PIB – 11th Feb 2021

Measures to combat corruption

Government of India, in pursuance of its commitment to “Zero Tolerance Against Corruption” has taken several measures to combat corruption which, inter alia, include:

  1. Systemic improvements and reforms to provide transparent citizen-friendly services and reduce corruption. These, inter alia, include:
    1. Disbursement of welfare benefits directly to the citizens under various schemes of the Government in a transparent manner through the Direct Benefit Transfer initiative.
    2. Implementation of E-tendering in public procurements.
    3. Introduction of e-Governance and simplification of procedure and systems.
    4. Introduction of Government procurement through the Government e- Marketplace (GeM).
  2. Discontinuation of interviews in recruitment of Group ‘B’ (Non-Gazetted) and Group ‘C’ posts in Government of India.
  3. Invocation of FR-56 (j) and AIS (DCRB) Rules, 1958 for retiring officials from service in public interest whose performance has been reviewed and found unsatisfactory.
  4. The All India Services (Disciplinary and Appeal) Rules and Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules have been amended to provide for specific timelines in the procedure related to disciplinary proceedings.
  5. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has been amended on 26.07.2018. It clearly criminalizes the act of giving bribes and will help check big ticket corruption by creating a vicarious liability in respect of senior management of commercial organizations.
  6. Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), through various orders and circulars recommended adoption of Integrity Pact to all the organizations in major procurement activities and to ensure effective and expeditious investigation wherever any irregularity / misconduct is noticed.
  7. The institution of Lokpal has been operationalised by appointment of Chairperson and Members. Lokpal is statutorily mandated to directly receive and process complaints as regards alleged offences against public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
  • In addition, the CVC as an apex integrity institution has adopted a multi-pronged strategy and approach to combat corruption, which encompasses punitive, preventive and participative vigilance.

Safety Measures for Passengers

The following steps are being taken by the Railways in coordination with Government Railway Police for safety and security of passengers in trains and at stations:-

  1. On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, trains are escorted by Railway Protection Force in addition to trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different States daily.
  2. Railway Help Line number 139 is operational (24×7) over Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers in distress.
  3. Through various social media platforms viz. twitter, facebook etc., Railways are in regular touch with passengers including women to enhance security of passengers and to address their security concern.
  4. Frequent announcements are made through the Public Address System to educate passengers to take precautions against theft, snatching, drugging etc.
  5. An Integrated Security System (ISS) consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanisms over 202 railway stations.
  6. Drives are conducted against entry of unauthorized persons in trains and railway premises.
  7. Station Security Plan is being implemented at major stations in a phased manner to enhance access control, improve surveillance and achieve synergy between deployment of various security agencies on the station.
  8. CCTV cameras have been provided in 2931 coaches and 668 Railway stations for enhancing security of passengers.
  9. Emergency Talk Back System and Closed Circuit Television Surveillance Cameras have been provided in ladies compartments/coaches of all newly manufactured Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) and Air-conditioned rakes of Kolkata Metro.

Parliament today passes landmark Major Port Authorities Bill,2020

  • Parliament passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020. Now the Bill will go  to the President of India for his assent.
  • With a view to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 bill aims at decentralizing decision making and to infuse professionalism in governance of major ports. 
  • It imparts faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability. 
  • The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.
  • This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports.

The salient features of the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 are as under: –

  1. The Bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
  2. The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests. A compact Board with professional independent Members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning. 
  3. The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined. The Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariffs which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff- based on market conditions. The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
  4. An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports.
  5. The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 instances.
  6. The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create a specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.
  7. Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.
  8. Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports

Suicides amongst Police Officers

  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) conducted a study in 2004 into the factors causing stress in forces and suggested remedial measures. 
  • The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad did a similar study in 2012 for Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). BPR&D has also undertaken a research study on “Comparative Analysis of Attrition and Suicide Cases in CAPFs and Corrective Measures” through the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) in September, 2020. 
  • Improvement of working conditions of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles (AR) personnel is a constant endeavor and instructions in this regard are issued by the Ministry as and when required. The issue is also reviewed by the Government from time to time in consultation with professional agencies. Some of the measures taken to check such incidents and to improve working conditions of CAPFs/ARs personnel are given below:-
  1. Transparent policies pertaining to transfer and leave of CAPFs and AR personnel. The hospitalization period due to injuries while on duty is treated as on duty. Choice posting is considered to the extent possible after the personnel served in a hard area.
  2. Regular interaction of officers with troops to find out and redress their grievances.
  3. Ensuring adequate rest and relief by regulating the duty hours.
  4. Improving living conditions for troops, providing adequate recreational/entertainment, sports, communication facilities etc. Crèche facility is also provided at various establishments (where feasible) to facilitate the female employees.
  5. Facility of retention of government accommodation at the place of last posting(for keeping the family) while posted in North Eastern (NE) States, Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) and Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas (except State Capitals)
  6. Providing better medical facilities, organizing talks with specialists to address their personal and psychological concerns and organizing Meditation & Yoga routinely for better stress management.
  7. Adequately compensating the troops deployed in difficult areas.
  8. Other welfare measures like the facility of Central Police Canteen (CPC), scholarship for wards etc.
  9. Air travel to non-entitled class of personnel in J&K. Also Air courier service has been provided to CAPF personnel deployed in NE States, J&K as a welfare measure.
  10. Designating retired CAPF personnel as ex-CAPF personnel for better identity and community recognition.
  11. Promotions are released regularly to eligible personnel as and when the vacancies arise. Financial benefits under Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) are given in case promotion does not take place for want of vacancies on completion of 10, 20 & 30 years of service.
  • Regarding State police forces, the Central Government has been persuading the States for implementation of various police reforms, including those relating to appropriate pay, working hours and promotional prospects of Constables, provision of housing and manpower & basic facilities in police stations.
  • Under the scheme of Assistance to States for Modernisation of Police, implementation  of  police reforms  is also  being incentivized,  which   inter alia include police reforms like “Outsourcing of peripheral and non-policing activities”, “computerization of police stations” and “Replacement of orderly system by system”  to reduce burden on State police personnel.