May 13 – day of awakening for WB & TN

May 13 marked a decisive day for politics in Indian states of Tamilnadu & West Bengal. Mamta Banerjee (alias Didi) & Jayalalitha won by record margins in WB & TN respectively. The voters gave a clear mandate thereby voting for a stable governments in these states.

Both the states had a record turnout of votes. The elections were characterized by corruption, pay for votes controversy, un-civlized usage of language, abuse, charges & counter charges, etc.

Prior to elections, TN was gripped with the 2G controversy where DMK’s high profile ministers were found guilty of corrupt practices in allotting 2g licenses. The issue bloated to large proportions so much so that the minister had to quit & face legal trial.

On the other hand, WB was dominated & ruled by Left government for 34 long years (yes, you read it correct – 34 years). The state has been tackling with issues of economic developments of its people. The quitting of TATA’s high profile NANO project added a perfect element to mark the end of the left gov. The state stands a long history of labor issues, strikes, et al. This had an adverse impact on the business houses running their HQs from Calcutta (Sorry, Kolkatta 🙂 ).

The results in both the states demonstrate one clear fact – the leaders in today’s politics can no longer take the general public for granted. Development should be the sole goal of anybody who comes to power. Anything else (read as corruption) can prove detrimental to their future. Its a wake up alarm for Congress-led central government to get some reforms done, put a full-stop to corruption & think beyond the politics of caste-based reservation. 2012-2013 is just a year ahead !


5 steps to control corruption on roads

Some weeks ago, Anna Hazare sat on a ‘dharna’ to get the Jan Lokpal Bill introduced in the Parliament. After 2-3 days of national drama, the government had to accede to his demand.

The Lokpal Bill is supposed to be the first step towards ending corruption in India. Corruption runs like blood through the veins of administrative & political class of India. It may be as big as passing a large-scale government contract or as small as bribing the traffic cop.

The bribe giver & bribe taker – both are equally responsible for this malice. So any solution to tackle corruption has to be two-fold – fix the problem from bribe givers’ side AND from bribe takers’ side.

I can think of some possible steps which can be taken to solve the problem of bribery in case of traffic cops.

Step 1: Allocate hoardings at prominent junctions which will show the traffic rules violations & their fines. Most often, traffic cops take ANY amount in the name of signal cutting. Official fine for signal cutting is only Rs 100/- But these cops charge anything like Rs 200 or so.

Step 2: Raise an RTI query with the RTO & demand the list of traffic rules violations & their respective fine charges. This RTI application can be done for Rs 10/- & you SHOULD get a reply within 3 weeks. Very often I have seen cops asking for vehicle’s papers. Now who on this planet carries vehicle papers with him everyday? Recently I learnt that asking for PUC by traffic cop is not a rule. And even if thats a rule and a person does not have one, the cop is supposed to give him a warning & allow him to leave (i.e. without any fine).

Step 3: Install CCTV cameras at all major junctions which can constantly monitor the surroundings. This can be used to find traffic cops accepting bribes. Agreed this can be tampered but mere presence is enough to keep the cops at bay.

Step 4: Stop congregation of traffic cops in one particular junction. More often I have seen half a dozen traffic cops in small-small junctions. Add to that some 3-4 constables & a mazda van. Why do they need so much machinery to just regulate traffic flow? that too when traffic signals are doing their job. This mob outsizes normal citizens & gives them an opportunity to harass the people.

Step 5: Traffic cops should undergo yoga session 3 days in a week. This will keep them grounded & make them selfless (hopefully) 🙂

I guess this 5-step program can check day-to-day corruption levels to some extent.

What do you think ? write a line or two in the comments section & let me know…