“This sentiment is on top of everybody's mind and has to be channelised properly”
There is an anti-corruption mood in the country, which has to be channelised properly. This sentiment is on top of everybody's mind as despite so many scams breaking out, very little has been done in investigating them, according to N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu.
“We are still in the process of building a nation we can be proud of. Why did it take so long to investigate the 2G irregularities? Especially, the Prime Minister has to answer as despite his personal integrity, he has presided over the most corrupt government independent India has seen.”
Mr. Ram was delivering a lecture on ‘Nation building', organised here on Wednesday by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Recalling his investigation of the Bofors scam, Mr. Ram said the amount involved was Rs. 64 crore, whereas today the numbers were mind-boggling.
As Parliament and the Executive had failed on corruption, other institutions such as the Election Commission and the Supreme Court had become active. This was not the role the Constitution foresaw for these institutions but it had happened as the other institutions had failed.
Speaking about economic policies, Mr. Ram said that despite a rising India with a lot of positive developments, some promises had not been delivered on. Notwithstanding the high economic growth, the overall performance had been less than satisfactory.
India had levels of poverty on a scale not found in any other country. Mass deprivation existed as hundreds of millions were unable to fulfil their basic needs. India was the envy of many a developing nation and a few developed countries in several areas such as export of software. Yet, food insecurity persisted and had to be tackled head-on by setting out a time frame for reducing it.
Role of the media
Speaking on the role of the media, Mr. Ram said they had to provide credible information, be critical not only in a negative role but also in an investigative and analytical role, and also play an educational role.
The press and the news television, despite their tendency to hype and sensationalise, were on a good track. Many scams had been exposed by them. The government had acquired a habit of covering up scams, something even the founder of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, Jullian Assange, had pointed out and this must be broken.
Mr. Ram said that in a project such as “nation building” no one individual or organisation could claim to set the agenda. The best thing could be for all sections to work on “agenda building.”
Chamber senior president S. Rethinavelu and president N. Jegatheesan spoke.