Sunday, February 28, 2021

Rotten system

It is a fact that in our State in spite of huge annual budgets there is no perceptible change in the infrastructure. The economic plight of a common man stays the same. The money disappears into the pockets of ministers, bureaucrats and contractors; very little used for the purpose it is meant. And why should not the rulers amass and enjoy, when there is absolutely zero accountability. Theirs is the authority, the power, the wealth and the luxuries of the earth, being answerable to none. The world of corruption is vast in our State, involving the methods which one can only imagine. Everybody knows it, though some more, others less, and everybody is its victim, some directly and others indirectly. Everybody moans in pain, but when there is no escape from this beast of corruption, one reconciles and carries on. Let us take a few aspects of our administration and try to figure out how rampant and blatant corruption is. We know that a sizable proportion of funds are allotted by the planning department to other departments in the second fortnight of March, when you have only 5 to 10 days of the current fiscal year left to spend these allotments. Execution of works or purchase and installment of machinery according to legal norms and probity, transparency and fair play requires floating of tenders, proper publicity, execution of works, their supervision and inspection, etc., it takes months together. But when you have only 5 to 10 days left to expend these funds and prove your efficiency by not surrendering them, it becomes only a matter of manipulating the records instead of actually executing any work. It is a common knowledge in the corridors of our governing structures that you buy money by spending money, irrespective of the fact whether you deserve the allotment or not. And when you have bought the money from your controlling authorities they lose the moral authority to question you how to spend it. It is not only happening in this government, it has been happening always, it has happened in the previous government also. Those who are concerned directly or indirectly with the drawing of bills from the treasury know how much it involves to draw a bill other than a salary bill. The contractors have to keep the provision of some percent of their bills to be paid to the concerned if they do not like to hear the excuses of shortage of cash. Everybody knows it, everybody suffers it, but why the authorities who have the power to curb it do not feel concerned is any body’s guess. Why does it happen? It seems that monster of corruption has completely overwhelmed our administrative structures and nobody likes to put his career at risk by trying to come in its way. The assertion is not a mental portrayal, it is a solid fact. Another aspect is of making purchases of machinery, which the department either does not require at all or not in the huge quantities it is purchased. The legal system which ensures the purchase of quality machinery at the competent and reasonable prices is given a go by. With the result you are able to buy the poor quality machinery, which you may not even require at exorbitant prices, where you can get 20 to 40 percent commission from the supplier. It can well earn you Rs 5 to 10 crores in a single go if you purchase machinery for Rs 30 or 40 crores. Nobody cares, there is no institution in the State to hold a powerful bureaucrat accountable; holding a minister accountable is a far cry. It has been said that thieves use to decamp with the booty silently in the middle of the night; they had some fear and were also ashamed of their actions. Modern-day dacoits plunder during the day as matter of right, having little or no regard for any authority. Why it happens? Simply because almost everybody in the system has become corrupt and is on a treasure hunt. Everybody is busy in pillage; nobody is interested in probity. In such a bleak scenario, if somebody claims of fighting corruption, either he is boasting or simply lying. It is a rotten system, it cannot be reformed, it is to be changed only.