The Prime Minister cannot be accused of personal interest, corruption, but if there are issues at the lower level, then it is obvious that his BJP government will have to face the accusations and slander.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s welfare schemes have been appreciated everywhere; from small villages to European countries it has made a mark everywhere. No one can oppose the Ayushman Bharat Yojna that provides free treatment for the poor. PM Modi has got plenty of schemes that serve the masses—building toilets and houses, providing cooking gas, bringing in the idea of digital documents, directing grant money to farmers for fertilizer seeds, and new educational facilities for children—and none of these can be put under any kind of criticism.

But these schemes are being hollowed out, like termites, by the corrupt and ineffective bureaucracy, domestic and foreign companies, and the laxity of some ministers. The biggest proof is the digital system of the Income Tax department that has allowed breaking into the government’s treasury. There have been many allegations of corruption in the Income Tax department because of its portal. When the treasury itself is empty, then how will the schemes be implemented on time?

The Prime Minister cannot be accused of personal interest, corruption, but if there are issues at the lower level, then it is obvious that his BJP government will have to face the accusations and slander. Although the efforts made by the Government of India to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic were praised across the country—some state leaders, officials, hospitals, pharma companies, and chemist shops left no stone unturned to cheat and rob the public.

Even at this time many such laboratories running in the national capital, are issuing fake certificates of Covid test without taking any test so that people can travel. They are making fake certificates for the people so that they could reimburse payments of their bills from government departments and other private authorities. It is true that the responsibility of investigating these labs lies with the Kejriwal government, but the entire record of it is kept only by the Central government. With such things happening under the government’s nose, the risk of Covid-19 making a deadlier comeback becomes higher.

The Modi government gives awards to many cities every year under a cleanliness campaign. But even after the presence of four to five different authorities in Delhi, national and international awards can be given for Delhi’s dirtiness. Some part of the same area belongs to Delhi government, another part belongs to Municipal Corporation, the third part belongs to Delhi Development Authority, and two kilometers further belongs to the New Delhi municipality. All of them are blaming each other for the mess. Meanwhile, the leaders and the babus keep fudging the fund. In which other capital, so many parallel departments would be doing the work of cleaning the city, collecting electricity, water, land, and house taxes? In Delhi, when there was only one Municipal Corporation and a Municipal Council, the city used to get more facilities and the leaders were responsible. DDA, which earns thousands of crores every year from land, house rights, and taxes, crores of rupees are being spent on the promotion of the digital revolution. But no government agency is investigating these brokers sitting in the premises of Vikas Bhavan. We have witnessed many instances and here is one example—a common citizen›s flat was built thirty years ago, two generations have started living, but the broker sitting in the compound takes Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 to get his freehold papers out of DDA. The digital portal is so bad that the officers of the authority themselves are frustrated by it and many make extra money on the pretext of this.

Even though the computer revolution has happened, thousands of files littered with soil are stored in every corner of shelves. Files have been floating around for months to sell the shabby shelves like a junk house. Suppose, in three to four months after avoiding the broker, someone gets official paper of his flat or house from the authority, then to take possession of this house the person has to sweat blood to get photographed and put his thumb on the document.

Be it your property certificate or annual municipal tax, has every common citizen of India, old man, and woman, become familiar with the digital methods and the Internet? They have to find cyber shops and run here to there to get their work done. Offices now have automatic exchanges, so most of the time the machine answers. This condition is not only in Delhi but in many other cities too. Can no one from the agency or the officers rectify such drawbacks?

There is a lot of discussion on the Modi government’s propaganda system and education culture. During the last two years, the government has not sent any books to the libraries of the country which were ought to be sent under the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation started under the Ministry of Culture. And the reason behind this is that the institute did not buy books despite including them in the budget.

Interestingly, even the five volumes published in Hindi and English of Prime Minister Narendra Modi›s ‘Mann Ki Baat’» were not sent to any libraries by the institute. Interestingly, the president of the institute was the editor of these English editions and the book is published by the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Under the “Babu Tantra”, the officers are running Prasar Bharati, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha TV channels. The process of merging the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha channel has been going on for a year. The post of the president of the Prasar Bharati is still vacant for months—just so the officers could continue to work in their own favourite way. There has been a lot of talk about the farmer movement in the country and the government’s beneficial steps for the farmers, but did the farmer channel of Prasar Bharati get any importance?

Although it seems that the media is under the government’s pressure, can it be assumed that the Prime Minister and his office put any restriction on the delivery of their words and deeds? The problem is not about the intention of the government, but it is important to shake the system and give relief to the general public from the exploitation of babus and digital methods. There have been some changes in the ministries recently and one hopes that the “Babu Tantra” will also be improved.

 

The author is editorial director of ITV Network (India News and Aaj Samaj Dainik)