“I feel I am on a hitlist. I feel like a stranger in my own country. Me and my friends have been persecuted for the past few months. To quote Julio Ribeiro ‘Is it coincidence or a well-thought-out plan that the systematic targeting of a small group should begin only after the BJP government of Narendra Modi came to power last May?‘” – Asks one of the many Corrupt people in India. The corrupt and the unscrupulous in India, form a small group of people, a Minority in India, who have always been sheltered, but now they are on the receiving end.
It took a bit of time, but it started. “Swacch Bharat” campaign had truly gone beyond its mandate. There is a clear pattern emerging from these chain of events which indicates only one thing: Acche Din Aanewale hain, but ONLY for Acche People:
1. SIT on Black Money: The first decision of the Union Cabinet sent out the intent of the Government loud and clear. An SIT was formed to tackle the issue of Black Money. The Supreme Court had first directed the UPA Government in 2011 to form an SIT, but it finally saw the light of day, only when an NDA Government came to power.
2. A Home Secretary sacked: In Early February we had noted how there were early signs that inefficiency and corruption is taking a beating. Anil Goswami, A Union Home Secretary was sacked for allegedly trying to stall the arrest of Saradha scam accused. This was a small step, but the pre-cursor for bigger things.
3. Coal Auctions: By Mid February the Government had its eye on the Coal Auctions. Allocation of Coal Blocks by UPA had led to massive corruption, and Modi Government took utmost precautions to avoid a repeat. No media house reported the exact complex procedure which the Government prescribed to ensure transparent and corruption-free bidding for Coal Blocks, but we did.
4.Rejecting Coal Bids for Cartelization: The Government could have stopped at saying “Ok we have made a framework with enough checks and balances, let the policy work on its own”. They didn’t. The Government has already rejected 4 bids for Coal Blocks on the suspicion of cartelization and under-bidding. And 8 more bids are under scrutiny. This shows the intent of the Government of ensuring that National Resources are not plundered by corporates via corrupt practices.
5. Operation Corporate Espionage. In this case, the Government actually honey-trapped people who were in the business of stealing and leaking sensitive documents from ministries and selling it to corporates. It was an open secret that Government departments are full of leaks, but this was the first Government which decided to plug this leaks. In the process, the Government had to admit that there were systemic lapses in its own functioning, but it was prepared to face this embarrassment to once and for all clean up a mess which existed for decades.
6. Rs 10,000 crore from Swiss bank accounts : The early efforts in tracking Swiss Black Money eventually paid rich dividends, with the SIT expecting Rs 10000 crore by March-end as tax and penalty for tax evasion from 300-odd Indians who held illegal accounts in Swiss banks.
7. Black Money Bill: Then during the budget, Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley announced the final nail in the coffin against Black Money: The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015, Also known as The Black Money Bill. It is equipped with stringent provisions to prosecute those stashing illicit wealth abroad, with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years.
8. Railways Ticketing Scam: In a very recent development, railways authorities led an investigation which revealed a scam which resulted in people not getting confirmed tickets even after queuing up at 8am. Touts were using a flaw in the on-line system to corner all the tickets as soon as the system went live. Now the Railways have changed the rules to prevent such misuse. It may seem like a small measure, but these small measures ensure large scale corruption comes down.
The pattern is clear. Through a series of steps, some big some small, for the first time in many years, a Government is making serious efforts to crush Corruption in every walk of life. It is indeed a systematic targetting of a small but rich community in India, which has evaded the long arm of the law. We aren’t saying that all corruption has gone. There is a very long way to go for that, but atleast the journey has begun.