Chief Vigilance Officers
Vigilance Units in Ministries/Departments/Public Undertakings
The Central Vigilance Commission is a compact organization and functions through the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) within each Ministry /Department /Organisation and the vigilance units constitute an important feature of the scheme for ensuring probity and integrity in public administration. These vigilance units are headed by CVOs and the Commission considers them as an extension of its own set-up for the purpose of exercising check and supervision on vigilance and anti-corruption work. Their importance is particularly underlined by the fact that nearly 75% of the cases referred to the Commission for advice are those investigated by the CVOs. A CVO is, therefore, an important field functionary in the vigilance set-up. Though the responsibility for the maintenance of efficiency and integrity amongst public servants rests with the Head of the Department/Chief Executive of the organisation concerned, the CVO provides expert assistant in advising him in this important field. The CVO is required to handle all vigilance matters concerning his organisation.
Selection and Appointment of Chief Vigilance Officers
All departments/organisations to which the advisory jurisdiction of the Commission extends are required to appoint an officer not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India or equivalent as CVO after obtaining prior approval of the Commission. The only exception is that the administrative authorities can make short term arrangements, on their own for a period not exceeding three months. For this ad-hoc arrangement, the organisations are, however, required to give intimation to the effect to the Commission. However, no person whose appointment as a CVO is objected by the Commission can be so appointed. The CVO once appointed cannot be changed before the expiry of his tenure, except on administrative grounds like transfer, promotion etc., and under explicit approval of the Commission.
The CVO in an organisation discharges the onerous responsibility of maintaining probity and integrity in his organisation. The Commission, therefore, considers it important that the CVO should not only be objective and impartial in his dealings but should also be seen to be so. In this context, the Commission endeavours to select only those officers for this assignment who have an unblemished record of service.
The Commission during the year under report considered the suitability of 472 officers recommended by the administrative authorities for appointment to the post of CVO in different organisations
As indicated earlier the main objective is to ensure that an officer working as a CVO in an organisation is in a position to handle the matters objectively and impartially. The following main criteria have been evolved to ensure this.
The CVO in an organisation should be, as far as possible, from outside the organisation in which he is to be appointed so as to inspire confidence in his impartiality without being encumbered on account of past association;
- Once an officer has worked as CVO in an organisation, he should not be allowed to go back as CVO to the same organisation again; and
- An officer appointed from outside as CVO shall not be absorbed in the same organisation on expiry or in continuation of his tenure as CVO in that organisation.
Tenure for Appointment of CVO
The latest guidelines evolved by the Government under Department of Personnel and Training's O.M.No.372/7/97-AVD-III dated 7.8.98 for appointment of CVOs is as follows:-
- The full-time CVOs appointed from outside on deputation basis in public sector undertakings have been uniformly allowed an initial tenure of three years extended up to a further period of two years in the same public sector undertakings or up to a further period of three years on transfer to another public sector undertaking. Such arrangements, however, has to have the approval of the Central Vigilance Commission.
- The tenure of the officers appointed as CVOs in public sector banks has been laid down to be three years, which may be extended or reduced at the discretion of the government in consultation with the CVC
- The normal tenure in respect of officers appointed as CVOs from within an organisation has also been prescribed to be three years extendable by another two years with the specific approval of the Commission.
Assessment Of Work Of Chief Vigilance Officers
The Commission has been empowered to assess the work of CVOs working full time as well as CVOs working part time in various organisations and record such assessment in their confidential character rolls. The practice earlier followed was to record such assessment on a separate sheet, which was later added to the confidential character roll of the officer concerned. A review of this practice indicated that it did not enable the Commission to assess the work of a CVO in its total perspective. In order to streamline the procedures it was decided by the Government that the annual confidential reports in respect of Chief Vigilance Officers in public sector banks as also of officers of All India Services/Central Services working as CVOs in public sector undertakings/organisations whether on full-time or part-time basis shall be initiated by the Chief Executive concerned, reviewed at an appropriate level in the administrative Ministry/Department and forwarded to the Central Vigilance Commissioner for his final observations as the Accepting Authority. The revised procedure has enabled the Commission to have a direct appreciation of the performance of a CVO and to record such assessment on the body of the annual confidential report itself. This also inspires confidence in the CVOs that their efforts to combat corrupt and improper practices are properly appreciated.
Incentives for CVOs
The vigilance set up in most of the Public Sector Undertakings are skeletal and out of the sanctioned posts, approximately 25% remain vacant at any given point of time and takes considerable long time to fill them up. One of the important factors due to which the posts of CVOs and lower vigilance functionaries in PSUs are not filled up is the onerous nature of the job. The posts need to be made more attractive and less risk-prone by granting monetary and non-monetary incentives to the officers. In order to address this problem, the Commission has made the following suggestions to the Government for consideration:
- The officers selected as CVOs in PSU may be given a grade higher than in their parent grade as in the case of Banks and Insurance Companies.
- Protecting the perquisites available in the parent organisations, since these vary widely inter se organisations.
- Protect the promotional prospects of the vigilance staff by ensuring that they cannot be superseded in the normal course; making a stint in vigilance work at some point in their career essential or preferred qualifications to carry a suitable weightage in promotions to posts above certain levels.
- On reversion to the parent cadre, plan for postings so as to avoid chances of victimisation.
- Ensuring free flow of vigilance sensitive information to the CVOs duly streamlining the reporting channels.
The Commission attaches considerable importance for imparting proper training to the CVOs of the organisations. The Commission itself organises training courses for CVOs. These training courses are normally conducted on quarterly basis for the newly appointed CVOs in order to acquaint them with the procedures, practices and techniques in the filed of vigilance administration.
Training for other vigilance personnel like Investigating Officers, Presenting Officers and Inquiry Officers is normally arranged by the concerned organisations. However, the Commission provides guidance required to conduct such training courses.
[End of Module - Anti-Corruption Agencies in Central Government-Role and Function ]