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IAS row: Internal Vigilance to fight bureaucratic corruption

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017,14:50 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | With the tussle between a section of IAS officers and Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau continuing in Kerala, VACB Chief, DGP Jacob Thomas has given directions to strengthen internal vigilance mechanism in all government departments and PSUs to reduce corruption at the bureaucratic level.
In a recent circular, Thomas said an effective internal mechanism, which measures inefficiency, inaction and abuse or misuse of power by officers in various government departments and PSUs, is a requirement for good governance.
The circular on internal vigilance by the VACB assumes significance in the wake of dissatisfaction expressed by a section of senior IAS officers against the alleged “vindictive” attitude by Jacob Thomas.
“Quarterly or half-yearly Good Governance Audit is essential to check officers who do not deliver results and desired impact due to their inaction, incompetence, carelessness or inefficiency and ineffectiveness in governance,” he said in the circular.
“An administrative vigilance is set up in all departments including those of the Secretariat (administrative hub), all Public Sector Undertakings and other Autonomous Government or quasi government bodies which may be known by the name Vigilance Cell or Vigilance Wing,” he said.
According to the circular, ‘Input Tracking Audit’ and ‘Benefit Tracking Audit’ of all programmes, schemes or projects in order to quantify corruption and pilferage which manifests to general public form part of ‘integrated vigilance’ intervention.
Detailing the need of such an in-house mechanism, the official said VACB takes up organisation study of departments/ PSUs and other institutions with an aim to avoid delay in the enquiries or investigations and to observe touch-points of corruption on a constant basis.
The government has set up the ‘internal vigilance’ or ‘administrative vigilance system’ as a preventive measure to reduce the space to practice corruption within all departments and PSUs, he said.
In addition, departments or PSUs that follow good management also have set up in place adequate strategic controls and operational control system for sustained superior performance.
The VACB chief also directed his fellow officials to identify internal vigilance mechanism in government departments, PSUs or organisations at the district level and state level and do ‘capacity building’ of such internal vigilance in terms of knowledge, skill and attitude towards ‘zero tolerance to corruption’.
Thomas also instructed that the corrective actions to be taken based on the organisation study, potential of corruption in various organisations, methods to measure delays in files, modus of corruption etc may be appraised to the ‘vigilance cell’ as part of the capacity building.
As a mark of protest over VACB Chief’s “vindictive attitude and way of functioning” a group of top bureaucrats had decided to proceed on mass casual leave but called it off at the last moment after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came out tough against them.
Vijayan had told them that their move cannot be justified in any manner and the government would not interfere in the vigilance cases.
The latest provocation for the IAS officials was the VACB’s decision to name Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Paul Antony as third accused in the case related to alleged nepotism in appointment of a relative by former Industries Minister E P Jayarajan, the first accused in the case.
Paul Antony was the fourth IAS officer to come under the scanner of Vigilance after K M Abraham and Tom Jose, both facing charges of having assets disproportionate to known sources of income and S Padmakumar, former Managing Director of state-run Malabar Cements, who was arrested for alleged irregularities in the company.