Uncritical compliance isn’t a desirable trait

It is disturbing to see how readily people comply with whatever it is the State has to order. And when I speak of compliance, it is not that there be an attempt to scuttle every move, but that there at least be made some critical evaluation of an order/ regulation. And worse is when the citizenry takes an active part in seeking compliance from others by not offering logic, but emotion, in this case, nationalism and a golden future.

The Demonetisation

I am privileged enough to have gotten by without having to stand in a line, and by the looks of it, I won’t be troubled that much even in the near future. But then, not everybody is privileged, in fact, the majority of this country isn’t. There are people who are troubled because they have no cash to purchase seeds, these are people who are in the business where the returns on investments are time sensitive, and they are losing out.

Then there are those who will now be taking their produce to the market; and when they do, there won’t be cash to pay these people in full. And bear in mind that this was a relatively good year for farmers in terms of rainfall.

Maybe all of this would be worth it; maybe it is a great exercise, howsoever badly implemented. But where is the evidence for that? There, however, is a CBDT report which opposed such a move. It doesn’t end there, why is there not a clamour to seek the rationale behind this massive inconvenience?

Surely, ridding the economy of black money would be a great idea. Though, isn’t it true, by the assertions of the PM and the Finance Minister that the majority of it is parked abroad, or through shell companies. The least the government can offer is the cost-benefit analysis, and why the cost that the people and economy are now going to bear will be worth it. But, zilch!

The Prime Minister did, however, laugh at the fact that there was a wedding at home and no cash. Remind you, just the other day a mining baron close to the BJP hosted a lavish party for his daughters’ wedding.

Judges’ Appointment and FCRA

One way that black money can be fought is better justice administration and checking elections funding. Two weeks back, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India chided the Attorney General for playing with justice. The Central government had held up names suggested by the Collegium, which meant that no appointments were being made to the High Courts.

In April 2016, the government moved a Bill to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 (FCRA Act). The amendment allows political parties and others to receive contributions from foreign companies for ‘activities of a political nature’.  Also note, the amendment was retrospective. Hence, any contributions received in the past would now be proper. Contrast this with the vigour at which the government has targeted the NGOs and activists, many times complaining that they received foreign funds irregularly, reason enough that they be banned.

Compliance

And while all this happens, while the government stalls appointments of Judges, informs you to participate in long lines and play along, it allows itself the power to receive funds for ‘political activities’; and does so retrospectively. The systems of the past have changed to accommodate illegalities, thus, the State now uses legislation to make proper what would be deemed illegal/ improper. And while it does so, it leaves it to the citizens to bear the brunt for the collective good.

The least you can demand of your leaders is that we must be informed why and how demonetization is good for the economy, and why and how and amendment to FCRA helps the nation. Uncritical compliance isn’t a desirable trait; it only strengthens the State’s resolve to keep pushing the citizens to bear more for the good of a few.

Ask ask, don’t blindly accept.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Akash Satyawali
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Akash Satyawali is a lawyer and currently works as a political consultant. He tweets at @AkashSatyawali 

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