The National Advisory Council thinks, we are told by newspapers today, that a bouquet of systemic reforms is required to curb corruption in the country. Did we really need a whole bunch of experts to tell us that? Had the government but taken the trouble of listening to the citizens of this country -----the beleaguered lot which pays the price for the all-pervasive corruption every day of their lives ------ it would have received this sage advice at no expense to the public exchequer in terms of the cost of hosting a meeting.
What are these systemic reforms that the NAC has identified?
It talks about the Judicial Accountability Bill. Is there a citizen today who still reposes faith in our judicial system? The twin monsters of delays and corruption have eroded its credibility so completely that the structure could crumble any day. The NAC talks about whistleblower protection and social audits. Ask the families of those brave men who have lost their lives because the government has been dragging its feet in these crucial areas what the necessity is . Has the government forgotten the heartless way that Niyamat Ansari was murdered because he was asking uncomfortable questions about the implementation of MNREGA? Or the murderous attempt on RTI activist Mangalaram? Does it really need to be told by NAC that there is need for reforms/new laws if more people are not to lose their lives to vested interests? The NAC thinks transparency in government appointments is a critical area. Perhaps we should begin with some transparency in the appointments of Ministers. Then there is mention of the Right to Services bill. That is the refrain on every citizen’s lips ----- I am paying taxes, where are the roads, water, power, traffic regulation, sanitation, parks, and libraries?
Perhaps it would have been not such a waste of the tax payer’s money if in its meeting the NAC had suggested a fail proof plan of action for putting in place these systemic reforms before systems collapse. It could even have rather daringly suggested that the citizens be informed every month of the progress made.
We all know what is required to be done. The challenge is to get it done. Now.