The Criminalization of Indian Society by M.V. Kamath

$img_titleWhat is shocking about the charge made by Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. VK Singh against a retired Lt. General who offered him Rs 14 crore bribe for sanctioning purchase of 600 sub-standard military vehicles is not so much the offer per se but the latter’s cutting edge remark that “other people had taken money before and they will take money after” the C-in-C demitting his office. The implication is that corruption has long been endemic in top Army circles and the same would continue in the future. That a retired officer had the gumption and impertinence to make such a remark in front of a C-in-C shows the utter lack of fear among top purveyors of corruption that carries its own message.

Is the Defence Establishment crumbling? If that can be said of the nation’s sole security force, what would be wrong in presuming that the evil has spread across all departments both at the central and state levels? If that is the case what hope is there in the future for the country? Very obviously, the Indian Army is in a very bad shape and it would come as no surprise if it becomes totally demoralised. Immediate and stern decisions to revamp the Defence leadership, in the circumstances is very much in order. What Gen. Singh has done is to open a can of worms and it is now time for the government to control the damage that he has wittingly or unwittingly done before it is too late. There is no question but that corruption has been eating into the very vitals of administration in all its forms across the length and breadth of the land. We have been turned into a people without shame. The Aadarsh imbroglio is only the tip of the iceberg.  Exposures of wrong doing in state after state has become routine.

In Andhra Pradesh among others even the Secretary of the Home Ministry has been detained. According to the Assamess paper The Sentinel (March 8) as many as 256 top officials have been charge-sheeted in Guwahati and they include 5 IAS officers. Included in the huge list are Finance and Accounts Officers, Executive Engineers, Directors of Education, Divisional Officers and a whole lot of others at all levels. It sounds incredible. Where does one begin one’s enquiries and where does one end? Criticising Anna Hazare’s plans for wiping out corruption in officialdom, Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of The Press Council of India sharply pointed out that the proposed Lokpal is unworkable for the simple reason that to keep an eye on around 55 to 60 lakh government employees in the country, including 15 to 16 lakh railway employees would require 55,000 Lokpals to redress the lakhs of complaints and where was the guarantee that in due course the very Lokpals will not, in turn, become corrupt?
More than 15 months ago, angered at the reluctance of many bureaucrats to declare their assets despite repeated reminders, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had got their names, designations and departments posted on the official website of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension. Some 851 officials above the rank of Under Secretary had been declared as defaulters. Have these defaulters obliged the Prime Minister by declaring their assets or are they still prevaricating? No one knows. The attitude, apparently, is one of chalta hai – anything goes. Even disobeying the Prime Minister. Nothing comes as a shock. If this kind of disobedience continues where will this take us?

Values are openly flouted. Can one believe that a total outsider, one Kripashankar Singh gets posted as Mumbai Congress chief and in a short time amasses so much wealth that the Income Tax Department feels compelled to take note of it? That this man feels compelled to resign from his post is another matter. Just as, if not more, shocking is the impertinence exhibited by one Anshuman Mishra – a UK based NRI – who wanted nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the BJP? Had it not been for the protests made by a senior BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, he would have got away with his desire, to the total demoralisation of the party’s rank and file in Jharkhand! The sheer audacity of the man is unbelievable. His belief must have been that money not only makes the mare runs but can even get an NRI a membership of the Rajya Sabha.

But to come back to the Gen. VK Singh revelations. What comes out clearly is that bribery becomes possible only when the Army imports arms and other defence equipments from abroad. For too long has India been over-dependent on arms imports. As of now it is believed that over 70 per cent of its arms requirements are imported from abroad, which is a crying shame. Is India so technically week that it has to depend on the international bazaar for its security needs? Between 2007 and 2011 India became the world’s top importer and consequently – and concurrently – the top target for middle men to work at bribing or attempting to bribe the Army’s purchasing officers? Even China which once was heavily dependent on foreign equipment and was the biggest recepient of imported goods between 2002 and 2006 has now slipped to the fourth position. India is perilously lagging behind.

The time surely has come, sixty four years after independence was won to focus on building a robust industrial base for achieving self-reliance in meeting the wide ranged needs of the Armed Forces. Indigenisation should be aggressively pursued and private enterprenuers should be encouraged. Following the C-in-C’ revelations one understands that the Defence Ministry is coming out with its first Defence Production Policy (DPP) that aims to arrest the trend of imports and strongly pitches for a robust domestic industry? It is not only possible but has become absolutely necessary given the circumstances.

Meanwhile the government must lay down a law that prohibits retired army officers from working as agents or conduits for foreign arms manufacturers to sell their goods. Keeping the private sector out is patently silly. Investment capital should be easily available and all business deals must be open and transparent. All things considered, perhaps we have to be grateful to Gen. VK Singh for opening the Establishment doors for all to see what’s going on behind the scene. Importantly, those found corrupt must get their just deserts to the extent of life imprisonment. No less punishment would do, to carry the message that the government means business.



naqash899's picture

Ana, could you be any more

Ana, could you be any more clever! This could be adapted to many uses. I think i'll make one for the kitchen area to store random papers or a bill paying station. Thank you for the inspiration!
Austin Home Builder

Dr K Prabhakar Rao's picture


Every one expects Defense forces to be a role model for dedication, inititaive, honesty, integrity and steadfastness and efficiency. Ultimate saviors of the country are defense forces in any country.But why only these forces should be targeted? Why not civilians who are supreme in a democracy even if the degenerated democracy like in India.Our Democratic set up was copied from the Bristish parliamentary system and like copy cats we copied them and felt happy.We had no clue of our caste politics and head aches of religion that would undermine system. However the guys who wrote the document failed to realise that Indians are not Englishmen.Here Educations was very poor. The over populated country had its own problems. The natives who were robbed of power since centuries were only waiting like vultures to devour the nation after capturing political power in India. The same was predicted by Sir Winston Churchill. Exactly same thing happened.A tiger that has tasted human blood will not leave it. It goes after kill after kill till it si destroyed. What is going on in this country is same. Our political leaders have tasted the political power and the immunity it offers apart from various facilities are akin to the man eating tigers described above. They will not abdicate political ambitions. They hang on to the power even when they get physically invalid and , mentally in-alert. Yet they harbor further ambitions.Family rules and dynastic successions have become order of the day in India that is peculiar to only this nation. Gandhis name becomes an icon anda passage to power. What a shame!How one can cleanse society! Nepotism, corruption have become part of our DNA in Indians.Most amusing is that the writers preach that only Defense forces should be above all the ills while clean chit is given to the civilians. In fact all should be above all types of ills. Is it possible? Black sheep will be always there. There used to be few rare honest political leaders too in past and we had most eminent Defense personnel above board. Few incidents here and there do not make entire system bad. However in case of Civilian setup entire set up has become debris and muck.Army is a much smaller Orgaization compared to civilian set up.However in Defense forces strict code of conduct is there. In civil setup also code of conduct is there. Every political leader takes an oath when assumes his office. He betrays the oath and becomes corrupt. No other examples are required to sustain the argument after seeing what is going on now. The court cases that are going on now in the country against the scams will keep continuing for decades and invariably all the offenders will get scot free. Experience has taught us this. Every one knows about Bofors scam. Mundra affair is known to all.Helicopter scams is forgotten. 2G scam will go on and on for decades.Tehelca scam is also gone to winds. No major jail punishmnets were given and executed. however money was lost.In such situation what we can expect? Civilian authority is supreme. But when civilian authority is highly corrupt who will punsih the corrupt and arrest mischief? Men like LalooPrasad continue as member of parliament and he was the railway minister too. He is the prime accused and court case will go on till he lives and enjoys power. Once he is out from the world on his own ( wish so), the case will be struck off.Look at the no. of civil servants who are involved in various cases in AP and other states. Does it speak well of supreme civil society and immunity given to it? The nation has become a rotten one. Defense forces were and are good even now with in the prevalent conditions. But they have been discriminated, down graded and partisan treatment goes on against them. It is the most unhappy set up simmering like a cauldran. It could burst at any time although like Ostriches we feel that all is good.When civilian set up fails to deliver some changes could take place that no one can prevent. There is no other force that can counter Defense forces. The politicians should be mature enough in handling Defense probelms and its men in uniform, . Treating them like all and sundry can spell doom to the nation. The date of Birth controversy of Gen VK Singh is a glaring mismanangement in MOD that could have been avoided.It has become a prestige issue for the Govt when the General went to court. Inability to cater for forces is another failure on part of MOD. Py commision problems will keep on repeating. the govt has failed to make commission in Defense forces attractive. From where people with values will enter? All and sundry could find way into it from all walks of life. It is national army. It is no more Royal army with officers class coming from elite class. Deterioration thus started long ago.Who is to be blamed. Surely not the guys in uniform. It is the civilan setup that si to be blamed.

Dr K Prabhakar Rao's picture


What happens when the establishment like Govt that has to tighten things becomes corrupt by itself as we are seeing to day.It is OK Retired army guys will be prohibited to take up jobs as agents for supply of arms and Defense equipment. Some other guy will do it. Now civilian will do it. Can you stop corruption ? Probably no. Your suggestion will not work. Basically moral fiber has deteriorated beyond repair in India.Values in army too have fallen low. In past, army was more or less was insulated from Civilians. Over these years things have changed. Cantonments are now very close to civil life. Too much interaction is there with civilians. clubs are there now. Party whirls are there too.Corporate sector officers and Civilan services are rising rapidly and enjoying five star life. Equations with army widely varied now. Young army officers are much informed now about outside life. Today's army is nationalist army and not colonial army . Horses have disappeared from officers quarters. Cars have come now. At every stage, equation is made with civilan Babu like IAS or IPS etc.They have power, recognition and money too. Unhappiness in Defense forces is the order of the day. Third rate stuff knock at SSB boards.After retirement Defense personnel become most harassed persons. They have no place in society. They feel their years of life has been wasted. What we can expect now? Can you prevent down fall. You can not insulate defense forces. Values have dwindled and it is the result of interaction with civilian set up over a time. That can not be prevented. Army has been relegated to the last priority.Some ask in what way army is superior. They call it as Bali ka Bakra ( sacrificial goat) More surprises will possibly come now. Punishments will not do. Values have to be built .It was taboo in past to discuss pay slip from CDA ( o) Pune. Now it is very common. It was very difficult get a scooter loan for officers in past.They drove second hand lambrettas . Youngsters used cycles too. They are from past.Remember Army does not march on empty stomach.Dear friends sermons will not do.