Government has taken several initiatives to ensure a transparent and corruption free Administration. Speaking at the National Editor’s conference in New Delhi, Shri V. Narayanasamy, Minister Of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and Personnel, P.G. & Pensions highlighted the series of steps taken to provide a Government that is corruption-free, transparent, accountable and responsive at all times. Mr. Narayanasamy listed the RTI act, Lokpal Bill,2011, Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011, “The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public international Organizations Bill, 2011” and other Administrative measures as part of the efforts to provide a transparent and corruption free Administration.
The Minister informed that empowerment of Citizens under the RTI Act itself is evident from the fact that a total number of 7,05,976 applications were processed by designated public authorities in the Central Government during the previous financial year. Mr.Narayanasamy sought to dispel the notion that Lokpal Bill was brought after the Anna Hazare agitation. He stated that more than five months before this agitation, Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh had constituted a Group of Ministers (GOM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption. The GOM has looked into specific issues such as State funding of elections; Fast tracking of all cases of public servants accused of corruption; Ensuring full transparency in public procurement and contracts, including enunciation of public procurement standards and a public procurement policy; Relinquishing discretionary powers enjoyed by Ministers; Introduction of an open and competitive system of exploiting natural resources etc.
The Minister stated that The Lokpal Bill, 2011 has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bill was then referred to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha. The Select Committee has submitted its report to Parliament. Cabinet has accepted most of the recommendations of the Select Committee. Efforts are now underway to bring the Bill in RS.
Mr. V. Narayanasamy expressed the resolve of the govt. to protect the honest officers and such officers who expose corruption. With this objective in mind, Govt. has formulated Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is now pending in the Rajya Sabha.
With regard to the bribery of foreign public officials etc a standalone Bill titled “The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill, 2011” has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Prevention of Corruption Act is also being amended to bring the corruption in the Private Sector under its purview.
Mr. V Narayanasamy informed about the thrust being given by the Govt. on efficient functioning of the bureaucracy and need for review of their performance. Rules have been amended to provide for two tiers of intensive reviews of All India Service Officers on completion of 15 years of qualifying service and again on completion of 25 years of qualifying service, to assess the suitability of the officers for their further retention in service.
A number of other legislations have been initiated to usher in greater transparency and accountability. ‘Right of Citizens for time-bound delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill’, 2011, intends to make the Citizens’ Charter statutory and to endow the public with the right to delivery of goods and services in a time bound manner. The Government is making all efforts to move the official amendments in the ongoing budget session.
The minister stated that comprehensive reform attempts are made through the implementation of the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commissions. The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission was constituted in 2005 to prepare a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administration system in the country. The ARC had submitted 15 reports containing 1251 recommendations. Out of these 1251 recommendations, more than 900 recommendations have been accepted by the Government.
Mr. V Narayanasamy stressed on the need for E-Governance initiatives for providing a transparent administration. He informed that a framework for efficient handling of public grievances through the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRMS) is already in place. Pilot implementation of the e-Office project, which is one of the mission mode projects under the National e-Governance Plan is being carried out.
The minister informed that the Ministry has taken a number of steps over the years for streamlining the pension administration system for greater convenience and welfare of the pensioners. The Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare has developed a web-based 'Pensioners' Portal', a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Government of India. Mr. Narayanasamy listed the New Initiatives taken by Department of Pension that has resulted in significant relief to the pensioners.
Later, the Minister interacted with the media over the various issues concerning his ministry.
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