A day after he ended his fast demanding a stronger anti-graft Lokpal Bill, social activist Anna Hazare has said that the process of formulating the act will be videographed and made public to ensure complete transparency.

Nice!

***

Sanjaya Baru in Business Standard compares the Lok Pal with the Lok Ayukta:

After all, several states have enacted the Lok Ayukta Act. What has been the experience of Lok Ayuktas? If India’s politicians and political parties have been willing to live with a Lok Ayukta, why should they conspire against a Lok Pal? Is it possible, one might ask, that there could be other valid reasons? Moreover, the fact is that Narendra Modi’s Gujarat has no Lok Ayukta. Yet, many people testify to the fact that there is less corruption in Gujarat than Karnataka – both ruled by the BJP – where a distinguished person holds the office of Lok Ayukta.

But votaries of Lok Pal may reject the Lok Ayukta comparison. In fact, they would say, that is precisely why India needs a “Mr India” kind of Lok Pal. That’s a pity. For governance to improve, good politics must be in command. Populism mobilises people; politics empowers them.

I’d be surprised if anyone claimed that Lok Pal is the solution. It’s a solution. In fact, we should take any and every little solution that comes along. We just haven’t had too many solutions.

Let me clarify: We haven’t had too many pragmatic solutions that have taken shape. Theoretical ones, we’ve had a billion. One per person.

What India needs every now and then is governance reform in the existing institutions of the state. This must become the focus of policy for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in its remaining three years in office.

He doesn’t address why any government will bring in the reforms he wants though. (And why would any system enforce rules that would destroy it?) When it comes to India, I’ve learnt to not take any sentence that beings with ‘What India needs ..’ seriously. One might as well say ‘What India needs is what is needed to solve the problem’ and get it over with.

Civil society has the right and responsibility to seek a responsive state, not shun politics, nor seek to replace it through prime-time populism. That way, as Dr B R Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly in 1949, lies anarchy.

Does anyone else feel like Ambedkar has been quoted more in this past week than in the last two decades?  Suddenly our constitution is totally awesome and the only feeling for those who wrote it is #RESPECT. I wish for simpler times when Dr. Ambedkar wasn’t quoted out of context.

***

Were someone today fighting corruption by request the government into reforming, I’m willing to wager that some armchair policy-thinker would’ve said, ‘Coercing the  government into reforms is hardly going to work. What India really needs is to somehow arm-twist the government, not giving them any other choice, into having a truly independent body that can look into corruption’.

And so the argument continues ..

***

P.S.: And Karan Thapar quotes Ambedkar too.

Advertisements