Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dilip 2

...There used to be a time when people used pay bribes to MTNL people (bakshish) otherwise their phone connections would be disrupted. People had come to accept this. But with emergence of private players, MTNL had to become a lot more efficient & clean. People have very, very few complaints against them as compared to more than a decade ago. Now if MTNL would go back to its old ways people would be aghast. But even in their bad old days, people had tried a lot to change things. They had lodged many complaints. However, people had also got used to the way MTNL was. That MTNL was corrupt & inefficient did not make them lose their sleep. But people right from top to bottom in the MTNL hierarchy used to benefit from this corruption & harassment. Things had improved over a very short time. Because otherwise it was a matter of survival for them.

Our law enforcement system is stuck in the old MTNL gear. People have tried & failed to improve it. But there is one more practical problem. If you would've annoyed an MTNL employee, at most they would cut your phone connection, but if you are involved in a legal tangle with someone powerful, stakes are much higher than your phoneline, maybe, even your life & well being. (This partly answers why differences in approach against B&R and cases involving powerful people, but more about it later)

This inertia in law enforcement agency is simply because just like MTNL, the entire state machinery's hierarchy benefits from the status quo.

2. Disincentives for honesty. Imagine, in our country "politician" has become such a dirty word! More often than not, if someone were to be introduced as politician, we would subconsciously conclude, "must be a crooked guy, possibly a goon also, must not step on his toes". Think of an IAS officer, and first thing that comes to mind is, "must be taking bribes". Customs officer - "must be harassing passengers". And these generalizations are not inaccurate! If you are an honest police constable, you'll just earn maybe around Rs. 10,000. If an honest police officer, around Rs. 50,000 (because of 6th pay commission, otherwise pays would've been much less). And if you happen to come in way of someone really powerful, there are attendant risks of being transferred to tribal areas, becoming fodder for the Maoists, etc., apart from losing promotions & 'face' among peers....

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