Note raises questions on legality of decisions made in the past and pending cases
In what could be a major setback to the Vigilance Directorate of the Railways, Principal Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Sanjeev Sanyal has said the organisation is functioning in violation of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines.
Railway sources said the Principal Economic Adviser’s note raises questions on the legality of the decisions made in the past and pending cases of the Vigilance Directorate relating to allegations of corruption and other irregularities involving thousands of employees, including senior officers, in the past.
In his report on the ‘Rationalisation of Government Bodies and Proposal for the Ministry of Railways’, Mr. Sanyal said the Railways had the largest Vigilance Directorate in the Central government with over 1,170 personnel, including 192 officers. But the administrative structure is not compliant with the CVC guidelines.
While the CVC had mandated in its circular issued in 2001 that the Chief Vigilance Officer of an organisation should be external, the post is being appointed with internal officers in the railways. “In fact, all posts in the Vigilance Directorate of the Railways, except Director Vigilance which is filled from the Indian Police Service, are internal. Further, in many cases, these Vigilance Officers have tenures longer that what is permitted by the CVC. This is in violation of the CVC guidelines…,” he noted.
In its recommendations, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, the expert panel headed by Mr. Sanyal said the Railways should ensure that the Vigilance Directorate adhered to the CVC guidelines. In case certain roles required technical skills that necessitated internal appointments, such posts should be identified and clearly notified.
The Railways is one of the largest employers with over 12 lakh staff and officers. Though the CVC guidelines prescribe that the CVO should be appointed from other Ministries for a certain tenure, the post in the rank of a Senior Deputy General Manager is filled internally. The organisation deals with allegations of corruption, misappropriation of funds, abuse of official power and other irregularities and recommends punishments ranging between stoppage of increments and dismissal.
Merger of Directorates
The report also said the number of Directorates in the Railway Board be reduced from 52 by merging Directorates that had similar functions. It was recommended that the Traffic Transportation Directorate be merged with the Traffic Commercial Directorate, Economics with Statistics & Economics, Tourism & Catering with Heritage, Infrastructure with Land & Amenities and Accounts, Accounting Reforms, Finance, Finance (Budget), Finance (Expenditure) be merged into one as Finance & Accounts Directorate.
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