Time to move from punitive and preventive vigilance to proactive vigilance, says Parl panel

RSTV Bureau

 

New Delhi: Parliament of India. PTI

New Delhi: Parliament of India.
PTI

Asserting the role of Vigilance in curbing frauds, purging corruption, increasing transparency and promoting good governance, the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice headed by Bhupendar Yadav has presented today its 102nd Report on Effectiveness of Vigilance Administration in certain Revenue & Banking Institutions and selected CPSEs to Hon’ble Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M Venkaiah Naidu.

Recent frauds unearthed in the Banking sector and rampant corruption in Public Sector Undertakings proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that our exemplary efforts to combat corruption haven’t yielded desirable results. It was against this backdrop that the Committee has embarked on a mission to examine the functioning of vigilance administration in Central Government and its authorities and to suggest ways and means to strengthen Vigilance.

The Committee held intensive deliberations with the representatives of various Central Government bodies, Central Public Sector Banks, Public Sector Insurance Companies and Central Public Sector Enterprises and assessed the ground realities, practical difficulties being encountered by the organizations on the vigilance front and to understand how vigilance mechanism is being bypassed in various sectors and to scrutinize whether organizations are implementing the guidelines of Central Vigilance Commission in letter and spirit.

After having examined the vigilance administration of various bodies owned and controlled by the Central Government, the Committee felt that there is an imperative need to strengthen the vigilance administration with adequate manpower and requisite infrastructure. The Committee observed that currently, vigilance officials are overburdened with the dual responsibility of surveillance and vigilance. The Committee recommended that a dedicated surveillance unit should be set up in organizations to collect source information and intelligence about possible malpractices and misconduct among the employees of the organization.

In view of the rising incidence of money laundering and transnational crimes, which usually involve several layers of financial transactions and a maze of entities, where establishing money trail becomes a formidable challenge, the Committee recommended CVC to revamp the training programme accordingly and also asked the investigating agencies to create a pool of dedicated investigators with significant expertise in a forensic audit. The Committee recommended that there is a need to employ cutting edge technologies such as Blockchain technology and Artificial intelligence to disincentivize fraud but with a caveat that organizations should not consider technology as a panacea and fall prey to techno-utopianism.

The Committee also recommended the Ministries/Departments to strengthen fraud prevention mechanism, promote adoption and implementation of integrity pact and ensure that Standard Operating Procedures are put in place to minimize scope for discretion at all levels. The Committee also opined that a Centralized Database of Suspicious entities should be created to facilitate seamless sharing of information among all the stakeholders in order to curb the incidence of frauds.

The top management of CPSBs brought to the notice of the Committee as to how improper certification by Third Party Entities led Bank officials to grant loans and advances which invariably turned out into NPAs. To ensure accountability, the Committee pitched for a Code of Conduct and a legally enforceable agreement for TPEs.

Stressing on Behavioural ethics, the Parliamentary Panel opined that taxpayers should be treated as assets and urged tax officials to observe good behavioural norms while conducting searches and raids. Appreciating CBDT and CBIC for removing the deadwood, the Committee opined that compulsory retirement of non-performing officials is a must to clean up the rot in the bureaucracy.