A century has sailed by since the luxury steamship RMS Titanic met its catastrophic end in the North Atlantic, plunging two miles to the ocean floor after side-swiping an iceberg during its maiden voyage. Maybe, the term iceberg was understood in its proper perspective only after that historic event took place in the early morning of 15 April 1912. The context for recalling the shipwreck in which an estimated 705 survivors out of about 3,500 on board lived to narrate their journey of only a few hours shall become clear on reading this column to liken corruption to the iceberg and the nation to RMS Titanic. Ironically, the tip of the iceberg, as it floats obeying the laws of physics is taken to be harmless, the iceberg itself with its unclear volume and weight does all the damage to any object that dares to closely get near it. If one tries to labour the point, the ongoing surgical strikes of sorts to nab the corrupt elements, as reported in the media, have only caressed the tip of the iceberg leaving the iceberg untouched.
Many among the avid readers of dailies may be prone to skip reading headlines and reports relating to a) weather forecast by India Meteorological Department and b) Episodes of unearthing wealth of individuals, read government employees, disproportionate to their known sources of income. Of course, the term disproportionate is not only too prosaic but also a gross understatement.
India is being portrayed by different global rating agencies and authorities such as the World Bank as the third or so largest economy behind mainly the United States of America and People’s Republic of China, taking the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole parameter. Economists seem to have oversimplified the exercise of determining the size of the respective country’s economy using this parameter, understanding whose meaning and means of calculating is not given to lay people. However, suffice to say that, GDP being computed, based on inputs from the Book of Accounts, closely watched by the appointed department in the government, the humongous amounts of money at the command of the steadily rising numbers of offending flock not shown in those Books could be many times of the officially declared GDP.
Old timers of Mysore State, who are never tired of singing paeans about the work ethics of government staff of their bygone days are aghast at the astronomical figures being disclosed as the cost of civil works such as roads and bridges. Even teenagers are talking of the cuts being harvested from those funds. The unearthed parts of that God-knows-How-Much, as reported in the media, is the tip of the iceberg for you.