Brave new world: no place to hide
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The point is not that the two numbers are near identical; Misra's calculation left out the areas where there were no bids (Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mumbai), and these would most likely have yielded an additional Rs 2,000-3,000 crore. The point simply is that whenever any analyst computes any number, and especially the lead accountants at the CAG, they should do a "smell" test to see if the number is not garbage. It would have been obvious to the most casual observer that Rs 1.76 lakh crore, by being 44 times the approximate ballpark figure of Rs 4,200 crores, was nothing short of utter, well, garbage.
If the CAG was a case of sense in, garbage out, what can one say about those who made judgements on the basis of the "reputation" licence that the CAG possessed? Should a leading political party, the BJP, with seemingly nothing to show for itself in five years other than screaming corruption and stalling Parliament, have allowed itself to be led by the nose to ignominy?
And what about Kejriwal and the fight against corruption? Even a cursory look at the coal scam and black money stashed abroad would reveal that the actual numbers are much less than commonly believed. Which is not to imply that there isn't corruption or there isn't black money. Just that the 2G auction has revealed that at least part of the revolt against corruption, in the form of manufactured magnitudes, is politically motivated. Which means that since there is no place to hide, political leaders will have to be evaluated on the policies they advocate, not on the short-term angst they are able to generate. So, what does the Aam Aadmi Party advocate in terms of policies to generate inclusive growth? What are their policies towards procurement prices for agriculture, the corruption in PDS and NREGA, policies towards GAAR, interest rates, land acquisition, food security bill, cash transfers, capital punishment and the like? If they take the route of the party from which they have stolen their slogan — shout platitudes and you will win — they then are in for a huge negative surprise. Don't believe me, just check the election record of the Congress for the last 20 years, except for a growth, not policy, induced blip in 2009.
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