Recent revelations by Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satyapal Malik about the widespread corruption in the administration was awful. He has opened a pandora’s box by citing couple of examples of scandalous deals in the previous government which speak volumes about the magnitude of corruption prevalent in the state administration. The exposures coming from none other than the state administrative chief carries a lot of weight, and cannot be ignored as merely ambitious rhetorics or politically motivated agenda. The examples of the huge corruption which he reportedly cited were horrendous enough to send shock waves across the entire state. At the same time his resolve and commitment to fight the menace is reassuring as one can feel and read honesty in his statements. Though we are routinely fed big promises by political parties about fighting corruption and nepotism particularly when they are in the opposition or immediately after attaining power, fact of the matter is that all these parties who have been ruling us solo or in combinations have been practising and encouraging the corruption to their maximum benefit and greed. I wonder how uninfluential and powerless people survive in this part of the world where you can move forward only by offering, giving and soliciting to please and influence those who are at the helm.
It has almost become a matter of established policy, not a crime, to offer, promise, give, request, agree, receive or accept bribes. In fact one gets exposed to bribery as soon as he or she occupies the seat which itself was captured through nepotism and corruption. Consequently it is virtually everywhere that common people with no influential connections having to indulge themselves in bribery and corruption thus completing the viscous cycle. We conveniently forget that corruption is corrosive, and just the suspicion of it can severely damage ones reputation. I think we have moved beyond the point where an honest and a civilised person would rather forego business or lose money than become involved in corruption even on the smallest scale. We have reached a stage where paying and accepting bribes are an established normal. However one would live with the thought of taking a fake caste certificate to get reservation and easy access to education or look at touts who can fix our government issues. But running the entire administration on corruption is just unbelievable and unpardonable.
In a disciplined and civilised society, exposure of such big scams like Employees Health insurance scam and appointments would have been sufficient enough for many big heads to roll. If one goes by the statement of the Governor, this is only the tip of the ice berg and more scams are expected to come out. However it is matter of relief and hope that Governor Malik claims to fight the menace with full dedication. His assurance about investigating and exposing the real culprits in all such loot gives lots of hope and solace given the fact that he is no body’s friend or foe and just wishes to do his job honestly and efficiently.
It is not that the common masses of the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been unaware of massive corruption in almost all sections of civil administration. In fact we have learnt to live with corruption even at the cost of our self-esteem and respect. Those who have power at any level of administration invariably indulge in abuse of power, extortion, fraud, deception, collusion, embezzlement and money laundering. As commoners we either fall in line or get sidelined. What else one could do when one faces the reality of the sale of medical seats and question papers, impersonation in writing the medical entrance tests (as happened some years back in a private medical college in Jammu) and the huge land grabs.
The episode of fraudulent appointments in bank was an absolute shocker and the magnitude of it unimaginable. Few fraudulent appointments would still be acceptable, but the entire batch occupying the desks through fraud and political favourism is just a massive punch on the face of the society. We had earlier also heard of such allegations, although limited to media reports and complaints by those candidates who would not make it to the final list. Nobody ever took those allegations seriously; hence the charges would not live even a week and eventually would disappear from the pages of the newspapers. We have had serious charges like the appointment lists being prepared by former finance minister and a local MLA. Charges were serious but nobody bothered to give any attention to it. The current revelations give credence to such allegations as well.
Now it is from the horse’s mouth that the entire list of the candidates who had made it through their hard work and merit was changed and a new list of blue-eyed persons was slipped in.
The health insurance scam seems to be a hydra-headed monster that has just been unearthed. Though the Governor administration was very quick to cancel the murky deal, it is very essential to expose those who were involved in this multi-million corruption-influenced deal. With an employee base, both active and retired, running into several lacs and an average annual premium as much as fifteen thousand per head, one is unable to comprehend the magnitude of kickbacks involved. Obviously this is the job of those sitting at the top as such mega policy decisions originate from the topmost levels of administration.
I learnt from a top government official that the earlier Mediclaim Scheme which was in force for three years few years back involving a big private insurance company was also a fishy affair with lots of kickbacks and top politicians and ministers of the then ruling party suspected to be involved in it.
It is unfortunate that those who are in position of some semblance of official power take it upon themselves to continue the atmosphere of power and influence only to satisfy their own personal greed throwing every shred of honest professional ethics to dust and leaving very limited platform open to the common man.
Our society is thus seriously sick with fatal diseases of corruption, bribery, nepotism and cronyism. We need immediate treatment to get rid of these maladies. If the Governor has promised us to offer the treatment, it is a welcome step. Though many of us have lost hope and don’t believe in promises, let us expect this time around there would be some action beyond the rhetorics.
Wish the public comes to know who these bigwigs are and what treatment they would be getting for committing such unpardonable sins landing the entire administrative system in state of non-performance, arrogance and systemic corruption.