July 24, 2021
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'An Incontrovertible Indictment Of Government'

'An Incontrovertible Indictment Of Government'

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express says the three reports are raising deep and fundamental questions about governance. Taken together they amount to an incontrovertible indictment of government.

A lot of the whispering against the CAG reports comes from an unstated fear: such scrutiny will slow down decision making. It will create economic uncertainty. These risks are present. But we have to face the fact that there is a lot more poison waiting to come out of the system. The system now needs to respond constructively and internalise new norms of governance, based on horizontal accountability, transparency and public reason, instead of arbitrary discretion. The CAG’s reports are part of the great cleansing now under way. In the medium to long run, these will make government stronger, not weaker, because it will be forced to ask the right questions.

You can contest the CAG’s numbers. But the reports, even if they do not say it, leave us in no doubt that the government is a rotting ancient regime. It is a deep morass of evasions, dereliction of duty, and outright fraud on the taxpayers. The responsibility for this runs to the highest levels, including the prime minister. He is, doubtless, an honourable and honest man. But will he admit that the government is at least guilty of a sin even worse than corruption: gross incompetence of the kind that has put the country’s future at risk?

Read the full column at the Indian Express: Great cleansing act

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