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Recall the outrage of the people during the Lok Pal agitation led by social worker Anna Hazare two years ago, when the entire nation rose as one and demanded effective laws against corruption.

That movement may not have resulted in what was demanded then, but recent developments clearly indicate that the spirit of that movement has not been lost but strengthened further.

Three specific developments give us reasons to hope for greater transparency and probity in public life in India. These include the conviction of a former chief minister of Bihar after 17 years of being charged in the fodder scam; the Supreme Court's verdict disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs and the government's rethink on a proposed ordinance meant to negate this ruling and the Supreme Court's directive for introduction of "None of the above" button on voting machines.

In his article Can India Escape the Corruption Trap? former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal presents a detailed analysis of the problem and lists out the steps that are necessary to tackle it. One of his suggestions is for introduction of a speedy system of enquiry and punishment in corruption cases, denying an opportunity to the guilty to delay trials till justice becomes meaningless. "There should be a time limit of six months within which the original case must be decided," says Mr. Vittal, in a suggestion that needs to be addressed by the Indian judiciary on priority.

Bhutan's innovative Gross National Happiness (GNH) model for development instead of the prevalent Gross National Product (GNP) which focuses only on economic factors has been hailed the world over as an idea that deserves to be emulated. It is heartening to note that the Goa Vision 2035 document prepared under the chairmanship of eminent scientist Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, has drawn up a vision for the state based on the principles of GNH. A detailed article on this initiative has been featured in Briefing.

I would also like to draw attention to this month's review of the book, When I Die- Lessons from the Death Zone by Philip Gould. A true acceptance of death gives freedom, courage, and power. Nobody can conquer death, but such an acceptance brings liberation- death loses its control over you and it transforms you completely as a person, says Gould who was polling and strategic adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Gould died some years ago of gastro-oesophageal cancer.

Do go through our other sections and send us your feedback and suggestions to help us improve our effort at Change for Better.

With best wishes,
Abhay Vaidya

Editor, Change for Better


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