The inception of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement was an epochal event which will go down in the annals of Indian history as one that reformed the face of modern India. It has created a sense of panic among the ministers who were used to basking in the comfortable sun of power. Now that comfort is eroding and that sun is slowly turning cold. A certain fear has been stirred in the conscience of the corrupt. But above all, it has brought people from all lifestyles together against a simmering cause which has had a sizable impact on their lives since ever. It was the common platform against this anger, not so much the love for Anna Hazare, which has made it a successful movement. But some uncomfortable questions need to be asked.
In the 2G scam, A. Raja was implicated, along with some top honchos of the telecom operators that were alleged to be involved. They, along with Kanimozhi, are still behind bars. But the problem is that thus far the CBI has not been able to come up with sizable evidence to prosecute them. Yes, the power of collective anger of the middle class says that they must be involved. But what good do we know? There is a lot that goes on behind closed doors and who committed what crime and with what intentions is something that is always very hard to verify. But the Congress had to act to save its face. This expedited action has led to an undesirable fallout. Policymaking has never been the problem, but implementation has been the bane of Indian polity. This peculiar position has been made worse by the Anna Hazare movement. Implementation of reforms by the government has come to a standstill, which is having a very negative effect on the growth stimulus that the government is supposed to provide to the ever slowing industry growth. Policymakers widely agree on the opinion that the soaring inflation can be given only a breather by the monetary policy of the RBI, and only quick implementation of long term reforms can bring down prices. High interest rates are in turn slowing down the growth, which can further be bolstered only by reforms. But babus sitting the cushy offices are no more comfortable signing blindly on the files passed on from above. In fact, they believe the safest thing to do is to let the file eat the dust. Why be involved and sign on a seemingly harmless piece of paper which may turn out to be a scam tomorrow and come back to haunt them? And that is what exactly is happening. The wheels of the Executive are stuck in the morass of procrastination.
But then this is the downside of a democracy, that behind a freedom of expression, there could be an abuser, behind a Right to Information enquiry, there could a defamer, behind a rape accusation, there could be an avenger, and behind a safeguarding power conferred to the armed forces, there could easily be a human-rights violation. A well-functioning government should know how best to balance these opposing forces, but the eternal dilly-dallying by our present rulers on important issues has worsened the problem. Congress could make a beginning by taking care of the reform implementation, now! Being too late on that front can prove disastrous for the Indian economy, notwithstanding its strong fundamentals in the face of the impending Euro zone debt default.