Is that surprising ?
Our TV and Print media, especially the TV News Channels, have done amazing job of exposing the series of scandals plaguing the Indian Government now, but they have also caused extensive damage to the fabric of the society which appears to be under enormous strain.
India is seen as the independent free world’s leader in some sense. It is, in fact, the world’s largest democracy which continues to operate in a multi-party democratic system which has been time-tested for the past more than six decades (except for a couple of adventurous years during the infamous “Emergency” rule of 1975 – 77). It has proven that the democratic system works rather well under rather challenging circumstances.
Democracy is sometimes considered to be “a license for politicians to make money” – this is not true just in India, but almost in all democracies including the most advanced ones. Since getting elected in a raucous election with “money politics” indeed costs lot of money for politicians of all parties, if and when they come to power, they all want to make more money than ever within a time span of 5 years when they are running the government.
But what is happening in India currently is simply unprecedented.
A series of scams over the past couple of years has tainted the ruling Central (Federal) Government and many State Governments. Several leading politicians have been indicted and many are under CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation for alleged crimes, mostly financial crimes. The Indian Parliament, the ultimate law-making body of India, is reeling under paralysis, not functioning for the past 8 days due to staunch opposition from parties opposed to the current ruling government party and its scandals. In several cases, the opposition parties are also involved, like in the current “Coalgate” scam.
All the coverage in Indian and international media, has dented India’s image seriously. Combined with the slowing GDP growth rate (down to 5.5% from the lofty heights of 8.5% a couple of years ago), India is becoming a nation riddled with corruption and unclear government policies on investment and growth.
What gives ?
I still strongly believe India has the best future amongst the BRIC economies, if not in the G-20 grouping. It has to take some bold reform measures very quickly. The ruling party / coalition has no option but to collaborate with the Opposition in policy making. There are many such actions that laymen like me can suggest, recommend and prescribe, but these would be useless if the fighting continues in our Parliament, day in and day out. We should not become a laughing stock of democracy – let all the parties remember that India is still the free world’s respected leader in this era of non-tolerance.
1st September 2012