Government mulls law to nail corrupt contractors

Last Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 13:38

New Delhi: The Government is considering a
law to deal with corrupt contractors who inflate price or use
inferior material in delivering goods and services for public
use.

A committee has been set up to devise `False Claims
Law` which aims to empower citizens to seek punitive action
against corrupt contractors and recovery of money from them if
they charge extra amounts from the government and deliver
less than the contracted quantity or quality of goods and
services.

The move came following a recommendation by the Central
Vigilance Commission which found it necessary to find ways to
make contractors accountable towards their job and contain
corruption.

"We had sent our recommendations to the government. The
recommendations have been accepted. A committee has already
been formed to discuss the matter with all the stakeholders
to give it a proper shape," a senior official of the
Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

The law, if it comes into force, will be a first-of-its-
kind legal tool for the citizens to demand claims for loss of
public money.

"The CVC has noticed various instances of inflated
pricing and use of low quality material in public works. In
some of the cases, the corrupt go scot-free due to the absence
of a legal system. Hence, it have recommended enactment of a
law which can check contractors," the official said.

Some of the developed nations, including the US, have
worked out ways towards curbing illegal practices by
contractors while executing public works.

Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, had in an
interview to a news agency had for the first time emphasised on
formulation of a `false claims law` through which companies or
contractors who cause loss to the government by fraud and
corruption could be punished and the money recovered.

The Commission had then sent its recommendations to the
government which were accepted.

Recently, while speaking at a function in Bangalore,
Kumar had said, "The Commission has recommended the enactment
of a false claims law, which aims at empowering the citizens
to fight corruption... Such a law is prevalent in many
other countries. The government is working in this direction".

The law, once drafted, will be sent to the Ministry of
Legal Affairs and Justice. "The false claims law will then be
introduced in Parliament," another DoPT official said but
declined to comment on any time-limit to finalise the draft.

The CVC has found cases of alleged corruption by
contractors and officials of private firms while carrying out
public works, he said.

In the recent past, the government has issued guidelines
to promote e-governance through leveraging use of information
technology-enabled services in public procurement and works to
curb corruption.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 13:38

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