The greed for money and power displayed by political leaders has got the Goan voter acquiring similar qualities. He has converted his ‘right to vote’ into a type of business for making quick money. When such a situation exists in the political field of any state then the bureaucracy too moves in the same direction as the political leadership.
Manohar Parrikar, firm and determined to curb corruption, being at the helm of affairs, can definitely give a new direction to Goa’s administration
By Tomazinho Cardozo
n Independence Day, Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar assured the people of Goa that he would wipe out corruption from the state. A few months ago, he had announced zero tolerance to corruption. Presently, he said that corruption at higher level has reduced and expressed his desire to make the state corruption free before the next Independence Day. Will the Chief Minister succeed in this mission?
Goa was liberated from the dictatorship of the Portuguese regime in 1961. It is now over 50 years that Goans have got their democratic rights. Normally, experience is based on time factor and hence 50 plus years of experience should have been sufficient to turn the Goan voter into a more mature citizen in his dealings with democracy. Unfortunately, this has not happened in the interest of democracy. No doubt, Goans, be they politicians, bureaucrats or voters themselves, definitely have gained tremendous experience in doing things through undemocratic means in the guise of democratic principles.
Look at the political leaders, bureaucrats and Goan voters in the 60s, 70s and the beginning of 80s. Politicians believed in ideologies of their respective political parties. Voters too were faithful to principles they believed in. Their main aim was to serve Goa and Goans and bring about development and betterment of society. The Goan voter also thought on the same wavelength and hence he always elected a sincere and honest person. Due to this pleasant democratic atmosphere in the state, bureaucrats had no opportunity to indulge in corruption. Although there were stray incidents of corruption and favouritism, but on the whole, the political leadership, ruling as well as opposition, by and large, believed in honesty and transparency. This was because individuals who entered politics were mostly professionals from law, education, medicine, journalism, trade union, etc. They practised principled politics and were rarely seen compromising with principles they stood for.
A majority of present day politicians do not appear to have such ideas. In the recent past, we observed that often they changed party allegiance for self-aggrandisement and fulfilment of personal ends. They gained political power through whatever means possible. The tragedy was that they were not ashamed of these deeds, which brought a very bad name to the state. Frequent political happenings of this nature projected Goa as a politically ‘notorious’ state in the country. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise to see the previous Congress government, under the leadership of Digambar Kamat, complete full term of 5 years. Even more surprising was that after a long time BJP, under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, won absolute majority in the recently held Assembly election. Those who said that ‘this is the era of coalition’ were proved wrong. Does it mean our political leaders as well as voters have become more mature?
The greed for money and power displayed by political leaders has got the Goan voter acquiring similar qualities. He has converted his ‘right to vote’ into a type of business for making quick money. When such a situation exists in the political field of any state then the bureaucracy too moves in the same direction as the political leadership. Manohar Parrikar, firm and determined to curb corruption, being at the helm of affairs, can definitely give a new direction to Goa’s administration.
It is very easy to shout against corruption in the government. It is also very common to brush aside the impact of this evil act by saying that it is a universal phenomenon. What is annoying is that it has grown beyond limits with time. Ordinary citizens too are willing to pay something extra in order to get a job done by bending existing laws. Thus, everybody who is directly connected to the smooth functioning of democracy contributes to the downfall of democratic norms. With all these undemocratic acts, the honest taxpayer is the loser. It is shocking to note that no government in Goa in the past, be it the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Progressive Democratic Front, Bharatya Janata Party or Congress Party have put in sincere efforts to curb corruption since liberation.
Is it possible to rectify this situation? Yes, definitely! What is needed is the will to act. A common man has to face corruption practically at every level. Government offices frequently visited by a common man needs to be acted upon strictly and promptly. He has to bribe people at the panchayat office, talathi’s office and at the offices of junior engineers and assistant engineers of water supply, electricity, PWD, etc, to get his work done. He cannot escape corruption when he visits government offices such as Transport Department, Town and Country Planning Department, Excise Department, etc. Manohar Parrikar must hold all these low level officers accountable if work is not done within a certain period of time. Those officers who keep work pending beyond the stipulated period should be punished and names of such officers should be highlighted in the press. The corrupt practices at the lower level are bound to reduce drastically.
Nevertheless an educated and vigilant public is another answer to corruption. A truly independent and accountable police force can curb all types of malpractices. A neutral and dedicated bureaucracy can streamline the administration. An impartial and upright judiciary can save our future from destruction. In fact, if people having such qualities govern the state, we will have a truly transparent government. Yes, it can happen only if the political leadership sheds off the tag of corruption. Follow the leader is the ‘mantra’ which has led the whole society into corruption and the same ‘mantra’ can clean up the atmosphere provided the political leadership takes the lead in the matter. It appears that Manohar Parrikar has taken that lead to make Goa a state-free of corruption.