Preventive vigilance in deptts having large public interface a least priority for Govt

SVC’s various recommendations gathering dust since Oct 2015

Even initiatives involving paltry financial implications not taken

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 19: Notwithstanding the tall claims of the Government on fighting the menace of corruption with iron hands, no serious attention is being paid towards ensuring preventive vigilance in the departments having large public interface, which otherwise is essential to reduce and eliminate this scourge.
This can be gauged from inaction on numerous recommendations made by the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission more than three years back to the State Government for prompt follow-up steps by all the concerned Government departments.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that while reiterating the recommendations sent to the Government from time to time, the State Vigilance Commission vide its Letter No.SVC/Gen/100/2015 dated October 12, 2015 made additional recommendations to the Chief Secretary for strengthening the system of internal vigilance in Government departments as a measure of preventive vigilance.
The Commission had laid thrust on installation of CCTVs at all offices having large public interface with the suggestion that the recordings shall be preserved for minimum period of six months for examination by a committee headed by a senior officer to be designated by the concerned department.
Deputy Commissioners’ offices especially work areas dealing with issuance of State Subject Certificates, gun licenses, character certificates, category reservation certificates etc shall be brought under CCTV coverage.
Similarly, office of Tehsildar, Naib Tehsildar and Patwar Khanas should be brought under the CCTV surveillance so as to keep strict watch on the places of public dealing for issuance of Fard, revenue record copies etc, read the recommendations, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
“Though in the offices of Deputy Commissioners CCTVs have been installed yet in most of the district headquarters the work areas dealing with issuance of different certificates are still out of the CCTV surveillance as a result of which corrupt practices are still taking place”, sources disclosed.
They further disclosed, “while there are very few offices of Tehsildars which are under CCTV surveillance, this facility is absolutely not available in the offices of Naib Tehsildars and Patwar Khanas although installation of CCTVs is not a costly affair”, adding “majority of the Traffic Police checking points at identified fixed locations on the highways and main roads are also not having CCTVs, which otherwise was also one of the recommendations of the State Vigilance Commission”.
Similar is the situation in the cashier/accounts section of Executive Engineer of all the Engineering Departments in the State.
The Vigilance Commission had also recommended that all Government organizations discharging regulatory/enforcement functions of service delivery of any kind, which cause interface with the general public shall provide complete information on their website regarding the laws, rules and procedures governing the issuance of licenses, permissions, clearances and certificates etc.
All application forms/proformas should be made available on the website in a downloadable form. This was also required to be done in compliance to the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act but till date numerous departments have yet not shown any compliance. “In this way, those at the helm of affairs in such departments have treated the recommendations as trash”, sources said.
Pointing towards the recommendation relating to avoiding premature transfers to the extent possible, sources said, “this recommendation has not received due attention from any of the Government departments and frequent transfers is a routine”, adding “similar is the fate of the recommendation vis-a-vis sale of timber by the State Forest Corporation online, which otherwise was aimed at avoiding interface between the Corporation officials and the applicants”.
The Government has even failed to designate one Police Station each at Jammu and Srinagar with provincial territorial jurisdiction for dealing with the offences under Jammu and Kashmir Electricity Act, 2010, which was also recommended by the Vigilance Commission.
“It is a fact that recommendations of the Vigilance Commission are not binding on the Government but keeping in view the necessity of ensuring preventive vigilance the suggestions should have been acted upon”, sources stressed, adding “scourge of corruption can be checked only through preventive vigilance coupled with strong action under the Prevention of Corruption Act”.