The government on Friday tried to win the battle for public support with Baba Ramdev by bringing out a detailed statement about what it plans to do to address the issue of illicit or ‘black’ money.
Unfortunately, most of the half a dozen ‘steps’ promised by the government smacks of the exact characteristics that anti-corruption crusaders rail against — vague, incremental and along the lines of what exists in the country today.
In its characteristic style, it pointed out that it has constituted a Committee to suggest ways to ‘deal with’ black money by “declaring wealth generated illegally as national asset, enacting laws to confiscate and recover such assets providing for exemplary punishment against its perpetrators.”
“The maximum punishment for cases of corruption would be increased substantially… the Department of Personnel is also considering the inclusion of a chapter in the Prevention of Corruption Act to provide for confiscation of ill-gotten wealth,” it pointed out, in an ‘action plan’ guaranteed to be turned down by agitators like Baba Ramdev.
On Baba’s demand for increasing the presence of Indian languages in technical education, another Committee has been set up, it pointed out.
“The Ministry of Human Resource Development has asked AICTE, which is charged with the duty of determining and maintaining standards of technical education in the country to constitute a Committee of Experts to draw up a concrete plan for measures to be taken to increase the use of Indian languages in technical education. This Committee will submit its report in 3 months,” it said.
On his demand to speed up corruption cases, it said “the government is open to the idea of more special courts to speed up trial of corruption cases.”
Not surprisingly, Baba was not impressed with the Committee formations and declined government’s overtures.
Some believe that the Baba was too far along in his preparations for launching his fast — a fact that the Government too appreciated. As a result, the government may have a fair idea about what is needed to placate the Baba, but may be waiting for the fast to be at least two or three days old before coming out with the ‘real’ offer.