By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Despite a commitment made by Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma on the floor of the House during the last Assembly session in March, the State Government is yet to take any initiative for constituting an independent State Vigilance Commission (SVC).
The Chief Minister’s assurance for constitution of the SVC was primary aimed at checking corruption among Government officials and also to ensure declaration of assets by State government employees including politicians.
Sources in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Wednesday claimed that bureaucrats from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) have been declaring their assets, adding that it was necessary for State civil servants also to declare their assets.
Last week, the Central government had warned of punitive action against nearly 200 IAS officers who had failed to declare their assets by June 2011.
All Union ministries and departments in the Central government have been asked to call for explanation from such officers who have not submitted their Immovable Property Returns (IPRs) for the year 2010.
Reportedly, around 208 IAS officers were yet to declare information regarding assets, I-T returns and assets of dependants.
“As per their service rules, IAS officials are required to submit their IPRs in January every year,” the DoPT sources said. On the assurance of the Chief Minister in the Assembly that State Government employees should also declare their assets, the sources added, “As of today, the matter is still at its infancy stage and under examination.”
It may be mentioned that on March 16 this year during the Budget session, Dr Sangma had assured that the government would think of mandatory declaration of assets by all government employees apart from politicians. Dr Sangma had said this while replying to a question raised by Mawprem legislator Manas Chaudhuri who sought to know if the Government would adopt a clean and transparent system of governance by asking its employees to declare their assets.
“As the tribal population in Meghalaya is not subject to income tax returns, we will take a call on declaration of assets by both politicians as well as the government employees,” Dr Sangma had told legislators on the floor of the House.
Moreover, the Chief Minister had assured that all aspects would be taken into consideration so that an independent Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is appointed and should function independently.
Dr Sangma, while admitting that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was not an autonomous body as of now, had assured that an independent CVC would be appointed so that the ACB could be further strengthened in the State.
It may be reminded that former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma had also demanded for appointment of an independent CVC and setting up an autonomous vigilance body in the State.
Sangma had pointed out that the Chief Secretary of the State, who is the ex-officio, is the CVC in the State at present but he is pre-occupied and busy with various official assignments. Sangma also demanded that there should be vigilance officer in each and every government department to keep a tap against corruption.
KHNAM legislator Paul Lyngdoh had also sought for a panel comprising members from both the ruling and the opposition bench for the selection of an autonomous CVC in the State.