It is very difficult these days to go to sleep without hearing a debate on some or the other scam. Since last few years we are ‘’fortunate’’ to hear about scandals and corruption debates one after another . Immediately after the telecom scam, we could hear about the commonwealth scam and now comes the coal gate scam. When the bofors scam took place we talked about a scam value of few thousand crores which is now peanut figures and the numbers are now ‘’few’’ lakh thousand crores.
Judith Cook in her seminal book The Prize of Freedom (New English Library publication 1985) , argues that lack of fear (read chalta hai) is a primary reason for the recurrence of corruption which I think is true for our country also. After all crimes related to corruption especially for the political class is no big deal as being in tihar jail or their residence does not make much difference in their lifestyles. Whether it is Kalmadi or Kannimozhi they could spend some vacation time in jail and come back to their life hale and healthy . It is worth a risk if the returns from the corrupt deal runs into crores of rupees.
Allocation of 162 coal blocks freely to the kith and kin of political leaders or to private companies which made the politician’s pocket fat is estimated to be nearly 3 lakh crore rupees is now being called as only an estimated opportunity cost and most of the blocks as unused. The government is brazenly un faced and thick skinned . The media and opposition parties shouts a lot, but, after some time a few of them will be send to jail and the nation shall prepare for the flavour of the next scandal and the cycle starts again.
The larger issue to be addressed here not just corruption , but how could we trust the political system anymore. We are today in a situation of systemic failure and the coal gate is one among such scams which is bound to recur. Whether this cocktail of crime politics and business will eventually retard our economic growth and result in social uncertainty is only for time to say......
For a better understanding of coal gate scandal i recommend you to read Mr Vivek Kaul’s article in DNA Money Ahmadabad edition wherein he has given a beginners guide to this scam which is worth reading