Today morning, The Hindu reported a decision of the Communist-led Kerala government: “The State Cabinet on Thursday decided to appoint a consultancy firm to guide in the post-floods reconstruction. The Cabinet is understood to have decided to appoint KPMG as its consultants on the subject.”
KPMG? The one involved in the ‘economic reconstruction’ of Iraq? The same? Really? I am hoping it is some other. If it is the same KPMG that Naomi Klein and others talk of, even a cursory look at KPMG and BearingPoint, once their business unit, via Wikipedia, would tell us that they belong to the shores of disaster capitalism. But then to take a decision to involve any foreign consultant at a time when we are struggling for resources without public discussion is truly preposterous. Especially given that Kerala has alternatives, cheaper, more local, and readily integrated into the culture of local self-government that we take so much credit for! There are so many local startups which could be mobilized into the effort, and that would be such an advantage for local businesses. Yes, maybe the consultant will suggest that. But why do we need to pay consultants to come and tell us when there is enough expertise on the ground?
Someone claims that certain prominent Malayali bureaucrats have joined KPMG and that they are waiving consultancy fees. And so it might be good to have them oversee the reconstruction here lest it lapse into corruption. God bless this soul, so innocent! KPMG has a reputation, as the report in the Caravan points out. They can well waive the consultancy and still make a killing. And having Malayalis in the pirate ship does not make a jot of difference, in fact, it only makes plunder easier. As for fears of corruption, when will we get out of the slavish mindset that makes us think like the colonizer? The local self government network in Kerala, for all its faults, does work — if you want it to work. There are several examples. If we cannot build on it, if we cannot build on the amazing energy and selfless, tireless labours of our young people, the silver lining in these dark days, then yes we are worthless. Only the most cynical and individualistic would let this moment die.
Or is it that independent agencies, public support and civil social energies were needed to make up the inefficiencies of the government’s rescue and relief effort, but have no relevance when it comes to decisions such as this one?
And pray, what, then, is Pinarayi’s ‘New Kerala’? One designed by KPMG?
The Caravan has carried a report that adds to our worries.http://www.caravanmagazine.in/vantage/kpmg-unnamed-ias-officer-corruption-letter-modi
The person of interest apparently, is Mr Arunkumar, of Malayali origin. The firm is notorious for securing contracts for US firms.