New Delhi: “Incorruptibility” is the ultimate remedy against corruption. The final goal in the drive against corruption cannot be achieved simply by eradication of corruption but by achieving a state of mind which is incorruptible. This was stated here today by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh, while delivering the CVC Lecture on the topic “Government’s Recent Initiatives to Curb Corruption” here today. This was the 19th lecture of the “Lecture Series” organised by the Central Vigilance Commission and was attended by Central Vigilance Commissioner Shri K V Chowdary, Vigilance Commissioners Shri Rajiv and Dr T M Bhasin as well as several other senior officers of Government of India.
Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that soon after assuming the office, one of the earliest statements made by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi focused on “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”. He said, this dictum goes hand in hand with the crusade against corruption because governance can never achieve its maximum limit or potential as long as it is constantly hampered by the menace of corruption.
In the last three years, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the focus of the Union Government has been two-fold, – (1) an approach towards zero corruption and (2) adequate protection to officials who perform their duty with diligence and competence without indulging in any unethical or corrupt practices. The series of decisions taken during the last three years are also aimed to achieve these twin objectives, he added.
At the same time, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that right from the day of the formation of the present Government in May 2014 till date, one after the other, several path-breaking and even revolutionary decisions were taken to bring in more transparency and citizen centricity in various organs of the Government, which also exercises a check on corrupt and malafide practices. Citing some examples, he said, from January, 2016, under the direction of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, a courageous decision was taken to abolish the practice of holding interviews for selection to junior level and non-gazetted posts. This single decision has gone a long way in checking nepotism and favouritism in appointments and has at the same time, also brought about considerable saving to the public exchequer.
Over the last 70 years, Dr Jitendra Singh said, a number of much hyped initiatives were taken by earlier Governments which included the Prevention of Corruption Act in 1988 and Right to Information Act, 2005. However, it is the NDA Government which has sought to implement these provisions in true letter and spirit. He said, many may not be aware of the fact that for the first time, under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, all the ten vacancies of the Information Commissioners were filled up in the Central Information Commission whereas it never happened so in the past and there were also times when the CIC was functioning with just 3 or 4 Information Commissioners. This itself is an evidence of the Central Government’s sincere will and conviction for transparency and accountability, he added.
Dispelling the observation in certain quarters that the Lokpal Bill had got delayed under the present Government, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the matter of fact is that the Lokpal Bill brought by previous Government just two months before the last General Elections was drafted in haste, which left a number of missing gaps. For example, there was no clarity that in the absence of a recognized Leader of Opposition, who would replace him/her as member of Selection Committee. Similarly, the tenure of appointment of the jurist member in the Selection Committee was left undefined. In order to overcome these pitfalls, he said, Lokpal Amendment Bill was brought in Parliament but on the advice of all the parties including the Opposition parties, it was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, and hence the delay. Now that the Bill has been sent by the Standing Committee with its recommendations, the further follow up will be done accordingly, he added.
What is most important, however, Dr Jitendra Singh said is that the present Government under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has carried forward its resolve to check corruption with conviction and courage. An important evidence of this is that the path breaking decision of re-monetisation was announced on the eve of crucial election to five State Assemblies without any consideration of electoral outcomes, he said.
The Lecture was attended by the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of Government Departments based in Delhi NCR as well as CMDs, Directors and other officers of Government Ministries / Departments, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Nationalized Banks, and other Organizations. Senior Officers of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate also participated.
The proceedings of the session may be viewed online as it was webcast live through NIC and is available on the website of the Commission.