Bid to enhance efficiency and transparency in them

Offering greater room for public intervention in the conduct of public sector undertakings and key offices, the Department of Industries is gearing up to set up vigilance cells in all PSUs and offices under its ambit.

The decision to constitute independent vigilance cells is part of a bid to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the PSUs and other offices. The government has already issued orders for constituting the cells with adequate powers to crack down on corruption and nepotism.

One of the main advantages of the cells is that complaints and petitions regarding departmental irregularities which prima facie do not amount to criminal misconduct as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, framed to tackle corruption in government agencies and public businesses, will be entrusted with the vigilance cells. The cell in each unit will investigate the complaints and submit reports.

Appointment

Officers for heading the vigilance cells will be appointed after securing the approval of the Director of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB). Officers in the cadre of additional director will be appointed as vigilance officer at the offices under the department and an officer in the rank of general manager will be appointed to head the cells in the PSUs.

Concurrence of the Vigilance Department is imperative for appointing the vigilance officer. Officers with an impeccable track record will have to be identified to head and also man the cells. Adequate support staff too will be provided for the smooth functioning of the cells. The functioning of the cells will be monitored by the Industries Secretary, who will be the Chief Vigilance Officer.

The decision to constitute the cells gains significance in the wake of a string of allegations and cases that have come up against various PSUs and offices. Right from the procurement of raw materials to awarding of works and other contracts in the PSUs, almost all functions had come in for criticism.

The new system offers scope for the public to directly file complaints about the functioning of an office or a PSU. The complaints will be immediately taken up for probe and, as in the case of the VACB, cases will not be dragged on for years.

If the cells start functioning effectively, it will enhance public accountability and, thus the efficacy too. A coordinated functioning of the Industries Department as well as the VACB is needed for making the cells fully functional within a specific time, sources said.

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