H&ME, RDD, Agri, H&UDD among major defaulting deptts
JAMMU, Jan 12: Numerous recommendations made by the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) to different Government departments for ensuring accountability and transparency in their functioning are being treated as trash during the past quite long time. In this way, the bureaucrats are creating impediments in the implementation of various provisions of Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act.
In terms of the provisions under Section 8(1)(g) read with Section 16(3) of the State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011, the Commission has been mandated to tender advice on all matters relating to vigilance administration to the Government departments and Corporations established in the State by or under any Central Act or the Act of State Legislature.
Moreover, as per the provisions of the Act the Government departments or the Corporations are required to consider the advice of the Commission and take appropriate action.
Under Section 16(3) of the J&K State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011, recommendations made by the Commission are to be implemented on being approved by the Government. The proviso to Section 16(3) of the J&K State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011 casts a legal obligation on the Government to communicate the reasons in writing to the Commission in case it doesn’t agree with the advice of the Commission.
Keeping these provisions in consideration, the State Vigilance Commission convened meetings with the senior officers of almost all the Government departments and accordingly made numerous recommendations for strict compliance so as to bring transparency and accountability in their functioning.
However, in respect of majority of the recommendations of SVC neither any action taken report was submitted nor reasons behind non-implementation were communicated thereby establishing that ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of the departments is least priority for the bureaucrats as well as the Government.
The major defaulting departments are Health and Medical Education, Rural Development, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Power Development and Revenue.
According to the 4th Annual Report of the State Vigilance Commission, the Government has yet not considered the recommendation whereby it was stressed that Departmental Vigilance Officers (DVOs) in respect of all engineering departments shall be the concerned Superintending Engineers of the district instead of Executive Engineers.
As per the report, no headway has been made on the recommendation regarding enactment of New Police Act by the Home Department in the light of the directions issued by the Supreme Court.
The Social Welfare Department is sleeping over the recommendation regarding monitoring and supervision at all levels. The SVC had directed the department to strengthen the monitoring mechanism at all levels and ask all the officers to maintain their tour diaries which must be checked by the superior officers from time to time, the report said.
The Health and Medical Education Department is sleeping over the SVC recommendations relating to preventing private practice by the doctors, who are not permitted to indulge in the same and are being paid non-practicing allowance. According to the report, the department has not furnished any information vis-à-vis recommendation regarding e-tendering, e-processing and e-payment mode for procurement of hospital supplies.
The Health and Medical Education Department had also been directed to ensure deduction of TDS and recording of PAN details of contractors as per the standing orders of the Finance Department but no information has been furnished in this regard.
Similarly, to curb practice of demanding bribe in Government run health institutions especially in maternity hospitals, the Commission had instructed the officers of Health Department to strengthen the surveillance by installing adequate number of CCTVs at vulnerable points in the Government run hospitals so that employees resorting to practice are identified and punished as per law. But, no information about action on this recommendation has been furnished to the Commission.
As far as Power Development Department is concerned, the SVC had directed that whenever and wherever a case of electricity theft or illegal connection comes to the notice of the department FIR under the penal provisions of Electricity Act should be lodged against the defaulters and progress of investigation and trial monitored. However, the department has failed to act on this recommendation.
“No response has been furnished vis-à-vis recommendation whereby HoDs of the PDD were asked to personally supervise the outcome of complaints regarding power theft, illegal connections and procurement of substandard material for different works”, the SVC report said.
About the Rural Development Department, the report said that no response has been furnished vis-à-vis recommendations relating to e-payments, checking deviation from the spirit of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes which are meant for the development of poor people living in remote and rural areas and exploring more ways and means of preventing corruption at their own level.
The Revenue Department has also failed to act on the recommendations of the SVC regarding fast-tracking digitization of revenue record, strict implementation of Public Services Guarantee Act and strict adherence to the rules vis-à-vis attestation of mutations, issuance of PRCs, category certificates and disbursement of relief.
As far as Education Department is concerned, the Vigilance Commission had directed that school children should be educated about the ill-effects of corruption in the society and making it a part of the curriculum. “But, no action has been taken on this recommendation”, the report said.
In respect of Housing and Urban Development Department, the SVC had recommended that all HoDs should follow the cases of land encroachments of their organizations in the concerned courts for their time bound disposal.
Moreover, this department was directed to ensure that all the appointments or engagements are made according to the relevant recruitment rules and in case recruitment rules are not available for any category of posts, the relevant guidelines of J&K CSR should be followed so that the Constitutional rights of the citizens regarding equal opportunity in employment are taken care of.
However, both of these recommendations have failed to receive required attention of the Housing and Urban Development Department. “Similarly, no action taken report has been furnished vis-à-vis recommendation about listing of cases of the departments in the courts on priority for taking them to the logical conclusion”, the report said.
“No action taken report has been furnished in respect of all the five recommendations made to the Agriculture, Horticulture and Floriculture Departments”, the report said.
These departments were directed to ensure release of subsidy amount in respect of the beneficiary only after carrying out on the spot inspection; ensure all transactions through e-mode; submission of assessment reports only after physical inspection of spot and posting all the relevant information regarding the schemes on the websites of the department.
All this indicates that Government departments have been treating as trash the recommendations of the State Vigilance Commission and throwing to winds the provisions of the Legislation.