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India: Coal into Diamonds

, November 7, 2013, 0 Comments

Coal into DiamondsAny geography lesson will tell you that coal under much higher pressure, becomes diamonds.

An upright civil servant under huge suppression was involved in a similar conversion years ago and now in the headlines. What can I tell you about the Parakh- Soren mano a mano.. a term bull fight lovers know..that you may not have guessed already?

Once the CAG does an audit, it surfaces much later with the PAC hauling.. yes.. the current Secretary over the coals. Keshavrao Dondge was a terror in Maharashtra as Chairman of the State PAC, while we bureaucrats wilted in case we were hauled up for Privilege or Contempt. After listening to him for two hours over a small,tiny sum missing from Rural Development accounts, i remember murmuring in my fractured version of the local language.

It has not gone into anyone’s pockets,  but entered into another head of accounts. In any case, I gurgled, the amount is so small as a percentage of the thousands of crores we have used wisely and well, that even if its written off, no great loss will be noticed in the affairs of the State. The shocked silence that followed, still reverberates in the Conference Hall of the State Assembly newly built then.

Here, matters are gigantic. The compulsions of coalition politics where arenas of fiddle are demarcated and exploited, bludgeon senior civil servants upright like a steel frame, into acquiescent silence. Once they advise a course of action, the elected can trump the selected. Then anyone unhappy has to go to the Judiciary who are the Third Umpires.

This is a long and complicated process. My younger brother presided over Commerce when Parakh had his hands in Coal. Now trying to recover from a stroke, he has in his wife’s ancestral home in Kolkata, copies of every note of all he proposed. Including SEZ he created and where his Minister had his views on the methods of clearances. Here again, the PM called him and assured support against the normal methods of our democracy.

The good news to all of you is that the Tata Consultancy Service has done a brilliant job in computerizing Regional Passport Offices all over the country. Middle men.. and edgy women.. have vanished overnight like ice cream in Marine Drive on a hot summer’s day. We are trying to make BMC the first honest city in the country, if you look up Me Mumbaikar on Facebook you will see a week by week progress, as also make Maharashtra t​he first corruption free State.

Computerization is the key to transparency. At nose bleed altitudes of governance we can only get better. With each election, the empire of the dispossessed will hit back. All over the country there are hundreds of Parakhs who are there because of a lifetime of dedicated sevice. Durga Shakti has just begun, Khemka is in rampant mid season stride against a juggernaut who get away with almost everything.

As long as Business get a level sports ground, they don’t need to bribe the other team to score goals. In this instance the goal posts kept changing and the referees had to make up rules as they went along. An earlier Coal Secretary from Maharashtra had no problems because it was an ocean of plenty. Scarcity creates vultures.

The fine balance between the Three Estates, Legislative, Executive and Judiciary has increasingly found of late a voice in the Fourth Estate.Who too have a tendency to slither when asked to bend. Money makes not only a Mayor go but many a Geeta, Seeta and Meeta as well. We are in the middle of dross turning into gold, coal into diamonds.