At the recent convocation ceremony of our graduating students, when our institute’s Director Dr MK Chaudhuri challenged Vinod Rai, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and said that he wasn’t bold enough like TN Seshan (former Election Commissioner) had been and was not taking the government head-on as strongly as he should, Rai very firmly said that he was doing what he was constitutionally allowed to do.
Being slightly aggressive about such issues, I might have personally liked Vinod Rai to stretch his constitutional limits more, redefine them, and take the government head-on perhaps more loudly. But then all human beings don’t have the same approach to dealing with identical issues. Vinod Rai is a man who is soft-spoken, abhorring the limelight, but is doing his work with amazing sincerity, courage and commitment, bringing to public notice the sham and the shame behind India’s Blood Billionaires — the saga of corruption and transfer of national wealth into private hands at the cost of the tax payers’ money and the country’s national interests.
After independence, our industrialists were given a monopoly market to operate in, thanks to the bureaucratic system of bribery-driven work culture we created. The private sector was allowed to buy public sector products — like, say, steel — at subsidised prices, and sell the finished products — like, say, buses and tractors — in the market at the market price. Subsequently, PSUs were branded loss-making failures while the industrialists amassed obnoxious amounts of money! This was the first phase of growth for our Indian business houses. Since this first experiment kept us a third world and third class country, the second phase of growth started post liberalisation.
In this second phase, the government started selling off PSUs in totality at a fraction of the price these PSUs could have commanded in the markets — the government did this because the bribes they got from the industrialists was more than what they could have dreamt in their wildest imaginations. Once the PSU sellout was virtually complete and made, but obviously, a few dollar billionaires, has come the latest phase! It is actually the government of India that started the process of creating numerous global billionaires out of our existing industrialists through the SEZ Act and other such processes of giving away natural resources over to private hands. Be it the 2G Scam or the ‘Coalgate Scam’ or any other scam, it is the same story. One visit to Kalinga Nagar, Kujang and the likes, tells us the glaring tale of how a handful of companies are becoming abnormally wealthy by amassing an obscene amount of land and natural resources, that too at throwaway prices, thanks to the dacoits running this country in the garb of politicians.
And that unfortunately is the story of India… Blood Billionaires making their billions out of scams, poverty and bloodshed. And that is where Vinod Rai, our current CAG, is steadily bringing in front of the public the reality of how the government is trying to hoodwink the people and dole out 2G licenses and mining permits, costing this poor nation losses to the tune of three lakh to ten lakh crore rupees! Everything perhaps can’t be done by getting aggressive. Some things require sincere fact-finding, auditing with honesty and patriotism at the core of the heart. That’s what Vinod Rai is doing, motivating people like us to get aggressive with his brilliant exposes! He is sincerely and silently showing Indians the secret behind the growing number of Indian billionaires in the global billionaires’ lists, thus exposing our Blood Billionaires and in turn making CAG a feared name!
— The author is a Management Guru and Hony Director of IIPM Think Tank