The Group of Ministers (GoM) set up in January 2011 to consider measures to tackle corruption has submitted two reports. In pursuance of this,
1. Government has directed that requests for sanction of prosecution are to be decided upon by the competent authority within a period of three months.
2. Government decided that for all officers of the central government above the rank of Joint Secretary, the competent authority to approve initiation of enquiry/investigation under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act will be the Minister-in-charge in the Government of India.
3. Government has also accepted the recommendation of the GoM to put in place regulatory parameters for exercise of discretionary powers by Ministers and to place them in public domain.
Other anti-corruption initiatives include:-
4. A comprehensive ‘Lokpal and Lakyuktas Bill, 2011’ was passed by the Lok Sabha this year.
5. ‘The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill 2011’ intended to provide protection to whistle-blowers, was passed by the Lok Sabha and is presently with the Rajya Sabha.
6. India ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in May, 2011. The Convention has entered into force for India on 8th June 2011. With a view to ensuring full compliance with this Convention, ‘The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill 2011’ was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Bill is under consideration of the Government.
Making all Government services accessible to common man with transparency
The National e-Governance Plan was approved by the Government with the vision to “Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man”.
1. A network of more than 100,000 Common Service Centres for electronic delivery of public services to citizens in rural areas has been rolled out.
2. Computer software tools and fonts have been made available in 22 Indian languages in 24 States.
3. Pilots for delivering high-volume, citizen-centric e-Governance services have been implemented in 88 districts across seven states under the e-District Project.
4. The MCA-21 e-Governance project for facilitating business by simplifying and reducing documentation was carried forward by enabling online allotment of the Direct Identification Number and integrating it with the Income Tax PAN. This will substantially reduce delays in incorporation of a company.
5. A record 15 lakh annual reports were filed during the year with a peak of 70,000 filings on a single day.
6. Rules have been amended to facilitate payments by direct credit to the bank accounts of payees. A secured electronic payment system, through “Government e-payment gateway” has been commissioned to facilitate this process. This measure will streamline the process of making payments, minimize the interface of the payees with Government offices and will usher in green banking.
Transparency in Public Procurement Legislation
Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister in his Independence Day address of 2011:
1. The Public Procurement Bill, 2012 has been approved by the Cabinet.
2. The Bill seeks to regulate public procurement by all Ministries and Departments of the central government, Central Public Sector Enterprises and bodies controlled by the Central Government to ensure transparency, fair and equitable treatment of bidders, promoting competition and enhancing efficiency and economy in the procurement process.
3. The Bill would create a statutory framework for public procurement which will provide greater accountability, transparency and enforceability of the regulatory framework.
Making the Public Service Delivery a right of citizens
The Right of Citizens for time-bound delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill’ was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 20th December 2011, and has since been referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee. This bill is intended to make the Citizens’ Charter statutory and to endow the public with the right to delivery of goods and services.
Increasing people’s access to justice and enhancing accountability
The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2012 has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
1. The National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms was launched in the Department of Justice for increasing access to justice by
a) reducing delays and arrears,
b) enhancing accountability through structural changes and
c) setting performance standards and capacities.
2. Information such as filing of petition, allotment of cases to courts, generation of cause list, date of hearing and status of the case can be ascertained from judicial service centres set up by district and subordinate courts.