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Issue:January' 2018


Corrupt politicians the main threat to democracy !

Jagdish N Singh

The other day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi identified ‘family-driven and dynasty-ruled parties’ as a threat to our democracy and called upon “liberal intellectuals ” to raise their voice against such parties. I wish the Prime Minister had identified the main threat to our democracy and targeted it ! That threat comes from corrupt, criminal, casteist and communal elements who have penetrated into almost all political parties in the recent decades. According to an authentic study, there are 184 legislators with criminal background in our current Lok Sabha . The state of affairs in state Assemblies is not much different.

It is because of the presence of such elements in politics that the Indian state has so far not been able to function appropriately in the spirit of democracy and foster all-inclusive development and happiness across the Republic . After over seven decades of India’s Independence , our national scene is one of massive poverty, illiteracy and squalor while a privileged minority of economic and political elites continue to flourish at the cost of the have-nots .

A K Patnaik In order to change this scenario our Republic needs to rid itself of all corrupt and criminal elements in our politics and governance at the Centre and in the States. Regrettably, the successive governments have done little to address the malaise of corruption . Our Central Bureau of Investigation is supposed to play a crucial role in catching the corrupt in the political sector. But it has hardly been autonomous.
The recently much publicized infighting within its top brass should suffice to reveal how sick the agency has turned over the years. The 2003 amendments- based bipartisan appointment process, with our highest judicial functionary as its part, in the selection for the post of its Director does not seem to be working. Two years ago, a high power committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and the Chief Justice of India appointed Alok Verma as the Director of the CBI. But in December last the Government decided to divest him of his functions. Nobody still know the reasons thereof.

Alok Verma When the Supreme Court ordered that the high p o w e r committee that appointed the CBI director alone could take any decision related to his terms and conditions, the c o m m i t t e e hurriedly met and removed Verma as the director of the agency. T h e c ommi t t e e did not give him a personal hearing.
It is being said the committee chose not to hear him for two reasons. First, the Central Vigilance Commissioner had already heard Verma in a session monitored by retired Justice A. K. Patnaik on the Supreme Court’s earlier orders and arrived at the opinion that he should not continue as the CBI director. Second, Verma was not being suspended but given a post of equal rank.
Such reasons are hardly in tune with natural justice. Nobody knows what the CVC report on Verma was. Justice Patnaik reportedly found no evidence of corruption against Verma.

Homes for shelters or sex ?

Balika grih at Muzaffarpur No state can have any future if its children are not healthy and happy. Aware of this, the founding fathers of modern independent India made the development of children part of our Constitution. But have the successive governments in India cared ?
Recently, we had shocking revelations on the sexual abuse of inmates in a balika grih at Muzaffarpur in Bihar. According to a study, there are about 9,589 child care institutions and homes, mostly run by NGOs. Most of the inmates therein are orphaned, abandoned, sexually abused, trafficked or victims of disasters and conflict. They often have to live in facilities without proper toilets, secure compounds or the opportunity to vent their grievances . The study notes that only 32 per cent of child care institutions or homes are registered. An equal number of them are unregistered. The rest are either just empanelled or awaiting registration.

Habits die hard !

Open defecation Now and then, we hear of the Swachh BharatMission. This mission aims to eliminate open defecation across the country by October 2, 2019. Will it succeed in this ?
According to one study, open defecation has fallen and toilet ownership has increased. However, the percentage of people, who own toilets but continue to defecate in the open, has remained unchanged . Clearly, the mission has hardly been successful in changing people’s behaviour. Time to pay attention to change the mind-set of the people .

Drugs through ports

Donald J Trump A m e r i c a n P r e s i d e n t Donald J Trump s e e m s determined to seal the US border crossings. He describes prospective migrants from Latin America as drug-dealers, rapists and violent criminals.
Does the United States really need a wall ? Are the migrants criminals ? According to a recent study, migrant border crossings have been in decline for the last two decades. Hard drugs such as heroin enter the U.S through legal ports . The US State Department has admitted no terror operatives have entered its homeland through Mexico.