Here is an essay on ‘Corruption in Public Services’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Corruption in Public Services’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Corruption
- Essay on the Historical Perspective of Corruption
- Essay on the Meaning of Corruption
- Essay on the Causes of Corruption
- Essay on the Anti-Corruption Measures in India
Essay # 1. Historical Perspective of Corruption:
Corruption is a relic of the past. It has always existed in human society in one form or the other. Kautilya in his famous work—’Arthashastra’—refers to the various forms of corruption. Evidently corruption prevailed in his times otherwise he could not have given thought to this idea. Presumably, scope of corruption was fairly limited in the past as the civil servants in that era did not have a sway on all aspects of our lives.
A handful of officials, who were required for collection of taxes and enforcing of law and order, did however, make misuse of their discretionary powers in the absence of written laws or rules.
With the fall of Mughal Empire and the ushering in of a new era—era of British rule in India—corruption assumed alarming proportions. The East Indian Company—a body of British traders—exploited India, amassed wealth and brought India on the verge of bankruptcy.
The British king appeared in the garb of a benevolent despot seemingly to put an end to the corrupt East India Company’s rule and run the administration of India with caution and care. No doubt the British monarchy through its representative, the Governor-General, tried to build up a good administrative machinery in India.
Yet some of the departments, viz., Police, Revenue and Excise which were vested with vast discretionary powers were susceptible to corruption. A sizable number of judges in the lower layer of judiciary also was said to be corrupt to the core.
However, till the outbreak of the World War, corruption was confined to the lower strata of administrators. The top officials who were mostly British were not corrupt, firstly, because they got highly alluring remuneration; secondly, because they did not remain in touch with the community.
Besides the confinement of the British administrative machinery to a small compass, the depression of economy of British India, the restricted circulation of money were also the potent reasons responsible for keeping corruption under limits.
The outbreak of war unleashed forces of corruption. The unscrupulous officials got golden opportunity to grab wealth. According to the Bengal Administration Enquiry Committee (1944- 45).
“The Second World War…breeds conditions which make money making easy… The possession of a license became a thing of high value and dishonest and unscrupulous persons did not hesitate to offer bribes in order to secure the license to trade in the commodities effected War conditions, thus, provided the opportunity, but it cannot be denied that it became all too easy for dishonest men to seize the opportunity of illicit gain by reason of two things, namely,- (a) Ill-advised administrative action; (b) Defects in the Law which make detection of offences difficult and which provide inadequate penalties for convicted offenders.”
With the dawn of independence, India embarked upon era of welfare state. As such, the activities of the government got multiplied. The officials were entrusted new and unfamiliar tasks. This resulted in the emergence of new regulations, controls, licenses and permits which provided ample opportunities for corruption.
The lust for power and craze for higher status added to the gravity of the malady. Efforts were made to bring the corrupt officials to book but the methods employed fostered a belief that government was not serious in eradicating corruption. Another notion which gained momentum with the passage of time was that while government stood against corruption, it did not believe in weeding out corrupt officials.
Things became still worse when democratically elected representatives who were both bound to serve their constituents with dedication and utmost honesty also got entangled in the vicious circle. The so-called custodians of Indian nationalism and the saviours of her territorial integrity themselves became the cause of gradual erosion of cherishingly built Indian democratic superstructure.
They craved for monopoly in politics, through fair and foul methods. Doling out loaves and fishes to their political adherents and distributing quotas and permits amongst their henchmen resulted in accentuation of suspicion against their integrity.
The official, who danced to the tune of political Godfathers also did not lag behind in making hay while the sun shone brightly It led to the utter frustration of the honest and conscientious officials whereas unscrupulous yes-men who signed the dittoed lines and obliged their political bosses were amply rewarded by lucrative assignments, choicest station of postings and letters of appreciation for commendable work.
The tales of supersession, frequent transfers to god-forsaken places and less prestigious placements for those who failed to appease the political high ups began to be repeated. Thus corruption reached the climax within few decades of our attainment of independence.
Charges of corruption have been leveled in almost all the states of India against the Chief Ministers and other Cabinet Ministers, not only by the opposition political parties but also the faction within the party itself The Das Commission’s report against Punjab Chief Minister, P.S. Kairon, was revealing.
The Commission unmasked the infirmities of administrative officials in appeasing the Chief Minister by extending patronage to his kith and kins and extending to them maximum possible concessions in the minimum possible time.
The Commission remarked, “The speed with which those officers moved was unusual and remarkable. It is true that there can be no objection to expedition if the thing done is not in itself objectionable… Such breakneck speed in the disposal of a serious matter for which elaborate rules have been framed to be observed and performed is not at all normal and can be attributable only to some powerful force regulating the speed.”
The disproportionate wealth possessed by bureaucrats of the status of Chief Secretary of a state or Chairman of Delhi Milk Scheme—in the sensational revelations by C.B.I. — Excise Taxation officials, Income Tax officers, Central Excise officials and most recently M.P.s, MLAs, and even judges of High Courts and the lower courts speak volumes about corruption going deep into the roots of our- administrative edifice.
The critics go to the extent of saying that corruption has been institutionalized. The critics sarcastically suggest nationalization of corruption in our country at no distant future.
The legislators are playing havoc with their constituents whom they are supposed to serve. The ministries barring a few exceptions, fleece the needy to fill their coffers with jingling coins.
The bureaucrats propitiating their political godfathers at the cost of the distressed masses are more worried about securing their position or a lucrative place of posting rather than devoting attention to the developmental work for the masses.
The judiciary particularly at the lower level has become a laughing stock on account of its dilatory tactics and partial judgments allegedly due to pecuniary allurements. A Supreme Court judge, formerly Chief Justice of Haryana & Punjab High Court had to face legal consequences due to his corrupt deeds and financial irregularities at the hands of high power judicial committee.
The Tehelka scam of March, 2001 exposed through cameras the evil deeds of the politicians and public servants while negotiating defence deal.
The recent scam of ‘cash for query’ or ‘vote for cash’, in a vote of confidence against the previous UPA Government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh might have chilled democratic spirit in higher circles even and widely exposed corrupt methods and practices even at the highest level.
A month after, an additional judge of the Allahabad High Court was sacked for alleged involvement in Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam.
More recently four High Court judges have been transferred to allow CBI to conduct a thorough probe in fair and impartial manner 35 judges in all – one in Supreme Court, 10 in High Court and 24 in lower courts were accused of involvement in fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 23 crores from Provident Front account of employees. The scam came to light on the report of Vigilance Officer to Allahabad High Court.
The Chief Justice of India – K.G. Balakrishnan recently expressed concern over judicial corruption in a seminar at Delhi on November 18, 2008 and said, who will watch the watch – dog. He pointed out “disparity in pay scales of public and private sector could be one of the reasons behind corruption”.
Such type of instances can be multiplied. The Jain Hawala case, the Animal husbandry scam in Bihar, the Security Scam ; ‘Vote for Cash’ in the Parliament in a Vote of confidence for the UPA Government under P.M. or Manmohan Singh, cash for asking or not asking questions scams in the Parliament?
Are a few major scandals involving high dignitaries – Politicians and bureaucrats and even some judicial dignitaries. It is contended by the critics that the monopoly of political power in the hands of any one political party gives ample opportunities to its corrupt members to pull wires from top to the bottom.
The ruling party is generally hesitant to investigate cases of corruption against its corrupt politicians holding offices and their henchmen. It has resulted in emergence of nexus of interest between the politicians and dishonest civil servants who indulge in corrupt practices with a sense of immunity from punishment.
Essay # 2. Meaning of Corruption:
Before we make an appraisal of the causes of corruption among the civil services, it is essential to define the term ‘corruption’.
In general terms corruption is a “deliberate and intentional exploitation of one’s position, status, or resources directly or indirectly for personal aggrandizement whether it to be in terms of material gain or enhancement of power, prestige or influence, beyond what is legitimate or sanctioned by commonly accepted norms, to the detriment of the interests of other persons or the community as a whole.”
The Indian Penal Code has also defined corruption in legal terms:
“Whoever being or expecting to be a public servant accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person for himself or for any other person any gratification whatever other than legal remuneration as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or to show in the exercise of his official function favour Parliament or Legislature of any State or with any public servant as such, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.”
Extravagant expenditure of public money, provision of employment for kith and kins, friends and supporters, getting of ‘speed money’ for doing a work, placing governmental machinery at the disposal of a particular candidate for winning the elections, and then getting favours from the political boss if he is elected, writing of good remarks in confidential reports and personal files after, expecting the concerned subordinate to dance attendance at the departmental head’s residence, a craving to stay at a station of one’s choice by greasing the palm of the concerned boss and the dealing hands, entering into transaction with the government by giving some percentage to the officials are some of the modes of corruption which have to be kept in mind while discussing the causes of the malady of corruption and efforts to eradicate them.
Essay # 3. Causes of Corruption:
Ex-President, Dr. Radhakrishnan, in a message to Samyukta Sadachar Samiti correctly remarked, “Corruption was an evil which has to be fought on all fronts, at all levels.” In all developing democracies, corruption has become a malady.
Following are the main reasons for the rapid spread of corruption among the employees:
Corruption in all the developing democracies of Asia is a relic of the colonial past. The erstwhile rulers believed in reserving all the top positions for their own nationals whereas low positions were earmarked for the subject nationals. Naturally the latter developed tendency of exploiting the people to lead a comfortable and more enjoyable lives like their bosses, whose way of living made them envious.
The scarcities caused due to the World War II resulted in the spread of virus of bribery and corruption among all ranks of civil services. After the attainment of independence, the National Governments of these countries undertook to race with the time for effecting economic development.
Hence there arose the necessity of controls, permits, and quotas. It opened the gates of black marketing. The black money began to be unscrupulously displayed to win over the governmental officials. Thus, a large scale racket of wholesale corruption became the order of the day.
Corruption has its economic moorings. The salaries paid to the government officers either have been inadequate or as compared with the business executives working in big companies much less. The occasional rise in D.A. hardly helped in neutralizing the ever-rising prices of the commodities.
In recent years, the ever-shooting cost of living has brought down the real income of various sections of the community particularly that of the salaried employees. Thus the standard of living has suffered an eclipse.
An employee who cannot afford to be a silent spectator to the ever-deteriorating economic standards, takes to accepting of illegal gratification to make both ends meet and maintain his standard of living in keeping with his status and position in the administrative hierarchy.
In India, rapid growth of population had added to the gravity of the problem. Family planning campaigns have not fully succeeded. The low class employees having no other source of recreation take to sex play remitting in multiplication of families. This makes the situation still worse. As fond parents, they will not like their children to starve and live in the state of poverty and abject helplessness.
Hence they are apt to get corrupted. The corrupters—the hoarders of black money—are readily available to pay the ‘speed money’ to get their work done speedily. The Santhanam Committee rightly stated, “Possession of larger amounts of unaccounted money by various persons including those belonging to the industrial and commercial classes is a major impediment in the purification of public life.”
Corruption is rooted in our acquisitive society where greatness of individuals and nobility of their family is judged by what they possess rather than by what they are. The acquisition of wealth has become sine qua non of life. People indulge in acquiring wealth without caring for the means they adopt.
Even Gods and God’s men are propitiated with by the avaricious people to attain their worldly goals, viz., victory in games, triumph in lottery, acquittal from courts, success in examination, even in vicious missions of dacoity or robbery etc.
If a tendency to bribe Gods exists why should not the dealing civil services make hay while all round the sun of (corruption) shines? The best way to get one’s work done or for an expeditious disposal of a file concerning the long pending work, is to grease the palm of the corrupt employees. This enables him to maintain certain standard in the modern society where grandly dress and outward appearance matters.
(iv) Procedural Causes:
The defective procedural systems and poor anti-corruption law also cause corruption in public services. The Railway Corruption Enquiry Committee revealed lacunae in the rules and regulations which ultimately lead to corruption. The Santhanam Committee also referred to cumbersome and dilatory procedures in government offices. Red tapism and ‘passing the buck’ have become the permanent features of Indian offices.
The enterprising and shrewd businessmen having lot of black money are thus prepared to pay the ‘speed money’ to get their work done speedily. The procedural red-tapism has enabled the officers on the verge of retirement to show special favours to the business magnets by speeding up their work and secure jobs in return after their retirement.
The fast urbanization and industrialization have resulted in change of values. Simplicity of primitive and medieval times has given place to ostentatious and luxurious life.
Material possessions, administrative status and economic powers are determinant of the status and prestige of a person in a society—may it be a developed or developing. However, in a developing society, the environments are more amenable to corruption.
The governments of the developing democracies cannot afford to pay even a bare minimum wage to their employees. On the other hand, enough of black money is available with the industrialists.
Naturally the ill paid a status conscious employees will be tempted to make fortunes which are apt to flow to them in lieu of the service rendered by them to the industrialists when they visit the dealing government officer.
C. Rajagopalachari rightly pointed out, “The system of permits, licenses, allocation of transport routes, quotas and similar attempts to administer the economy of a big and busy nation from the secretariat, instead of leaving such things to the consumer and competition in the market, is at the root of corruption. The contract between the official and party bosses on the one side and the very clever, far too clever businessman on the other, with a tremendous lot of money expected in the business produces the national malady we call corruption….”
(vi) Lack of Civic Consciousness:
Bulk of people in the developing democracies are illiterate. As such, they lack civic consciousness and do not clamour for the redress of their grievances. The civil services being more enlightened take undue advantage of the general apathy, ignorance and indifference of the common men.
They indulge in nefarious activities without fearing the public wrath or mass denunciation. The public, in fact, is keen to shield such officers who are pinpricks for the government in developing democracies like India. People feel concerned only when they are individually going to be affected by the action of the officials.
The Railway Corruption Enquiry Committee rightly observed, “….citizens of a free country have the right, nay the duty, to insist that public servants under due service for which they are paid from public coffers…citizens themselves will have to be vigilant and they must insist upon their rights. They should also be prepared to pay, if necessary, the price of such insistence with some temporary loss or inconvenience to themselves. A strong public opinion must therefore be created and a determined effort made to withhold payment of illegal gratification.”
Since the ushering in of a democratic era, in a developing democracy like India corruption has reached the zenith. It is not only the ministers at the Central or State levels but also the M.Ps. and M.L.As., the Pradhan and the Sarpanches exert pressures on the officials at their respective levels and get the illegal things done.
What to talk of the administrative officers, even the judges are not safe from the overwhelming influence of the ruling party and its top bosses.
The judges who are committed to the ideology of the ruling party may seek promotions and elevation to higher offices while the others not toeing its line may be by-passed or superseded.
The recent example of supersession of the judges of the Indian Supreme Court particularly when they were opposed to the majority verdict on the 24th and 25th amendments is said to be a glaring example of political corruption of a very high order.
Evidently the services who dance to the tune of political bosses and act according to their dictates alone can flourish and bask in the sunshine of prosperity bestowed upon them by their political God fathers. The Vora Committee found a close nexus between criminal gangsters, politicians and bureaucrats and highlighted it in its Report.
(viii) Special Causes:
(a) Non-Cooperation of Commercial Classes:
Unscrupulous industrial magnets and commercial classes constitute a major impediment in the purification of public t life. It is indispensable to weed out these dishonest agents of corruption so as to end corruption in the public services. The Trade Missions, the Federation of Employees and the Indian Chamber of Commerce can play a vital role in fighting against corruption by voicing their grievances against the erring officials.
(b) Safeguards for Public Services:
According to the law of our land, both the giver and receiver of bribes are held guilty. Hence, it is difficult to procure evidence against the guilty. The heads of the departments, though unaware of the crime of their subordinates, are not in a position to take action against them for want of adequate proof for their conviction.
They are sometimes not even courageous enough to make adverse entries in the confidential reports of their subordinates fearing that they won’t be able to substantiate them when challenged by the latter or get adequate support from their administrative head if the political bosses are out to support the erring subordinates who earned bad report, at their hands.
Sometimes the erring subordinates who are nuisance for a particular official enjoy political support as they manage the ‘vote bank’ of the political head. Hence they are apt to lend their support to such employees whatever the case. This makes the position of the concerned officer awkward and demoralizes him. Such a support is a sort of corruption which invites denunciation.
(c) There is too much Security of Tenure Assured to Bureaucracy in India:
No civil servant shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. Moreover, no such person shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him.
According to the 15th amendment of the Constitution, effected in 1963, instead of two full-fledged opportunities of defence, the accused employee can only make one representation against the penalty proposed to be imposed upon him, on the basis of the evidence already adduced during the inquiry into the charges against him without the necessity of any fresh evidence or other extraneous matters.
This has improved the situation to some extent but not solved the problem.
All these causes have led to vitiating of atmosphere in India. Corruption is on the ascendance. Honest and scrupulous employees are becoming rare commodities. A vicious circle has been created by some corrupt politicians, dishonest administrators and some of the so-called custodians of justice.
Efforts are, however, afoot to rid the nation of this malady of corruption which is deeply rooted in the Indian polity and is eroding our democratic edifice.
Essay # 4. Anti-Corruption Measures in India:
(i) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI):
Corruption in public services assumed alarming form during the World War. Hence, the Government of India set up special Police Establishment (S.P.E.) in 1941, to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with which the war and supply departments were concerned. At the end of 1942, cases of corruption in the Railway Department were also entrusted to it.
On April, 1963, the Central Bureau of Investigation was set up and the Special Police Establishment was made one of its divisions. It did not effect any change in the jurisdiction, powers and functions of the Establishment. The C.B.I plays a supplementary role to the States’ Police Forces.
To avoid duplication of efforts, the administrative arrangement has been arrived at between the Central and the State Governments regarding the type of cases to be earmarked for the CBI.
The cases which essentially and substantially involve Central government employees or their officers, or certain state government employees are referred to the CBI. The CBI can also take up cases against employees of statutory bodies or public undertakings established and financed by the Government of India.
The CBI has three main divisions:
(i) Anti Corruption Division
(ii) Special Crime Division
(iii) Economic Offences Division.
The Bureau is headed by a Director assisted by 3 additional directors and 15 joint directors, a Legal advisor and supporting staff. The CBI’s investigation play a conspicuous role in the political and economic life of the nation.
It deals with criminal cases pertaining to corruption, fraud committed by Government department, Delhi Public Sector undertakings and financial institutions. Secondly it deals with economic crimes including bank frauds. Thirdly, it deals with special crimes viz.., Terrorism, Blasts. Fourthly, it investigates Cyber Crime Cases.
An analytical appraisal of the functioning of the CBI reveals that it has established itself as a premier, investigating agency of the Central Government which create awe and fear in the minds of corrupt officials and plays a vital role in preservation of essential values for unimpeachable public life.
In the last over six decades and a half it has built up image of being the most potent agency for checking the corruption which is eating into the vitals of Indian democracy. Due to its meritorious work it has been kept directly under cabinet secretariat and not Ministry of Personnel since January 30, 2003.
(ii) Santhanam Committee’s Recommendations:
With the ever rising corruption, Parliament got alarmed. On its insistence, a committee consisting of seven members—5 M.Ps and 2 senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and with K. Santhanam as Chairman—was appointed in June, 1962. It was authorized to review existing instruments for combating corruption and advising on practical steps to make anti-corruption measures more vigorous.
In a way, it was required to examine the working of the vigilance machinery of the Government of India and recommend improvements in their working. It was also expected to suggest improvements in the Government Servants’ Conduct Rules and see to the speedy trial of cases of bribery, corruption and criminal misconduct.
The Committee produced a very elaborate report comprising 304 pages.
Suggestions of the Committee:
(a) Article 311 of the Constitution may be amended in order to make the judicial process in corruption cases easy and speedy.
(b) There should be a Central Vigilance Commission having autonomous powers.
(c) The Government Servants’ Conduct Rules may be amended so as to restrict the reemployment of retired government employees by private businessman.
(d) Some amendments in the Defence of India Act, 1962, may be made.
In order to implement these recommendations, the Government of India strengthened the CBI and vested it with additional powers.
Further with a view to improve co-ordination and cooperation between the Administration and the CBI, the Home Ministry issued a directive to all Ministries and Departments of the Government that their vigilance officers and Heads should report to the CBI for investigating such cases in which charges of corruption and bribery are made against public servants.
It was suggested that all records and documents required by the CBI should be placed at their disposal for inspection and scrutiny within a fortnight of such a request. Likewise if the CBI suggested transfer of an employee during the course of investigation, it should be readily complied with by the Department concerned.
The investigation of offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 were henceforth brought under the purview of the Central Vigilance Commission section 8 of the Central Vigilance Commission, 1999.
(iii) Vigilance Machinery at the Administration Level:
Two types of vigilance organizations at the department level exist:
(a) The Administrative Vigilance Division in the Ministry of Home Affairs and
(b) The Vigilance Units in the respective Ministries and Departments and their counterparts in the public sector undertakings.
The Administrative Vigilance Division was established in August, 1955. It assumed the over-all responsibility and provided the necessary drive, direction and co-ordination to ensure sustained and vigorous action by individual ministries and departments. The Ministry of Home Affairs deals with cases involving the All India service personnel.
(iv) Central Vigilance Commission (C.V.C.):
The Central Vigilance Commission is to consist of three directorates, viz., the Directorate of General Complaint and Redress, the Central Police Organisation and the Directorate of Vigilance. The Central Vigilance Commissioner is to be the chief executive of the commission. He is to be appointed by the President of India for a period of six years or until he attains the age of 65 years whichever is earlier.
The Commission was located in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the initial stages but accorded a statutory status. In addition to the Commissioner, it consists of a Secretary, one Officer on special duty, one Chief Technical Commissioner, 3 Commissioners for Departmental Enquiries, 2 Under-Secretaries and 6 Technical Commissioners.
Its jurisdiction extends to all employees of the Central Government and the employees in the public undertakings, corporate bodies and other organizations dealing with matters falling within the executive powers of the Central Government. Even the Delhi Metropolitan Council and the New Delhi Municipal Committee fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission.
(a) To undertake an enquiry into any transaction in which a public servant is suspected or alleged to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner.
(b) To investigate into any complaint against a public servant who has exercised or refrained from exercising his powers for improper or corrupt purposes.
(c) To ask for reports from agencies so as to enable it to exercise general check and supervision over the vigilance and anti corruption work in them.
(d) To take over under its direct control complaints for further action which may pertain either – (i) to ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (C.B.I.) to register a regular case and investigate it or (ii) to enlist it for enquiry to the C.B.I, or the concerned agency.
(e) To initiate review of procedures and practices of administration which concern the maintenance of integrity in the administration.
(f) Since 1999 under section 8 of the Central Vigilance Committee the commission investigates offences committed under the P.C. Act 1988. The commission reviews the progress of investigations into offences alleged under the Act and also the progress of the action on requests for sanctioning prosecution under the Act.
The Commission is required to submit an annual report to the Ministry of Home Affairs about its activities. The Ministry of Home Affairs places this report before each House of Parliament.
The Government considered the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee too far reaching. Hence, they were rejected partially. Instead of setting up a statutory commission of high officials, the Government established a commission of non-officials in 1964. A retired Senior Administrator of I.C.S. status was appointed as the Chairman of this Commission.
Besides the Chairman, six part-time members were also appointed—five being members of the Parliament and one an ex-civil servant. The Commission possessed the powers of investigation of corruption. The S.P.E. and C.B.I do not fall within its purview. This clearly reflects that the commission is a mere shadow of the proposed Central Vigilance Organization.
Consequent to the Supreme Court’s decision of December 18, 1997 the Government has set up a four member CVC, two of whom will be non-bureaucrats. It has been given the power of superintendence over the CBI functioning.
(v) Vigilance Organization in Ministry:
The Santhanam Committee made elaborate recommendations for the strengthening of the vigilance organisation in each Ministry/Department. An officer in each Ministry has been designated as chief vigilance officer and vested with vigilance powers. He acts as a Special Assistant to the Secretary or the Head of the Department in all matters pertaining to vigilance.
He provides a link between the Central Vigilance Commission and the Ministries. Likewise, a vigilance officer has been attached with subordinate offices and public sector undertakings. Some of the chief vigilance officers/vigilance officers are whole-time officers while others are part-timers.
Each chief vigilance officer is to be appointed in consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission and the vigilance officers in the attached offices in consultation with the chief vigilance officer of the respective ministry. The chief vigilance officer is of the rank of a deputy secretary and vigilance officers are of the rank of under secretaries.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has been empowered to assess the work of the Chief Vigilance Officer. The assessment is recorded in the character rolls of the officers.
The Chief Vigilance Officers review the existing arrangements in the organisation under their charge in order to take suitable steps for strengthening the existing set-up wherever necessary. All proposals for re-organizing or strengthening the vigilance organisation are referred to the Central Vigilance Commission for scrutiny.
Under the CVC Act, the jurisdiction of the commission extends to:
(a) Members of All -India services and Group A officers of the Central Government.
(b) Board level employees and senior officers up to 2 grades below the Board level employees and senior officers up to 2 grades below the Board level in the Public sector undertakings of the Central Government.
(c) Officers of the rank scale V and above in the Public Sector Banks.
(d) Officers of the rank of Assistant Manager and above in the Insurance sector.
(e) Officers drawing basic pay of Rs. 8,000 p.m. and above in autonomous bodies/local authorities or societies owned or controlled by the Central Government.
(vi) Vigilance Machinery of States:
There is a State Vigilance Commission in each State. Further in each State as at the Centre, there is a Special Police Establishment. The State Vigilance Commission deals with matters within executive powers of the State concerned. However, it cannot investigate cases of political corruption.
The powers of these commissions with the minor variations from State to State are as follows:
(i) To undertake enquiry into any transaction in which a public servant is suspected or alleged to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner.
(ii) It causes an inquiry or investigation into any complaint that a public servant has exercised or refrained from exercising his powers for improper or corrupt purposes. It holds enquiry into any complaint of corruption, misconduct, lack of integrity or other kinds of malpractices or misdemeanor on the part of a public servant. It also receives under its direct control such complaints, information or cases as it deems fit.
(iii) It initiates review of procedure and practices of administration which deal with the maintenance of integrity in administration.
(iv) It collects statistics and other information needed for exercising general check and supervision over anti-corruption work.
These commissions are headed by State Vigilance Commissioner who enjoys status of a high court judge. He holds office for a period of five years and is ineligible for any employment either under the Union or State Government. Besides the Commissioner, there is a Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries who conducts departmental enquiries into charges of corruption.
The commission submits an annual report to the State Government about its activities. This report is to be laid before the State Legislature.
(vii) Vigilance at Division and District Levels:
At the Divisional level, a Divisional Vigilance Board has been set up it comprises the Divisional Commissioner, Deputy Inspector General of Police and a Division Vigilance Officer. At the District level, a District Vigilance Officer heads the vigilance organisation. He is appointed by the District Collector/Deputy Commissioner from among his gazetted assistants in consultation with the Divisional Vigilance Board.
To streamline this quest for integrity, the vigilance commissioners of all States hold an annual conference under the chairmanship of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. This annual conference provides a forum for discussion of mutual problems and exchange of experiences.
Moreover, it gives publicity to vigilance efforts of the Government at both the Central and State levels. Such a step inspires people’s confidence in the government’s sincerity of purpose. A few years back, it blew the lid and exposed the names of members of IAS and IPS retired am) serving. It brought transparency into the area.’ As many as 88 such cases were brought to light.