Govt steps up anti-corruption drive as it asks ministries to identify sensitive posts, launch review of officers
The government launched a massive crackdown against corruption last month, directing ministries to identify sensitive posts for a fresh review.
New Delhi: The government launched a massive crackdown against corruption last month, directing ministries to identify sensitive posts in the central departments for a fresh review. The sensitive posts in the government organisations are defined as the ones which offer scope for corruption to the babus. The government also gave a clear direction that all the officers occupying sensitive posts for more than three years should be transferred immediately and the release orders in the ministries must be issued by 30 April, 2018.
“The anti-corruption sweep is being monitored at the highest level. The ministries have also been told to launch a review of officers under section 56 (j), which gives the appropriate authority absolute right to return officers who have completed 50 years in public interest. The central departments have been asked to review their manual and make amendments to take decisions in sync with the government's directive,” a top government source told Firstpost.
The government also wants immediate action against corrupt officers by the vigilance wing of each organisation in order to follow the prescribed time lines. “The ministries have been asked to review the corruption cases pending between 1 and 3 years, and 5 and 10 years. There has to be zero pendency by end of April,” the source further added.
Since 2015, the Ministry of Personnel — that comes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi — has been sending reminders to the Ministries to frame a transfer policy in all cadres. The Ministry is of the view that the rotational transfer policy should harmonise objectives of institutional memory, avoid development of vested interests, and provide exposure to employees of working in different organisations. The corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) too has been pitching in, suggesting the ministries identify the sensitive posts and staff working in these posts and ensure that they are strictly rotated to avoid developing vested interests.
The CVC in its directive 004/VGL/090 said: “The commission in the superintendence of vigilance administration over the years has observed that such transfers are not effected in many organisations due to which officials continue to remain in the same posts for long periods. Such overstay and continuous postings afford scope for indulging in corrupt activities, developing vested interests, which may not be in the interest of the organisation. The Commission would, therefore, emphasise that periodical rotation of officials holding sensitive posts needs to be ensured. As such, officials should not be retained in the same place for long by the Ministries, Public Sector Undertakings and Banks.”
Officers working in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Cabinet Secretariat, Offices of Solicitor General, Attorney General are exempted. They are to be transferred only after consulting these offices, keeping in view the willingness of the officer concerned.
Measures for anti-graft campaign
In the last three years, the ministries told the CVC that over 39,000 departmental inquiries, including cases of financial mismanagement, were instituted against babus. The CBI has registered 139 cases against IAS, IPS, IRS and IFS officers during 2014-17.
According to the Ministry of Personnel, it has taken several measures to steps up anti-corruption drive and making the governance more seamless with less officer-public interface. It has cited digital transactions, moving towards ‘less cash economy’ for citizen-centric service delivery and transparent financial transactions as some of the tools. Wherever required, systematic improvements and reforms have been undertaken to provide transparent services and reduce corruption. These, inter alia, include establishment of Jan-Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile (JAM) platform, disbursement of welfare benefits directly to the citizens under various schemes of the government in a transparent manner through the direct benefit transfer initiative, and introduction of e-governance and simplification of procedure and systems.
Simultaneously, the CVC has also launched the Integrity Index Project as a tool of preventive vigilance with an objective to motivate the organisations to focus on and nurture transparency and integrity of all their processes. The Integrity Index is aimed at helping organisations identify areas where there is a scope for improvement.
In the first phase, 25 organisations from 14 sectors have been selected for the index. Scam-hit Punjab National Bank is also part of the list. Other sectors include oil and gas, power, coal, steel, transport, mining, defence, heavy industries, commerce and textiles, social sector (Food Corporation of India), urban development and local bodies, and Central Board of Direct Taxes.
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