Short-Term-Memory-Loss !!

“Earlier, the Bofors was a talking point. People forgot about it. Now it is coal. This too will be forgotten. Once hands are washed off coal, they again become clean.”

– Union Home -Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Pune, 15th September, 2012

Does he really mean that we all Indians have short-term-memory only? Whether he is right or wrong, that will be proved in the due course of time in 2014 and in subsequent elections, but I would like to remind him and many others like him, that we do not forget, may forgive… and here is a small list for their information and aamjunta’s notice.

Black Money

As per the recent statement given by the CBI Director, Indians have an estimated $500 billion of illegal funds in foreign tax havens, more than any other country. Other media reports claim that the total black money exceeding $1.4 trillion are stashed in Switzerland alone. Whose money is this and who are the beneficiaries — politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, real-estate mafias or gundas? Even with Supreme Court’s intervention the Government neither provides the list and amount, nor ensures transparency in the investigations. They only bring white papers… 😦 Does it not show how weak our system is ? If yes, then we need a drastic change in our administrative policies to check such unaccounted transactions, negating the economic-position of India !

Coalgate

Coalgate or Coal Allocation Scam is a multi-party scam involving PMO directly and indirectly, MPs of multiple parties, bureaucrats, corporate biggies and many more. As per CAG’s estimation and argument, the inefficient and malafide intentions behind the coal block allocation resulted in Rs. 185, 591 crore ($33.59 billion) “windfall gain” to the allocatees. With the highest amount, it became to be known as the mother-of-all-scams ! While the BJP-led opposition is gunning for the government, PMO in particular and the UPA managers led by Kapil Sibbal in general, have been hitting out at the CAG, incumbent and ex- Chief Ministers (CMs) of Chattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. While arguing against CAG’s report on policy making, the government should also remember that wrong policies with malafide intentions, inefficient and slow decisions can be more harmful and disastrous for the country. Kapil Sibbal may deny that no one benefited from the coal block allocation, and Congress Party may again bring the zero-loss theory, but it can never prove itself clean. Other parties too are involved; not just Congress is to be blamed. Moreover, if their claim that coal allocation was scam-free, then why the CBI is filing FIRs after FIRs and why is the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) busy in de-allocating coal blocks ? With Supreme Court of India having taken the coal-allocation issue seriously, it would be no wonder if you see ministers and bureaucrats in jail very soon.

2G Spectrum Allocation

Kapil Sibbal’s Zero Loss theory was again proved wrong by the Supreme Court of India and Dr. Subramanian Swamy… an estimated loss of Rs. 176,645 crore ($31.97 billion) is not at all a small amount for a country struggling with poverty and malnourishment. While the Supreme Court declared allotment of spectrum as “unconstitutional and arbitrary“, and quashed all the 122 licenses issued in 2008 during the tenure of Mr. A. Raja, it further said that A. Raja “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer” and “virtually gifted away important national asset” ! Are Raja and his bureaucrats to be blamed alone ? Definitely no. The then Finance Minister and the PM too are to be blamed equally. In addition, the PM must be answerable for the failure of his office to take appropriate action against the culprits. According to Time Magazine, 2G Spectrum Scam leads the number two position on their  “Top 10 Abuses of Power” list. 

CommonWealth Games

Though it was a matter of prestige to host international sporting events like the CommonWealth Games in India, it became a national shame due to corruption and malafide intentions of our politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and corporations. The total value of the estimated scam in this is Rs 70,000 crore!! In a country where more than 40 crore people live below the “official poverty line” of Rs 32/- per-day income, can we forget and forgive the culprits? The question arises in such situations – “Who is to be blamed” ? The Government, of course – the then Sports Ministry and the PMO, which is directly or indirectly involved. With concerns at national and international level, how do we say that the the game was a success and India has the power to host games of Olympic standard in future ?

Land and Housing Scams

Grabbing Government land, and House/Flats meant for the poor and needy people is not new in India. It was there before independence by Jamindars or Land Lords, and now by the politicians, gundas and bureaucrats. However, the point what hurts most is grabbing the land used for religious activities, and flats meant for war-heroes or their families and poor people in the name of :

  • Adarsh Housing Society Scam: Though the government land was allocated for the construction of a housing complex for “the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defence Services“, over the years top politicians (3 ex-Chief Ministers and many more ministers figure in CBI’s list), bureaucrats (Senior IAS Officers) and military officers (of GOC and Brigadier Rank) bent several rules and committed various acts of omission and commission in order to have the building constructed and then got themselves allotted flats in this premier property at artificially lowered prices in their own name or relatives’ names..

  • Karnataka Wakf Board ScamAlmost 50% of its land has been misappropriated by politicians and board members, in collusion with the real estate mafia for a fraction of its market value; alleged misappropriation amount of Rs 200,000 crore ($36.2 billion).

And the list continues….. Bofors scam, Fodder scam, Karnataka Mining scam, Cash-for-Votes scam, National Health scam and many more !!

Like Sanjay Singhania (Amir Khan) of Ghajini movie…. with short-term-memory-loss,we Indians also keep a note that ensures a long-term-memory. Moreover, the point what aamjunta would like to bring here to the notice of fellow aamjuntas and to the Politicians of this country is very simple :

We are not to be taken for granted for all the misdeeds, corruptions, communal violence and regionalism; when time comes we will show what we can do. We have done it before with many corrupt politicians and national traitors… The power of an ‘aware’ electorate can change the course of a nation’s history. The key to root out all such vices lies in spreading ‘Social Awareness’ among the masses. Then, who knows what is stored in 2014 !!!

Being Social or active in Social Media…..

Are you there in FB?

Ya I am there, but not active 😦 ..

Oh! you are missing the big picture there, come over, will talk….

and she cut the phone…

Disgusting…. was the obvious reaction from this side…

This was the conversation between two ladies in their 40s which I over-heard last week while I was in a shopping complex in Bangalore.

This incident reminded me of a similar story that happened with me some years back. At that time it was Orkut, and now it is FB or Facebook. The bottom line of story is the same, only the characters and the modalities are different. I am sure many of my readers and fellow aamjuntas must have faced something similar or the other.

Now a days most of us are active in social media sites like Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and so many. Adding new albums, searching old and new friends, updating status, sending messages, sharing links, and chatting over Facebook is a common practice.

With affordable Internet over mobile phones and broadband connections, nearly 80-90% users visit the social media sites in general. It is observed that the average time we spend on the Internet in general, and social media in particular is much more than the time we spend with our family and some time even more than we work !!

Moreover, most of the time we are busy in investigating or searching about others’ activity and reactions to some comment, photo update, status update, etc.,  than really bothering about our own work. Interestingly, we hardly find time or zeal to meet a friend, to do our daily exercise and to even sleep…. Sometimes it makes us so busy that mothers forget feeding their babies, students lack in time to study, office-goers forget to respond to a job schedule and some even ended up with depression and hyper-tension.

Quite surprisingly, there is also a rise in thefts, murders, rapes, harassments, etc., in cities where actual social life is almost negligible due to various factors. We put all our informations including email-ids, photos, telephone numbers, address, and present whereabouts for our friends… and that also becomes available for the anti-social elements ! This definitely compromises our security and well-being resulting in murders, thefts, rapes, blackmailing, harassments and so on…. horrific regular news headings in national dailies and in TV.

By saying all these things, I am not asking the aamjunta to stop browsing or stop visiting social media sites. It is necessary to be social and one cannot discount the importance of social media in this age. However, we need to understand the difference between being Social and active in Social Media.

Definitely the social media has some positive and negative aspects, and as the so called sab-janta users, we should evaluate critically about this, such that we can make some thing positive out of it.

Coming to a general view of social media – it has the characteristics to potentially give “voice to all”, immediate outreach, literally “24X7 – Engagement” and offers a unique opportunity of connection among the users. It has the potential to reach new and old friends across the world and to make the world smaller and smaller; a feel-good factor for the social animal – to talk/chat, to share, to learn and to showcase. 🙂 …

Coming out from the individualistic mode, social media has the potential to provide an opportunity for the Government agencies to engage with all their stakeholders including the citizens in real time and to make policies citizen-centric. Like Government agencies, Private enterprise houses /business organizations also engage social media in marketing their products/services (e.g. using the number of “Likes” to know their target audience), and NGOs/Charitable organizations use social media to educate people about their schemes such that they can reach a wider audience. Many positive aspects though…

However, there is a growing concern by the Government agencies, business organization, ethnic groups and parents on the excess use of social media. Remember that it has “viral” ability for potentially exponential spread of information by word of mouth and interlinking of the various social media platforms. It has both positive and negative impact though – the rising awareness of anti-corruption movement in India and the recent revolutions in Gulf against the dictators /rulers are some of the positive examples. Along with these, one should not forget the horrors of August-2012 in India – Twitter and Facebook messages along with bulk SMS and MMS triggering a social division and hate between North-East vs. West and South of India – in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad…

Unless the use of social media is controlled i.e. either self-controlled or monitored by an Authority, I am sure, the evil force of social media will overpower the rest. There must be a sense of responsibility and maturity that we need to exhibit while publishing any information in any such social networking sites. Wake-up calls have been notified by Government agencies (recently Govt. of India has banned Maoisit literature on Facebook), business organizations and Judiciary; in India, in Gulf and in many other parts of the world.

These days, police is keeping an eye on anti-social elements and their day-to-day activities, companies regularly check the credentials of their employees and new joiners, parents check their ward’s activities, many who are nuptial -hopefuls check most of the details of the users concerned, and many more… As reported today, Facebook also plans to call up and verify in case it suspects a user profile.

Though this kind of monitoring approach will restrict our privacy and free speech to some extent, it is of course required for a greater cause, which is subject to debate and judicial review. When there is an absolute need to check the spread of any noxious “viral” information and to maintain or restore peace and normalcy, then I certainly see a merit behind this. It is evident in most of the cases.

Aamjunta… just think over it.

Are you just social or active in this kind of social media ?

You are the best judge to think, to act, to react and to answer this crucial concern…

 

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