Unless the people do not come together to oppose corrupt practices across government, public and private sector organisations, the present situation will get perpetuated. This is not an ill that can be cured by another institution like Lokpal or by debates in parliament
“….will transform India’s 1.2 billion people into 1.2 billion opportunities”—Sam Pitroda, 25th September
The current decade is an opportunity for India to come to terms with her real problems and bring about a change in direction, not allowing back-seat driving by external influences, making a path motorable for coming generations and showing the world that the country’s inherent strengths and vision are intact. To make this possible, the fourth pillar of democracy, the people, should play their role effectively. The greed of the rich and the powerful is preventing this from happening.
The culprit is corruption. Let us find out whether this issue can be handled, if ‘people’ come together.
“The most common refrain is that Team Anna is a single issue movement which lacks the capability to manage the complexities of Indian politics. Such advice is indicative of the extent to which the intelligentsia is cut off from the public, groaning under the heavy burden of institutionalized corruption. Since unchecked graft in government cuts across every sector and segment of Indian society, by definition it is a multi-sector issue. The rotting grain mountains of the Food Corporation of India are the fallout of widespread theft and defalcations within the organisation, which has prevented construction of adequate storage facilities; the country’s ubiquitous urban and rural slums are the outcome of pernicious corruption in the real estate sector; mass illiteracy and unemployability of millions of youth is the result of chronic corruption in education, and poor health and nutrition of the general populace is also the natural consequence of rampant corruption in the public healthcare system.”
This is an excerpt from an editorial in September 2012 issue of Education World, the human development magazine. Quoted here to share my comfort that awareness about the cancerous corruption is growing and if the message gets conveyed in an effective manner in the education world in India, still there is hope of salvaging what is left of India, that is Bharat.
Our country’s faith in resurrection from all catastrophes is well-founded in the following stanza from Bhagavadgita:
yadaa-yadaa hi dharmasya
glaanir bhavati bhaarata
tadaa’tmaanam srijamyaham (Bhagavadgita, IV.7)
(Whenever there is a decline of righteousness and rise of unrighteousness, O Bharata (Arjuna), then I send forth (create incarnate) Myself.)
We have seen tens of thousands of such incarnations at Jantar-Mantar around Anna Hazare sometime back and seen and experienced the support of millions of others through the media during those days. By selective targeting, the rich and the powerful have delayed the fight against corruption which will erupt in one form or other and engulf the corrupt wherever they hide, sooner than later.
Let us consider a shortcut to bring the corrupt from their hideouts. There could be other methods which may work faster and better. But to initiate the debate let me introduce the idea of a domestic ‘Corruption Index’.
The intellectual leadership of India should take up a project to assess the extent of corruption in India. This could be done by scientifically evolving appropriate methodologies for having a ‘Corruption Index’.
There have been efforts to measure corruption with reference to various practices in different nations and rank countries according to their status in comparison with others in the group. But, one, it is no use knowing our position with reference to others and two, as we observed, corruption has more dimensions than illegal practices or bribes. As our government encourages ‘self-regulation’ these days in different areas, why not attempt a regulatory mechanism outside the statute book for assessing and quantifying corruption?
It is here the idea of a “Corruption Index” gets significance.
Imagine, one “Corruption Indexing Organization” (CIO) gives you a rating of the person, department, organization (including a political party)/institution on a scale of, say, hundred, how deeply sunk they are in corruption, based on parameters explained to you? There can be several such CIOs specializing in different walks of life. Of course, the functioning will be fee-based and independent of government except for overall regulation, may be through a registration arrangement.
Let us consider a couple of areas where this can be tried on a pilot basis.
• Candidates contesting election
Candidates themselves may furnish relevant information to the CIO and get their index commuted. The parameters could be, accumulation of wealth during the previous five years and source thereof, attendance in legislative houses where the candidate was a member during that period, participation in developmental efforts in the constituency and pending cases/charges of corruption if any(list is indicative). Once stabilized, index could be worked out annually.
• Government departments
Initially, the exercise could be confined to departments vulnerable to corruption. E.g. Excise, Motor Vehicles (Registration, etc) The parameters could be, number of complaints during the previous five years, pending charge-sheets/cases involving staff members, punctuality in disposal of cases and assessment based on internal reporting(again, the list is indicative). Periodicity for revising index could be annual.
It may also be necessary to develop skill through introducing corruption as a subject in Management Institutes and other professional schools so that CIOs are able to recruit experts for the purpose of functioning with professionalism.
Two years back, a national newspaper had, side by side, printed views for and views against corruption. One view was that corruption is the oil that lubricates the wheels of progress. Many seem to agree with this view. Very recently, I read in a magazine an observation attributed to Kaushik Basu, which said: “The rationale for corruption is economic; the best way to handle it is to legalize it”. Perhaps, this advice from the one-time economic advisor to the prime minister has been taken literally seriously by powers that be. Sometime back, the Supreme Court, while hearing a corruption-related case, though sarcastically, had suggested legalizing corruption and fixing specific amounts for every case. Perhaps, our private sector has implemented this suggestion long back. Service charges levied by the banks are one example that comes to mind. Now there are banks which charge separately for opening of accounts, issue of cheque books, certifying that an account holder is maintaining an account with the bank, for not maintaining minimum balances in deposit accounts and so on. The government is following suit and introducing levies/charges for every transaction in government offices.
It was Zail Singh (when he was president) who said that if an individual’s assets multiplies manifold in a short span of time, keep an eye to see how the growth happens. Obviously, he had corrupt means used by people to become rich and it was inconvenient for the rich and the powerful to take notice of the observation. If Zail Singh had been taken seriously, even the doubling of value of assets reported by Dr Manmohan Singh this year would have attracted scrutiny!
Last week, in one of my online comments, I had referred to the four pillars of democracy. A friend asked me whether I had the fourth estate (media) in mind, while including a fourth pillar in addition to legislature, executive and the judiciary. I answered that I had “WE THE PEOPLE” mentioned in the preamble of the constitution in mind when I commented (frankly, the idea of accepting ‘twitter’ as the fourth pillar of democracy was yet to get currency!). Let us go back to the preamble of the Constitution, which reads:
“WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
And to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLEY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”.
The Constitution is given to the people of India and it is the solemn responsibility of every Indian to protect it. Of course, the agent of the people carrying out this task is the government. This has been made abundantly clear in the Constitution through a bunch of directive principles of state policy forming part of the Constitution and explicitly stated to be not enforceable by any court, but with a clear direction to government to apply them in making laws.
I am convinced that unless the people, who do not directly participate in the affairs of legislatures, executive and the judiciary, those in the media and those who are part of these three wings, but are silent spectators to the goings on, due to various compulsions, do not come together to oppose corrupt practices across government and public and private sector organisations, the present situation will get perpetuated. This is not an ill that can be cured by another institution like Lokpal or by debates in parliament.
(MG Warrier is a freelancer based in Mumbai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
One needs to be alert for the slightest sign of a break of support
S&P Nifty close: 5,703.30
Short Term: Up Medium Term: Up Long Term: Down
After a flat opening the Nifty drifted lower to breach the weekly support of 5,648 points, intraday, only to recover and close above it on the settlement day. The new settlement opened with an upside gap and the Nifty finally closed a meagre 12 points (+0.21%) in the green. Volumes were, however, significantly higher as the Nifty formed a “high wave line” (though not classical as the candle should preferably have been longer), implying that there is equilibrium at current levels between the bulls and bears. The histogram MACD, which is above the median level, moved higher indicating that the bulls remain in control even though the short-term oscillators have ventured into overbought territory.
The sectoral indices which outperformed were CNX Media (+6.47%), CNX FMCG (+4.13%), CNX Realty (+3.94%), CNX Consumption (+2.82%), CNX Pharma (+2.12%) and CNX Auto (+1.19%) while the underperformers were CNX Metal (-1.75%), CNX Energy (-1.57%), CNX PSE (-1.20%) and CNX IT (-1.03%).
Here are some key levels to watch out for this week
■ As long as the S&P Nifty stays above 5,692 points (pivot) the bulls will be in control.
■ Support levels in declines are pegged at 5,649 and 5,595 points.
■ Resistance levels on the upside are pegged at 5,746 and 5,788 points.
1. The Nifty came very close to hitting the 61.8% retracement level of the decline from 6,338-4,770 points pegged at 5,740.
2. The Nifty is now moving within a sharp up sloping channel (in blue), support from which is pegged around 5,410 points and resistance is pegged around 5,795 points, this week.
3. We have closed above the previous weekly top of 5,629 points (24 February 2012) which is a sign of strength as long as it stays above it.
4. The weekly chart above also shows a channel (in brown) the resistance line of which should be closely watched in the weeks ahead.
5. We have completed 89 weeks (Fibonacci number) from the top of 6,338 points (05 November 2010) hence one has to keep a close watch whether the market starts correcting from this level.
6. The volumes were significantly higher as compared to the previous week which was also the case a week prior to the previous significant top of 5,629 points (24 February 2012). Hence one needs to be alert for the slightest sign of a break of support.
The bulls have managed to hold on despite the dullness for the better part of the week. There is a small body on very high volumes which is a warning that the volatility is likely to increase in the coming weeks. One has to keep a tight stop loss on longs because we have completed 89 weeks from the top of 6,338 points and the previous top of 5,629 points was also made on significantly higher volumes. The simplest stop loss that one can keep is the last week’s low of 5,638 points. Tighten your seat-belts as the volatility is likely to increase in the weeks ahead.
(Vidur Pendharkar works as a consultant technical analyst & chief strategist at www.trend4casting.com.)
A close below 5,670 on the Nifty may result in a sideways move
The Indian market closed with meagre gains in the week on the continuing reforms push by the government and supportive global cues. However, the upmove was restricted by profit booking after decent gains seen in the past three weeks. The focus will now shift to the second quarter earnings season, which kicks off next month.
The Sensex closed the week at 18,763, up 10 points (0.05%) and the Nifty settled 12 points higher (0.21%) at 5,703. With the market having already factored the government’s reforms push, investors are beginning to look at the global arena for fresh developments. On Friday the Nifty settled at its highest since 8 July 2011, however, if the benchmark closes 5,670 we may see some sideways movement setting in.
Profit booking saw the market closing marginally lower on Monday. Absence of any local cues and fresh concerns from Europe led to a flat close on Tuesday. The benchmarks were range-bound and closed in the negative on Wednesday.
The market witnessed a highly volatile session on the derivatives expiry day and ending lower on Thursday. The market closed with gains of around 1% on Friday on the government continuing with its reforms push and support from the global markets.
BSE Consumer Durables (up 5%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 4%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE Oil & Gas (down 2%) and BSE Metal (down 1%) were the top losers.
The key performers on the Sensex were Mahindra & Mahindra (up 7%), BHEL (up 6%), Cipla (up 5%), Tata Power and ITC (up 4%). The major losers on the index were Bharti Airtel, Sterlite Industries (down 5% each), ONGC (down 4%), Coal India and Tata Motors (down 3% each).
UltraTech Cement, M&M, ACC (up 7% each), BHEL (up 6%) and Cipla (up 5%) were the major gainers on the Nifty. The losers were led by Sesa Goa, Cairn India, Bharti Airtel, ONGC (down 5% each) and Coal India (down 4%).