India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed that his government has brought back Rs. One lakh crore of black money . It is reported that this, Rs. 36000 cr. was by preventing the siphoning of funds by the intermediaries, by the introduction of direct benefit transfer scheme. The other Rs. 65000 cr. of black money was by launching tax amnesty scheme and other measures.
The Prime Minister has further said in his inimitable style that this has been done “without launching surgical strikes”.
While the Prime Minister makes such claims, the common man still feels that there is no visible and effective fight against corruption in the country, as there is no visible reduction in the level of corruption at various levels in the government machinery , amidst the business houses and even educational institutions and hospitals.
Mr. Modi’s promise on corruption
Mr. Modi was voted to power as Prime Minister of India largely on the expectation that he would fulfill his promise to root out corruption in the country at all levels within a stipulated period. The fact is that this has not been done it yet ,though he is making efforts in variety of ways. It does not look that corruption in India would be rooted any time sooner.
One cannot see any fear of law generated amongst the government employees and business houses and even among educational institutions and hospitals about indulging in corruption and tax evasion.
While some raids take place in the premises of the suspected corrupt persons and some arrests are made , they are very very few and far between compared to the level of corruption prevailing in the country. Similar raids and arrests were taking place even during the years before Mr. Modi took over as Prime Minister.
While we hear “sensational news” about the raids being carried out and seizure of currency, gold and documents , very little is heard after such raids. Nobody see most of such persons on whose premises raids have been made, suffering or going to prison. Some do but it is only for brief period and the whole exercise appear to be cosmetic.
Corruption in government machinery
It is true that incidents of corruption at the top level of the Central government has come down. But, this is not so in the case of middle and lower level of administration in the central government. The corruption in the states continues to remain very high and the BJP ruled states are no exception. While Mr. Modi led central government cannot be held responsible for the corruption in the state administration, the fact is that one rarely hears the Prime Minister criticizing the state governments for the high level of corruption prevailing in the states or asking them to improve matters.
There are massive corruption that are continued to be reported in the media and discussed by common men.. Most of the corruption incident stem from the acts of politicians belonging to various political parties including Mr. Modi’s party. Every political party including Mr. Modi’s party collect huge sum of money from business houses and various other sources by threat or coercion or showing favouritism. Mr. Modi has not so far attacked this basic route and cause for the corruption. This is becoming increasingly conspicuous.
Vijay Mallya episode
When Vijay Mallya ,who is facing tax evasion charges and allegations of corrupt dealings, flew away from India to avoid facing the court proceedings, the question that was raised by everyone was as to why Modi government allowed him to fly away.
Now, with scant regard for Indian judiciary and rule of law, Vijay Mallya is refusing to return back to India to face the court proceedings. Modi government appears to feel helpless in dealing with this man. This single episode has created considerable doubt about Modi government’s commitment to put down corruption in the country and punish those indulging in corrupt dealings.
Little time to lose
As Modi government is in the second half of the five year term, it has little time to lose and has to convincingly prove to the country men that it’s commitment to root out corruption is real. It should ensure that the fear of law would be effectively driven into the mind of the corrupt politicians , bureaucrats, government servants, business houses and others.
This is the biggest challenge facing Mr. Narendra Modi. It remains to be seen as to whether he can successfully fulfill his promise to root out corruption in the second half of his term, which he was not able to do in the first half.