DailyPost 2814

Far away from the Prevention of Corruption Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Acts, IT and other similar laws and cases, ensconced in legal comfort are largesse, perks, privileges, freebies, and even unaccountability that can be termed as democratic bribes. This cannot be understood in only monetary terms, though more often than not it has a monetary angle, sometimes presented in a manner too difficult to understand. But for the law being on their side or law being calibrated to the purpose, most of it would go in as an illegal act, and at the bare minimum acts of financial impropriety, favors to you own, quid pro quo, taking credit for political purposes and the like.

It can also mean to keep the political flock intact. In the backdrop of the scandal on the vote of no-confidence of Narasimha Rao government, December the same year, 1993, MP Local Area Development Scheme was started. It is still to stand on its own feet. The MP’s identify small works of capital nature to meet local requirements. In the unending plethora of governmental developmental schemes, projects and social sector huge spending, firstly what was the need and secondly can a parliamentarian get into a direct executive job, are the questions to be asked. It was just a largesse by the then government to financially assuage the feelings of MPs then and it continues to this day. It has been extended to state legislators as well in different forms and denominations.

The pension of every term is also one such decision / policy which cannot find any rational financial resonance, wherever it is operational, based on the service conditions of public servants in India. The huge perks which MPs carry with no direct responsibility whatsoever, will also fall in the same category. They can also enact whatever they feel like. If the governments cannot improve our quality of education, create jobs and social security for all, then the answer is reservations. It goes on indefinitely as no one is ready to work for the abovementioned. All governments in independent India have made tall claims in removing poverty and providing social security, but today there are more than 80 crore Indians living on the grain largesse of the government.

So the name of the game is to keep the elected representatives happy and also the people by perks, freebies, and total lack of accountability. This can be termed as democratic bribes. Skewed development or irrational financial management will always go unpunished, as it is the underpinning of our democracy. From freebies to guarantees are nothing but democratic bribes because of the incapability to create a social security cover for all. Democratic bribes are inversely proportional to the quality of governance. When the job of the government is to process receipts into tangibles to be delivered to the people; uplifting the people in general in every way, then transferring cash also means that we cannot do anything better. It creates a dependency which is certainly not welcome. All this apart, there are a variety of ways in which democratic bribes have become the order of the day. No questions asked.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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