Government mulls law to nail corrupt contractors
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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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