Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Disintegrating Team Anna?

Swami Agnivesh is out. Arvind Kejriwal is under fire reportedly for jumping the bond he signed for availing of leave from government service. Kiran Bedi faces flak for submitting travel bills that did not correctly reflect the expenses she had incurred. Prashant Bhushan also faces allegations and criticism for his comments on Kashmir. Santosh Hegde has said that he is part of Team Anna only for the purpose of fighting corruption, which could imply that if members of the Team take up other causes, he may not stay on.

At this rate, will anything be left of Team Anna by the time parliament is done with processing the Lok Pal Bill? If not, I suppose it will be left to parliament to decide by itself the content of the Bill. That may result in a Lok Pal that is not the omnipotent authority that Team Anna envisages but one that focuses on politicians and the upper bureaucracy. It may also result in some procedures being put in place for referral of corruption charges to the Lok Pal, instead of anybody having the right to file complaints.

These will be entirely desirable outcomes, in my view. It does not cease to amaze me that the Jan Lok Pal Bill, drafted by Team Anna, managed to garner so much support from the public and the media. That version is certain to result in a bureaucratic nightmare, an authority with staff running into thousands that will watch over the rest of the bureaucracy as well as politicians. This can only lead to paralysis of all decision making, signs of which we can see already. One of the most common complaints about the CVC is that it renders decisions in PSUs slow, that it comes in the way of risk-taking and commercial decisions. If the CVC could have this effect, what should one expect of the more fearsome Lok Pal?

Governance- or accountability- is desirable. But it should not come in the way of governing. Decision makers must be judged, in general, by the totality of decisions they take, not by putting every single decision of theirs under the scanner. With an omnipotent Lok Pal, the latter is what we must expect, with all its deleterious consequences.


Anonymous said...

Completely agree with " It does not cease to amaze me that the Jan Lok Pal Bill, drafted by Team Anna, managed to garner so much support from the public and the media"..........sometimes I wonder how many of the college kids standing at the Ramlila maidan realized that the clothes they were wearing were bought by their parents from the money they saved by Evading Taxes and a lot of them even by using Bribed money, As of media am not surprised (it was a mutual appreciation group thing)

Anonymous said...

I don't agree at all. If you think that JLP will slow down decision making, than the question is - Does not Governance, as a concept, slow down decision making? Extend it to corporates - Do you mean to say that SOX or Audit Committee meetings or Internal Audit Systems or having Independent Directors to constructively challenge CEO/management etc...slow down decision making?

We need to decide what we want:
1. Stable growth with minimal scams & corruption, where there is equality, justice and transperancy

2. High, exponential growth with equally high corruption cases, with high inequality, bulk of injustice and opacity all over.

The moot question is can Governance & Growth co-exist? What should be the balance?

And when you say that authority like LokPal should focus on collective decisions and not single one off decision - are you proposing that we should do away with 2G or CWG investigations because, first they are one off decisions and second on broad basis India is growing at GDP of 8%-9%; as we are growing at such fast rate, there is no need to focus on individual decisions like 2G or CWG.!!!

Do you adopt the same approach while acting as an Independent Director of PSU on which you're one?

Anonymous said...

I bet you will delete the above comment...as you have been doing to all the detracting comments in the past.

And you preach Transperancy...Governance...!!!

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