Decentralisation of power can wipe out corruption

Gadchiroli (Maha): The country has no future if the real power that should ideally rest with the people in true democracy is continued to be enjoyed by a select few, Anna Hazare said today.

"Though India became a republic state on January 26, 1950, only a few have enjoyed the fruits of the real power, while majority of people are deprived of it. Today, crores of rupees are spent by governments but merely 10 per cent of the funds reaches the deserving people…In such a situation, India has no future," Hazare told a press conference during his visit to the naxal-hit district as part of the ongoing leg to spread awareness about the need for a strong Lokpal to weed out corruption.

Blaming centralisation of power as the root cause of corruption in the country, the veteran activist said that decentralisation of power is the need of the hour and local units of self-governance like gram sabhas are needed to be strengthened. "We have chosen a representative forum of democracy and have sent our representatives to Parliament and Assemblies. But these representatives have become the masters and people the servants. This should be changed…people must realise that they are the real masters of this country," he said.

When asked about his stand on naxalism, the 75-year-old said, "youth turned to naxalism as problems of people staying in forests have never been attended to, and thousands of acres of the land belonging to tribals been grabbed by powerful leaders". He further said that the "nefarious" alliance of bureaucracy and executive is responsible for growing instances of graft in the country. Reiterating the need to expand scope of the anti- corruption ombudsman, Hazare said Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta at the states should be independent of each other.

"The central vigilance commission and other anti- corruption departments should also be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. In existing system, people do not get justice even though they lodge complaints from the block development officer (BDO)-level to top authorities in a government," he said. The Lokpal alone can dispose of the peoples` complaints and provide them relief, he said.

On drought situation in Maharashtra, Hazare said the crisis is the fallout of unchecked corruption. Though crores of rupees are spent on the irrigation projects, around 60 to 70 per cent of the projects remained incomplete, exacerbating water scarcity in the region. Hazare further said that a massive agitation will be launched on the issue shortly. "I appeal to youth to be prepared to go to jail if need be on the issue," he said.

Lashing out at the ruling Congress-NCP government of Maharashtra, Hazare said the "deteriorating" law and order situation in the state was a result of the "nexus" between politicians and the police. "Goons spread terror and the (political) leaders pressurise police to release them. This is more dangerous than in Pakistan," he said, appealing to the voters to not fall for any sort of "enticement" from political parties during elections.

He informed that the banner of `Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan` will not be used anymore to launch any agitation, but people should voluntarily come forward against corruption. When asked about the upcoming presidential polls, Hazare quipped, "I am not qualified for the job". Replying to a query whether he will form any political outfit and send representatives to Parliament, Hazare replied it was not his job.