New Delhi: After reviewing ongoing action against corrupt bureaucrats, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) has decided that Central government departments must examine and submit a list of deadwood and dishonest officers every few months to increase trust and transparency in the system. Earlier, the government had set in motion a procedure for a quarterly review of officers with dubious integrity.
The PMO's decision comes amid a nationwide debate over the fixing accountability of government officers as complaints against higher-ups pile up. The departments have also been told to launch an investigation into how certain officers with records of serious misconduct are able to rise up the ranks. Currently 1,007 officers disciplinary records are being scrutinised. The administrative authorities involved in review of cases have been sensitised to the need to prioritise their activities and subsequent action of conducting investigations and finalising disciplinary proceedings.
The government note reviewed by Firstpost said that for a quick response on complaints against officers, the entire process is being expedited through the insertion of new provisions. The vigilance wings of concerned departments are currently investigating complaints against 29 IAS officers and nine group ‘A’ officers. The investigation against 1,815 officers from the ‘B’ and ‘C’ groups have been accelerated.
While considering the individual cases, actions or decisions taken that do not appear to be above board, complaints received against the officers and suspicious property or asset transactions for which there may be sufficient evidence to initiate departmental proceedings will be taken into account. The note further said: "On a review of the matter recently at the PMO, it was decided that a quick uploading of the current information and regular periodic updating of the same by all stakeholder departments has to be ensured."
A list of 14 officers from the Ministry of Railways, 12 officers under Ministry of Coal and six officers from the civil aviation ministry is being examined along with an unspecified number of officers from the Ministry of Shipping under rule FR 56 (J) for compulsory retirement. This rule empowers the government to force compulsory retirement on corrupt officers who have completed 30 years of qualifying service or have attained 50 years of age. As per the rule: "Notwithstanding anything contained in this rule, the appropriate authority shall, if it is of the opinion that it is in the public interest so to do, have the absolute right to retire any government servant by giving him notice of not less than three months in writing or three-months pay and allowances in lieu of such notice."
A senior government officials said that the screening committee of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) — that recently recommended sacking 37 corrupt officers — is likely to meet in the third week of November to review more such cases forwarded by different commissionerates under their jurisdiction.
"The details of those officers who have not been reviewed earlier is likely to be taken up on 19 November. The board will examine vigilance reports, data available about the officers in the department, personal file and assessment report which contains details of files dealt by him or her during the service period," the official said.
A strong directive has also been issued to more than 600 autonomous bodies under the central government to carry out a review of deadwood and corrupt officers. The administration departments of these autonomous institutions have been called to furnish details regarding action taken against officials with dubious integrity.
"Each ministry/department will undertake a comprehensive review of action taken by all autonomous bodies under their control in time bound manner for further consideration," the government note said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a message last month, said that "emphasis must be on putting in place effective preventive measures and spreading awareness to eradicate corruption. Individuals and organisations need to adopt a behavior of 'Zero Tolerance' to any kind of corrupt activity."
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Updated Date: Nov 12, 2019 16:30:21 IST