Should ‘corruption free administration’ remain confined to speeches and rhetoric only , that also on select state and national level events and to make it a reality be left to an uncertain future? Again, if statistics are going to be taken seriously about the levels of corruption engulfing the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it should cause those authorities in the Government feel ill at ease who are tasked to fight this scourge. This State, as per latest data available (source – CMS – Indian Corruption Study), Jammu and Kashmir is 5th highest ranking State in corruption in India, only next to Maharashtra and preceding Punjab.
There is no denying the fact that corruption has remained a matter of serious concern in this state for years together and various means have been suggested to contain it if not eradicate it completely . Among those, the chief measure is to give enough teeth to internal vigilance in all the Departments and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and to strengthen the institution of Departmental Vigilance Officers (DVOs). When analyzed, it is found that nothing of the sort is done and no achievable results are anywhere in sight. What is urgently needed is to stop the rot before it reaches the levels of inexplicable levels. According the much needed credibility to the institution of the DVOs is the first right step in this direction.
There must be a mechanism at work inside the departments that keeps on assessing on periodic intervals, the levels of inefficiency, incompetence, inaction, abuse or misuse of power by officers in Government departments and Public Sector Undertakings which not only serves as a deterrent but also is a prerequisite of good governance. That mechanism is needed to be sustained, improved upon, empowered to suggest corrective action and also kept as an inalienable part in the process or the entire system of awarding annual increments, promotions and request transfers. Besides, that is a concomitant of an effective quality administration.
Such authorities, i.e; the DVOs must be people of integrity, of impeccable honesty and probity and well versed with the personnel rules and procedures, disciplinary proceedings and insulated from any political interference to manipulate favourable reporting instead of what is factually found out . Taking a cue from top Government of India Undertakings like Public Sector Banks and Corporations, the NOC from such top vigilance Authorities is necessary at the time of reaching superannuation and claiming or while paying usual dues which otherwise an employee is entitled to. Any pending disciplinary proceedings are mandatory to be cleared and this all process is completed well at least six months in advance.
These Departmental Vigilance Officers, on the other hand , must be made accountable for adopting an eagle eyed surveillance and with intention to contain unfair and corrupt ways. The Government too must ensure that with each transfer, retirement or resignation, an incumbent must promptly be posted and never should an opportunity arise to treat such postings as optional. It is with that scenario, the antidote to corruption, in whatever measure, gets weakened much to the amusement of the thick skinned ones thriving under such conditions.
What has been the rate of the disposal of complaints which are referred by State Vigilance Organization to respective DVOs during the past several years? How many charge sheets, enquiries and other measures, as a thumb rule are initiated in each complaint to determine innocence or guilt ?What is the entire process of pruning , filtering and assessing persons to determine integrity and probity that are considered for posting in top posts in sensitive commercial, financial, personnel, administrative and other departments ? The most important aspect is the absence of a transparent, foolproof and clear cut transfer policy, the absence of which provides enough leverage for corruption. How many years a person is expected to remain “clung” to a post at a particular place? Changing places periodically and suggesting the same by the DVOs are an important ingredient of the mechanism of fighting corruption.
The need of the hour is the Government feeling convinced and girding up its loins to take on corruption effectively and their political parties not only confining corruption to the pages of Election Manifestoes and public statements. There must be meetings, conferences, interfaces, trainings etc exclusively for personnel in charge of Vigilance Organizations not only in the State but at places of reputable training institutes in the country to know the latest and then put in practice the latest . It is to the entire chagrin of anti corruption moves to find that the last DVOs conference having taken place in 2011 and none thereafter.