As usual, let me make a disclaimer! I don’t care which party is ruling our country! Whatever I am writing in this blog is apolitical! We were under the British rule for 150 years before the independence we got on the 15th of August in 1947! Thanks to strong personalities like Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, we became India or Bharat as we are known in the world today! Our national wealth was looted by the British under the garb of collecting taxes, taking away raw material. British presence (and their final going away) did a few good things for India. We became one nation, we had railways, we had an established all-India administrative and police services.
In Nehru era Public Sector units, Irrigation got significant importance. Indira Gandhi broke Pakistan into two, thereby correcting the problem created by the British by at least 50%! Kashmir issue resolution opportunity was lost; it could have been achieved in the Shimla Agreement. Indian population showed great maturity in overcoming Emergency, the black patch on the Indian Democracy! Jayprakash Narayan led the movement though he was old by that time.
Next twenty years were tumultuous, but India somehow overcame the same, though we did not have strong leadership. India’s jumping the IT bandwagon successfully started the financial growth process. Along with fast economic growth, crony capitalism and corruption at different levels increased at breakneck speed. Cheating the government with shell companies was at a peak and was used for money laundering.
All the governments did a lot of good things in their times and bad things too! Then came the Modi Government in 2014 and looks like it will run till 2024! They have had their ups and downs. They have also done some good things and some bad things. From this angle, it is not much different than the previous governments.
Along with fast economic growth, crony capitalism and corruption at different levels increased at breakneck speed. Cheating the government with shell companies was at a peak and was used for money laundering and diverting funds. These issues created a need for strong actions.
There are specific actions taken by this government which were never considered by any other government before. These were essential for a mature democracy and were generally discussed previously with a glass of Chivas Regal. Nobody ever thought that it was possible in India.
Yesterday, I shared a certificate displayed below with my friends. The reactions to the certificate were varied! “I have already done it” was a message sent by many. Some people sent me a congratulatory message. My friend Shrikant appreciated this very strongly, and that is what led me to write this blog.
He wrote an elaborate message which I am sharing verbatim!
“What did you do? Please elaborate?? Such certificates are sent by IT/Vigilance department of Govt of India, to persons having an impeccable track record of regular tax payments & no offences registered, in Govt data tracker! Just a law-abiding citizen. I am also told this is an initiative to motivate/thank taxpayers while furthering the stated objective of putting a high premium on honesty. I have received two such certificates already. Many others also must have! 👍😊”
An individual or an organisation can go to the website https://pledge.cvc.nic.in/ and take this pledge if one desires so. When I went to the site, it also shared information that 85,86,062 individuals and 123,138 organisation have taken this pledge. In the discussion on our WhatsApp group, somebody said, “Why do you need a certificate?”
Then a thought came to my mind. We always ask the question what has my nation done for me? But should we not be asking the question, what have I done for my nation? I feel that the British have, along with many things, ensured that our pride for our nation was killed. Even today some people say, “We don’t deserve to run our nation. The British should be brought back to run it.”
The current government has taken many actions in international diplomacy, where people listen when India talks! Now, do we not feel proud of the nation? One major historical correction by India of removing article 370 provisions for Kashmir got all–round support in the world. Except for Pakistan’s all-weather friend China, all major countries have supported India. China too is looking at Pakistan from a strategic and commercial point of view. Let Pakistan default on repayment to China then it will be interesting to see what China does!
From the beginning of the 21st century, the concept of media changed drastically. We started having TV news “Superstars” who considered themselves knowledgeable in everything. They started behaving as if they were Gods of media; all others were treated by them as mere mortals. Sycophancy was at its best during this phase. Corruption, both material and moral, reached its peak. There formed a group of people who had jumped the free jaunts bandwagon. They would travel with ministers and the Prime Minister. They ended up giving sermons to others — Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, et al. added to this list. You and I were immaterial.
Now this government has started the initiative of pledging integrity to the nation. It is like saluting when Jan Gan Man is sung or keeping your hand on your heart! I felt proud to take the formal oath; I felt proud of my nation. All through my life, I have always tried to avoid paying bribes for personal work or business. Sometimes I failed as I was not the final authority to take that decision; I was an advisor to some companies. But in my software and furnace–related business, I have never paid a single Rupee bribe.
Some of my friends were cynic about this drive. India has had a poor record as far integrity is concerned. Sometimes, we say God Promise; similarly, here we are saying “Nation Promise”! Till date, not even one per cent of people have taken the pledge mainly because many may not be aware of this initiative. When we say God Promise, do we break the promise? The same logic can be and should be applied to your nation. Assume that even 5% of people take this pledge, will it not make any change in India? Will you beak your new version of “God Promise”?
What I have to say to the cynics? For those who tried to make fun of the certificate, I shared, I will say in the end! I can understand the doubters because things have not been as they should have been, so they feel that people will take the pledge but keep on doing what they have been doing! We are always going to have Naysayers who are fashionably called Liberals! Liberals group was not very much against government stuff as they were getting their foreign jaunts and were able to run Nalanda Vidyapeeth-just to give an example.
Government has started a new portal for a portal http://www.pgportal.gov.in/ The portal is used as Centralised Public Grievance Redressal Monitoring system
Such an initiative has never been tried before.
External affairs ministry under Sushma Swaraj was helping individuals stuck in foreign countries due to some issues. Mr Modi makes it a point to spend a day during Diwali with soldiers on the borders.
I am not at all saying that it is hunky–dory on all fronts. In many areas, issues and problems continue. To run a nation as big and as diverse as India is not going to be easy. On top of that, the British had looted our wealth for 150 years and made us a developing country, where famines were a part of life initially. But the green revolution, white revolution (Milk and Sugar) have taken place. In many areas like infrastructure, India is progressing fast. Metros are being built in many large cities. Let’s not forget ISRO!
To me, the definition of naysayers is a bit different, besides the conventional one. These are the people who after having toilets at home, want to go to the fields because they feel manly. It is those people who routinely break many laws and rules of public life, like parking, wrong side driving. These are the people who behave rudely with service providers like waiters; they cut corners at every possible opportunity in public life. These are the people who follow every general rule just after taking a five–hour flight from Mumbai to Singapore!
About the friend who made fun of my statement about the certificate should go and ask the Sahara Boss, DSK Boss, Unitech Boss and many other such so–called big people if things are funny. Mallya and Neerav Modi are enjoying their new status as fugitives and are forced to take shield behind the slow legal process in Britain. I am sure they have a “very high social status” in the British page, three people!
Income tax department sends certificates to people who pay personal Income Tax above specific value and appreciates them for being honest and proud citizens.
Government is trying to push honesty culture, and if people find it funny, they must laugh loudly! If someone finds that it is a joke that I am proud of being an Indian, so be it! Some people have a queer sense of humour!