Karela Fry

Just another WordPress.com weblog

An open letter

leave a comment »

N Vaghul, Deepak Parekh, Ashok Ganguly, Jamshyd Godrej, Sam Variava, M Narasimham, Yezdi Malegam, Anu Aga, A Vaidyanathan, Bimal Jalan, Keshub Mahindra, Azim Premji, Nachiket Mor and B N Srikrishna wrote an open letter to the government on October 3, 2011 which has hit the news today. Excerpts from the full text published by IBNLive:

On January 17, 2011, we, a group of like-minded citizens who were deeply concerned with the state of affairs of the nation addressed an Open Letter to our leaders. This letter focused on four issues – (a) Growing Governance Deficit (b) Galloping Corruption (c) The urgent need to distinguish between ‘Dissent’ and ‘Disruption’ and (d) Environmental Challenges. … It is in this context that we put forward our second Open Letter.

We support the need for the urgent passage of a well-crafted Lokpal Bill by the Parliament. While the Parliament debates the contours of the Lokpal Bill, the discussion of the details now resides with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice. We, however, believe that the Lokpal Bill is only one small but critical step in the national task of weeding out the plague of corruption in India. This draft Lokpal Bill is intended to address EPISODIC CORRUPTION, but is unlikely to have any significant impact on the DAY-TO-DAY CORRUPTION which is insidious and demeaning.

1. The common man (the poor bear the greatest burden) is a silent sufferer because available constitutional remedies remain inaccessible. Several antiquated laws require urgent overhaul to reflect contemporary realities. LAND, JUDICIAL, ELECTORAL and POLICE reforms are most urgently needed. Key recommendations and draft legislation on most of these issues are already in the public domain. It is imperative, however, that legislative reforms be constructively and constitutionally debated in a time-bound and orderly manner and not in uncivil and hostile environments. DISRUPTION, both in the Parliament and outside is socially debilitating and erodes public confidence.

2. It is acknowledged that a strong nexus exists between certain corporates, politicians, bureaucrats and power brokers. This is one of the greatest threats for the Indian economy. It may be worth mentioning that the UK, in July 2011, enacted the ‘The Bribery Act, 2010’. The Act makes it illegal TO OFFER, RECEIVE AND FAIL TO PREVENT BRIBERY and extends culpability to the highest levels in an accused corporation. Only if timely and punitive action is taken against both, THE GIVER AS WELL AS THE RECEIVER OF THE BRIBE, will the fight against ground level corruption be won effectively.

3. Even the best crafted legislation will not cleanse the system unless effective REDRESSAL MECHANISMS are put in place. This, however, is not possible given the acute backlog of cases pending in the courts, estimated at over 3.1 crore. India has 10 judges per million population compared to 50 in the UK and 107 in the US. The adage of justice delayed is justice denied is the key reason why the common man is unable to fight against corruption. It is imperative to increase the number of judges and other judicial officers, modernise infrastructure and implement judicial reforms such as creating additional fast-track, specialised courts.

4. While we appreciate and support the need for environmental protection, it should be recognised that there is an impasse on ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCES which continues to delay several investment proposals and hamper economic growth. Among other measures, it is worthwhile considering the introduction of an on-line AUCTION process for allocation of natural resources which will provide the much needed TRANSPARENCY and prevent discretionary and irregular practices. Owing to several such impediments, fresh investments are not forthcoming at the pace required for a rapidly growing economy such as ours. Policy uncertainties and delays in approvals are forcing many large corporate entities to seek out opportunities in other geographies.

Interesting that the letter calls for action which will certainly affect the way business is done in India. So much more apt than law minister Salman Khurshid’s comments that investments into the country would suffer in case top businessmen continue to be behind the bars in cases of corruption (see HT, ET, and IE).


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

October 11, 2011 at 5:21 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: