No one killed corruption - Straight from the Hip by J Mulraj
Investing in India - Straight from the Hip by J Mulraj
No one killed corruption A  A  A

29 JANUARY 2011

The consequences of abysmal governance and the lack of will to tackle to cancerous growth of corruption is having horrible consequences. Danger signs are there for all people to see, except the Dhithirashtras who rule.

The continuation of subsidised diesel has created a mafia industry which steals it. Official estimates of the stolen diesel are 40% of the subsidy of Rs 30,000 crores, or Rs 12,000 crores. An amount large enough to kill for! The mafia burnt to death a district collector who was seeking to prevent thieves caught in the act. Will the Government finally stop the nonsense of differential pricing which has negative consequences? Does loss of human life matter at all to those sitting in the rarefied political echelons of Delhi? Or, like Nero, are they still fiddling away? A far better, and oft suggested, way to distribute subsidies to those deserving it, is to use the technologies available, of smart cards. If so, the social ends could be met and the single, market determined price for diesel would obviate the need for theft and, by the way, of murder of officials preventing it. The fact that the Dhithirashtras of Delhi are not even talking of different delivery mechanism and a single price for diesel suggests that they have other considerations.

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The evil portends for India emanate from the trend of citizens taking matters into their own hands. The wheels of justice need to be oiled. People are fed up of the guilty being let free because of poorly drafted charges by investigating agencies. It is for this reason that a vigilante knifed DSP Rathore, let off because the charges were poorly filed and slowly followed up on; the same vigilante knifed Dr Talwar, the father of murdered Aarushi, whose case has been closed following blotched up investigation. An MLA in Bihar was recently knifed to death by a woman who claimed to have been raped by him.

Poor governance also shows itself in poor planning for the future. When government does not do its job, the other pillar of our democracy steps in. The Madras High Court has given an order to shut down dyeing and bleaching units in Tirupur, which were badly polluting the Noyyal river. Some 50,000 workers will be out of a job and textile mills will see an increase in costs as these units shut down. Now, surely, pollution of the river is not an overnight phenomenon. Surely the units have been warned by the administrative branch of Government. Surely they, in turn, have bribed their way around it, continuing to pollute the river with impunity. Surely the political branch of Government turned the Dhithirashtric blind eye. The cost for all this laxity would be borne by the 50,000 unemployed workers. This is how bad governance and corruption affects, over time, the economy.

A similar thing will happen to the auto industry, perhaps 2 decades into the future. There is no official planning for the day of reckoning, when fossil fuel (crude oil) prices will peak as the world runs out of oil. Suddenly the capacities being added now, to produce cars, will need to be shut down, as petrol prices would be too high. A sensible Government would be busy building a network of efficient and affordable public transport and would discourage, through fiscal policy, the use of private transport.

A decade ago it was the Supreme Court that stepped in when the administrative branch of Government could not enforce norms to control vehicular pollution that was engulfing Delhi, and mandated the use of CNG. A responsible Government ought to have enforced it, instead of relying on the judiciary to clean up its misdeeds.

Now, the Supreme Court has stepped in again on the issue of black money and has asked why the Government does not inquire about its source. The Government claims that it is obliged to retain confidentiality of names of owners of Swiss/Lichstentien bank accounts but will recover its dues. Pardon me for being sceptical of that intention. It only means that it will give Government the option to pursue those people who are nettlesome to it and let go those who are a part of the coterie.

There is no denying that such rampant loot is a factor behind inflation, which is now a major cause of concern. Last week the RBI raised, as expected, its base rate by 25 basis points (0.25%) and will undoubtedly do so again. Foreign investors are selling in a big way, both on domestic as well as international factors. As re domestic factors, rising inflation and unbridled corruption are the main issues, as is the laxity of a spineless Government to tackle them. Globally, the US economy seems to be faring better, leading investors to shift part of the investments back home. The IMF has increased the forecast of global GDP growth to 4.4%.

The sensex dropped 611 points last week to 18395, for all the reasons mentioned above which are leaving investors filled with dismay. The Nifty dropped 184 to end at 5512. Corporate results for the quarter ended December are not too bad, but investor psychology has become so.

The sensex is above a crucial support level of 18,000. If this is breached, as seems likely, given the investor mood, the next stop is 16,000-16,500. Politically all parties are busy trying to bring down the other, instead of bringing up the nation.

J Mulraj is a stock market columnist and observer of long standing. His weekly column on stock markets has run for over 27 years. An MBA from IIM Calcutta, he has been a member of the BSE. He is Conference Head - India, for Euromoney. A keen observer of events and trends, he writes in a lucid yet readable style and takes up issues on behalf of the individual investor. Nothing pleases him more than a reader who confesses having no interest in stock markets yet being a reader of his columns. His other interests include reading, both fiction and non-fiction, bridge, snooker and chess.

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26 Responses to "No one killed corruption"
Rajiv Garg
Feb 2, 2011
My last comments were how to be self disciplined in not been overtly corrupt as well as how to deal with rampant corruption.

In this writeup I am going to talk about the hope we can live with and look for a corruption free society/country.

As of today our entire system is crumbling with politicians/judiciary/law enforcing agencies/bureaucrats/first level Babus /Media/Common man/Daily wage earners and land less labourers involved in corruption or breaking the laws for personal gains. However the situation is not so hopeless as some in each category are still honest and are balancing the majority of the dishonest corrupt. Even in corruption there is varying degree of being 100% corrupt with no deliverables, with 80% corruption and 20% delivery and last the reverse of 80% delivery.

In spite of such a dismal picture our country is growing in stature and economic growth because of own momentum of history, human evolvement and global push.

In India we have been bestowed with corrupt practices by foreign rule as their intent and purpose was to exploit and plunder our culture/monetary wealth. The corruption is a worldwide phenomenon but it is not affecting a common man in developed countries as it is syndicated a drug/arms and human trafficking etc. Where as in India it is touching a common man who may be a beggar/homeless / rickshaw puller / hawker / roadside eatery joints who is already fighting for sustenance.

However we can take solace from Geeta where it is said that when corruption will overflow the capacity to sustain then someone will emerge as leader to overthrow and cleans the present system. The recent example is of Egypt where common people have joined hands to assert for rightful living.
Like (1)
Rajiv Garg
Feb 1, 2011
Greed, anger, dishonesty, criminal bent and many others are the basic traits of all human beings regardless of race and country.
In order to be discipline one can either be through Dharma or out of fear. The begining always is through fear for long followed by habit building. Therefore the
self discipline in developed western world is out of habit now and in state/autocrats controlled countries out of fear for life.
The corruption in our country is out of disdain for law and punishment. Therefore we will have to instill fear of punishment and life through nationalising the total unaccouned and unearned wealth of all corrupt citizens of our country along with publicly executed capital punishment without recourse to long drawn legal system.
In the process we might end up punishing some innocent or partly innocent but then each great end has a price to pay for historical journey to next level in a nation's life.
Like (1)
anil seth
Jan 31, 2011
Compare Egypt with India. The Indians must follow the example set by Egyptians. Why must we tolerate injustice and corruption. The figures copied below illustrate how EGYPTIANS ARE MUCH BETTER OFF THAN INDIANS and still they shose to revolt against the system WAKE UP INDIA WAKE UP
If India were your home instead of Egypt you would...have 87.52% more chance of dying in infancy

The number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in India is 49.13 while in Egypt it is 26.20.
This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year; included is the total death rate, and deaths by sex, male and female. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.
Source: CIA World Factbook
consume 74.3% less oil

India consumes 0.0956 gallons of oil per day per capita while Egypt consumes 0.3720
This entry is the total oil consumed in gallons per day (gal/day) divided by the population. The discrepancy between the amount of oil produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.
Source: CIA World Factbook
use 62.57% less electricity

The per capita consumption of electricity in India is 484kWh while in Egypt it is 1,294kWh.
This entry consists of total electricity generated annually plus imports and minus exports, expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution.
Source: CIA World Factbook
make 48.33% less money

The GDP per capita in India is $3,100 while in Egypt it is $6,000
This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measure is difficult to compute, as a US dollar value has to be assigned to all goods and services in the country regardless of whether these goods and services have a direct equivalent in the United States (for example, the value of an ox-cart or non-US military equipment); as a result, PPP estimates for some countries are based on a small and sometimes different set of goods and services. In addition, many countries do not formally participate in the World Bank's PPP project that calculates these measures, so the resulting GDP estimates for these countries may lack precision. For many developing countries, PPP-based GDP measures are multiples of the official exchange rate (OER) measure. The differences between the OER- and PPP-denominated GDP values for most of the wealthy industrialized countries are generally much smaller.
Source: CIA World Factbook
spend 73.13% less money on health care

Per capita public and private health expenditures combined in India are $86 USD while Egypt spends $320 USD
This entry contains the per capita public and private health expenditure at purchase power parity using US Dollars. This figure combines government, personal, and employer spending on health care
Source: World Health Organization
die 5.94 years sooner

The life expectancy at birth in India is 66.46 while in Egypt it is 72.40.
This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. The entry includes total population as well as the male and female components. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.
Source: CIA World Factbook
be 3 times more likely to have HIV/AIDS

The number of adults living with HIV/AIDS in India is 0.30% while in Egypt it is 0.10%.
This entry gives an estimate of the percentage of adults (aged 15-49) living with HIV/AIDS. The adult prevalence rate is calculated by dividing the estimated number of adults living with HIV/AIDS at yearend by the total adult population at yearend.
Source: CIA World Factbook
have 14.71% less babies

The annual number of births per 1,000 people in India is 21.34 while in Egypt it is 25.02.
This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1,000 persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate. The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth. It depends on both the level of fertility and the age structure of the population.
Source: CIA World Factbook
have 10.31% more chance of being unemployed

India has an unemployment rate of 10.70% while Egypt has 9.70%
This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs.
Source: CIA World Factbook
experience 6.98% more of a class divide

The GINI index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income. In India is 36.80 while in Egypt it is 34.40.
This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest. The index is the ratio of (a) the area between a country's Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to (b) the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country's income distribution, the closer its Lorenz curve to the 45 degree line and the lower its Gini index, e.g., a Scandinavian country with an index of 25. The more unequal a country's income distribution, the farther its Lorenz curve from the 45 degree line and the higher its Gini index, e.g., a Sub-Saharan country with an index of 50. If income were distributed with perfect equality, the Lorenz curve would coincide with the 45 degree line and the index would be zero; if income were distributed with perfect inequality, the Lorenz curve would coincide with the horizontal axis and the right vertical axis and the index would be 100.
Source: CIA World Factbook
Would you rather live in India? .
Like (1)
anil seth
Jan 31, 2011
Corruption is a relative term. people in power enjoying fringe benifits is OK to some extent. Selling ones mother/ mother land is not OK. The motivation and incentive to enter 'public service'is the illegal profit that is assured while occupying high offices. We can accept this malice as our fate and be reconsilled to the suffering that is bound to follow. Fortunately there is a way out of this quick sand of corruption. The way out is to bring in EMERGENCY RULE, the emergency rule will suspend all the privellages enjoyed by the rulers and administrators under the direction of reincarnation of the MAHATAMA GANDHI, we can have a corrected version of MAO era in CHINA blended with the benavolent principles of our rulers like Chandragupta Maurya and the like. The last time there were excesses committed under the emergency rule, we can improve upon the model with a major caveat that the emergency will be imposed for a pre determined period and would be ended after that period.
Suspend all the parliamentarians, as a styarting point. Assign each IAS a specific duty and make them ansewerable periodically about the achievement of the target. Last but not the least NATIONALISE all the assets of the politicians.
Like (1)
v.k.sundar raj
Jan 30, 2011
While talking to my friend the other day I was wondering how Gandhi would have reacted to the governance of Dhritharashtras and fake Gandhis, if he were alive today. My friend's spontaneous reply was 'he would have ended his life immediately and not go on fasting.' Like (1)
Jan 30, 2011
The egyptians have better roads/electricity and cheap petrol-still they revolted due to lack of vision of their leader & various other issues. Poor Indians.They have none of these.A recent TV show is airing how a mumbai youth is smoking pot to forget his hunger.We in India need to throw these scoundrels away.Sorry decency does not work here.Good to see that some of our (non corrupt) Industrialists have started talking. Like (1)
Hem Thakur
Jan 30, 2011
its no use to stop corruption , only try to contain it just like gujarat.U can not kill corruption. Corruption less society is an utopian concept & not practical. Like (1)
Jan 30, 2011
Mubarak was good friend of some of our indian politicians.hope they learn some thing from what is happening in Egypt. Like (1)
Jan 30, 2011
Corruption is like termites that eat away the wood. Oil Mafia killing an honest officer in Maharashtra indicates the failure of the govt. The response of the state to that should have been swift and exemplery that would have acted as a deterrant.
Attack on ex DGP Rathore is however a different issue as that could be an expression of disgust with the law and order in the country. People are tempted to take law in their hands because they feel that justice will not be given by the existing system. This does not justify that the mentally unsound should be left loose to do so. It is important to ensure that law of land prevails and is seen to prevail.
Names of secret swiss account holders will perhaps include the top politicians, businessmen and babus of IAS. Therefore they cannot be divulged!!
MM Singh as modern Dhrithrashtra is doing well to ensure that history repeats itself.
Like (1)
Jan 30, 2011
Great post...but alas! none who matters is reading it. That's out fate.... Like (1)
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