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Political Corruption and Vigilance Essay

“Greater transparency is an unstoppable force. It is the product of growing demands from everybody with an interest in any corporation-its stake holder web-and of rapid technological change, above all the spread of the internet, that makes it far easier for firms to supply information and harder for them to keep secrets. Firms now know that their internal e-mails may one day become public knowledge, for instance, and many big companies must co- exist with independent websites where employees can meet anonymously to air their grievances. With greater transparency will come greater accountability and better corporate behaviour. Rather than engage in futile resistance to it, firms should actively embrace transparency and breathing the values and generally get in better shape.” Don Tapscott, co-author of “The Naked Corporation”


Sl.no Contents Page no. 1 Prologue I 2 Message by CVC regarding Vigilance Awareness

Week II

3 The Malaise of Corruption 1-4 4 Evolution of the concept of Vigilance 5-7 5 Vigilance and line managers 8-11 6 What is Vigilance angle? 12 7 Relevant extracts of IPC relating to public servants 13-14

8 Prevention of Corruption Act 15-27 9 Right to Information Act 28-47 10 FAQ on PIDPI resolution 48-50 11 CVC circulars on tendering 51-99 12 Preventive vigilance circulars 100-132 13 Vigilance case studies 133-145 14 Checkpoints on handling of tenders 146-151 15 Epilogue

Prologue It gives me immense pleasure to state that in an attempt to inculcate a spirit of Vigilance

Awareness amongst the employees of NCL, a modest effort has been made by the Vigilance Deptt. of NCL to publish a magazine named “Vigilance Perspective”.

The magazine is intended to be quarterly in its periodicity. The contents of this issue have been calibrated and fine-tuned to include topics that have

direct nexus with the perceived need to promote vigilance awareness/consciousness amongst the employees of NCL. In this endeavor no attempt has been made to project the claim of originality in any manner.

CVC vide their instruction no.008/VGL/069 dt.7.10.08 had directed to use the Vigilance Awareness Week to publicise the protection informers resolution (Popularly known as Whistle Blower Resolution). Having regard to the instruction of CVC, a writeup on lodging complaint under PIDPI Resolution has been incorporated in this issue. Apart from Right to Information Act, and Prevention of Corruption Act, it contains chapters on leading vigilance case studies of NCL and system improvement circulars issued as a consequence of vigilance activities in NCL.

Handling of contracts and public procurement of goods and services are generally perceived to be corruption prone areas. Considering the requirement of making public procurement efficient, transparent & equitable important CVC guidelines on tendering procedures have been made a part of this publication.

Besides, the gist of CVC’s findings on irregularities found by them in handling of public procurement forms a chapter in this issue under the head “Checkpoints in handling contracts/supplies/purchase”. It is hoped that the checkpoints could be quite useful and handy for executives/employees in handling contracts/supplies/purchases.

The maiden attempt has been possible on account of the untiring efforts of and unceasing/relentless endeavor of the executives/non executive of Vigilance Deptt. of NCL. Especially, but for the diligence of Shri Ashok Kumar, Sr.PA, Ms Reeta Pandit, Sr.PA and Shri R.Swansi, Sr.PA, it would not have been possible on the part of the undersigned to bring this out.

Message by CVC regarding Vigilance Awareness Week Vigilance Awareness Week would be observed in all Governent organizations from 3rd. November

to 7th. November 2008. It is the time of the year when we rededicate ourselves and renew our commitment to the cause of creating conditions to eliminate rent seeking behaviour and to ensure that public services are rendered with utmost honesty, sincerity and efficiency.

2. The Commission would like to see promotion of Preventive Vigilance Activities with emphasis on development of a foolproof system. A system that encourages strict adherence to the principles of non discretionary decision making on the basis of well defined rules would go a long way in obviating the need for disciplinary action well after the event is over. There cannot be a more apt description in this regard than the old adage: “Prevention is better than cure”.

3. The role of the Secretaries to the Govt. of India and the CMDs of the PSUs and the Public Sector Banks, as heads of the vigilance administration, in this regard, hardly needs any emphasis. Vigilance is very much a management tool and, as such, should be used synergetically with the other tools to improve efficiency by promoting competitiveness, equity and transparency.

4. The fight against corruption is too serious a task to be left to the heads of vigilance in Govt.Organisations or the Commisison alone. The civil society and citizens in general must play a far more effective and pro-active role in this fight. Of particular importance in this endeavour is the recourse to Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers’ (PIDPI) Resolution, 2004, under which the complainants can approach the Commission directly as “Whistle Blowers”. The Commission remains committed to protecting the safety and identity of the Whistle Blowers and urges more such persons to come forward in order to expose corruption in public life, taking advantage of PIDPI Resolution, 2004.

(Sudhir Kumar) (Ranjana Kumar) Vigilance Commissioner Vigilance Commissioner (Pratyush Sinha) Central Vigilance Commiassioner


Gandhiji once remarked “Nations are born of travails and suffering”.The Independent India was born because of the dedication, suffering and sacrifice of our freedom fighters. Our freedom struggle is a testimony to the indomitable spirits of Indians to counter an oppressive regime and usher in anew era for us. Nehru’s “Tryst with destiny” speech set the tone for optimism for post- independence of India.

Though the nation has made giant leaps in it’s position in the comity of nations, yet crippling poverty of some, low per capita income & the standard of living of an average Indian as compared to the citizen of a developed nation remain as enduring features of Indian economy. A large chunk of Indians live under the poverty line. “Roti , kapda & makan” still remain a distant dream for toiling millions of Indians. It is a strange irony that India prides itself on having it’s presence in the Moon when quite a few Indians fail to make both ends meet. It is a story of contrasts-of successful Indians making a mark in all spheres of human activities in the international level when millions of Indians are unable to make two ends meet.

“World Hunger Index” of IFPRI, the “human development index” of UN, World Bank data on “child malnutrition and maternal mortality rate”,”Corruption perception index” of Transparency international, a survey of the center for media studies on “petty bribes”, “index of economic freedom” published annually by the heritage foundation and Wall Street Journal, the world bank annual series on ” Ease of Doing business”, infraction of “rule of law” and “difficulty in closing business” do not show India in good light.


Undoubtedly, Corruption is one of the predominant reasons for India’s backwardness in respect of some of the socio- economic indicators of development. The growth of economy is inversely related to the corruption index. To put it the other way, the GDP of a nation rises as the corruption index falls and vice-versa. The corrosive nature of corruption is indicated by the following negative impacts of corruption:

• It adversely affects the performance of the system as a whole and compromises the economy’s long term dynamics.

• It generates negative economy wide externalities that denigrates efficiency of the system.

• Corruption leads to the favoring of inefficient producers • It distorts the allocation of scarce public resources and

causes leakage of revenue from government coffers to private hands.

• It distorts the allocation of scarce public resources and causes leakage of revenue from government coffers to private hands.

• Large scale tax evasion erodes the tax base and in the process helps the generation of black money. Hence, it is not uncommon to find schools without students, teachers without schools, hospitals without doctors or medicines and so on ,though on paper all expenditures have been accounted for.

• Large scale tax evasion erodes the tax base and in the process helps the generation of black money.

• The result is crowding out of investment in priority sector such as education or health.

• Corruption in the economy leads to inflated government expenditures and scarce resources are squandered on uneconomic projects because of their potential to generate lucrative payoffs.

No wonder that corruption is anti-poor and anti-national. In the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The progress of the nation will be hindered to the extent to which corruption seeps in”

THE PERCEIVED NEED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION: As Dr. Manmohan Singh, the PM of India has observed, “Good governance rests on the honesty and integrity of civil servants and transparency of the administrative machinery.”Because of the negative impact of corruption on public governance and its intrinsic nature to baulk at the developmental process, there is both real and perceived need to combat corruption. HOW TO FIGHT AND DECIMATE CORRUPTION? The pessimists would lament that corruption is an invincible hydra-headed monster, which Phoenix like, rises from the ashes of it’s own destruction. On the contrary, the perennial optimists harbour a contrarian viewpoint . Their self-belief to wrestle with the malady of corruption stems from their conviction that within each corrupt official inhabits an honest person with the vanity of an honest individual. Besides, they reckon with the fact that the vast majority bitterly resents corruption – they suffer in silence, sometimes in fear. Such resentments, if harnessed, would constitute a potent weapon against corruption.

Success they say is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words , if it is thought that corruption can be defeated, then it surely will be. However , if it is believed that corruption is intractable, then the pessimism will in all certainty fulfill itself. ————————————————————————————————————

“On this earth there is enough for everyone’s need , but not enough for their greed”-GANDHIJI



The fight against corruption can only be successful when public awareness is coupled with anti-corruption efforts. The primary objective of creating public awareness is to sensitize the public about about the consequences of corruption and to educate the people about the improvements needed to create a corruption free society . As the current President of India,Mrs Pratibha Devsingh Patil has succintly observed, “A corruption free society is only possible if basic tenets of righteousness are deeply ingrained in our hearts and minds.”

The CVC in their message on Vigilance awareness week have appropriately contended, “However, to fight the menace of corruption , collective and concentrated efforts are required in which the common man , who is the ultimate victim and beneficiary is an important partner. An evil like corruption can be eliminated only when the common man is empowered to become fully aware of his rights , feels the need and has the urge to stand up against corrupt public servants.

The right to information Act,if used to the optimum and in a judicious manner, has the potential for such empowerment.” When the common man becomes aware of his rights and duties, is familiar with rules, regulations ,laws,instructions etc he jettisons being the willing accomplice to corrupt practices. It needs an attitudinal change in him to non-co-operate with venal officials. Besides , a realization should dawn upon public officials that:

• They are the servants of the public and not their masters • They should remind themselves that they should be so high that law is above

them. In other words they should respect law and believe in rule of law. • Their actions are subject to public and judicial scrutiny. • They should be sensitive to the grievances of employees • They should act reasonably, fairly and judiciously in exercise of discretion • They must not do what they have been forbidden to do, nor must they do what they have not been authorized to do. • They must act in good faith, must have regard to relevant considerations, must not be influenced by irrelevant considerations and must not seek to promote puposes alien to the letter and spirit of legisation.

• Their actions should be rational, legal and regular in nature. • Law should not be administered with an “evil eye, unequal/oppressive mind and unequal hand” • Hostile discrimination without intelligible differentia should be avoided at all cost. • To avoid disproportionate administrative action.

———————————————————————————————————— Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British political writer


The vigilance awareness week provides an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to this mission and devise strategies in priority areas like system improvements and preventive vigilance . It also provides an opportunity to reach out to the stakeholders with a n open mind and to invite suggestions to chalk out ways and means to deliver services in a transparent and efficient manner and to devise a methodology to eliminate corruption from public life. The primary objective of the observance is to generate vigilance awareness amongst the stakeholders of NCL i.e., customers,employees , vendor partners etc. It was intended to sensitize the people about the need to wrestle with the dragon of corruption.It is possible to reduce corruption if only we convince ourselves that it can be done. The way out of corruption is to;

1. eliminate the corrupt practices in our official procedure. 2. combine- consider one integrated service counter instead of many 3. re-sequence which can improve efficiency and reduce corruption 4. substitute -offer the option to download routine forms from the web to finish off the nexus of the peddlers 5. modify procedures 6. We must all understand the evils of corruption and imbibe the culture of honesty,integrity, transparency and probity. Russel said if you articulate a point of view often enough it acquires respectability.” Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come- so lets open our minds to the idea that corruption can indeed be defeated.”De tocqueville has said that the inevitable can become intolerable as soon as it is no longer perceived to be inevitable- so lets reject the inevitability of corruption and soon we may find it to be truly intolerable.Shaw -success comes to the unreasonable man who wants to change; so lets resolve to be unreasonable.

———————————————————————————————————– “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.” Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) British clergyman, sportsman and author. ————————————————————————————————–

———————————————————————————————————— “I have often noticed that a bribe has that effect — it changes a relation. The man who offers a bribe gives away a little of his own importance; the bribe once accepted, he becomes the inferior, like a man who has paid for a woman.” Graham Greene (1904-1991) English writer.



Etymologically, VIGILANCE connotes watchfulness and the planned effort to uncover and punish corruption and bribery. But the concept of vigilance has undergone metamorphosis in the course of inexorable march of human history. The present concept of vigilance, however, is inextricably connected with its history. It can be understood properly only when it is read in conjunction with its history. An man emerged stumbling and slouching from the jungles and put forward his tentative steps in the direction of a civilized existence, he has been seized of the problem of combating corruption both at the individual as well as the societal place. In other words, the problem of corruption is as old as the human race and mankind’s war against corruption dates back to Adam’s Original sin. Before human beings coalesced into society, the life of human beings was either “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” or “one of noble savage”. In either case, the yearning or search for an ordered, regulated, corruption-free and peaceful life has exercised the minds of thinkers, philosophers and social scientists. Concurrently, with the evolution human society, mankind has devised structures, systems, rules, regulations, legal framework and principles for regulating human behaviors so as to obviate the scope for corruption in socio-economic- political order.

We may have a glimpse of the tectonic changes or shifts that have taken place in man’s quest for justice, liberty, equality & integrity. It is a matter of history that highly developed civilization existed in China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon and India in ancient days. It is also a fact that corruption, in its different forms, also coexisted during those days. So also, the human endeavor to curb and eliminate corruption in its different manifestations. The wide prevalence of corruption in Ancient India is evident in Kautilya’s Arthasastra. Kautilya drew a parallel between a fish in water and an official of the state invested with power for discharging the functions of the state. With words, pregnant with wisdom and indicating his pragmatism/political sagacity, he observed that just as it is difficult to say whether a fish deep in water is drinking water or not, so also, it is not easy to say whether government servant is corrupt or not. He also says that just as it is impossible not to taste the drop of honey or poison that is placed at the tip of the tongue, so it is rather impossible for the government employee not to eat up at least a bit of king’s revenue.

In his monumental work, Kautilya lists 40 ways of embezzlement. Not only that, he prescribes different punishments for different crimes. Besides, Indian folklore is replete with stories of kings and nobles employing the services of spies for keeping an eye on potential criminals, enemies of state and offenders of discipline. Further, the concept of policing was an integral part of and an important element in the criminal administration during the ancient age. A study of the justice system prevalent then gives an insight into the notion of vigilance in vogue then and shows that preventive as well as punitive vigilance were in practice then. The middle ages, however, marked a new phase in the evolution of state and state craft. The spirit of republicanism, the growth of democracy and the germination of the concept of rule of law was aborted by the “concept of divine right of kingship.” The absolute monarch claimed his ancestry to god and ruled by the power of his sword as the regent of the god.

The acts of omission and commission of the king were given a religious colour. He was referred to as the march of god on earth. The religion of man was exploited to legitimize the rule of the monarchs of those days. The church and the kind reinforced each other in maintaining their respective positions in the social scale. The long and short of it was that the boundary wall between the political and the religious domain was smudged/blurred. Consequently, enormous powers were concentrated in the kings, princes, priests and those in their close proximity. Such concentration of power bred corruption, injustice and oppression of the downtrodden.

Kings, princes and nobles governed as per their whims, facies and caprices by giving their acts a religious colour. The advent of renaissance and reformation in western Europe marks a watershed in man’s search for shacking absolute power of monarchy. Reformation challenged the dominance of Papal church and questioned it’s supremacy in the maters of faith. ——————————————————————————————————————————– “Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.” Karl Kraus (1874-1936) Austrian satirist.

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