News Excerpt
The Railway Board has directed its vigilance officials to follow due diligence while investigating cases by giving an opportunity to suspect employees to give their version.

•    The Central Vigilance Commissioner is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the selection committee consisting of the prime minister as its chairperson, and the Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, as its members.
•    The tenure of CVC chief is of four years or till the incumbent attains the age of 65 years.
•    It is a statutory body empowered to inquire into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by public servants.
•    It was set up on the recommendation of the Santhanam Committee.
•    CVC has no investigation wing of its own as it depends on the CBI and the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVO) of central organizations.
•    The CVC observed the vigilance awareness week from October 27 to November 2 with the theme 'Satark Bharat, Samriddh Bharat' (Vigilant India, Prosperous India).
•    This is observed every year during the week in which the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, October 31 falls.

Integrity Pact
    According to the Commission, an “Integrity Pact” is a vigilance tool that envisages an agreement between the prospective vendors/bidders and the buyer, committing both the parties not to exercise any corrupt influence on any aspect of the contract. The pact is also to ensure transparency, equity and competitiveness in public procurement.
    The Central Vigilance Commission has amended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on adoption of “Integrity Pact” in government organisations for procurement activities, and restricted the maximum tenure of Integrity External Monitors (IEMs) to three years in an organisation.
    The order revises the SOP issued in January 2017. Amended provision states that the choice of IEM should be restricted to officials from the government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) who have retired from positions of the level of Secretary to the Central government or of equivalent pay scale.
    The IEMs independently and objectively review the documents to determine if the parties have complied with their obligations under the pact. They may submit a report to the chief executive of the organisation concerned or directly to the CVO and the CVC, if they find serious irregularities attracting the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions.

Limitations of CVC
    It has been accused to be a powerless agency, at best an advisory body, only with no power to register criminal case against government officials or direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above.
    It lacks adequate manpower and financial resources and also the power to take action on complaints of corruption.

Systemic checks, effective audit, capacity building and training for a holistic approach should be the leading tools towards fighting corruption. Preventive vigilance is always better than punitive vigilance.

Lokpal and the Lokayuktas, National Investigation Agency, National Disaster Management Authority, Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014, Central Bureau of Investigation, Railway Boards, Railway Zones