Internal vigilance in deptts, PSUs against corrupt practices least priority for Govt

No conference of DVOs held during past nearly 7 yrs
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 10: Though menace of corruption has remained a matter of serious concern in Jammu and Kashmir yet the PDP-BJP Coalition Government is not paying any serious attention towards strengthening internal vigilance in the departments and Public Sector Undertakings as a measure to reduce the space for corrupt practices. This can be gauged from the fact that no steps are being taken to strengthen the institution of Departmental Vigilance Officers (DVOs), which otherwise has failed to yield the desirable results.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that an effective internal mechanism, which measures inefficiency, inaction and abuse or misuse of power by officers in Government departments and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), is a requirement for good governance. Unless internal vigilance in Government departments and PSUs improves it will be difficult to achieve the objective of corruption free administration.
Keeping all these aspects in mind the institution of Departmental Vigilance Officers was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir in 1994 with the issuance of circular instructions by the General Administration Department. The institution of Departmental Vigilance Officers was actually a step forward towards utilizing the services of the officers of integrity within the concerned department to provide a helping hand to curb corrupt practices.
“However, no efforts are being made to make Departmental Vigilance Officers accountable for being watchful. Moreover, there are large number of departments where DVOs have not been appointed by the Government after the earlier ones got transferred or retired”, sources informed, adding “interestingly, the State Vigilance Organization is also not aware about the DVOs in different departments and PSUs”.
“The failure of the Government to strengthen the institution of DVOs and making them accountable can be gauged from the fact that rate of disposal of complaints being referred to DVOs by the State Vigilance Organization remains dismal during the past several years”, they pointed out. These complaints generally pertain to violation of codal formalities in the award of contracts in Government works, purchases, appointments, promotions and denial of services by the Government servants.
“There are very few instances whereby DVOs themselves pointed out inefficiency, inaction and abuse or misuse of power by officers in their respective departments and Public Sector Undertakings and brought the same to the notice of either senior officers or the State Vigilance Organization for necessary action”, sources said.
On one side the DVOs wherever they have been nominated are not performing their duties up to the satisfaction of Vigilance Organization and Vigilance Commission and on the other side the Government is not showing any interest in either strengthening internal vigilance mechanism or making DVOs accountable.
They further said, “there was a time when DVOs were being appointed by name keeping in mind the integrity of the officers but during the past some years the Government has adopted the practice of nominating DVOs by issuing vague orders”, adding “the most shocking aspect is neither the State Vigilance Commission nor the State Vigilance Organization is ready to own the DVOs for maintaining constant rapport with them, which otherwise is imperative for effective internal vigilance”.
The intensity of non-serious approach of the Government can be further gauged from the fact that during the past nearly seven years no conference of the DVOs has been convened which otherwise is imperative to give them instructions and directions from the common platform about the intentions of the Government about tackling the menace of corruption, sources said while disclosing that last DVOs conference was convened in July 2011.
“While there is confusion in State Vigilance Commission and State Vigilance Organization about having proper and regular liaison with the DVOs, the General Administration Department, which had formally established the institution of DVOs in 1994 and thereafter issued numerous circulars on their functioning, is not intervening”, they said, adding “DVOs conference after regular intervals also provides an opportunity to the Government to evaluate their performance”.
They further said, “unless all out efforts are made to strengthen the institution of DVOs the objective of having internal vigilance will remain a distant dream”, sources stressed.