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  • UPA Rule: An Era of Extra Corruption

    Published on December 14, 2010

    By Geetha V. P

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might be admired for his integrity.  But not the UPA Government he heads at the Centre.  It was a season of corruption and scandals for the Congress lead ruling coalition. In 2007 India was ranked 74 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and this year the position has dwindled to a lowly 88. If the 2G Spectrum scam is included the rank will further dip, may be by another 20 positions.

    If the statistics are to be believed, the UPA government has created an all-time record in corruption. At least half-a dozen major scam that cost the country over 2. lakh crore rupee has been reported during the past 78 months of the UPA rule. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is clean.

    The 2G spectrum scam may be the largest of all scams in the history of independent India, as per the CAG report the nation lost to the tune of 1.76 lakh crore.  The deal in question – the 2G spectrum allocation, was done in the previous regime of the UPA and the minister who had to quit his position, thanks to the spectrum scam, had vehemently argued in defense of the charges against him saying  the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was well informed of the allotment process.  The Prime Minister in defence of the minister had said that allotment of airwaves to telecom firms was above board. “What he (the minister) did was implement a policy that was already in place,” Mr. Singh told a press conference, referring to the process followed for auction of spectrum for second-generation (2G) telecom services at prices prevailing in 2001. “It would have been unfair to new entrants if a new yardstick was used.”

    The allegation on the 2G spectrum allotment was raised by the opposition and even by some of the coalition partners in 2008.  The needle of suspicion was directly pointed at the then communication minister. But no probe was initiated. Even after the spate allegations, the Prime Minister, during the allocation portfolio during the constitution of the second UPA cabinet, allocated the same communication ministry to the same minister under accusation. But, Mr. Singh is clean.

    The other major scam was the one related to Common Wealth Games. According to a rough estimate the money swindled will be about 33,000 crores.

    The estimated expense of the CWG held at Delhi this year is estimated 70,000 crore rupee. But, expenditure during the Melbourne CWG 2006 edition for various different projects came at around 5000 crore rupee and that for Bejing Olympics 2008 stood at 28000 crore rupee.  Though the Prime Minister had promised in public not to spare those involved in the scam of late, nothing much is heard of any progress in the probe of the scam.

    The next is the Adarsh Society housing scam involving 2000 crores of rupees.  Ashok Chavan, a Congress leader, was forced to resign as chief minister of Maharashtra state after reports suggested his mother-in-law and some other close relatives were allotted flats in an apartment block in Mumbai meant for war widows and heroes.

    In his first formal press meet to mark the completion of one year of  the second term as Prime Minister  Mr. Singh told the media, “Our government has been very clear right from the beginning that corruption is a problem. If I come to know that there is any involvement at any level, we will take action.”

    Recently lamenting on the predicament he is in Mr. Singh has said, it is “often said that these are testing times——in fact, I cannot help feeling that we in India are always living through testing times. Indeed, as Prime Minister I sometimes feel like a high school student – going from one test to another.”   Yes, Mr. Singh is still a school student trying to learn lessons on political governance. But can the Prime Minister be silent on things of crucial concerns to the nation?


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