Govt to designate nodal officer in each dept for graft complaints

Last Updated: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 17:59

New Delhi: A nodal officer will be designated in each ministry to look into complaints of corruption received by them from whistleblowers, the government said on Friday, a decision aimed at speedily dealing with graft issues.

The Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), who acts as the distant arm of Central Vigilance Commission, of each central government ministry or department will be the "Designated Authority" to receive complaints under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer`s Resolution (PIDPI) or whistleblowers` resolution.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Thursday. The Cabinet cleared a proposal to amend Whistleblowers` Protection Bill, 2012.

Until now, the CVC is the designated agency to receive complaints from whistleblowers -- a term given to people who expose corruption in government departments.

"The workload of the Commission has increased and the number of complaints under the PIDPI Resolution has also increased. The Government has therefore, felt a need to designate additional authorities for receiving complaints under PIDPI," an official statement here said today.

The proposed post-facto amendment would enable speedy disposal of the complaints and would make the public servants more responsible and accountable in their efforts in helping the Government towards combating and eradicating corruption.

Some proposed official amendments to the Whistleblowers Bill, which came up for consideration on August 14 last year in Rajya Sabha, could not be considered as the House was adjourned due to the demise of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The Bill seeks to set up a regular mechanism to encourage people to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers.

The Whistle-blowers` Protection Bill, 2012 has already been approved by the Lok Sabha without a debate in 2011.

The Bill provides for punishment for disclosing the identity of a whistleblower. It also contains provisions for taking action against whistleblowers over frivolous complaints of corruption.

As per provisions of the Bill, before closing any complaint of corruption, the competent authority will have to discuss the matter with the complainant.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 17:58

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