Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Open Letter To Nandan Nilekani

Dear Mr Nilekani,

You have said that Aadhar card, by fixing the delivery system, will help curb corruption. This, most will agree, should be able to resolve petty corruption.

However, I'd like to darw your attention towards the not so petty corruption. Corruption involved in spending public money on activities (like conducting commonwealth games, or constructing roads) that are not related to government schemes for the last mile. The kind of corruption involved with procurement of products and services by government, for the public at large. The kind of corruption that involves moulding policies and managing information (mostly in real estate) in such a way that a few make windfall gains. When contracts/tenders are awarded for projects worth crores of rupees, someone gets the right to handle public money, with no responsibility/or substantial check on how effective that utilisation is. Aadhar, correct me if I am wrong, is not really geared to tackle this. If it can, or if you have some other ideas on how to fundamentally fix the system to take care of such large scale corruption on part of a few individuals, then do enlighten me.

You are a smart man - but bear with me while I share this little example -

When an individual gets the right to spend public money (for any public purpose), he is likely to be lured by possibility of kickbacks. Now, if the legal entity/department having the power to investigate and check his corruption is controlled and managed by A himself, then my guess is we are kind of doomed.

Now, if there is another individual C, with an independent power to check A's corruption, but with no power whatsoever to affect the usage/spending public money for any purpose, the probability of an effective anti corruption law becomes a reality.

Now put your hand on your heart and tell me if Aadhar can somehow help us out here?

You are a learned man, and I hope you have been tracking the media and reading up detailed documents (available in public domain) yourself. Do you really think that the likes of Kalmadi and Raja deserve to come back and be a part of parliamentary standing committees? You really think that there is no scam because "coal was never taken out of mother frikkin earth"? You really think that Vadra is just a nice little businessman whom DLF started loving because he looks cute to them in an Italian sort of way? You really think that Digvijay Singh is right in saying that he has evidence of corruption/wrongdoing against the kins of Vajpayee and Adwani, but will not reveal it because of some godforsaken twisted definition of "political ethics"? Don't tell me that you find it even remotely funny when Beni prasad verma says that 71 lac is too small an amount for Salman Khurshid to get involved with, and that if it was 71 crore, even he would be serious about it?

Well... the point I am making is this -
Aadhar is great - but that in itself does not make Kejriwal's movement against corruption incorrect. You are not the only one doing a trench job. No one is perfect, including Kejriwal. And like everyone else, even he will have his learning curve. But don't sit there and OB Van him like this. Many people have called him many things and it doesn't matter because so far these people have themselves been on the wrong side of national interest.

Your support and process acumen can help India tackle corruption further. If you have any suggestions on how to tackle the non-petty corruption, then please share with all of us.

Sent to - nandan.nilekani@nic.in

Intellectual Property - Beware