of power. It’s my tax money that has gone into making people rich. That same money could have gone in making better roads etc which would make my life better. I need a check on that.
I have seen many people giving this “Everybody should be honest” solution but frankly, I am yet to see anybody providing an execution plan for the same. There has never been a time in the history of mankind when everybody was honest.
Some people are honest and some have honesty thrust upon them.