Saturday, June 4, 2011

HAM-HANDED HANDLING OF BABA RAMDEV’S MOVEMENT

B.RAMAN


The ham-handed handling of Baba Ramdev’s movement against foreign bank accounts of Indian nationals by the Government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not speak well either of the Government headed by him or of the Congress (I) headed by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi or of the senior bureaucracy advising the PM.


2. Public anger against the perceived lack of action by the Government to detect and proceed legally against the holders of illegal accounts abroad had been building up at least for a year, if not longer. This anger was more faithfully and accurately reflected in the NET than in the print and electronic media.


3.While the electronic media played a commendable role in reflecting public anger over the foot-dragging by the Government in taking action on charges of corruption against certain political leaders, it did not take serious note of the NET anger over Government’s perceived inaction against illegal accounts held abroad by Indian nationals.


4.Repeated examples of cover-up by the Government in the Bofors case where one had useful leads of some illegal accounts held abroad by some of the dramatis personae in the Bofors scandal created strong suspicions in the minds of many that there must be other such instances of cover-up by the Government to prevent the truth from being found out in respect of foreign accounts.


5. The Government did face a genuine difficulty in taking action since the co-operation of foreign Governments was involved. But there have been instances where other Governments such as those of the US and Germany had overcome such difficulties and successfully elicited the co-operation of countries such as Switzerland for action against financial wrong-doers.


6.Adding to these suspicions in the public mind was the evasive reactions of the Government to the leads coming from Wikileaks on this issue. Instead of taking these leads sincerely and seriously and examining how the Government could use them, the Government treated them casually as if the leads found in the Wikileaks disclosures were of no significance or importance.


7.The Government thus failed to follow up vigorously on the few leads that were forthcoming, thereby creating---rightly or wrongly-- an impression in the public mind that the Government is not serious about taking action to detect and prosecute holders of illegal foreign bank accounts.


8. The Government not only failed to act, but it also failed to notice how public anger was building up on this issue in the NET. Since this anger was not reflected by the print and electronic media, the Government thought that it could continue to get away with its inaction, amounting to a cover-up of a serious problem.


9.There are various ways in which the Government could have acted in order to remove this impression in the public mind about studied inaction by the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh and the Congress (I).


10. The PM could have addressed the people and interacted with civil society leaders agitating on this issue in order to convince them about the seriousness of the Government’s plans to deal with this issue. He didn’t. He maintained a sphinx-like silence, which comes naturally to him.


11.The Prime Minister could have visited countries like Switzerland which attract financial wrong-doers in order to seek their co-operation in the matter. He could have made it clear to their leaders that future development of our trade with those countries would depend on their co-operation with India in detecting and prosecuting financial wrong-doers. He didn’t.


12.He could have set up a Task Force consisting of experts in financial intelligence collection and investigation to study how countries such as the US and Germany have dealt with this issue and draw lessons. He didn’t.


13. He could have asked the same Task Force to study the working of our institutions responsible for financial intelligence collection and investigation in order to identify deficiencies and remove them. He didn’t.


14. He could have set up a mechanism for keeping the public continuously informed of the actions being taken by the Government. He didn’t.


15. When he heard that Baba Ramdev was planning to agitate on this issue in a big way, the PM should have asked his emissaries to contact him, explain what the Government has already been doing and what it intended doing in future and advised him not to embark on an agitationl approach which could prove counter-productive.


16. Instead of doing so, the Government mistakenly thought that it could benefit from the support base of the Baba to reduce the support base of Anna Hazare. It was ridiculous to have sent a group of senior Ministers to meet the Baba at the airport on his arrival and negotiate with him there. The negotiations with the Baba should have been before he arrived in New Delhi and not after his arrival at the airport or in a well-known hotel.


17. Through its actions and inactions, the Government unnecessarily and unwisely built up the image of the Baba. When the Government found to its consternation that the Baba was not as malleable as it thought he would be, it swung to the other extreme of midnight action using tear-smoke to put an end to the hunger-strike. The way the Government acted would have recalled to the minds of many how the Indira Gandhi Government used to act during the days of the Emergency between 1975 and 1977. If the Government had wanted to act strongly against the Baba, the right time for his arrest would have been before his arrival in New Delhi or on his arrival at the airport. Instead of sending his senior Ministers to hail him, the Prime Minister could have sent the police to arrest him and take him away from New Delhi.


18. The Government and the Congress (I)) due to their inability to think lucidly and act convincingly and meaningfully have landed themselves in a messy situation with likely negative consequences.


19. The first step for getting out of this mess is to convince the public that they have taken note of its anger and are serious about dealing with this issue. The Prime Minister should address the nation, exercise his personal leadership, keep the Ministers and party spokesmen under control instead of making highly unwise and potentially provocative statements and make it clear to the party and Mrs.Sonia Gandhi that he would not brook any interference in this matter. He should make it clear that he would be prepared to quit as the PM if there was any interference. (5-6-11)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

18 comments:

Esoteric said...

Re - #19.So you think the situation can still be retrieved...sorry its not.

Actions,Inactions and reactions have been noted.

PM met President before the fast,so the decision was taken beforehand to make Baba an example to dissaude Anna Hazare & co.

People arent stupid.This Govt,party and people involved will pay a heavy price for this.

As Ive maintained before 2012 end,they will all pay.As expected,emergency like situation has evolved..which was expected post TN elections...

Esoteric said...

Lets see if the 'objective and neutral' celebrated presenters of NDTV take a Pro-Baba position( the pro-democractic position) and critise the Congress about it...

Paresh said...

Digvijay Singh is the worst monster of all politicians. Whenever any civil society member stands up against the UPA govt's corruption, Digvijay Singh just says, "He has the backing of the Sangh", thus dividing the gullible Indian public into Hindu-Muslim and damaging the struggle against corruption. So, what is the difference between him and the British? Both use Divide and Rule!! And he has the tacit support of Sonia Mata and Rahul Yuvraj baba!

I would appeal to Indians not to fall prey to Digvijay Singh's insinuations. Nobody is clean! Tomorrow if I were to stand up against UPA's corruption, I am sure they will dig up some of my past mistakes....for example, I copied in an exam in 2nd standard, and show to the gullible Indians that I am not to be trusted!! Let us Indians unite against this outrageous Govt. in whom our confidence is dwindling day by day.

Broadway said...

What do you expect from MMS? He was an accessory to the loot all along.

Krishna Kacker said...

Widespread corruption and Black money stacked particularly in foreign banks are very serious matters.Government should have taken serious note of the public sentiment in this regard and acted swiftly and decisively.It is never too late to amend their conduct and act even now.
Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev both reflect the public frustration on inaction by the Governmnent on these vital issues.It has to take public sentiments into consideration and act.
Use of force, either lathi charge or tear gassingon peaceful crowd was totally uncalled for.
PM should take the matter in his hand now or it will never be tackled properly.It is now or never.A mistake can cost Congress party heavily particularly with elections looming next year in some states.

Wally said...

Mr. Raman. Stick to intelligence and strategic analysis. You look like an utter idiot when you propose a course of action that has Manmohan Singh exercising authority of some sort. "Make it clear to Sonia Gandhi"?!?!?

You are cut off from the rest of Indians and would do well to focus solely on your intelligence analysis.

The sooner you realise one thing the better it is. Your generation has FAILED us. That's right. FAILED us. Everything of note that has been done in India since independence has been done after 1992. That is well after your twilight years and those of your colleagues like Shiv Shankar Menon (who sold India out in Egypt - and this guy passed a civil service exam??? I know paralegals who would be fired for making the drafting mistakes that he and MMS have condoned at Sharm-Al Sheikh)

Do us a favour. Shut up. Just shut up. Everytime people of your generation do something, it just hurts our future. I wish there was a retirement age in politics so that buffoons like MMS, Digvijay, Advani, Mulayam Singh and political appointees (pretty much the ENTIRE top brass of the bureacracy right now which is filled by Keralites - you really expect us to believe that there is no regionalism involved here??)would be in some retirement home where their senility would be restricted to mundane conversations with the staff there.


Army in India today? Corrupt to the very top. Intelligence - INCOMPETENT. Bureaucracy - Hand in glove with their legislative benefactor of the day. And the Cabinet- filled with scumbags who refuse to adhere to the Constitution and pocket the hard earned money of the people of India. Shame on them and shame on you for writing bullshit and passing it off as an article.

Esoteric said...

RT @Swamy39: Sonia gave a direct order to PC to show this "half naked mendicant" what sbe is. This was at 10.20 pm yesterday. Coup d Etat!!
.

Paresh said...

@Wally

My dear Sir, what is your age and occupation? Are you in Indian politics or administrative services or Armed Forces? No? Then you have no right to complain! Plain and simple.

How many youngsters have taken up the political battle against corruption? Why do we need a 75 year old Anna Hazare to lead us? When I put an article about corruption on my facebook page, I get atmost a couple of 'Likes' and replies. But when I put a hot photo of a Bollywood actress, I get tens of likes and visits and replies. Why?

I live in a foreign country where there is a predominantly young Indian crowd and we had arranged a 'satyagraha' against corruption in front of the Indian Embassy. Do you know how many Indians turned up for the event? Only 4!!! But just a few days later we had a cricket tournament and 50 Indians registered!!!

No use just complaining. If you don't want the mess, pick a broom and start cleaning!

Wally said...

@Paresh


If you think that the youth of India resides in Bollywood (actors and actresses of people!) then that speaks more about your apathy and pig headed ignorance, and not the youth.

Perhaps 4 people showed up because you went to Bollywood actors and actresses, no? Perhaps the 50 who showed up for the match were the 'real' youth you should have gone to in the first place.


And protest before the embassy? Haha. You have again displayed the intellect of your exposed your peanut sized brain if you think that will work.


That does not work. Those guys who work there are staffers with at best 1-2 actual civil servants. On top, the host country might detain you for rightful violation of the privileges that are accorded to you in their country. Their country, their rules. It can lead to charges of deliberate embarassment by the host country.


If you wanted to make a change, you should have perhaps come back to India instead of being an armchair critic from the comfort of your foreign land.

And unless you were living under a rock, the protest by Hazare alone did not lead to squat initially. It was the youngsters joining the protest that made it strong. Hazare had conducted previous protests in the past with apathetic middle aged hypocrites like you before, but it did not work. The FIRST time he makes a call to the youth, they show up in numbers like never before. And we know what happened after that.

Besides, Anna Hazare is not a armyman, a bureaucrat, a politician, a biased mediaperson, or a socialite. He is a social activist.

Paresh said...

@Wally

I have already answered all your questions in my first post. Just as well, your abusive language has more noise than logic. In the strategic community, the more childishly excited you are, the less seriously people take you...

Thanks for visiting the blog anyways!

Esoteric said...

http://on.cfr.org/lEtmqG.
Congress hardening of stance on action against corruption will hasten its exit from power.Trying to divide civil society on class/religious terms will backfire,so will its blatant attempt to paint Ramdev as an RSS agent.

ambi said...

dear paresh n wally its time to get together guys. india needs support in this movement gainst rogues from resident and non resident indians equally.

how can we fight successfylly if we r not together. this is what they want!!!

ek ne kahan dooje ne maani. Nanak kahen dono gyaani.


-Guru Nanak ji Maharaj.

Congress is damned scarred!

ambi said...

'Aag ka kya hain, pal do pal mein lagti hain. Boozhte boozhte ek zamana lagata hain.'

'baat nikali hain to door talak jayegi'.

shaan said...

The PM is a dishonest person. He has no intention to control corruption. He stays in power with the help of the corrupt. He himself won a vote of confidence through corrupt means. How could you expect him to act against corruption?

abed said...

I don't take the government (which is for the people) as responsible alone. The problem is with our setup itself. The mindset of majority of people today is such that if "we get the positions we will also do the same i.e. 'steal'" So unless each one of us stops paying and accepting bribes & goes legal, its not going to help. In India, even a child is thought to lie his age for cheaper tickets, you negotiate with the TT for seats instead of fine, pay the traffic police instead of a challan. These are also corruption at lower levels which exponentiates at higher levels. So what is needed is thorough system overhaul from the bottom which will take time, maybe a decade - mere political protests/hypocrisy wont do. It has to be addressed at society, schools and college levels to have any significant effect. Scanning swiss accounts, find a few scape-goats simply wont work. Tomoorow people will find other safe-havens.

Esoteric said...

Abed- Common man paying a bribe when he wants to avoid paying a fine for jumping a red light versus A Raja taking a 60k crore bribe for 2G licences cannot be compared.

Yes,its a systemic problem.However,its not 'incidental' or by chance.Its been created specifically by the Political party in power for 50 yrs out of 62 yrs since 1947 to ensure it stays in power and benefit themselves and their kin.

In many ways,one could argue its the British revenge on the country that though they granted the independence but ensure pliant pro-British part-Indian Congress in power.

This party has degenerated into a rent seeking farce especially after Nehru and revived a bit under Indira and Rao.

You cannot fault the common man.Its a common canard spread by the Congress to ensure no 'change' happens...'sab kuch chalta hai' was their slogan to ensure common man did not start expecting better governance.They also have spread a feeling of 'big wigs' cannot be punished in India...but have now been proven wrong by the SC.

So dont believe all this propaganda.Its in their interest if you have no hope of change.

Yes,we can...and will before end '12.

balaji said...

@Wally I like what wally has said that the people who were kids in 90s like me has not probably been exposed to the mediocrity that is the Indian government of the earlier generations.We were born in pro reform 9% growth India with a more global outlook and certainly far more competence and exposure than the idiots of the earlier generation who still somehow seem to reminiscent on the so called laws and customs of the British raj.Our laws on corruption is outdated even crimes like rape have only 3 year sentences. The worst punishment that a public official will get for a bribe is a transfer just like the corrupt chief justice who was transferred to Sikkim.... what crime did Sikkim do to deserve him. The only reason that these guys are still in power is because India has still about 40% illiterate once the internet and tv penetration increases people will become more aware and once and for all root out the incompetence ie the Indian government.I dont care which political party comes to power i will vote for that party which is COMPETENT. Competency precedes over ideology and religion which is why a well learned and a honest man like MMS looks like a complete idiot in the Prime Minister position.He is a competent Finance Minister but an incompetent Prime Minister.

Admin said...

Poor Baba B.Raman-dev is unhappy with Congress bumbling.

But the Congress had dumped him long ago for him to be still doing their bathroom-cleaning and other dirty work.

Now, Baba B.Raman-dev-ji seems to be working overtime to find Congress favour once again.

Best of luck, Baba B.Raman-dev-ji