Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Aug 2018 11:25:47

THE contrast between two statements is very sharp and revealing the actual state of affairs at two different times. There was a time when the then Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi said, in effect, that barely 15 paise out of every rupee allotted for developmental work reached the intended target. Now is the time when Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has said, in effect, that every paisa allotted for development reaches its intended target, since there is no place for ‘middlemen’ in his Government. We have every reason to believe the PM’s word on this.

Right from Day One, Mr. Modi has been talking confidently that he would neither be corrupt nor will allow anybody to be corrupt. That might have looked a tall order when the Prime Minister made the statement from the high perch in the Himalayas where he was spending a little time with the soldiers and officers of the Indian Army. Eventually, the nation saw, however, that the Government was trying its best to act seriously to prove the Prime Minister’s word right. That actual aim of not allowing anybody to be corrupt may seem rather far at this stage. Yet, it is necessary to recognise that the fight against graft is not something that is over in a night. The most satisfying aspect of the fight is that it is not given up and goes on regardless of whatever others might say.

The Prime Minister’s statement that there is no place for middlemen in his Government has to be viewed in this light. Naturally, when such an effort is going on, most paise, if not every in some extreme cases, reach the intended developmental target. This is the actual credit of the Modi Government in the last four years. Of course, the fight against graft is a long haul, and would go on for a long time before honest forces finally are able to vanquish the corrupt forces. But the very fact that the Prime Minister himself can assert that there are no middlemen in his Government, is good enough an indication that things are moving in the right direction.

This is no small a gain, given the overall Indian condition in which corruption has become almost a religion for most, rich or poor. For when the larger Indian society had almost given up on the issue, it was Mr. Narendra Modi who rose above the muck and declared that he would wage an unrelenting war on graft. It was he whose word the people came to believe. It was he who made no effort to find excuses for not doing the right thing. And now it is he who is asserting that there is no place for middlemen in his Government, and that every paisa reaches the intended developmental target.

One must admit, from that moment when Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was forced to confess that only a few paise reached the target, the country has moved much ahead when Mr. Narendra Modi is in a position to make an altogether opposite claim. This is the condition the country had bargained for.

Let us not ignore the reality ten years before Mr. Modi’s ascendence as Prime Minister were truly bad in terms of corruption. So purchasable and so sluggish had the entire system become that the world came to label the process as “policy paralysis”, a condition in which nothing moves, decision-making or the money. From that day, the country has moved much ahead in its fight against corruption. The ideal condition may be far away even now, yet it can be said safely that there is a vast improvement over the past four years.

Even though the Prime Minister asserts that there is no place for middlemen in his Government, certain more distance needs to be travelled to reach the target fully. For, the fight against graft is something that has to go on at all levels and engaged in by one and all. Yet, there are happy tidings available everywhere in the country that things are getting rectified rapidly. The Prime Minister’s assertion is only one more endorsement of a happy reality. If we really finish the scourge of graft, we will be on the way to an actual global leadership in many areas.