Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Oct 25: The newly appointed office bearers of the State Vigilance Commission seems a tough job ahead as the government departments have not been following its directives to ensure transparency in the governance.
Governor NN Vohra on Tuesday appointed retired IPS officer PL Gupta as chief vigilance commissioner and former IAS officer Gazzanfar Hussain as vigilance commissioner. The SVC was defunct for months. Kudeep Khoda, R K Jerath completed their four year term as its chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and vigilance commissioner (VC), respectively, on February 21, 2017. Gou-sul-Nisa Jeelani attained her term as vigilance commissioner on March 31, this year. Since then the commission was lying defunct. It will be interesting whether the SVC will make it ensure that its recommendations are implemented.
As per the Commission's annual report, the anti-graft body has made several recommendations to the government since 2015 for strengthening the system of internal vigilance in its departments. However, the recommendations are still awaiting implementation.
In one of its unimplemented recommendations, the anti-graft body has asked the government to install CCTV cameras in all offices which have large public interface.
The departments were asked to preserve the recordings for a minimum six months, with periodic examination by a committee headed by a senior officer.
The SVC has made the recommendation in response to the complaints received in the past against the departments with large public dealings.
In these departments, the report says, there is a general feeling among people that "the officials are the most corrupt".
"People believe that no works are being done without bribing officials in these departments," it states.
The SVC has also asked the government that the sanctioning authority for works of all engineering departments should be different from the executing agency, so as to create an in-built system check against corrupt practices.
The departments were also told to provide complete information on their websites regarding the laws, rules and procedures governing the issue of licenses, permissions, clearances, and certificates. So far, as per the report, that too has been ignored.
When the State Vigilance Commission was established in 2011, the government said it will combat the corruption in the state.
Subsequently, several laws were enacted to make the anti-graft body a "powerful tool" especially to fight political corruption. Discussion were held at different public platforms about the future of the commission vis-a-vis its role in combating growing corruption in the state.
Six-years down the line it faced similar fate like other commissions by succumbing to the official apathy without making any noticeable change despite spending crore of rupees on salaries of employees and other officer bearers.
In March this year, Governor, N N Vohra, expressed dismay over no action being initiated against corrupt officials despite reports filed by the state vigilance authorities against them.