Probity In Governance

Probity In Governance

To prepare for ETHICS  for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Probity In Governance. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-IV.). Probity In Governance terms are important from Ethical perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

 

Syllabus:

  1. Concept of public service;
  2. Philosophical basis of governance and probity;
  3. Information sharing and transparency in government,
  4. Right to Information,
  5. Code of Ethics,
  6. Code of Conduct,
  7. Citizen Centric Administration,
  8. Citizen’s Charter,
  9. Work culture,
  10. Quality of service delivery,
  11. Utilisation of Public funds,
  12. Social Audit,
  13. Challenges of corruption

 

CONCEPT OF PUBLIC SERVICE:

  • Public service refers to the broad framework under which government employees extend services with the aim of advancing greater public good. The term is linked with a social agreement. It includes the services provided, the contiguous interactions and the grievance redressal linked with those services. All the aspects of day to day life ranging from health, education, infrastructure and law and order among others that the government provides are under the purview of public service.
  • Public services offer the most common interface between people and the state, and their functioning shapes people’s sense of trust in and expectations of government. They may be related with fundamental human rights.
  • Public services need to be delivered with honesty, citizen centricity, responsiveness, particularly to the needs of the most vulnerable. Promoting greater transparency and allowing ordinary citizens to assess the quality, adequacy and effectiveness of elementary services, to voice their needs and preferences and to become involved in innovation offers.
  • In broader perspective, public service is to be seen as an amalgam of legal and moral obligations that must be provided in a transparent, efficient and time bound manner. Delivering effective public services needs multi- level transformation such as changing the way public sector organisations think and act, how they view their roles.

 

PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF PUBLIC SERVICE:

  • Social Contract: Thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke propounded that public service is the contractual obligation of government as the people have surrendered some of their rights and resources to them in return for certain basic services. Hence, public servants are bound to serve the people.
  • Spirituality: Thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi viewed public service as a way to salvation. He believed that public service elevates individual consciousness and produces the highest sense of fulfilment. He said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
  • Giving Back: It is also believed that public service is the duty of those who have enriched themselves using public resources, so that a stable and happy society is achieved. It is the duty of those who are capable to serve those who are in need. This is the view held by rich philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Narayan Murthy etc.
  • Spirit of Service: Public service is also viewed as a manifestation of individual morality which motivates public servants towards working for others. Such public service is based on individual conscience and social goodwill. Swami Vivekananda said, “service of man is the service of God”.

 

PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSIONALISM MEANS:

  • Political neutrality.
  • Transparency and accountability.
  • Economy, Efficiency and Equity in utilization/implementation of government scheme.
  • Citizen Centricity.

FEATURES OF PUBLIC SERVICE:

  • Public services are usually provided by local or national monopoly especially in sector which are natural monopoly (e.g. law & order, judiciary)
  • Certain public services are vital for existence of community itself. Eg – water, transport, food etc
  • These services involve outputs that are hard to attribute to specific individual effort. If anything wrong happens people blame the government rather that an individual.
  • They are provided by large scale administration which effect entire social-economic structure of society.
  • Public accountability is the essence of public services in democracy.
  • Social-good oriented rather than profit oriented.
  • Public service is provided by administration which works under political direction and scrutiny.
  • Provided by legal framework.
  • Needs to maintain fairness of treatment and equity.

 

PUBLIC SERVICE VALUES:

The Public Service and the Public Servants shall be guided and informed by the following values in the discharge of their functions:

  • Patriotism and upholding national pride.
  • Allegiance to the Constitution and the law of the nation.
  • Objectivity, honesty, care and diligence, courtesy and transparency.
  • Maintain absolute integrity.
  • Discharge official duties with competence and accountability; without discrimination and in accordance with the law.
  • Ensure effective management, professional growth and leadership development.
  • Avoid misuse of official position or information and using the public moneys with utmost care and economy.
  • Function with the objective serving public.
  • Public Servants are to serve as instruments of good governance and to provide services for the betterment of the public at large.
  • Foster socio-economic development, with due regard to the diversity of the nation but
  • without discrimination on the ground of caste, community, religion, gender or class and duly protecting the interest of poor, underprivileged and weaker sections.

 

ETHICAL CONCERNS IN PUBLIC SERVICE:

  • Administrative discretion
  • Corruption
  • Nepotism
  • Crony-Capitalism
  • Administrative secrecy and Opacity
  • Information leaks
  • Policy dilemmas
  • Inefficiency and Ineffectiveness
  • Self-aggrandizing
  • Lack of Accountability
  • Authoritarianism

 

PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • Probity in governance is defined as the having strong ethical and moral values in the process of governance. Probity is a word which is derived from Latin which means “good”. Therefore, good values in governance are honesty, accountable, integrity, compassion etc.
  • Probity is the quality of having strong knowledge of moral principle and integrity (in personal or public relations). It includes they honesty and decency of a person or organisation in applying their moral principles in personal and public life.
  • Probity represents the maximalist approach to life in which a person adheres to the best principles and ideals rather than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest practices in personal and public relations.
  • Governance, defined as the process of decision making and the process by which it get implemented which involves govt, civil society, NGOs, Interest groups etc.

 

PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • Epics, the philosophical basis of good governance that is probity in governance started with epics like Ramayana, a model of ideal good governance.
  • Kautilya in his Arthashastra quoted traits of king and ways to stop corruption. He also written about disciplinary proceedings against corrupt officials
  • Aristotle, for him good governance and political stability are vital components of a state and morality is the basic foundation of political attitudes. Possession of virtues like justice, charity, generosity for benefit of society.
  • Thomas Hobbes, Linked concepts of ethics with rationality and objectivity in state and common wealth
  • Immanuel Kant, Makes the concept of duty central to morality.
  • Utilitarian principle, the greatest good to greatest number of people
  • Max Weber, Present bureaucratic system working on weber’s Legal-Rationality model.

 

MODERN VIEW POINT OF PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE – SOCIAL CONTRACT:

  • Social contract is an agreement, between the ruled and their rulers, defining the rights and duties of each.
  • The central assertion that social contract theory approaches is that law and political order are not natural, but human creations.
  • The social contract and the political order it creates are simply the means towards an end – the benefit of the individuals involved – and legitimate only to the extent that they fulfill their part of the agreement.
  • When the government fails to secure their natural rights (Locke) or satisfy the best interests of society (called the “general will” by Rousseau), citizens can withdraw their obligation to obey, or change the leadership through elections or other means including.
  • Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and therefore the rule of God superseded government authority.
  • Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way to ensure welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law.

 

IMPORTANCE OF PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development.
  • Ensuring probity in governance results in absence of corruption.
  • Distributive and Procedural justice
  • Smooth and better implementation of laws
  • Transparency and accountability can be ensured
  • Lack of Technological knowledge to implement e-governance tools
  • To ensure integrity, ethical behaviour and accountability in the governance
  • Builds up trust on state i.e., Legitimises the system
  • Enhances social capital and trust among the people
  • Impartiality, non-partisanship and non-discrimination to ensure fairness
  • Optimum utilisation of resources

 

PROBITY IN PUBLIC LIFE:

Probity in public life is standards that society expects from those elected or appointed to public office to observe and maintain in their conduct. Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for sustainable development. It incorporates:

  1. Rule of law
  2. Equity and inclusiveness
  3. Consensus orientation (persuasion)
  4. Participation
  5. Transparency
  6. Accountability
  7. Responsibility
  8. Selflessness
  9. Justice

 

ISSUES IN THE PRESENT SYSTEM:

  • Absence of corruption and fair implementation of laws is a pre-requisite for probity in governance. Indeed, pre-requisite condition for a proper, fair and effective enforcement of law is discipline.
  • Unfortunately for India, discipline is disappearing fast from public life and without discipline, no real progress is possible. Discipline implies public and private morality and a sense of honesty.
  • While in the West, a man who rises to positions of higher authority develops greater respect for laws, the opposite is true in our country. Here, a person holding high position with which he can ignore the laws and regulations.
  • We are being swamped by a culture of indiscipline, untruth, no morality, both public and private life. It is true that instilling a sense of discipline among the citizens is more the function of the society, its leaders, political parties and public figures and least a legislative instrument. Even so, things have come to such a pass that measures need to be contemplated.
  • The values such as selflessness, Integrity, Honesty, Accountability, etc. which measures Probity in governance were already discussed in various parts of the subject in this document.

 

NCRWC ON PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • National Commission to Review the working of Constitution’s (NCRWC) made a detailed report on ‘Probity in governance’.
  • According to the commission, an important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption. In this regard the commission also quoted the Scandinavian economist-sociologist Gunnyar Myrdal’s Indian state as a ‘soft society’. He clarified what the expression ‘soft society’ means. According to him, a soft society is:
  • One which does not have the political will to enact the laws necessary for its progress and development and/or does not possess the political will to implement the laws, even when made.
  • Where there is no discipline.
  • In fact, he has stressed the second aspect more than the first. According to him, if there is no discipline in the society, no real or meaningful development or progress is possible. It is the lack of discipline in the society – which expression includes the administration and structures of governance at all levels – that is contributing to corruption.
  • Corruption and indiscipline feed upon each other. One way of instilling the discipline among the society may be to reduce the chances of corruption and to deal with it sternly and mercilessly wherever it is found. For this purpose, the inadequacies in the criminal judicial system have to be redressed. Corruption is also anti-poor.

 

HOW TO ENSURE PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • Code of conduct and Code of Ethics
  • Transparency and Accountability – RTI, Lokpal and Lokayuktas
  • Citizen Centric Administration – Citizen charter, Service delivery
  • Effective utilisation of public funds
  • Tackling corruption- Institutional mechanism like Lokpal and lokayukta to deal with corruption
  • Ethics in government act on lines of USA – It created mandatory, public disclosure of financial and employment history of public officials and their immediate families. It also created restrictions on lobbying efforts by public officials for a set period after leaving public office. Also, it created the independent office tasked with investigating government officials.

 

CHALLENGES IN ENSURING PROBITY:

  • High level of inequalities among communities
  • No incentive
  • No fear of accountability
  • Lack of leadership
  • Poor work culture
  • Hedonism
  • Discretion in absence of transparency
  • Poor and ambiguous value system

 

WAYS TO IMPROVE PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE:

  • Value education
  • Transformational leadership
  • High Emotional Intelligence – optimistic attitude
  • Developing altruism and ethical literacy
  • Good and ethical governance system
  • Independent Media
  • Vibrant civil society
  • Accountability
  • People with right aptitude must be chosen
  • Healthy Work culture
  • Representative democracy to participative democracy

INFORMATION SHARING & TRANSPARENCY:

  • Information sharing and Transparency are used interchangbly. One implies another. The information sharing transparency and transparency ensure availability of information.
  • Transparency is core element of democratic society. It is the foundation on which trust and faith can be formed. It is only when the people know about the functioning of the government that they can trust the authorities. Thus there has been an emphasis on transparent governance.
  • Information sharing is a disclosure of information related to govt policies, schemes, list of beneficiaries, status ongoing projects, fund utilisation etc. Whereas transparency refers to actions of the govt which are not kept hidden from public scrutiny and can’t be opaque.

 

IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION SHARING AND TRANSPARENCY:

  • To make public officials accountable for their actions
  • To fight corruption
  • To claim our rights – Public have right to know what the govt doing
  • To build confidence and trust among public-on-public offices
  • To ensure probity in governance
  • To make governments more efficient and effective
  • To encourage Public and private investments to boost economy
  • To reduce information asymmetry between what is available and what is existing in official records
  • To create a level playing field between various sections of the society

 

CHALLENGES IN TRANSPARENCY & INFORMATION SHARING:

  • Structural constraints – The lack of staff, offline records and files – Lack of digitisation of files, Huge files to compile to check for required information.
  • Privacy & Secrecy – Constitution provides right to privacy and also official secrets act blocking sharing of information. Such roadblocks creating obstacles in sharing information and transparency
  • Grievances– Lack of grievance mechanism also hindering information sharing
  • Immunities– Immunities enjoyed by civil servants and departmental approvals prior to unclassified any classified documents
  • Threat to activists– Those who fighting for transparency in govt are having life threat and previously many such activists died
  • Delays– There are delays in disposing of information sharing applications.
  • Digital outreach – Though usage of e-governance tools increasing but urban-rural digital divide still wider so rural public offices unable to utilise the growing e-governance models due to internet connectivity, no awareness on computer usage etc.
  • Culture that is resistant to information sharing
  • Too much Centralisation and misinterpretation of rules calling for secrecy.
  • Malpractices and corruption
  • Lack of effective, capable and competent leadership within agencies
  • The absence of a clear value proposition

 

MECHANISMS TO ENSURE INFORMATION SHARING & TRANSPARENCY IN PUBLIC OFFICES:

  • RTI – Govt enacted RTI act to ensure information sharing and transparency. Therefore, it will be implemented in letter& spirit.
  • Oath of Transparency– Introduce oath of transparency among bureaucrats and politicians.
  • Official secrecy act– It should be replead so there is no conflict between two acts.
  • E-Governance– Develop e-governance tools for smooth flow of information with periodical updates.
  • Digital divide– Bridge the gap between rural and urban so rural people can make use of the services.
  • Social audit– In rural employment programmes it should be implemented.
  • Media– Use of media to bring awareness and create confidence among the public.
  • Citizen Charter – Should be published on services available.

 

EVOLUTION OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION:

  • In a democracy, people are the real sovereigns and the elected government and its functionaries are servants of the public.
  • As stated by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, everyone should enjoy freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Therefore, by the very nature, transparency should be the norm in all matters of governance.
  • Right to information has been seen as a step towards ensuring this transparency to strengthen participatory democracy and ushering in people-centred governance.
  • RTI opens government’s doings to public scrutiny, thereby arming them with the information that can empower the poor and the weaker sections of society to demand and get information about public policies and actions.
  • This transparency in government organisations makes them function more objectively thereby enhancing predictability.
  • The credit of pioneering the movement for RTI goes mainly to Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan under the leadership of Aruna Roy which pressurised the government authorities to provide information such as master rolls and bills relating to purchase and transportation of materials.
  • This information was then cross-checked at Jan Sunwais against actual testimonies of workers. Such an arrangement was successful in drawing attention to corruption and leakages in the system.
  • Eventually, the National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi, considered the paper submitted by Aruna Roy (also a member of NAC) and the RTI Bill 2004 was adopted by the Parliament in 2005.

 

RTI ACT, 2005:

The Right to Information is embedded in Article 19.1 of the constitution and is a fundamental right. It is all about asking questions and getting answers as a Right. As per the original sections of the RTI act, 2005

  • The Act applies to all states and union territories of India including the UT of J&K and Ladakh. (since 2019, post revocation of Art. 370)
  • Under this Act, any citizen may request information from a ‘public authority’ which is required to respond to the request within 30 days.
  • The Act also prescribes that every public authority has to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information (Section 4Public Interest Disclosure)
  • Building of institutions like Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and related Information officers and Appellate authorities like Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Chief Information Commissioner, State Chief Information Commissioner etc.
  • Before taking any decision, the Central Public Info. Officer shall take into consideration the representation made by a third party (a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority)

 

OBJECTIVES OF RTI ACT:

  • To empower the citizens with information
  • To promote transparency and accountability
  • To contain corruption
  • To enhance people’s participation in democratic process.

 

IMPORTANT SECTIONS OF RTI ACT 2005:

Section Features
Section

1(2)

It extends to the whole of India
Section

2(f)

Information” means any material in any form, and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a Public Authority under any other law for the time being in force.
Section

2(h)

States that “Public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted –

•         by or under the Constitution;

•         by any other law made by Parliament/State Legislature.

•         By notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes anybody:

Ø  Owned, controlled or substantially financed;

Ø  NGO substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government.

Section

2(j)

“Right to Information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to:

•         Inspection of work, documents, records;

•         Taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;

•         Taking certified samples of material;

•         Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.

Section 4 Suo-motu disclosure of information by each public authority.
Section 8

 

Exemption to certain Information –

•         National security or sovereignty

•         National economic interests

•         Relations with foreign states

•         Law enforcement and the judicial process

•         Cabinet and other decision-making documents

•         Trade secrets & commercial confidentiality

•         Individual safety

•         Personal privacy

Section 8 (2) Provides for disclosure of information exempted under Official Secrets Act, 1923 if larger public interest is served.

 

OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT AND ITS DRAWBACKS TO THE RTI:

  • Given that, we retained the colonial Official Secrets Act (OSA) of the British era, even after independence we continued to operate in a secret manner at an administrative level.
  • The Central Civil Service Conduct Rules of 1964 also strengthen the OSA by prohibiting the government servants from communicating the official document to anyone without authorisation.

 

Issues with OSA

  • As stated by the Second ARC report, most contentious issue in the implementation of the Right to Information Act relates to official secrets.
  • Section 5 of OSA stated that, any person having information about a prohibited place, or an information which may help enemy state, or which has been entrusted to him in confidence, or which he has obtained owing to his official position, commits an ‘offence’ if s/he communicates it to an unauthorised person.
  • Any kind of information is covered by this Section if it is classified as ‘secret’.
  • The word ‘official secrets’ has not been defined in the Act, therefore, making it easier for public servant to classify anything as “secret”.
  • Shourie Committee on OSA stated that ‘it is the OSA that has been regarded in many quarters as being primarily responsible for the excessive secrecy in the government. Its “catch-all” nature has invited sustained criticism and demand for its amendment.’

 

 

ISSUES IN IMPLEMENTATION OF RTI:

  • Complicated system of accepting requests.
  • Poor record-keeping practices
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and staff for running information commissions
  • Dilution of supplementary laws like the whistle-blower protection Act.
  • Insistence on demand drafts.
  • Varying and often higher rates of application fee.
  • Large number of PIOs obstructing the process.
  • Information commissioners do not have adequate authorities to enforce the RTI Act.
  • Though RTI’s aim is not to create a grievance redressal mechanism, the notices from Information Commissions often spur the public authorities to redress grievances.
  • Low public awareness regarding types of organisations covered under the RTI act etc.
  • 75% percent of the citizens dissatisfied with the quality of information being provided.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE RTI:

  • Creation of RTI Implementation Cells by appropriate Governments.
  • Improving convenience in filing requests by creating multiple access channels, Common Service Centres set up under National e-Governance Plan to facilitate citizens in filing RTI applications.
  • CIC and SICs should be entrusted with the task of monitoring effective implementation of RTI in all public authorities.
  • A National Coordination Committee (NCC) may be set up under the chairmanship of the Chief Information Commissioner with the nodal union ministry, the SICs and representatives of States as members.
  • All organisation listed under Schedule 2 have to appoint PIOs.
  • Inventory of Public Authorities should be made at the central and state levels and using web-based applications for public authorities.
  • Single window agency should be set up in each district.
  • Provisions should be made to include annual confidential reports, examination question papers and related matters in the exemptions under the RTI Act.
  • Institutionalising third party audit.

 

 

RTI (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019:

Provision RTI Act, 2005 RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019
Term of Office and Conditions of service The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) (at the central and state level) will hold office for a term of five years. The act removes this provision and states that the central government will notify the term of office for the CIC and the ICs.
Salary and allowances The salary of the CIC and ICs (at the central level) will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, respectively. Similarly, the salary of the CIC and ICs (at the state level) will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Election Commissioners and the Chief Secretary to the state government, respectively. The act removes these provisions and states that the salaries, allowances, and other terms and conditions of service of the central and state CIC and ICs will be determined by the central government.
Deductions in Salary The Act states that at the time of the appointment of the CIC and ICs (at the central and state level), if they are receiving pension or any other retirement benefits for previous government service, their salaries will be reduced by an amount equal to the pension. Previous government service includes service under: (i) the central government, (ii) state government, (iii) corporation established under a central or state law, and (iv) company owned or controlled by the central or state government. The act removes these provisions.

 

CRITICISM OF THE AMENDMENT ACT:

  • Information commissions are, as important as election commission. Considering it, lowering the authority of IC will affect the working of IC. Even SC has directed that CIC and ICs shall be appointed on the same terms and conditions as applicable to the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioners.
  • The recent amendment will dilute the autonomy of the Information Commissions against government interference.
  • The new provisions that empowers the Central Govt to unilaterally decide the salary and allowances as well as tenure and other service conditions will change the existing framework on which RTI functions.
  • Amendments are pushed through without the consultation of the citizens, by passing examination by the standing committees.

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSIONER (CIC):

  • The Central Information Commission has been constituted under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities. The Commission has certain powers and functions mentioned in sections 18, 19, 20 and 25 of the RTI Act, 2005.These broadly relate to:
    • Adjudication in second appeal for giving information
    • Direction for record keeping, suo motu disclosures receiving and enquiring into a complaint on inability to file RTI etc
    • Imposition of penalties and Monitoring and Reporting including preparation of an Annual Report.
  • The decisions of the Commission are final and binding.

 

Issues with the CIC office:

  • With the recent amendment, office of CIC became purely govt discretion in terms of his salary and tenure
  • Erosion of information regime with degradation of information autonomy in the public offices
  • Powers only on paper but in reality, scenario is different. CIC ordered to disclose funding of political parties under RTI but no political party willing follow his orders
  • Frequent judicial interferences
  • Delay in appointments

 

Right to Information has provided for the citizens in a democratic country, a valuable opportunity to actively participate in the process of governance. But in India, because of a stereotypical legacy of colonialism, centralization and feudalism, people’s willingness and awareness to participate is still relatively dormant.

 

Nevertheless, RTI has introduced in the politico administrative system the traits of caution, care, vigilance, efficiency, transparency and other ethical aspects. Hopefully, the RTI act will help effect a shift from the parochial culture of secrecy to a liberal culture of openness from personalised centralisation to accountable decentralisation and from a unilateral policy and decisional system to a pattern of participative governance.

 

CODE OF CONDUCT & CODE OF ETHICS:

Code of conduct and code of ethics both are aimed at regulating organisation’s employee’s behaviour. Similarities and differences between them very thin. The following table describes similarities and differences between them.

 

CODE OF CONDUCT:

  • Code of conduct evolved with Cornwallis code during East India Company rule. Till Independence, these conduct rules updated periodically.
  • After the independence, Santhanam Committee recommended considerable enlargement of such rules resulting in the 1964 version. These rules have subsequently been updated to include additional norms of behaviour.
  • Present ‘Conduct Rules’, that is Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules – 1964 and analogous rules applicable to members of the All-India Services or employees of various State Governments.
  • The norms prescribed in such rules are much older than the Rules themselves. Thus, specific acts were proscribed from time to time through notifications under the Fundamental Rules and the Civil Service Regulations.
  • This is understandably a continuing process, and reflects the changing, often increasing expectations of society, from the civil services. The breach of such prohibitions entailed punitive actions like removal from service.
  • There were, of course, provisions like ‘illegal gratification’ or bribery – Sections 161 to 165 of the IPC – or ‘criminal breach of trust by a public servant’ – Section 409 IPC – which provide for terms of imprisonment.
  • In 1947, with the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption Act, a new set of offences was also created.
  • Hence, overall, the summery of conduct rules are:
  • Disapproval of habitual lending and indiscriminate borrowing
  • Banning of various actions like accepting gifts
  • Buying and selling property
  • Making commercial investments
  • Promoting companies
  • Accepting commercial employment after retirement
  • The requirement of observing courtesy
  • Prohibiting demanding and accepting dowry
  • Prohibiting sexual harassment of women employees
  • Prohibition to employ children below 14 years of age as domestic help
  • Maintaining integrity and absolute devotion to duty
  • Not indulging in ‘conduct unbecoming of a government servant’, is generally directed towards cataloguing specific activities deemed undesirable for government servants
  • They should adhere to “Oath to secrecy

 

But having this code of conduct with value neutrality not sufficient for development administration. Code of conduct failed to promote positive values among the bureaucrats. Therefore, various committees recommended need to have a code of ethics for civil servants to promote positive emotions like compassion, empathy, decentralisation etc. Second Administrative Reforms Commission in its report on Ethics dealt what ethical conduct should civil servants maintain in public life.

 

CODE OF ETHICS FOR CIVIL SERVANTS:

  • From so many years India having just code of conduct for civil servants but there is no code of ethics although such codes exist in other countries.
  • In India we are having several conduct rules, which prohibit a set of common activities. These conduct rules achieved what they intended to designed, but they do not constitute a code of ethics.
  • Also, after the 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution, the local bodies now have an important role to play in nation’s development and have major executive powers. It is essential that the need for relevant codes for these bodies and their employees, and for any public authority, is recognised.

 

PUBLIC SERVICES BILL, 2006

A draft “Public services Bill2006 was brought by Ministry of personnel to promote code of ethical values among the Civil servants. The salient feature of the bill are:

  • Allegiance to the various ideals enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution
  • Apolitical functioning
  • Good governance for betterment of the people to be the primary goal of civil service
  • Duty to act objectively and impartially
  • Accountability and transparency in decision-making
  • Maintenance of highest ethical standards
  • Merit to be the criteria in selection of civil servants consistent, however, with the cultural, ethnic and other diversities of the nation Ensuring economy and avoidance of wastage in expenditure
  • Provision of healthy and congenial work environment
  • Communication, consultation and cooperation in performance of functions i.e., participation of all levels of personnel in management

 

Bill also having a provision regarding Public Services Commissioner, is authorised to evaluate the public servant’s ethical conduct.

 

Public Services Bill Recognizing and Affirming:

  1. that good governance is an inalienable right of the citizens in a democracy,
  2. that good governance should be participatory, transparent, accountable, governed by the rule of law and be informed by equity and inclusiveness in governance, and effectiveness and efficiency in service, and,
  3. that a politically neutral, professional, accountable and efficient public service is an essential instrument for promotion of good governance,

 

CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING CODE OF ETHICS:

  • Wide in nature made subject to multiple interpretations
  • There is no legal mechanism to implement it
  • There is no barometer to measure persons ethical values
  • There is no punishment for violation of this code
  • No grievance mechanism for immoral actions
  • There should be some other requisite elements necessary to support a code such as viable legal system, in synchronisation with laws that deal with corruption, ways of adjudicating administrative violations, investigators, supported by prosecutors and a judiciary.

 

CODE OF ETHICS Vs CODE OF CONDUCT:

CODE OF ETHICS CODE OF CONDUCT
Set of values which influences our decision making Set of rules and regulations which governs our actions
Guides our behaviour Seeks the expected behaviour
Promotes positive behaviour Prevents negative behaviour
Scope is wider Scope is very narrower
Wide ranging and non-specific Limited range and Specific in nature
Addressed to anyone Addressed to only organisations members
Universal Varies from organisation to organisation
Morally binding and Voluntary in Nature. There is no formal mechanism to implement to it. Legally enforceable by civil services conduct rules
Examples: Integrity, Honesty, Empathy, Compassion Examples: Guidelines for accepting private gifts, social media usage, habitual lending and indiscriminate borrowing, accepting commercial employment after retirement etc

 

RECOMMENDATIONS OF SECOND ARC TO STRENGTHEN CODE OF ETHICS:

  • ‘Public Service Values’ towards which all public servants should aspire, should be defined and made applicable to all tiers of Government and organizations. Any transgression of these values should be treated as misconduct, inviting punishment
  • Conflict of interest should be comprehensively covered in the Code of Ethics and in the Code of Conduct for officers. Also, serving officials should not be nominated on the Boards of Public undertakings. This will, however, not apply to non-profit public institutions and advisory bodies.
  • Statutory recognition to code of ethics
  • Code of conduct should be integrated into code of ethics
  • Code of ethics should also deal ethical dilemmas
  • There should be penal provisions and grievance redressal mechanism to deal issues with such code.

 

CERTAIN STEPS TO INCULCATE PROBITY AMONG POLITICIANS:

  • Mandatory declaration of assets, liabilities and business interests by politicians before elections should be accompanied by a proper audit of these declarations by empowering Election Commission. The Chief Minister of Tripura is one of the poorest in terms of assets and can be considered as a living example of the probity practiced by him in his professional life. This is seen from the state faring well in HDI, when other North eastern states are marred with insurgency and violence.
  • A dedicated unit to oversee violation of Code of ethics and Code of conduct by politicians be set up both at state and centre level. CoE & CoC for politicians should be laid down in public domain indicating violations for public awareness.
  • Parliamentary conduct ethics must be taught to MPs. For example, an year back an MP used a pepper spray to disrupt proceedings. Similarly, frequent disruptions happen because of MPs coming into well. These must be stringently acted upon.
  • Illegal expenditure during elections is root cause of corruption among politicians, partial state funding of elections could be the way forward in controlling it.
  • Schemes like MPLAD and MLALAD should be abolished to do away with the conflict of interests among legislators.
  • Short duration training like civil servants on ethical aspects can be provided to first time MPs and MLAs.

 

CITIZEN CENTRIC ADMINISTRATION

The concepts of good governance and citizen centric administration are connected each other. Citizen centricity with the aim of ensuring citizens’ welfare and citizens’ satisfaction, is critical for any government, local, state or national which aims to provide good governance.

 

PRE-REQUISITES FOR CITIZEN CENTRIC GOVERNANCE:

  • Sound legal framework
  • Accountability framework
  • Robust institutional mechanism for proper implementation of laws and their effective functioning
  • Competent personnel staffing these institutions; and sound personnel management policies
  • Right policies for decentralization, delegation and accountability.
  • Rule of Law – Zero tolerance strategy
  • Making institutions vibrant, responsive and accountable
  • Democratic decentralization and delegation
  • Transparency and openness
  • Civil Services Reforms
  • Ethics in Governance
  • Procedural Reforms

 

WAYS TO ACHIEVE CITIZEN CENTRIC GOVERNANCE:

  • Re-engineering processes to make governance ‘citizen centric’ – New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Administration (NPA)
  • Adoption of Appropriate Modern Technology
  • Right to Information
  • Citizens’ Charters
  • Social Audits
  • Independent evaluation of services
  • Effective and efficient Grievance Redressal Mechanisms
  • Active citizens’ participation – Public-private partnerships.

 

As governance is primarily a series of service operations with the ultimate objective of maximizing citizens’ welfare, use of management principles such as the Six Sigma concepts (data, focus on clients/citizens, quality) combined with Lean thinking (process flow, minimizing the costs of unnecessary complexity) can help to transform government service organizations into more efficient and citizen friendly agencies.

 

It is ultimately hope that, governance in India can be simplified so as to bring to its citizen a “multi-channel single window delivery structure” for channelizing all types of government services at the local level in the most efficient manner possible using modern IT technology so that the citizen can access these services easily and conveniently at his doorstep and even on the run through the use of mobile telephony.

CITIZEN’S CHARTER

A Citizens’ Charter is basically a set of commitments made by an organization regarding the standards of service which it delivers. The Citizens’ Charter is an instrument which seeks to make an organization transparent, accountable and citizen friendly.

 

“A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability.” – Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.

 

Citizen’s Charters are public agreements between citizens and service delivery providers that clearly codify expectations and standards in the realm of service delivery.

 

EVOLUTION OF CITIZEN’S CHARTER

  • To make bureaucrats accountable to the public citizens’ charter first time evolved in UK in 1990’s. Introduced by the then PM of UK John Mayor.
  • The Citizens’ Charter, when introduced in the early 1990’s, represented a landmark shift in the delivery of public services. The emphasis of the Citizens’ Charter is on citizens as customers of public services.
  • The aim of the scheme was to ensure that public services are made responsive to the citizens they serve. The original Citizens’ charter has six principles and three more principles added in later years. They are:
    1. Quality – improving the quality of services
    2. Choice – for the users wherever possible
    3. Standards – specifying what to expect within a time frame
    4. Value – for the taxpayers’ money
    5. Accountability – of the service provider (individual as well as Organization)
    6. Transparency – in rules, procedures, schemes and grievance redressal
    7. Innovate and Improve
    8. Work with other providers
    9. Consult and involve and treat all fairly

COMPONENTS OF CITIZENS’ CHARTER:

According to 2nd ARC Twelfth Report-Citizen Centric Administration, every citizens’ charter has several essential components to make it meaningful:

  1. Vision and Mission Statement of the organization:
    • This gives the outcomes desired and the broad strategy to achieve these goals and outcomes.
    • This also makes the users aware of the intent of their service provider
    • Helps in holding the organization accountable.
  1. Subjects & Services provided – In its Citizens’ Charter, the organization must state clearly what subjects it deals with and the service areas it broadly covers. This helps the users to understand the type of services they can expect from a particular service provider. These commitments/promises constitute the heart of a citizens’ charter. Even though these promises are not enforceable in a court of law, each organization should ensure that the promises made are kept and, in case of default, a suitable compensatory/remedial mechanism should be provided.
  2. Citizen Responsibilities– The Citizens’ Charter should also stipulate the responsibilities of the citizens in the context of the charter.

 

DARPG’S GUIDELINES:

  • To be useful, the Charter must be simple, easy to understand and available in vernacular as well.
  • The Charter must be framed not only by senior experts, but by interaction with the cutting edge staff who will finally implement it and with the users (individual organizations)
  • Merely announcing the Charter will not change the way we function. It is important to create conditions through interaction and training for generating a responsive climate.
  • Begin with a statement of the service(s) being offered
  • A mention is made against each service about the entitlement of the user, service standards and remedies available to the user in case of non-adherence to standards
  • Procedures/costs/charges should be made available online/display boards/ booklets/inquiry counters etc at places specified in the Charter
  • Indicate clearly, that while these are not justiciable, the commitments enshrined in the Charter are in the nature of a promise to be fulfilled with oneself and with the user
  • Frame a structure for obtaining feedback and performance audit and fix a schedule for reviewing the Charter at least every six months
  • Separate Charters can be framed for distinct services and for organizations/ agencies/attached or subordinate to a Ministry/Department.

 

CRITICISM AGAINST CITIZENS’ CHARTERS:

  • Poor design and Content: Promises contained in the charters were vaguely worded and meaningless
  • Resistance to change: The new practices demand significant changes in the behaviour and attitude of the agency and its staff towards citizens. At times, vested interests work for stalling the Citizens’ Charter altogether or in making it toothless.
  • Very low level of public awareness
  • Citizens’ Charter has lost public respect because it was seen as being too confused in its objectives
  • In a majority of cases, the Charters were not formulated through a consultative process
  • Service providers were not familiar with the philosophy, goals and main features of the Charter
  • Adequate publicity to the Charters had not been given in any of the Departments evaluated. In most Departments, the Charters are only in the initial or middle stage of implementation
  • No funds have been specifically earmarked for awareness generation of Citizens’ Charter or for orientation of the staff on various components of the Charter
  • Charters are rarely updated
  • The needs of senior citizens and the disabled are not considered when drafting Charters
  • There was general lack of accountability and review mechanisms
  • Lack of charter availability in vernacular or local languages.

 

MAKING CITIZENS’ CHARTERS EFFECTIVE – AN AGENDA FOR REFORM:

  • Need for citizens and staff to be consulted at every stage of formulation of the Charter
  • Orientation of staff about the salient features and goals/ objectives of the Charter
  • Vision and mission statement of the department and skills such as team building, problem solving, handling of grievances and communication skills
  • Need for creation of database on consumer grievances and redress
  • Need for wider publicity of the Charter through print media, posters, banners, leaflets, handbills, brochures, local newspapers etc. and also through electronic media
  • Earmarking of specific budgets for awareness generation and orientation of staff
  • Emulation of best practices in this field

 

SECOND ARC RECOMMENDATIONS:

The Commission observed, in order to make these Charters effective tools for holding public servants accountable, the Charters should clearly spell out the remedy/penalty/compensation in case there is a default in meeting the standards spelt out in the Charter. It emphasized that, it is better to have a few promises which can be kept than a long list of lofty but impractical aspirations.

  1. Internal restructuring should precede Charter formulation:
    • As a meaningful Charter seeks to improve the quality of service, mere stipulation to that effect in the Charter will not suffice.
    • There has to be a complete analysis of the existing systems and processes within the organization and, if need be, these should to be recast and new initiatives adopted.
    • Citizens’ Charters that are put in place after these internal reforms will be more credible and useful than those designed as mere desk exercises without any system re-engineering.
  1. One size does not fit all:
    • This huge challenge becomes even more complex as the capabilities and resources that governments and departments need to implement Citizens’ Charters vary significantly across the country. Added to these are differing local conditions.
    • The highly uneven distribution of Citizens’ Charters across States is clear evidence of this ground reality. Therefore, the Commission is of the view that formulation of Citizens’ Charters should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing broad guidelines.
  1. Wide consultation process:
    • Citizens’ Charters should be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society. Inputs from experts should also be considered at this stage.
  1. Firm commitments to be made:
    • Citizens’ Charters must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
    • With the passage of time, an effort should be made for more stringent standards of service delivery.
  1. Redressal mechanism in case of default:
    • Citizens’ Charter should clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
    • In addition, wherever there is a default in the service delivery by the organization, citizens must also have recourse to a Grievance’s Redressal Mechanism.
  1. Periodic evaluation of Citizens’ Charters:
    • Every organization must conduct periodic evaluation of its Citizens’ Charter preferably through an independent external agency. This agency while evaluating the Charter of the organisation should also make an objective analysis of whether the promises made therein are being delivered within the defined parameters.
    • The result of such evaluations must be used to improve upon the Charter. This is necessary because a Citizens’ Charter is a dynamic document which must keep pace with the changing needs of the citizens as well as the changes in underlying processes and technology. A periodic review of Citizens’ Charter thus becomes an imperative.
  1. Benchmark using end-user feedback:
    • Systematic monitoring and review of Citizens’ Charters is necessary even after they are approved and placed in the public domain.
    • Performance and accountability tend to suffer when officials are not held responsible for the quality of a Charter’s design and implementation.
    • In this context, end-user feedback can be a timely aid to assess the progress and outcomes of an agency that has implemented a Citizens’ Charter. This is a standard practice for Charters implemented in the UK.
  1. Hold officers accountable for results:
    • All of the above point to the need to make the heads of agencies or other designated senior officials accountable for their respective Citizens’ Charters.
    • The monitoring mechanism should fix specific responsibility in all cases where there is a default in adhering to the Citizens’ Charter
  1. Include Civil Society in the process:
    • Organizations need to recognize and support the efforts of civil society groups in preparation of the Charters, their dissemination and also facilitating information disclosures.
    • There have been a number of States where involvement of civil society in this entire process has resulted in vast improvement in the contents of the Charter, as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.

 

The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 (Citizens Charter)

  • The Bill seeks to create a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of goods and services to citizens.
  • Every public authority is required to publish a citizen’s charter within six months of the commencement of the Act.  The Charter will detail the goods and services to be provided and their timelines for delivery.
  • A citizen may file a complaint regarding any grievance related to:
  • Citizen’s charter
  • Functioning of a public authority
  • Violation of a law, policy or scheme.
  • The Bill requires all public authorities to appoint officers to redress grievances. Grievances are to be redressed within 30 working days.  The Bill also provides for the appointment of Central and State Public Grievance Redressal Commissions.
  • A penalty of up to Rs 50,000 may be levied upon the responsible officer or the Grievance Redressal Officer for failure to render services.
  • But the bill not yet passed due to its limitations like central govt does not have authority over state officials, and many of its provisions already there in various laws and over lapping with existing rules. But most of its provisions are aimed at time bound delivery of services.

WORK CULTURE:

  • Work culture is a concept which deals with beliefs, thought processes and attitudes of the employees. It is the work culture which decides the way employees interact with each other and how an organisation functions. An organisation is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organisation’s rules and adhere to the existing guidelines.
  • It is essential for the employees to enjoy at the work place for them to develop a sense of professional loyalty. The organisation must offer positive ambience to the employees for them to concentrate on the work rather than interfering in each other’s work. Such a work culture plays an important role in extracting the best out of employees and making them stick to organisation for longer time.

 

COMPONENTS OF WORK CULTURE:

  • Legacy of its earlier leadership – Founder fathers’ vision should be carry forward and it will be part and parcel of organisational culture
  • Organisation’s Mission, goals, objectives should reflect in its work culture
  • Work Ethics – Discipline, confidentiality, loyalty, integrity, commitment to the duty, delivery of services on time, Transparency etc.
  • Treatment of customers – Customers or consumers should be treated as gods to any organisation. They should be respected and their grievances should be addressed on earliest time
  • Recognition to work – Rewards, promotions, increments, bonus.

 

WORK CULTURE: PUBLIC SECTOR Vs PRIVATE WORK CULTURE

PUBLIC SECTOR PRIVATE SECTOR
Public welfare is the main goal of the public sector Profit and business is the main goal
Strict code of conduct and rules and regulations, formal dress code Deadlines, speedy work, competition with another organisation
Justice, due process of law to be followed while delivering services Efficiency, customer satisfaction
There is no much scope to creativity Beyond limits to one’s own creativity
Red-tapism, low level delivery, low skills, hierarchy are common traits in public work culture Workers exploitation, workers’ rights at stake

 

FEATURES OF A HEALTHY WORK CULTURE:

  • Employees must be cheerful, polite and punctual. One must respect his fellow worker. Backbiting is considered strictly unprofessional.
  • Appreciating the top performers is important. Let them feel indispensable for their organization.
  • Organisation must have employee friendly policies and practical guidelines. Expecting an employee to work till late night on his birthday is simply impractical.
  • Encourage discussions at the workplace to reach to better conclusions. Transparency is essential at all levels for better relationships among employees and a healthy work culture.
  • Promote team building activities to bind the employees together. Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees.
  • Partiality leads to demotivated employees and eventually an unhealthy work culture. Employees should be judged only by their work.

 

FEATURES OF A POOR WORK CULTURE:

  • Office politics – Politics plays vital role in organisational productivity. Therefore, rules and system should be transparent and there should be limits on discretionary powers on superiors.
  • Inefficiency: A poor work culture shows high resource use, slow pace of work due to the ‘chalta hai’ attitude and complacency among workers. This is itself a result of lack of accountability and weak supervision.
  • Work pressure and stress – Due to heavy load of work employees went under tremendous pressure and stress.
  • Lack of accountability: Poor performance is not penalized and workers are not made to account for their poor quality of work. This pattern of behaviour slowly spreads to other workers as it is not penalized.
  • Poor grievance redressal: Sufficient care is not given to needs and complaints of the clients who are unsatisfied with the services. It results from a lack of commitment to service and weak institutional mechanisms to redress grievances.
  • Personal life-work balance – There should be enough time to spend with family members. It will not only relieve their work stress and also boosts to employee morale and helps in organisational productivity.
  • Nepotism and favouritism: Human resource management is based on favouring loyalists and favourites instead of being based on performance. This goes on to encourage sycophancy among employees and feudal attitude among supervisors and at the same time, fails to reward good performance.
  • Low morale and motivation: Workforce suffers from lack of motivation due to low compensation, poor human relations, poor working conditions, lack of recognition and so on. This results in fall of productivity and casual attitude among employees.
  • Red-tapism: Organization works with a process-orientation rather than result- orientation. It is caused by rigid rules and procedures and lack of incentive for risk taking and swift decision making.
  • Lack of Inclusivity – Organisation should be equally represented with from different sections of the society.
  • Conflicts: Disputes between managers and subordinates and among fellow employees are rampant and remain unresolved. They lead to logjams, stagnation and loss of productivity.

 

PROBLEMS IN BUREAUCRATIC WORK CULTURE:

  • Structural issues – Issues like centralised decision making, hierarchy and superiority and subordinates. It will cause structural and procedural delays to get things done. Results in inefficiency in the organisation.
  • Coordination & Cooperation – With so many govt departments and many public offices, coordination with them difficult task. If an office filled with corrupt subordinates and cooperation to honest superior is a myth in that office.
  • Means but not an end – Work culture mainly focussed on timely completion of projects without thinking of its consequences.
  • Lack of Trained personnel– Most of the lower employees at retiring age. They are not able to adopt changing work conditions
  • Erosion of work ethics – Govt offices known for “1’0 clock offices” i.e., employees come to office at lunch time and leaves before sunset. There is no discipline, arrogance towards customers, no punctuality.
  • Technology – Lack of digitisation at public offices, so they not able to meet private competition
  • Corruption, Redtapism, endless paper work other such problems in work culture of administration.
  • Interreference from political leadership

 

STEPS FOR CREATING HEALTHY WORK CULTURE:

Every organization has its own distinct culture, shaped by its values, priorities, the people who work there. These factors mix together to naturally form the makeup of a company’s everyday environment – its work culture. Healthy work culture refers to the one where employees feel valued, safe, comfortable, and flush with opportunity for growth. A happier workforce makes for more productive employees, and successful managers are constantly assessing employee satisfaction.

  • Increase Employee engagement – Employee engagement and having employees who are “emotionally and psychologically attached to their work and workplace”, is crucial to creating positive employee relationships and a successful bottom line. In order to increase employee engagement:
  • Increase Employee retention – Pay hikes, Secure work place for women, upward mobility. Such conditions retains most of its employees.
  • Work flexibility – Work at home, five-day work became norm of the day in today’s work culture. Therefore, employees should be given flexibility to work anywhere and anytime.
  • Improve communication with employees – Measures like availability, fixed to slot to hear employees’ grievances helps in communicate with employees
  • Build a strong employer brand – A strong public trust improves organisational brand.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE WORK CULTURE IN BUREAUCRATIC:

  • Second ARC recommended 360-degree performance evaluation to measure its personnel work performance. This also ensures feedback from employees.
  • Performance management system- This is the new new Performance Appraisal Report introduced for All-India-Services provides for regular, participative, detailed, quantitative performance evaluation.
  • Mid-career training for employees for motivation and reskilling
  • Regular Feedback from the employees regarding their grievances
  • Transparency and accountability in public services for ensuring quality service delivery
  • Guarantee of quality-of-service delivery before the time limit and at the door step
  • Rewards and recognition to hard working and disciplined employees for example, employees of the month.
  • Our administrative system must become more goal-oriented.
  • A new work-ethic, a new work culture must be evolved in which Government is result-bound and not procedure bound.
  • Ethical sensitisation and team spirit are required to develop a work culture that is empathetic to citizens needs and is resilient to undue external pressures.
  • Reward and punishment must be related to performance
  • Delegation changes the work culture, improves job satisfaction, motivation and morale of employees.
  • Interaction and presentations to higher authorities. Example: PRAGATHI platform where all district collectors connected.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism. Examples: CPGRAMS
  • Accountability in bureaucracy need to be improved. The recent initiatives taken by the government such as biometric attendance, punctuality are long due towards improvement of work culture. Encourage use of IT to reduce discretion and bring in transparency and accountability.

 

WHY PRIVATE SECTOR HAS BETTER WORK CULTURE?

  • Better communication: All the top corporates believe in wide spread communication of its policies and decisions to all its employees, while in government sector there is strict hierarchy of flow of communication, and it generally get filtered in the way downwards.
  • Rewards: Corporates work on the principle of rewards for the individual efforts and results. While on the other hand, government departments, so not give enough recognition to the efforts on individual. They generally have seniority based promotions rather than merit based.
  • Enabling infrastructure: Most of the top corporates, provide shuttle services, after office relaxation clubs, creche facilities etc. Infrastructure in government organizations lacks in comparison.
  • Code of Ethics and code of conduct: Professional code in corporate and code of civil services followed in government sector.

 

QUALITY OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY

Public service delivery refers to the relationship between policy makers, service providers and consumers of those services. Service delivery is a mechanism used by an organization to meet the needs and aspirations of the people it is meant to serve.

 

AIMS & OBJECTIVES:

  • Aim of any public Services delivery is to ensure ease of living to citizens.
  • Public Service Delivery is very important as citizens are now focussed on getting their work done.
  • To make the system should be made simple and not complicated.
  • While emphasising on ‘ease of living’ to citizens, Government need not control the delivery of services, but facilitate efficient, transparent and time-bound delivery.
  • For optimum use of Information technology to benefit the citizens.
  • Three aspects of Public Service Delivery are:
    1. Citizen-centric administration
    2. Transparency
    3. Time-bound.

The ability of a government to meet national service delivery needs is a source of credibility on their part thereof. Conversely, governments face a critical test when they fail to meet peoples’ expectations. At the centre of service delivery is accountability, value for money, efficient and effective use of resources, improved communication and decision-making processes. If the accountability process is weak, value for money will not be realized. Effective service delivery is about providing the services that meet the needs of the users in the most efficient and effective ways. Sharing best practices leads to effective and efficient service designs and implementation.

 

QUALITY OF SERVICE DELIVERY:

Quality means excellence or inferiority at something. It something difference between standard quality and reality. Quality of service delivery refers to the public service which is delivering by public offices which are as per meeting public aspirations or fail to meet public expectations. The parameters or guiding principles to measure to quality-of-service delivery depends on:

  • Availability: A service should be available at the time and scale that the user needs it.
  • Deliverability: A service should be delivered regularly and on time.
  • Usability: A service should be presented in user specific formats so that the client can fully understand.
  • Usefulness: A service should be designed to respond appropriately to user needs.
  • Credibility: A service be designed in such a way that the user can confidently and conveniently apply it in solving his/her problem or need.
  • Authenticity: A service should be delivered in such a way that entitles it to be accepted by stakeholders in given decision-making contexts.
  • Responsive and flexible: A service should directly respond to the evolving user needs.
  • Sustainability: A service should be affordable and consistent over time.
  • Expandability: A service should be applicable to different kinds of approaches.

 

REASONS FOR POOR QUALITY OF SERVICE DELIVERY AT PUBLIC OFFICES:

  • Lacking in morale towards public duty and indiscipline among public officials
  • Lack of proper infrastructure at public offices
  • Not catching up with growing technology
  • Failed to meet last mile delivery
  • Arrogancy towards public and sense of lazy attitude among public servants
  • Some of the Public servants acting as a public master.
  • Lack of resources i.e., insufficient funds though who committed to work for public cause
  • Lengthy procedural formalities for example, PMMVY scheme requires 29 pages application form to get benefits under scheme
  • Low educational levels among rural people to know their rights

 

MEASURES TO IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY:

  • Conscious Strengthening of Service Standards in terms of quantity, quality, time and cost of service delivered.
  • Uncompromisable Quality of Service to meet consumers’ expectations and satisfaction with the quality of service delivered.
  • Professionalism and technical adequacy of contracting firms to degree to which firms providing services adhere to their ethical and technical competencies.
  • Effective and rigorous supervision of contracts to the extent to which technical and political leadership holds service providers to account.
  • Citizens’ Satisfaction with Service Delivery to ensure that the ordinary citizen is the focus of service delivery and realizes the value for money.
  • Transparent and open outsourcing of services to fair play in business and public procurement of service providers.
  • Accountable and equitable civil society This refers to civil society taking lead in delivering services in exemplary manner to all stakeholders.
  • Good governance-focused institutional framework for good service delivery processes and practices.
  • Adequate mobilization of resources for service delivery to meet intergovernmental fiscal relations and local revenue raising mechanisms in local governments.
  • Efficient utilization of resources to prudent use of available resources by local governments.
  • Inclusive and participatory planning to make participation of the ordinary people in deciding their choices of service delivery.
  • Socio-economic empowerment of ordinary citizens through national and regional programmes. This refers to effectiveness in implementation of poverty reduction projects that benefit citizens at the local level.

 

SEVOTTAM MODEL OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY              

  • Sevottam is a Service Delivery Excellence Model which provides an assessment improvement framework to bring about excellence in public service delivery.
  • The need for a tool like Sevottam arose from the fact that Citizens’ Charters by themselves could not achieve the desired results in improving quality of public services.
  • Besides, the absence of a credible grievances redressal mechanism within organizations was also becoming a major impediment in improving service delivery standards.
  • Thus, it was felt that unless there is a mechanism to assess the outcomes of various measures, the reform initiatives would not yield the desired results.
  • The Sevottam model works as an evaluation mechanism to assess the quality of internal processes and their impact on the quality-of-service delivery.

 

The Sevottam model has three modules:

  1. The first component of the model requires effective Charter implementation thereby opening up a channel for receiving citizens’ inputs into the way in which organizations determine service delivery requirements. Citizens’ Charters publicly declare the information on citizens’ entitlements thereby making citizens better informed and hence empowering them to demand better services.
  2. The second component of the model, ‘Public Grievance Redress’ requires a good grievance redressal system operating in a manner that leaves the citizen more satisfied with how the organization responds to complaints/grievances, irrespective of the final decision.
  3. The third componentExcellence in Service Delivery’, postulates that an organization can have an excellent performance in service delivery only if it is efficiently managing well the key ingredients for good service delivery and building its own capacity to continuously improve service delivery.

 

PUBLIC SERVICES MANAGEMENT CODE:

Public Service Management Codes are codes notified by the Central Government from time to time for the Public Services and Public Servants. The Government shall prepare Public Services Management Code based on the following principles:

  • Public Services is established as a professional, merit-based institution for promoting government policies and good governance.
  • Mechanisms and incentives to achieve and maintain high levels of productivity, efficiency and excellence.
  • Policies and structures to promote the viability and sustainability of the public services keeping in view the finances of the government.
  • The interface between the political executive and the public services based on the principles of neutrality, professional excellence and integrity.
  • Public Servants shall be accountable for their decisions or the decision-making process in implementation of the management of code.

 

UTILISATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS:

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT:

  • Finance is the lifeblood of socio-economic development. Financial management relates to the system, which generates, regulates, and distributes monetary resources needed for the sustenance and growth of organisations.
  • Financial management is an important component of public systems management. Financial management assumes great significance for every government, as most of its activities have a financial bearing.
  • It is primarily related to the question as to how the limited resources can be utilised to the utmost and to achieve the maximum of national objectives.
  • In many developed countries, accountability is enhanced by independent work on public spending conducted by civil society groups like NGOs, think tanks etc. In contrast, in developing countries there is no review mechanism for public spending.
  • They are missing local capacity to review govt expenditure. If credible domestic groups can be aided to develop this capability, they can promote greater transparency and foster informed public pressure for more effective and equitable public programs.

 

SOURCES OF PUBLIC FUNDING:

  • Budgetary allocations
  • Raising money through public through disinvestment, listing on stocks, Issuing bonds etc.
  • Loans from Multilateral institutions like world bank, IMF, ADB
  • Aid from foreign countries

 

NEED &IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS:

  • Effective utilisation of public funds is very much important in functioning of sustainable society.
  • To meet development goals like hunger, poverty, Education, Environmental conservation, health aspects etc.
  • Capacity building among unemployed youth
  • To achieve political, social and economic equality
  • To meet any unforeseen contingencies like floods, drought, pandemics etc

 

ETHICAL ISSUES INVOLVED IN UTILISATION PUBLIC FUNDING:

  • Using public money for loss making PSUs or corporate bailouts
  • Corruption in utilising public funds
  • Where most of people suffering with hunger, poverty and malnutrition but govt coming up with new unnecessary expenses and luxury hotels meetings
  • Public money for ruling party campaigns

 

CAUSES OF INEFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS:

  • Irrational freebies
  • Political rivalry in an act of vendetta
  • Policy paralysis
  • Redtapism
  • Lack of public participation
  • No citizen centric administration
  • Social apathy towards corruption
  • Lack of awareness and low education levels to understand govt financing
  • Lack of social accounting and social audit

 

CONSEQUENCES OF INEFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS

  • Misutilisation – Without govt approval, using public assets for private gains, unnecessary expenditure, capturing public assets by private people and failed to protect such captured assets.

Examples:

  1. Purchasing furniture for office whenever there is a transfer to you and occupy a new office.
  2. Using govt money for personal trips with family.
  • Underutilisation – Procedural and institutional blockades in sanctioning funds, Poor cost-benefit ratio while sanctioning projects, lack of funding to local bodies, delay in releasing funds, allocating funds to particular scheme though it’s not necessary i.e. general allocation but there is no specific region-based funding.

Examples:

  1. Central grants to local bodies transferred through state finance ministry. There is delay in releasing funds to local bodies though centre releasing funds
  2. Certain diseases are prone to only north Indian states but central govt allocates funds to every state to prevent such diseases
  3. March rush – Ministries and departments try to spend allocated funds before the financial year without looking pros and cons.
  • Misappropriation – Diverting funds to binamis, trusts, societies and blocking projects to get implement intentionally to get more funds

Examples: MPLADS funds diverts to trusts and societies named on binamis of MP

 

WAYS TO STRENGTHEN PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT:

  • Transparency – Ensure transparency in public expenditure through voluntary declaration of information. And implementation of RTI act in letter & spirit.

Examples: Jan Soochana Portal of Rajasthan state – the government Information about all the schemes implemented in the ward / panchayat should be provided in one place.

  • Accountability – Accountability of officials enhances answerability and enforceability.
  • Value for money – Every rupee spent by govt should ain at maximum social welfare.
  • Use of ICT – Usage of ICT in governance i.e., e-governance eases the governance process while awarding contracts, delivery of services and optimum utilisation of resources.

Examples: Govt e-Marketplace (GeM)- It is a dedicated e market for different goods & services procured by Government Organisations / Departments / PSUs. This meant transforming to a digital ecommerce portal for procurement and selling of goods and services.

  • Evaluation Mechanism – Without monitoring of usage of public finance led to diversion and corrupt practises. To ensure effective usage of public fund there should be an auditory mechanism.

Examples:

  1. Budgetary control by Parliamentary committees
  2. CAG audit
  3. Social audit

 

ROLE OF CAG – FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY:

  • Exercise of financial control is one of the principal responsibilities of the legislature. Parliamentary financial control on government spending is implemented in two stages:
  1. Primarily at the time of policy making
  2. Subsequently by controlling the implementation of the policy.
  • The initial parliamentary financial control is exercised through the Annual Budget Estimates of the Government for the ensuing financial year, which is presented to the House for approval.
  • The second stage, controlling the implementation of policies’ is exercised by examining that the funds voted by the Parliament Legislature have been utilised for the purpose and in the manner in which the Parliament Legislature had desired. The control is exercised through the Financial Committees in Parliament and States Legislatures. During the second stage, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) comes to the aid of Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • Audit is the principal instrument to ensure the financial accountability of the Executive to the Legislature of the Union and State. The Comptroller and Auditor General in India, has been, made responsible by the Constitution under article 148 to conduct the audit of the transactions of the Union and the States and Union Territories with Legislature.

 

DUTIES & POWERS OF CAG:

  • Audits accounts of related to all expenditure from the Consolidated funds of India and states and contingency funds of India and states.
  • Audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets
  • Receipts and expenditure of centre and states
  • Audits all transactions related to debt, deposits, advances etc
  • Advises president in financial administration
  • Submits audit reports to president/governor who shall in return places such documents before the parliament/legislature
  • Aid & Advice to Parliamentary committees.

 

Though it has powers to audit accounts of centre and states but it has no power to control public finance allocations. It is purely Advisory and auditory role.

SOCIAL AUDIT:

Social audit generally refers to engagement of the stakeholders in measuring the achievement of objectives under any or all of the activities of a government organization, especially those pertaining to developmental goals.

 

Aim: The basic aim here is to have an understanding of an activity from the perspective of the vast majority of people in society for whom the institutional/administrative system is designed and to improve upon it.

 

Various participation techniques are used to involve all stakeholders in measuring, understanding, reporting and improving the social performance of an organization or activity. The whole process is intended as a means for social engagement, transparency and communication of information, leading to greater accountability of decisionmakers, representatives, managers and officials. It can be a continuous process covering all the stages of the target activity/programme.

 

Social audit through client or beneficiary groups or civil society groups is yet another way of eliciting information on and prevention of wrong doing in procurement of products and services for government, in the distribution of welfare payments, in the checking of attendance of teachers and students in schools and hostels, staff in the hospitals and a host of other similar citizen service-oriented activities of government. This will be a useful supplement to surprise inspections on the part of the departmental supervisors.

 

OBJECTIVES OF SOCIAL AUDIT:

  • Assessing the physical and financial gaps between needs and resources available for local development.
  • Creating awareness among beneficiaries and providers of local social and productive services.
  • Increasing efficacy and effectiveness of local development programmes.
  • Scrutiny of various policy decisions, keeping in view stakeholder interests and priorities, particularly of rural poor.
  • Estimation of the opportunity cost for stakeholders of not getting timely access to public services.

 

ADVANTAGES OF SOCIAL AUDIT:

  • Trains the community on participatory local planning.
  • Encourages local democracy.
  • Encourages community participation.
  • Benefits disadvantaged groups.
  • Promotes collective decision making and sharing responsibilities.
  • Develops human resources and social capital

 

CORRUPTION AND ITS CHALLENGES:
  • Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. The word ‘corrupt’ is derived from the Latin word ‘corruptus’, meaning ‘to break or destroy’.
  • Corruption is operationally defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain or the use of public office for private gain. The corrupt behaviour would include bribery, fraud, stealing the public resources favouritism, seizure of public assets for private use, etc.
  • Second ARC report on Ethics in Governance came up with formula to define what is corruption in public life.

 

 

It is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit, ranging from grand corruption involving persons in high places to retail corruption touching the everyday life of common people.

 

FACTORS THAT PROMOTES CORRUPTION:

The factors or causes that promote the corruption affects both demand side that is public for corrupt acts as well as supply side public officials of their corrupt acts.

 

THE FACTORS FROM DEMAND SIDE i.e. PUBLIC: FACTORS FROM SUPPLY SIDE i.e. GOVT.
·         Regulations and Authorisations

·         Rigid Tax system

·         Certain spending systems

·         Availability of goods and services

 

·         Bureaucratic traditions

·         Level of public sector wages

·         Penalty provisions

·         Institutional controls

·         Transparency in laws, rules

·         Examples set by Leadership

 

It is not possible to measure corruption but it is possible to measure perceptions of corruption.

 

 

TYPES AND FORMS OF CORRUPTION:

Any asymmetry between desired conduct and actual conduct led to corrupt practices. Some of the types and their forms of corruption are:

  1. Political Corruption: Bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement etc
  2. Bureaucratic Corruption: Discrimination, Partiality, Political affiliation, Bribery, nepotism, accepting private gifts, misuse of public funds, violation of rules & regulations etc
  3. Economic Corruption: Crony Capitalism, conflict of interest etc.
  4. Behavioural corruption: Non-performance of duty, lack of discipline, no respect towards downtrodden sections of society, no moral and ethical values etc.

 

CORRUPTION IN SOUTH ASIA – TI’s CORRUPTION INDEX:

  • Corruption in South Asia occurs up-stream, not down-stream. Corruption at the top distorts fundamental decisions about development priorities, policies and projects. In industrial countries, these core decisions are taken through transparent competition and on merit, even though petty corruption may occur down-stream.
  • Most of the corrupt gains made in the South Asia region are immediately smuggled out to safe havens In other words, it is more likely that corruption money in the North Asia is used to finance business than to fill foreign accounts.
  • Third, corruption in South Asia often leads to promotion, not prison. In contrast, industrialised countries often have a process of accountability where even top leaders are investigated and prosecuted. For instance, former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi was forced to live in exile in Tunisia to escape extradition on corruption charges in Rome.
  • Fourth, corruption in South Asia occurs with 500 million people in poverty. While corruption in rich rapidly growing countries may be tolerable but in developing countries. Combating corruption in the region is not just about punishing corrupt politicians and bureaucrats but about saving human lives. There are two dimensions of corruption.

 

 

REASONS FOR HIGH CORRUPTION IN INDIA:

  • Unfair and opaque political financing
  • Lack of effective management and organisation.
  • Lack of economic stability.
  • Lack of effective leadership.
  • Usually, corrupt practice creeps in when officials enjoy power and
  • authority but have lost their self-respect. The causes for loss of self-respect could be various, ranging from insufficiency of legal remuneration to make both ends meet to constant harassment at workplace by the senior administrative or political bosses.
  • An young officer cannot retain his idealism for long if, over a period, he suffers adverse consequences in his official career because of his honesty and integrity. The honest get demoralised by frequent transfers.
  • Undue influence and interference in decision-making
  • Lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups

 

CONSEQUENCES OF CORRUPTION IN SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES:

  • Poverty: Nepotism, bribery and fraud can cause economic stagnation and deepen poverty. These corrupt practices siphon off money intended for public services, which often hits the poorest the hardest as they are most in need of social safety nets.
  • Investments: Corrupt practices scare off investors who contribute to economic development and concentrate wealth in the hands of a few.
  • Economic Growth: Corruption is on the rise in South Asia and failure to tackle it will threaten the region’s economic progress, as well as efforts to share that progress equitably. Despite 6 per cent average economic growth in the past 20 years, more than40% of the world’s poor live in South Asia.
  • Erosion of Public trust on Public offices: South Asia’s corruption epidemic is caused by opaque public institutions, lack of protection for anti-corruption actors and widespread government interference in the work of anti-corruption watchdogs.
  • Corruption is one of the main obstacles to peace, stability, sustainable development, democracy, and human rights.

 

These are the findings of a Transparency International report analysing 70 key institutions’ vulnerability to corruption in six south Asian countries – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As long as nobody brings the corrupt to justice, South Asia’s leaders run the risk that future growth only benefits the powerful, doing nothing to help the half billion South Asians who still live-in poverty.

 

MEASURES TO REDUCE CORRUPTION:

  • Economic development: The most honest countries of the world are those which are richest. The least honest countries are also the poorest.
  • Simplification of rules and procedure: Complicated rules promotes corruption.
  • Severe punishment: Expedite the disciplinary proceedings in a time bound manner.
  • Transparency: One of the main instruments to check corruption in public life is to ensure greater openness in the decision making process. Transparency in decision making will also eliminate delay. Delay is one of the reasons for payment of speed money.
  • Accountability: All services must be delivered within a time frame. Action against officers who fail to deliver services in time.
  • Incentives: Financial rewards, out of turn promotions, performance linked pay for honest officers.
  • Public campaign: Awareness campaign to change attitude of people towards corruption. Rewards to the informers/public for giving information against corrupt officers.
  • Citizens feedback: Independent agency to take feedback from the citizens. Feedback through phone, email, SMS, etc.
  • Proactive action: Laying traps, identification of illegal assets etc. needs to be done
  • Minimum tenure for officers: Reduces political-bureaucratic nexus.
  • Finally, sanction for prosecution under the Prevention of corruption Act, 1988 should not be with the Government of the day as the political executive may be subject to political and other pressures.

 

ANTI-CORRUPTION INTERVENTIONS IN INDIA:

  • Anti-corruption interventions so far made are seen to be ineffectual and there is widespread public cynicism about them. The interventions are seen as mere posturing without any real intention to bring the corrupt to book.
  • They are also seen as handy weapons for partisan, political use to harass opponents. Corruption is so deeply entrenched in the system that most people regard corruption as inevitable and any effort to fight it as futile.
  • There are two, somewhat contrary, approaches in dealing with corruption and abuse of office.
    1. Restoring ETHICS: The first approach is to overemphasis on values and character. Many people lament the decline in values and the consequent rise in corruption. The implicit assumption is that until values are restored, nothing much can be done to improve the conduct of human beings.
    2. Punishing culprits: The second approach is based on the belief that most human beings are fundamentally decent and socially conscious, but there is always a small proportion of people, which cannot reconcile individual goals with the good of society. Such deviant people tend to pursue personal gain at the cost of public good and the purpose of organized government is to punish such deviant behaviour. If good behaviour is consistently rewarded and bad behaviour consistently punished, the bulk of the people follow the straight and narrow path.

 

BEHAVIORAL FRAMEWORK FOR FIGHTING CORRUPTION:

  • Second ARC very much stressed about restoring ethical values and behavioural reforms should be undertaken to improve public service quality and to fight corruption.
  • One of the most comprehensive statements of what constitutes ethical standards for holders of public office came from the Committee on Standards in Public Life in the United Kingdom, popularly known as the Nolan Committee, which outlined the following seven principles of public life. These principles of public life are of general applicability in every democracy.
  • Arising out of such ethical principles a set of guidelines of public behaviour in the nature of a code of conduct becomes essential for public functionaries. Indeed, any person who is privileged to guide the destiny of the people must not only be ethical but must be seen to practice these ethical values.
    1. Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of public interest. Simply put, they subserve public interest as against interest of the self.
    2. Integrity: Holders of public office must insulate themselves from external influence in matters concerning official duties.
    3. Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit. The choices cannot be allowed to be made on any criteria other than merit. The requirement of recording reasons is by itself a great safeguard that inhibits the decision maker from being subjective.
    4. Accountability: Any public office is an office of trust. Therefore, public figure exercising any state function is accountable for all actions taken in performance of the functions of that office. It naturally flows from this that every act of commission or omission has to yield to scrutiny, whether by way of internal or external audit mechanism. Here audit means not just audit of accounts but cause and consequences of every state action.
    5. Openness: There is no better disinfectant than sunlight. Transparency has to be the mantra of all official acts. Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands
    6. Honesty: Those who are working in public service to be honest in dealing with private interests. It is essential that holders of public office must be obliged to declare their private interests so that they can always be held accountable in case there has been any conflict involving their public duties. This also means the assets and liabilities of public functionaries must be a matter in public domain. The mandatory declaration at the time of entry in public office and periodically, thereafter, would only ensure the kind of probity we would like to be in place.
    7. Leadership: A true leader will always lead by own example. If a leader is honest, sincere and committed to the task assigned to him, the vibes created percolate down the hierarchy cleansing the system that he controls.

 

GIFT Vs BRIBE:

  • Gift is given to someone without any expectation in return and is given as a token of gratitude or appreciation. Value of a gift is often based on closeness in relation, time of gifting, economic condition of giver and receiver.
  • Bribe is given with expectation of favour toward giver, its economic value is incoherent to closeness in relation, timing and costly. Timing of such gifts makes them bribe. Suppose a gift from someone just before you are going to roll out a tender is a bribe and not gift.
  • Reporting to department about any gifts that is received from whom, value and date details. This part is already applicable to judges in India.
  • There should be monetary limits placed on the gifts one can receive. Any gifts above certain monetary values should be avoided.
  • No gifts received with brand name should be put on desk as it will tarnish the image of official/public servant for lenient toward certain brand.
  • Provision of filing gift tax by receiver. IT department should tally the gift received as mentioned in department books and filed by receiver. Failure to file tax for gift should be taken seriously.
  • Scrutiny of gifts received by officials regularly and checking of property declaration regularly. Repeated gift from same person should be brought under directorate enforcement
  • Bribes are complex thing for receiver because it puts him into moral dilemma for how to return the favour and makes them corrupt once they receive.

 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

A conflict of interest is a situation when there is a clash between person’s public duty and private interests. Conflict of interest comes under the principle of natural justice and is not codified.

 

This Can Arise In The Following Situations:

  • Person’s conscience does not allow him to act in a manner his organisation wants him to act. Ex: Shooting a person in encounter might be against personal ethics of the officer.
  • Religious notions and customs might come against his professional course of action. Ex: A religious judge, who opposes gay marriage, encounters a gay marriage case in a country where it is legalised.
  • Person’s selfish motives might supersede organisational goals. Ex: Son of public servant working in an organisation where govt. has majority stakes.
  • The malpractices of organisation might not be acceptable to the employee. Ex: He might resort to whistleblowing.

 

Arguments Against Conflict Of Interest Law:

  • While the intention is correct, framing a law is fraught with dangers. For criminal conduct, criminal intent must be proved. This is however very difficult if not virtually impossible in such cases.
  • The legal provisions of conflict of interest are already codified in conduct rules of the many services. So, no need to create another law.
  • What should be done instead is to codify the principles which need to be followed by officials in cases of conflict of interest.
  • For example, Canada has laid down a conflict of interest and post-employment code while in the UK, MPs need to declare pecuniary interests in a register of financial interest.

 

Ways to deal with Conflict of Interest:

  • Public interest above private interest: A public servant should always work in public interest. In situations involving conflict of interest he should take a principled stand.
  • Voluntary disclosure: A public servant should voluntarily declare in situations involving conflict of interest. It will help in taking suitable steps for avoiding the conflict. It is often done by judges to resolve conflict of interest.
  • File noting: Public servants should always mention the reason for taking particular decision, in the files. This ensures greater degree of transparency and accountability.
  • Identifying risk-areas: It will help in providing clear cut guidelines to the public servants, in order to tackle conflict of interest in those situations.
  • Developing organisational culture: It will help in addressing such situations in a better manner. It will also help in motivating public servants to disclose the potential conflict of interest.
  • Asset and interest disclosure: Civil servants must report assets and liabilities when first appointed and provide updates on transactions above a certain amount. These are not made public and so far have not been accessible under the RTI Act. However, some states are working to make some information public. Disclosures are not audited, but are open to scrutiny from the CBI and CVC.
  • Regulation of gifts: Officials shall be penalised for accepting gifts while discharging duty with imprisonment and fines. The Rules prevent lavish or frequent hospitality from any individual or firm an officer has official dealings with.
  • Incompatibility provisions: Officers should not speculate in any stock, share or other investments, participate directly or indirectly in business or trade, among other measures. Civil servants are barred from taking up commercial employment for a year after retirement.
  • Political neutrality: No Government servant shall be a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.

 

POLITICAL AND ELECTORAL REFORMS:

  • Participative democracy
  • Decriminalisation of politics
  • Reducing money power in elections – State funding of elections should be studied
  • Political parties should be brought under RTI
  • Institutional autonomy – Recently Election commission of India highly criticised for being partial to ruling govt. We should maintain autonomy for this institution
  • Elections are a huge economic burden on state exchequer. Therefore, simultaneous elections to both parliament and state legislative assemblies should be studied.
  • Strengthening of Anti-defection law where power to decide on matter related to disqualification lies with election commission.

 

Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2003:

  • Parliament in 2003 unanimously enacted the Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act in a spirit of bipartisanship.
  • It took into consideration the recommendations of the Committee on Electoral Reforms (Dinesh Goswami Committee, 1990), the Committee on State Funding of Elections (Indrajit Gupta Committee, 1999) and the Law Commission of India (170th report on Reform of Electoral Laws, 1999).
  • The Act contains the following key provisions:
  • Full tax exemption to individuals and corporates on all contributions to political parties.
  • Effective repeal of Explanation I under Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act. Expenditure by third parties and political parties now comes under ceiling limits, and only travel expenditure of leaders of parties is exempt.
  • Disclosure of party finances and contributions over Rs.20,000.
  • Indirect public funding to candidates of recognized parties – including free supply of electoral rolls (already in vogue), and such items as the Election Commission decides in consultation with the union government.
  • Equitable sharing of time by the recognized political parties on the cable television network and other electronic media (public and private).

 

 

Second ARC recommendations to fight Political Corruption:

  • A system for partial state funding should be introduced in order to reduce the scope of illegitimate and unnecessary funding of expenditure for elections.
  • The issue of disqualification of members on grounds of defection should be decided by the President/Governor on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 needs to be amended to disqualify all persons facing charges related to grave and heinous offences and corruption, with the modification suggested by the Election Commission.
  • The Constitution should be amended to ensure that if one or more parties in a coalition with a common programme mandated by the electorate either explicitly before the elections or implicitly while forming the government, realign midstream with one or more parties outside the coalition, then Members of that party or parties shall have to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.
  • A collegium headed by the Prime Minister with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as members should make recommendations for the consideration of the President for appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners.
  • Special Election Tribunals should be constituted at the regional level under Article 323B of the Constitution to ensure speedy disposal of election petitions and disputes within a stipulated period of six months. Each Tribunal should comprise a High Court Judge and a senior civil servant with at least 5 years of experience in the conduct of elections (not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to Government of India/Principal Secretary of a State Government). Its mandate should be to ensure that all election petitions are decided within a period of six months as provided by law. The Tribunals should normally be set up for a term of one year only, extendable for a period of 6 months in exceptional circumstances.
  • Appropriate legislation may be enacted under Article 102(e) of the Constitution spelling out the conditions for disqualification of membership of Parliament in an exhaustive manner. Similarly, the States may also legislate under Article 198 (e).

 

POLITICAL PARTIES UNDER RTI ACT, 2005:

  • The PIL was filed in the Supreme court arguing that political parties registered with Election Commission to be brought under section 29A of Representation of People Act, 1951 to be declared as ‘public authority’ under the RTI Act, 2005.
  • Six national parties – the BJP, the Congress, the BSP, the NCP, the CPI and the CPI(M) were brought under the ambit of the RTI Act by a full bench of the Central Information Commission in 2013. (Trinamool Congress was also recognised as the seventh national party in 2016). However, the political parties have refused to entertain the RTI applications directed at them.
  • Several activists have approached the Supreme Court on the grounds of non-compliance of the CIC order and the matter is pending.

 

ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR ARGUMENT AGAINST
·         Need to ensure Transparency in Funding

·         Sprouting and deepening of crony capitalism in political discourse.

·         Black money – According to ADR, 34% of the donations have been received with no address or any other detail of the donor.

·         Illicit foreign contributions – National parties have been accepting foreign contributions despite The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.

·         Political parties are vital organs of the State – According to CIC, critical role played by these political parties point towards their public character.

·         Political parties are public authorities – The CIC held that political parties enjoy various benefits directly or indirectly like land for offices of political parties on concessional rates, allotment of free time on Doordarshan/All India Radio and supplying electoral roll copies free of cost during elections.

·         Larger Public Interest – The disclosure of the information is in larger public interest.

·         170th report of the Law Commission of India on reform of the electoral laws recommended to introduce internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in the working of the political parties.

·         Obstruct party functioning – Political parties cannot disclose their internal functioning and financial information under the Act as it will hamper their smooth functioning.

·         RTI can be a tool of misuse – RTI can become a weak spot and rivals with malicious intentions may take advantage of RTI.

·         Not ‘public authorities’ – Political parties are not established or constituted by or under the Constitution or by any other law made by Parliament. Even the registration of a political party under the 1951 Act was not the same as establishment of a government body.

·         Transparency provisions for parties already exist in the Income Tax Act, 1961, and Representation of the People Act, 1951, which demand “necessary transparency regarding financial aspects of political parties.

·         Information in public domain – Government holds the view that required information about a political body is already in the public domain on the website of the Election Commission.

·         Not envisaged in the RTI Act – According to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) when the RTI Act was enacted, it was never visualised that political parties would be brought within the ambit of the transparency law.

 

CONCLUSION – Considering the role played by the political parties in our democracy, it is important that their working be transparent in such a manner that induces trust in the whole election process. Given the fact that existing laws have not performed upto the mark in regulating the working of political parties, bringing them under the RTI with certain safeguards seems to be a logical step.

 

JUDICIAL REFORMS – RESTORING JUDICIAL INTEGRITY:

Independence of the judiciary is very much essential and vital in ethical governance. An independent judiciary enjoying public confidence is a basic necessity of the rule of law. Any conduct on the part of a judge, which demonstrates a lack of integrity and dignity, will undermine the trust reposed in the judiciary by the citizens.

 

RESTATEMENT OF VALUES OF JUDICIAL LIFE:

The Supreme Court of India in 1997 unanimously adopted a charter called the ‘Restatement of Values of Judicial Life’, generally known as the Code of Conduct for judges. It contains following provisions

  • The behaviour and conduct of members of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary.
  • A Judge should not contest the election to any office of a club, society or other association. Further he shall not hold such elective office except in a society or association connected with the law.
  • Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly those who practise in the same court, shall be eschewed.
  • A Judge should not permit any member of his immediate family, such as a spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law or any other close relative, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a cause to be dealt with by him.
  • No member of his family, who is a member of the Bar, shall be permitted to use the residence in which the Judge actually resides or other facilities for professional work.
  • A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a member of his family, a close relation or a friend is concerned.
  • A Judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.
  • A Judge is expected to let his judgments speak for themselves. He shall not give interviews to the media.
  • A Judge shall not accept gifts or hospitality except from his family, close relations and friends.
  • A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a company in which he holds shares is concerned unless he has disclosed his interest and no objection to his hearing and deciding the matter is raised.
  • A Judge shall not speculate in shares, stocks or the like.
  • A Judge should not engage directly or indirectly in trade or business, either by himself or in association with any other person.
  • A Judge should not ask for, accept contributions or otherwise actively associate himself with the raising of any fund for any purpose
  • A Judge should not seek any financial benefit in the form of a perquisite or privilege attached to his office unless it is clearly available. Any doubt in this behalf must be got resolved and clarified through the Chief Justice.

 

SECOND ARC ON JUDICIAL REFORMS:

A National Judicial Council (NJC) should be constituted, in line with universally accepted principles where the appointment of members of the judiciary should be by a collegium having representation of the executive, legislature and judiciary.

  • The Council should have the following composition: The Vice-President as Chairperson, PM, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India, Law Minister, The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha.
  • In matters relating to the appointment and oversight of High Court Judges, the Council will also include the following members: The Chief Minister of the concerned State and the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court
  • The National Judicial Council should be authorized to lay down the Code of Conduct for judges, including the subordinate judiciary.
  • The National Judicial Council should be entrusted with the task of recommending appointments of Supreme Court and High Court Judges. It should also be entrusted the task of oversight of the judges, and should be empowered to enquire into alleged misconduct and impose minor penalties. It can also recommend removal of a judge if so warranted
  • Based on the recommendations of the NJC, the President should have the powers to remove a Supreme Court or High Court Judge
  • Article 124 of the Constitution may be amended to provide for the National Judicial Council. A similar change will have to be made in Article 217. Also, since the Council is to have the authority to oversee and discipline judges, further changes will need to be made to Article 217 (Clause 4)
  • A Judge of the Supreme Court should be designated as the Judicial Values Commissioner. He/she should be assigned the task of enforcing the code of conduct. Similar arrangement should also be made in the High Court.

 

THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY BILL 2010:

This bill introduced in parliament to bring judicial integrity among the judges.

  • The Bill seeks to:
    1. Lay down judicial standards
    2. Provide for the accountability of judges
    3. Establish mechanisms for investigating individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts.
  • It also provides a mechanism for the removal of judges.
  • The Bill requires judges to practise universally accepted values of judicial life.
  • Judges will also be required to declare their assets and liabilities, and also that of their spouse and children.
  • The Bill establishes two authorities to investigate complaints against judges. The Two authorities are:
    1. National Judicial Oversight Committee – Initial complaints will be made to the Oversight Committee, and they will be referred to the Scrutiny Panel
    2. Scrutiny Panel – A Scrutiny Panel will be constituted in the Supreme Court and every High Court. If the Scrutiny Panel feels there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the judge, it shall report on its findings to the Oversight Committee. If proved, motion for removal of judge introduced in Parliament after investigation.

 

RECENT JUDGEMENTS OF SC RELATED TO RTI:

In the Central public information officer, Supreme Court of India vs Subhash Chandra Agarwal case a five-judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court (SC) declared that the Office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of RTI Act, 2005.

 

INFORMATION CAN BE DISCLOSED INFORMATION CANNOT BE DISCLOSED
·         Information about personal assets of judges and CJI is not a violation of their right to privacy.

·         Names of judges recommended by the Collegium.

·         Reasons cited by collegium for recommendation of judges

·         Information protected under Section 8 of RTI Act

 

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR FIGHTING CORRUPTION:

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988:

  • Definition of Corruption: The act does not provide a definition of corruption so act should be amended to define what is corruption and what acts does come under corrupt acts. Indirect definition of corrupt practices is paradoxically restrictive and detrimental to public interest.

 

  • Collusive Bribery: Need to dealt with by effective legal measures so that both the bribe giver and bribe taker do not escape punishment.

 

  • Sanction for prosecution – Act provides that previous sanction of the competent authority is necessary before a court take cognizance of the offences defined under various sections of the act. The objective of this provision is to prevent harassment to honest servants through malicious complaints.

 

 

  • Public servants should be made liable to pay damage for causing loss to the state or citizens by their corrupt acts. But Adequate safeguards should be provided so that bonafide mistakes should not end in award of such damages, otherwise public servants would be discouraged from taking decisions.
  • Speeding up trails under the act and fix a time limit for various stages of trail.
  • Private sector corruption should be addressed by effective enforcement of regulations on corporate governance. Brining private sector corruption within fold of PCA,1988 is neither desirable nor practical.

 

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 & Amendment act 2016:

A benami who acquired the property in the name of another person from claiming it as his own. Assets of any kind — movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents are considered it as benami transactions. As such, even gold or financial securities could qualify to be benami.

 

 

Provisions of the new act:

 

·         The new law amends the Benami Transactions Act, 1988

·         The law provides for up to seven years’ imprisonment and fine for those indulging in such transactions.

·         The amendments aim to strengthen the Act in terms of legal and administrative procedure.

·         As per the Act, properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the government, without payment of compensation.

·         An appellate mechanism has been provided under the act, in the form of an adjudicating authority and appellate tribunal.

 

Protection to Whistle-blowers:

The Whistle-blower Protection Act, which was passed in 2014 after an inordinate delay, lays down the rules that protect whistle blowers in non-corporate cases. Under this Act, the Central Vigilance Commissioner has to receive complaints, review public disclosure requests and ensure that the complainants are protected. The Act stipulates imprisonment of up to two years and fine of up to 30,000 if the complaint is false. The government has proposed a few amendments to these rules still under parliament scrutiny. Whistle- blower may himself seek transfer in case he apprehends any victimisation in the current position. Govt yet to set a mechanism to implement the act.

 

Serious Economic Offenses:

Economic offenses became high gain low risk activity. Second ARC felt that provisions in the Banking regulations act, 1949, SEBI act 1992 and companies act 1956 are not strong enough to prevent large scale fraudulent practices so there is need to define “Serious economic offence” Under a statue and prescribe punishment for it.

 

  • A Serious Frauds Office (SFO) should be set up (under the new law), to investigate and prosecute such offences. It should be attached to the Cabinet Secretariat. This office shall have powers to investigate and prosecute all such cases in Special Courts constituted for this purpose. The SFO should be staffed by experts from diverse disciplines such as the financial sector, capital and futures market, commodity markets, accountancy, direct and indirect taxation, forensic audit, investigation, criminal and company law and information technology. The SFO should have all powers of investigation as stated in the recommendation of the Mitra Committee. The existing SFIO should be subsumed in this.
  • A Serious Frauds Monitoring Committee (SFMC) should be constituted to oversee the investigation and prosecution of such offences. This Committee, to be headed by the Cabinet Secretary, should have the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Home Secretary, Finance Secretary, Secretary Banking/ Financial Sector, a Deputy Governor RBI, Secretary, Department of Company Affairs, Law Secretary, Chairman SEBI etc as members.
  • In case of involvement of any public functionary in a serious fraud, the SFO shall send a report to the Rashtriya Lokayukta and shall follow the directions given by the Rashtriya Lokayukta
  • In all cases of serious frauds, the Court shall presume the existence of mens rea of the accused, and the burden of proof regarding its non-existence, shall lie on the accused.

 

Parliamentary Privileges

NCRWC recommended Article 105(2) may be amended to clarify that the immunity enjoyed by the MPs under parliamentary privileges should not cover corrupt acts committed by them in connection with duties in the House or otherwise.

 

INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

Lokpal & Lokayukta:

  • First ARC recommended the establishment of Lokpal. After several attempts in introducing the bill, it became an act only in 2013.
  • The Lokpal is the first institution of its kind in independent India, established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of the above Act.
  • The Lokpal of India is committed to address concerns and aspirations of the citizens of India for clean governance. It shall make all efforts within its jurisdiction to serve the public interest and shall endeavor to use the powers vested in it to eradicate corruption in public life.
  • India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The commitment of the Government to provide clean and responsive governance is reflected in passing of the legislation and creation of the body of Lokpal, to contain and punish acts of corruption.

 

 

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC):

Central Vigilance Commission the principle agency for preventing corruption in the central govt. It was setup by the recommendations of Santhanam committee. It is the only designated agency to take action against complaints making motivated or vexatious complaints.

 

Role and functions of CVC: Even though detection and punishment of corruption and other malpractices are certainly important, what is more important is taking preventive measures instead of hunting for the guilty in the post corruption stage. Therefore, the role and functions of CVOs has been broadly divided in to two parts, which are (I) Preventive and (II) Punitive.

 

  1. On The Preventive Side:
    • To examine in detail the existing Rules and procedures of the Organisation with a view to eliminate or minimise the scope for corruption or malpractices
    • To identify the sensitive/corruption prone spots in the Organisation and keep an eye on personnel posted in such areas
    • To plan and enforce surprise inspections and regular inspections to detect the system failures and existence of corruption or malpractices
    • To maintain proper surveillance on officers of doubtful integrity
    • To ensure prompt observance of Conduct Rules relating to integrity of the Officers, like the Annual Property Returns, Gifts accepted by the officials, Benami transactions, regarding relatives employed in private business etc.
  1. On the punitive side:
    • To ensure speedy processing of vigilance cases at all stages.
    • To ensure that charge-sheet, statement of imputations, lists of witness and documents etc.
    • To ensure that there is no delay in the appointment of the Inquiring Officer, and that no dilatory tactics are adopted by the accused officer or the Presenting Officer
    • To ensure that the processing of the Inquiry Officer’s Reports for final orders of the Disciplinary Authority is done properly and quickly
    • To scrutinise final orders passed by the Disciplinary Authorities subordinate to the Ministry/Department, with a view to see whether a case for review is made out or not;
    • To see that proper assistance is given to the C.B.I. in the investigation of cases entrusted to them or started by them on their own source of information;
    • To take proper and adequate action with regard to writ petitions filed by accused officers;
    • To ensure that the Central Vigilance Commission is consulted at all stages where it is to be consulted and that as far as possible, the time limits prescribed in the Vigilance Manual for various stages are adhered to
    • To ensure prompt submission of returns to the Commission
    • To review from time to time the existing arrangements for vigilance work in the Ministry/Department for vigilance work subordinate officers to see if they are adequate to ensure expeditious and effective disposal of vigilance work
    • To ensure that the competent disciplinary authorities do not adopt a dilatory or law attitude in processing vigilance cases, thus knowingly otherwise helping the subject public servants, particularly in cases of officers due to retire
    • To ensure that cases against the public servants on the verge of retirement do not lapse due to time-limit for reasons such as misplacement of files etc. and that the orders passed in the cases of retiring officers are implemented in time
    • To ensure that the period from the date of serving a charge-sheet in a disciplinary case to the submission of the report of the Inquiry Officer, should, ordinarily, not exceed six months.

 

Strengthening Investigation And Prosecution:

Prosecution is a weak link in the chain of anti-corruption law enforcement and there are instances where prosecutors have facilitated the discharge of a delinquent officer. It would be desirable that the lokayuktas/ State Vigilance commissions are empowered to supervise the prosecution of corruption related cases.

 

SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Citizens’ Initiatives – Citizen charter, school awareness programmes, assessment and maintenance of ethics in public offices very effective in bringing about attitudinal changes in society.
  • False claims act – Existing provisions in the IPC not adequate to enable interested citizens and civil society groups to approach courts for recovery of proceeds of corruption and provide share of proceeds. There is need for legislation on the lines of US false claims act, which will make it possible to seek legal relief for the recover of the proceeds of the corruption cases. Such law would help in curbing corruption where the fraud has been committed in collusion with a public servant. But more important, such a law would help in building a culture of fair play in private and public organisations.
  • Role of Media – Free media crucial role in the prevention, monitoring and control of corruption
  • Social audit – Should be made operational guidelines of all schemes.

 

 

SYSTEMIC REFORMS:

  • Promoting competition – Element of competition in the provision of public services is thus a very useful to curb corruption. However, deregulating one area may increase corruption elsewhere. Therefore, regulating mechanism to ensure performance as per prescribed standards so that public interest is protected.
  • Simplifying transactions – Most of the procedures dealing with permissions, licenses and registrations. A single window clearance of all requirements or one-stop service centres is a step which can cut down corruption as it simplifies procedures and reduces layers.
  • Use of ICT – There are successful stories of e-governance like railway ticket booking. Therefore, lack of good infrastructure and inadequate capability of the personnel have proved to be major bottlenecks in the spreads of e-governance. They should be reskilled and familiarize the relevant processes.
  • Integrity Pacts (By Transparency International) – It is an agreement between the public agency involved in procuring goods and services and the bidder for a public contract to the effect that bidders have not paid and shall not pay any illegal gratifications to secure the contract in question. This pact involve oversights and scrutiny by independent, outside observers. It will help in promoting transparency and creating confidence in public.
  • Reducing discretion – There are large number of activities where discretion can be totally eliminated. All such activities could be automated and supported by IT.
  • Ensuring Accessibility and Responsiveness – Concentration of tasks within few hands should be avoided as they are prone to corrupt activities. As far as possible, they are broken down into different officers and Public interaction should be limited to head of office or some designated officers. This can be supported by single window front office for providing information.
  • Monitoring complaints – We are having complaint monitoring system but that system rarely do its job. Setting up deadlines to solve such complaints and end results should be achieved within time frame.
  • Intelligence gathering – A supervisory officer should gather the intelligence and asses the integrity of his/her subordinates based on his/her handling of cases, complaints and feedback from different sources.
  • Vigilance network – There are large number of disciplinary and criminal cases relating to corruption pending with various authorities. It would be desirable to create a national database of such cases, which should be in public domain. CVC may take the lead in establishing such a networked database.
  • Audit – Along with CAG and AG audits, forensic audits should be conducted to monitor irregularities.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS:

Theme Question Year
Concept of public service What do you understand by the term ‘public servant’? Reflect on the expected role of public servant. 2019
Philosophical basis of

governance and probity

What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government. 2019
Challenges of corruption

 

“Non-performance of duty by a public servant is a form of corruption”. Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer. 2019
Information Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information. There is a view that the Official Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of Right to Information Act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss. 2019
Citizen’s Charters Explain the basic principles of citizens charter movement and bring out its importance. 2019
Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. 2018
Challenges of corruption What is meant by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. 2018
Information Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information  “The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. 2018
Challenges of corruption

 

Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. 2017

 

Work culture

 

Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organisation. Discuss. 2017
Citizen’s Charters

 

Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. 2017
Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission. 2016

 

Information Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information

 

Some recent developments such as introduction of RTI Act, media and judicial activism, etc., are proving helpful in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. However, it is also being observed that at times the mechanisms are misused. Another negative effect is that the officers are now afraid to take prompt decisions. Analyze this situation in detail and suggest how this dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized. 2015

 

Information Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information Today we find that in spite of various measures like prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanisms, corrupt practices are not coming under control. A) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications. B) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace. 2015
Challenges of corruption

 

Public servants are likely to confront with the issues of ‘Conflict of Interest’. What do you understand by the term ‘Conflict of Interest’ and how does it manifest in the decision making by public servants? If faced with the conflict of interest situation, how would you resolve it? Explain with the help of examples. 2015

 

Philosophical basis of governance and probity

 

What do you understand by ‘probity’ in public life? What are the difficulties in practicing it in the present times? How can these difficulties be overcome? 2014
Challenges of corruption

 

It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples. 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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