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CWG - Corruption Wealth Games

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Politics

Finally, heads begin to roll after a week of denials - see this report.

It's indeed a shame that we have become the laughing stock for the rest of the world with repeated debacles of this kind. Where is our national pride to excel ? We do not seem to have any even after 60 years now & keep pardoning our corrupt leaders again & again, repeatedly. Sports Minister Gill seems to want to continue with IOC boss Suresh Kalmadi though as the head, he is directly responsible for this mess, not to mention the delays in completion as also the shoddy patch work of stadiums his committee has produced, spending 10s of thousands of crores of the tax payers' money, much of which has been diverted into the pockets of officials of the IOC.

The govt is clueless on how to handle this other than to continue with the status quo - what a disgrace !

After the IPL fiasco & this CWG debacle, it's time now for a complete revamp of the way sports bodies function in the country with corrupt bearucrats & politicians heading them instead of sports personalities or professionals.

There is now, the danger of all other nations boycotting the CWG - many foreign atheletes are said to have already withdrawn out from the games - the India of today is far worse than the India of 1982 for sure when at least, we managed to conduct the games satisfactorily.

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Naveen's picture

Corrution Games - More

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More trouble - opposition parties attack govt in Lok sabha & accuse it of allowing "loot" of public money.

After an hour-long impromptu debate, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House ahead of the lunch recess as heated exchanges between opposition and treasury benches continued with the latter protesting vociferously for not listening to the government's version.

CPM leader Basudeb Acharia demanded setting up of a JPC on the "large-scale corruption scam", alleging that while a cricket stadium in Hyderabad was constructed at Rs 90 crore, the renovation of Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi cost over Rs 961 crore.

"There is no accountability. No one has been held responsible. Government says it does not have money to supply foodgrains," Acharia said, with Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) saying this was "a loot of public money" as over Rs 50,000 crore was being spent on the games.

"What is happening today is total chaos and disaster, bringing the country to shame. ... You (government) are proving to the world that India is incapable of holding the games. Shame," he said.

idontspam's picture

This is probably a good

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This is probably a good enough summary of why we dont care for this tournament.

That, finally, is the reason why none of us have any ownership of the Commonwealth Games. We don’t see them as a great national enterprise. We see them as a money-making activity run by a group of discredited sleazeballs. That’s why none of us is really surprised by the corruption allegations. When you put bank robbers in charge of the bank, how astonished can you be when they rob the bank blind?

murali772's picture

The inevitable comparison

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Both CWG and IPL involved scams. But, the big difference is that whereas the CWG involved tax payers' money, the IPL involved only private money.

And, as far as the public is concerned, the only complaint against IPL can be from the I/T angle - matter perhaps of a few hundered crores - chicken feed compared to the colossal loot (of tax payers' money) in the name of the CWG, and similar ghotala's. Check this also.

Besides, the quality of every product, service, show (including even the cheer-leading - arguably, one may add), connected with IPL, had set new standards, comparable to the best in the world. Whereas, the CWG has its own story to tell, even here.

Perhaps it's time for an altogether fresh look at government's role in the management of sports and sporting events, like with everything else, in fact.

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Please don’t cheer the 2010 loot-fest

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If we, the Indian people, support these Games, it will be a big mistake. This is a golden chance for citizens to put this corrupt and insensitive government to shame. Usually corruption issues are local in nature and they never really get the national traction or resonance that these Games have offered. The CWG is an amazing opportunity because all Indians have been robbed at the same time. Add to that the fact that the government is desperate to save face. Now is when we can get them. And the way to do it is simply what the father of our nation pioneered in his time — noncooperation. Yes, and i’ve deliberated long before saying this — do not watch these Games. Do not go to the venues. Do not watch them on TV. You cannot become a cheerleader to an exercise in cheating. The Indian people have been exploited enough, but to expect us to smile through it is a bit much. If they can walk out of Parliament, we can walk out of stadiums.

For the full text of the column by Chetan Bhagat in the Sunday TOI, click here

I think I agree

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Our games, their games

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Interesting read - Our games, their games

Some excerpts

China has “satellite vision” whereas we tend to have “in the well” vision. China scans the world to see what is “best” and then sets out to better it. Take the high-speed train network that it is putting in place—when it is finished in 2020 it will be the world’s largest, fastest, and most technologically sophisticated

Contrast with our train network where we have to fight to explain why automated block signalling is a necessity not a luxury.

Even if you set aside the implementation snafus, the vision itself is limited, the aim being simply to have something better than what we had before. How can you dazzle when you aim so low?

We should extend this to all infrastructure we build for our cities. We need a new motto for our city builders - Get it f***ing done, get it done f***ing good. You can choose a "U" certificate motto but thats the general idea.

Killing corruption is necessary, but not sufficient

I wouldnt also believe everything is spic & span in China but the outcome is evident. We cant get screwed on the outcomes as well while we figure out a way of cleaning up the racket, working on value systems etc.

murali772's picture

outraged!

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In a country which is surely not among the most advanced in the world and where the index of corruption displays such demeaning figures that to keep our heads high at the angle that god meant them to be is itself a conscious effort as we walk the national streets of sleaze, each day of our lives!

For the full text of the article By Sunaad Raghuram in Churmuri, click here

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Involve the private sector

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"We’ll be able to put up a world class show if we actively involve the private sector’’, said one of India’s best known corporate voices, and Infosys’s nonexecutive chairman N R Narayana Murthy, who tore into the mindset responsible for the Commonwealth Games mess that’s costing India its international image, adding, “The corrupt should stop blaming the media’’

Further - “What we need in future is to form a group of competent managers from the private sector. Give them responsibilities, and review the project from day one. What’s happened is over. Let’s learn important lessons from all this. We need to get together our best talent. We must value performance. Let’s remember that performance brings recognition and recognition brings respect.’’

For the full report in the TOI, click here

Say it loud, Sir! And, perhaps, we now need to pursue the "Bangalore Olympics 2020" project through the private sector to redeem the country's honour.

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Old and new India

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The unprecedented level of public anger over the screw-ups in the preparations of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) can be best understood if we see it as a clash between two Indias. The people in charge of the Games typify old India: corrupt, slothful, incompetent, chaotic, unconcerned with the pursuit of excellence, unwilling to benchmark against global standards and convinced that in India, sab chalta hai. The people who are most angered and horrified by the CWG mess are those who believe that we are creating a new India: one that can do things to global standards, whose competence and intelligence are highly regarded all over the world, an India where people work hard, where there are high levels of accountability and where commitments are treated as sacred.

When Indians talk about ourselves these days, it is this new India we allude to. It is the new India that is an emerging superpower. It is the new India that is the rival of a resurgent China. It is the new India that the world is rushing to befriend and to invest in. But just as we begin to believe the hype about the new India, the old India comes back and bites us in the arse.

The tragedy of the Commonwealth Games is that it did not have to turn out like this. If we had assigned the Games preparations to the private sector — to any of the infrastructural companies that run airports, build hotels etc — budgets would have been adhered to, deadlines would have been kept and the construction wouldn’t have been sub-standard. Moreover, there would have been accountability. If the private sector fails, then it doesn’t get paid.

To access the full column by Mr Vir Sanghvi in the Hindustan Times, click here

Indeed, how true!
 

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Bravo NRN & Vir Sanghvi

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Vir Sanghvi's article made good reading.

In the eyes of the world, we are now a laughing stock. We can brag as much as we like about the new India. But when it comes to delivering on an international commitment, we are no China. We are still corrupt, slothful old India.

Unfortunately though, most from the "new" India (ie. the younger generations) still believe that we are performing wonderfully well. The reason for this is probably that India had never ever performed well in the past, being a laggard all the time & in almost every parameter. So, after all, comparisons with other countries was against the very spirit of India itself !

This belief has to change & the new India must constantly monitor itself in relation to where we stand when compared with the rest of the world, if complacencies have to be overcome.

silkboard's picture

So much fuss because of "international"

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First to Naveen - If you consider me to be part of new India (young?), don't think many of us think that we are performing wonderfully well :)

Now, one more thing to note about the CWG fuss is that just because the commitments made were international, media scrutiny and big name critic's mind-share has been heavy. Reminds me of how people jumped after Bangalore Airport (BIAL) when it opened.

The day media will think about publishing pictures of ...

  • paan stains, broken stairs, stinking toilets, bug ridden guest house beds, water-less coolers etc from New Delhi, Howrah or Bengaluru railway stations,
  • or broken and missing pavements or bus shelters at K R Puram, Marathahalli interchanges (used by more people every day than number of athletes at CWG village, and visitors through BIAL)

... we would have started on making the change.

Perhaps its in our culture to focus more on show and tell (external appearance). That's why only shoddy work at CWG and non flashy work at International Airport gets attention. Rest of the country is for "these other people", not worth attention, and with different standards.

Naveen's picture

A general remark

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SB - that was a general comment. I had spoken to a couple of "young" guys & both claimed India's march was far superior /faster than other nation/s since we were a "democracy", after all !

The same media that criticizes excessively about pan stains & broken tiles in the games village also claims great progress being made by the Indian economy, though they conveniently ignore ground realities such as the ones pointed out by you, for example.

More relevant are stats w.r.t. poverty erradication, etc which the resurgent urban India helped by the media, doesn't care about & dismisses as "govt's problem", blaming them for the abject poverty since the countries "abroad" "do not have them".

Unless people (& the media) begin to note & understand how other nations in similar situations in Asia (such as China, Malaysia, Thailand, etc) are coping with their problems & compare their progress with that of India, our selfish urban-centric vision will continue to keep us that much further away from overcoming them.

silkboard's picture

now don't go there

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Now don't go there - "democracy" and superior march. Not worth discussing online :)

I don't see that much doom either though. The march has certainly been good recently, growth faster than before, faster than many and well sustained. Just need to get media and everyone to focus on "everyday things" and "everyone", and things could get even better.

Go to indicus.net. IF we could get this (http://indicus.net/Produc...), and more numbers, such discussions could be fun.

The district GDP of India covers all the states and districts, 3 sectors and 12 sub sectors of the economy over a seven year time series.
Ravi_D's picture

@Murali - Re: Involve Private Sector

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Who built the facilities? Not the guys on GoI pay roll. Private companies built most of the facilities, for a quasi-public organization set-up (officially the organizing committe is a registered society!). Agree the government paid for the games, and helped (mis)manage the show.

Apart from the (mis) management and corruption issues, notice how profit-driven private sector operated without effective regulation and oversight. Corruption is not a one-way street. It takes two hands to clap. I'll hand you a fat contract to run buses during an event. Will you not take your cut before handing me my share? And how many of you will refrain from playing to my tune if the contract comes with a small fortune?

Not as simple as give it to private sector, and they do wonders in a laissez-faire world.

Naveen's picture

Political system does not matter

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Now don't go there - "democracy" and superior march. Not worth discussing online :)

The point is that the political system has not mattered. Countries have progressed well (in fact, even better) with other systems, whilst our media keeps repeating that we are doing great because of our democratic system. This view, though not conclusive nor proven, is picked up by the newer generations, who argue & maintain the same position. Actually, there has been no relationship between political setups & progress.

I don't see that much doom either though. The march has certainly been good recently, growth faster than before, faster than many and well sustained.

Growth for whom ? Our poverty levels continue to be huge - stats remain obscure, UN's poverty definition does not suit our mandarins since percentages for the poor go up considerably - all these are indications that growth has been skewed & is benefiting only the rich whilst levels of corruption are increasing all the time.

Praja shd purchase the stats on indicus, if they are not available elsewhere (through central govt web pages).

Naveen's picture

@Ravi - The ref was for turn-key

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Not as simple as give it to private sector, and they do wonders in a laissez-faire world.

Agreed that govt regulation is the key, but I believe what NRN & Vir Sanghvi were referring to was for the pvt sector to be employed on turn-key basis for also design, supervision, construction scheduling, etc. If construction contracts had been handed out on this basis, they might have delivered better quality & well in time since failures would have meant no payment, spoilt image, etc.

ananth.bangalore's picture

CWG- a window of truth

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Any study of architecture or building science will evidently show that a nation's buildings are such that they are actually very truthful indicators of any people's culture, capacity, attitude among many other things, compared to any other nation (as a datum). This has been true to any civilization, any culture and any time period.

In fact, to me, how India has handled CWG was not surprising at all, on the contrary, it was very predictable.

Please assume I might just be qualified to say this- buildings and construction in India, sadly, has a very long way to go in terms of vision, ambitions, technology, the drive to create projects to be proud of, right system of education to create the talent to do so and the very important ones relevant to- attitude of integrity, creative curiosity. Leave alone trend-setting, we are not even among the trend-followers.

Right from creating the development brief (which can be manipulated so as to benefit specific parties), selecting third parties for the project- including architects, contractors, suppliers, consulting engineers, to the other stages of approving quality/quantity of work during various stages of construction, to verifying the bills for quantities, conformity to use of specified materials (which is itself manipulated), everything, everything can be so easily manipulated.

Just a thought- Don’t mean to come across as a doomsday soothsayer, but that crumbling bridge or the crappy washbasin is just an indicator of what we are going towards- a resultant of all the sums of our positives and negatives.

Also, the hard truth (which might make us take up serious objection to this) is that CWG’s crumbling bridges and living quarters with crap in the living rooms is nothing but a truthful window into what our nation is as of now (whether we want to feel like we are a part of this mess or not is a different discussion).

Ultimately, we need to remember all these people are there, ruling us, because we put them there. Doesn’t matter if we chose to elect them or we chose to not give up our lives to avoid these people ruling us. These people being there is our choosing. Maybe we should at the least, stop fooling ourselves and realize that we never expected anything more from ourselves than what we have done at CWG.

India desperately needs martyrs, probably another Gandhi. I do not know if Gandhi is going to be enough.

One event on what some government bodies are doing: There was this private builder who, one morning, when going to his office noticed some children studying under a tree instead of being inside the school building, which was very dilapidated (the whole building later fell when the JCB touched the corner of the property) . He built a new school for them and refused to put up his company's name on the newly built school. Later he was forced to put it up because- get this- the government employees from both the public works department and the education department (or two similar government bodies) started creating bills and paperwork for that building so they can consume that much money from the government coffers. The point is that the people in the government concerning or managing building projects are busy doing such stuff.

murali772's picture

example of govt failure, private sector success

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Now that the Commonwealth Games have commenced, glitches and all, we can assess them more soberly than the high-pitched media sound bites of recent weeks. Many critics complain that the Games show India in a terrible light. In fact, they provide a pretty accurate representation of the country.
    
Globally, the big picture shows India as a major success story. In fact, it is largely a story of private sector success and government failure. Many Indian compIanies have emerged as world class, but government services and corporations have, with some honourable exceptions, remained ridden with waste, corruption and callous inefficiency. The Commonwealth Games accurately mirror this reality: they too represent a mix of private sector success and government failure.
    
For the full text of the column by Swaminathan Aiyer in the TOI, click here
 

Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

S Aiyar paints China poor

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Much as I agree with most of what Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar usually writes, I think he is misleading Indians about China with this statement :

The state mercilessly destroys slums and other structures without adequate compensation when it so feels, as in the 2008 Olympic facilities.

The state does take over necessary land for essential infrastructure without delays, no doubt, but compensations awarded by tribunals are paid later if the matter has not been settled before relocation. Farmers /Shopkeepers that I had spoken to in Guangzhou, Shenzen & Pudong were generally very happy to have given up land since they got adequate compensation + better business due to infrastructure creation. Further, the Chinese do not cling hard to their lands like people in India do & are far more open to relocation with economy /growth booming all around.

In our system, an individual can keep postponing govt takeover with court orders + govt cannot be trusted for paying compensation + there isn't any consistency when govt changes, etc etc & etc.

murali772's picture

let the audit begin

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While I too loved and enjoyed every Indian win, as also some other wonderful performances, I do not want to forget in this euphoria the massive misuse of funds and authority that has gripped this game’s organisation and games related infrastructure development. And before I go ahead, I want to reiterate that the excellent and heart-warming performances by our athletes, that all and sundry would now want take credit for, have been despite the system, not because of the system.

For the full text of the column by Rajesh Kalra in the TOI, click here

Can't agree more.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Another way to look at CWG!

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Interesting read from Burkha Dutt in Hindustan Times.

"...But when it came right down to the crunch — at that moment when we panicked as a country — we looked towards the State and its agencies to bail us out from a potential private sector debacle. When the Games Village was dubbed “filthy and unliveable”, despite being contracted to the spiffy real estate giant Emaar-Mgf, it took Sheila Dikshit to tuck her sari into her petticoat and get the floors scrubbed as a matriarch would her own house..."

"...When the foot overbridge, built at a cost of R5 crore by PNR-Infra came crashing down, the Army put Humpty-Dumpty together again in less than five days. When the swashbuckling arrogance of the Games  Organising Committee became directly proportional to that sinking feeling in our hearts, we waited to hear from the PM. In some sort of bizarre, return-to-the-womb impulse, it was almost as if we didn’t feel entirely safe in the hands of the private czars; looking instead for assurance in the embrace of the Sarkar. This does not mean that we are romanticising the years of public sector inefficiency either. But, with the Games scandal coming close on the heels of the Indian Premier League corruption, we realise that when you throw gigantic amounts of money at an event and don’t regulate it by benchmarks of responsible  governance, what you get is crony capitalism, not liberalisation..."

For more read here

The last sentence summarizes the essence of CWG and lessons that we need to learn.

murali772's picture

by the govt, from the govt

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The interesting thing about the CWG and Adarsh Society scams is that businessmen hardly enter into them. In the case of the CWG corruption, officials decided that they could rip off the Indian state and steal money from the government. Because India’s prestige was at stake, the central government kept providing more and more money to stage the Games. This gave the officials the equivalent of a blank cheque. They knew they could steal from the taxpayer and still never run out of money for their ever- increasing budgets.

For the full editorial piece by Vir Sanghvi, in the New Indian Express, click here.

So much for those who see this as a private sector rip-off. Yes, in a way it is.

A friend of mine tells me about the recent experience of a fried of his in Delhi, who runs a successful event management company. Going by the company's reputation, apparently, Mr Suresh Kalmadi himself approached this person to take up a contract, the condition being a cut of 35% for Mr Kalmadi. This person was successful enough not to want to resort to such deals, and did not take up the contract. It went to somebody else, and, of course, there would have been a difference in the quality. In the case of bridges, etc, the contractor will end up using sub-standard material in order to retain his margin, and that's how they end up crashing. So, who would you say is primarily responsibe?

And, for all of that, the government's investigative agencies are targetting just the businessmen, and the Kalmadi's of the world continue to make statements about India's prospects at the forthcoming Asian Games!

But, there's now total disgust over these goings on across the country, and the likes Arvind Kejriwal are spear-heading some action. In our own way, let's join the campaign, like through such action.

 

Muralidhar Rao

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