All bureaucrats & technocrats must declare assets

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It’s time to declare their assets by all Government officers whether holding constitutional or administrative posts. The officers include Secretaries and retired bureaucrats.

Many bureaucrats on condition of anonymity spoke to Bureaucracy Today about the matter post- the Anna Hazare movement. The majority of them said the Government must ask all senior officers, including Secretary-level ones, to declare their assets as well as those officers who are retired but serving on important constitutional posts in the country. “Why is the Government partial to the junior officers only?” asked a Joint Secretary.

“The retired bureaucrats who have been reappointed on constitutional or administrative posts and technocrats must be made to disclose their property details on the official website. Also in future while appointing retired bureaucrats on such important posts their assets should be displayed on the website simultaneously”, demanded another officer from the Indian Revenue Service.

After almost two months of delay the Centre has finally sent the last notice to the bureaucrats who haven’t declared their assets. The deadline for declaring the assets is April 20 failing which the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) will not give Vigilance Clearance for the promotion of such officers.

The DoPT confirmed to Bureaucracy Today that “the last date for the declaration of assets for serving officers was February 15 this year. Then it was extended but still there are some bureaucrats who haven’t declared their assets. The final notice of April 20 has been sent to them. The names of defaulters will also be put on the website after the last date. The decision has been taken by the Government as this time it has to put this list in the public domain”.

We spoke to many bureaucrats. Most of them welcomed the move as constructive in removing corruption in the Government. However, there are some officers who were reluctant about declaring their assets in the public domain. Bureaucracy Today strongly supports the latest move by the Government.

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India is able and willing to fight back

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As the country continues to fight corruption and somehow keeps the momentum of growth going, some public and private entities are working hard to restore the faith of aam aadmi in the system. Despite the red tape and bribery pulling them down, some have managed not only to stay up but perform and shine in due course.

Gandhian Anna Hazare today called off his hunger strike bringing to an end his 98 hour protest after government issued a gazette notification constituting a 10-member Joint Committee of ministers and civil society activists, including him, to draft an effective Lok Pal Bill.

Curtains were drawn on the anti-corruption campaign that drew instant nationwide support with a little girl giving the 73-year-old activist a glass of water at 10.45 am at Jantar Mantar, the nerve-centre of the agitation for a strong legislation to combat political and administrative graft.

Earlier, Hazare offered water to some women, among the over 300 activists who had joined the fast. Social activists Swami Agnivesh, Medha Patkar and Kiran Bedi hailed Hazare’s campaign as the Gandhian said he would to continue the fight for the “second struggle for independence”.

It is heartening to know that plans for reforming the Public Sector enterprises are on the way which may change the way appointments, reshuffles and tenures are decided in PSEs. For the first time Independent Directors on board of a Public Sector Unit would be made accountable for his work. This is a welcome initiative and hoping it gets on track soon.

Also, it is heartening to see police officers doing their jobs with steadfast earnestness without wasting time, which often leads to erosion of faith in the Police Department. HGS Dhaliwal, DCP, South Delhi, is one such officer who managed to solve the Radhika Tanwar daylight shooting case within a week itself. Already the capital has earned itself the title of most unsafe city for women this would do a bit to restore some faith.

Thankfully we have seasoned officers at the helm of affairs to look after and revive sick PSEs and bring them on track. Nitish Sengupta, Chairman, BRPSE, has earned the nickname as the doctor who can cure any and every sick PSU deserves it every bit. Wishing he could do something to wipe out corruption too from the system.

Same is the case of the Steel Authority of India and its Chairman and Managing Director, CS Verma, who are on the verge of global glory as they reach out to foreign shores and acquire companies abroad. With five iconic steel plants, the company is now looking forward to markets abroad and acquiring assets there. The SAIL Vision 2020 document mentions that the company plans to forge ahead with new plans to expand capacity, modernize and become a global player in steel. All the best to the team as this would be a matter of pride if SAIL manages to attain what it has planned. Already it is the sole supplier of railway tracks in the country, hoping it manages to become a major player at the international level.