Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Kleptocracy in India

  • Kleptocracy is a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves. Kleptocracy is a government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed.
  • Kleptocracy can be broadly described as a system of non-governance characterized by rampant greed and corruption. Every country suffers from corruption, but not every country is a kleptocracy. 
  • Kleptocracy, or “rule by thieves,” arises when a country’s elite begin to systematically steal from public funds on a vast scale. They do so by undermining democracy and the legal system, gaining control over vital economic assets (usually the banking and natural-resource sectors), and ultimately amassing unimaginable wealth.
  • Kleptocrats manage to nationalize risk while privatizing profits.
  • Examples are as diverse as Russia’s oligarchs under President Vladimir Putin, China’s sprawling Communist Party and South Sudan’s violently failed state.
  • Kleptocrats send money around the world with the click of a button, aided by unscrupulous professionals with the expertise to launder it through anonymous offshore companies and secure it in luxury assets in the West. 
  • According to the IMF, as much as 5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product is laundered money, and only 1 percent of it is ever spotted.
  • Illicit cross-border financial flows have been estimated at $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion per year. Total private wealth held offshore at up to $32 trillion. Elites from 139 low-to-middle-income countries had parked $9.3 trillion in offshore accounts.
  • USA has played an important role in the rise of the globalized kleptocrat. 
  • U.S. real estate then provides an attractive conduit for securing and legitimizing the laundered funds. Properties purchased for more than $5 million in Manhattan in 2014, more than half were bought by anonymous companies that disguised the buyers’ identities.
  • Kleptocracy doesn’t necessarily make governments weak. Some of the most powerful countries in the world are kleptocracies. Russia currently seems to be dictating global affairs. China is the second-largest economy in the world. In the long run, kleptocracy doesn’t just weaken governments. It destroys them.
  • Skewed priorities of greedy autocratic rulers make the countries are weaker.
    Russia can’t afford to honor its obligations to impoverished pensioners, but has plenty of money in Putin’s overseas accounts.
  • Developing countries collectively had lost $16.3 trillion to illicit leakages since 1980. While people struggled, starved and died, exported corruption effectively made these governments net creditors to the world economy. People begin to see government as a criminal racket instead of a legitimate provider of public services. 
  • The United States has strong constitutional safeguards that guarantee democratic participation, free speech and, most important, rule of law. Prosecutors wield a robust set of mechanisms to address official corruption. The United States is far from perfect, it is not a kleptocracy. At the moment, the US is simultaneously the world’s leading enabler and opponent of kleptocracy.
  • India is moving away from democracy towards kleptocracy with politicians, for whom democracy is a tool to capture power and the licence to loot, at the centre of the orbit. Around them in the orbit are the civil servants, the police, businessmen and even judges each feathering their own nest. 
  • Even though India has a democratic political system, the ordinary citizen has to comply with a plethora of laws, rules and regulations and please a battery of officials even to gain access to basic services and amenities. The processes and procedures are so burdensome that the time and resources required to comply with them are simply beyond the means of the average citizen. 
  • Law and the administrative system in the country have become unjust and oppressive because each department, agency, bureau, form and permit was created at the behest of interest groups seeking advantage through the political process. 
  • Ever since 1975 emergency, kleptocracy was on the rise in India. The holders of political power, for the benefit of themselves and their cohorts, commandeered the resources of the state to a shocking extent. 
  • Though politicians are the largest beneficiaries of state kleptocracy, bureaucrats are its main perpetrators either by complicity or through compliance. In a kleptocracy merit is the first casualty and competent and conscientious civil servants have been at the receiving end. Men of undisputed mediocrity were placed in charge of the commanding heights of government through a skewed process of selection and placements. 
  • It used to be said, "a good bureaucrat is one who, when in doubt, mumbles; when in difficulty, ponders; when in charge, delegates; and whose job is to cut the red tape length-wise".
  • Overwhelmed by corruption and non-performance, financial institutions are crumbling and falling by the wayside. Repeated pleadings of the Election Commission for electoral reforms are falling on deaf ears. Functioning of the Central Vigilance Commission is being throttled and Human Rights Commissions are being reduced to toothless tigers. `Terrorism' which is the fallout of all this rottenness is being touted as the `mantra' to garner votes!
  • Unless this degeneration is arrested and good, participatory governance restored the inevitable drift towards `kleptocracy-autocracy' that would drag one sixth of the human race towards political and economic ruin cannot be halted. 
All Politics is dirty business; All Businesses are dirty politics.

My View:
Ever since money started playing important role in winning Indian elections, since 1970's, democracy has come under danger giving rise to kleptocracy. Today, politics has become a business to make abnormal amounts without liability of taxes or fear of getting caught. Today there is no person who is honest and dutiful in public domain viz. politics, bureaucracy, judiciary & businesses who are so much interlaced to protect each other to further their own interests rather than national interest and common man is the casualty. If some one is found honest, either he would be sidelined or crushed. Corruption has become a multi headed hydra and common has lost trust in government or its agencies and tries to live on his own. This has led tax evasion not only by corrupt but also by honest and services degenerating. Systems are heading for collapse rapidly. Constitution and law enforcing institutions are far from strong, in comparison to USA, while autocracy and kleptocracy are ruling and endangering unity & integrity of our nation.

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