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Constant vigilance is the name of the game

V. Jayanth


CHENNAI: The battle against corruption, at least at the official level, continues unabated. While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) undertakes periodic, countrywide searches and vigilance raids on Central Government employees, the need for strengthening the vigilance and enforcements efforts at the State level can hardly be overemphasised.

Many States have gone in for instituting a Lok Ayukta to deal with the menace of corruption and even Ministers come under its scrutiny. In Tamil Nadu, the Vigilance Commission and its investigating agency, the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) function as government agencies.

"The performance of the DVAC has been mixed, with high conviction rates drawn from a very small number of registered cases, mostly easy-to-prove ones for whom traps were set.

Only one per cent of petitions filed with the DVAC between 1993-94 and 2002-03 resulted in prosecution in any given year," says a report by the World Bank.

The report notes that the Government did pass an order in February 2004, setting up a Government Reform Commission to prepare an action plan with monitoring indicators for improving 10 critical services with large public interface; suggest the structure and modality for an independent institutional mechanism to oversee public grievance management and handle corruption complaints in service delivery and recommend measures to strengthen the government's capacity to implement a broader programme of governance reform, including "modalities for encouraging well-informed public debate and building broad-based consensus on priority issues." Though the Reforms Commission is yet to begin work, the Government has gone in for `Service delivery improvement and grievance redress committees' at the district, department, secretariat and State levels.

The advantage in the Lok Ayukta, it has been noted, is that it has the authority to investigate both corruption cases and grievances arising out of maladministration involving civil servants and Ministers and supervises its own police wing too.

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