As reported by Ravikiran Deshmukh and Abhijit Sathe at mumbaimirror.com on February 06, 2011

Here’s more power to you to tackle corruption in government offices. The corruption eradication committees, which already exist at regional, district and taluka level, will have more teeth.

The Democratic Front government has decided that these committees can recommend departmental inquiries against errant government Officers and can even get their annual confidential reports marked for their wrongdoings.

Besides the Right to Information Act, this tool will be an additional help to deal with corruption. These committees will evaluate evidence provided, including documentary evidence generated through RTI replies, and take action against the guilty.

Parallel to police

Until now, the conventional manner of tackling corruption cases was to approach the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Besides being a time-consuming process, there was an element of mistrust on complainant’s part where the ACB was concerned since the organisation ultimately functions under the police umbrella.

So, the state has created a parallel anti-corruption structure to the existing Anti Corruption Bureau by allowing corruption eradication committees to look into complaints of corruption and misconduct.

People-friendly

“The procedures of ACB are very lengthy. Moreover, they deal only with the prosecution aspect. This discourages complainants,” a former director general of police with the Anti-Corruption Bureau told Mumbai Mirror.

“The corruption eradication committees will deal with secondary aspects like departmental inquiries and annual confidential reports, but can provide immediate relief to complainants. Hence, they will be more people-friendly.”

The new structure will be fashioned along the lines of a panchayat and will be more democratic in nature.

The anti-corruption committees will comprise members from various strata of society - officials from various departments, nominated members of public, social workers, elected representatives and members of NGOs.

The government has said persons nominated by social worker Anna Hazare can also be on the committee.

If a committee concludes on the basis of evidence that a particular official has been involved in any wrongdoing or corruption, it can immediately seek a departmental inquiry against him/her.

Besides, it can ensure that the case is highlighted in the officer’s annual confidential report - a summary which charts a government employee’s service performance.