Sunday, July 04, 2010

Minister wants clean-up, but HRD bureaucrats don’t

HRD MInister Kapil Sibal may want to clean up corruption in education but his officers are in no hurry to act against others from their fraternity according to the vigilance wing of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). In a scathing letter received by officers up to the rank of joint-secretary in the ministry, the vigilance wing of the ministry has said babus (bureaucrats) were “shirking” investigative work following complaints of corruption. Officers are giving "last priority" to vigilance work assigned to them, states the letter which is understood to have been blessed by Sibal, who is keen to make the cleansing of education his signature initiative.

Each union ministry has a vigilance wing that coordinates with the Central Vigilance Commission to probe allegations of corruption and malpractices against central government employees. The vigilance wing then assigns cases to officers in the ministry — not from the vigilance wing — to conduct preliminary enquiries within a month. But officers take months to submit reports on enquiries and sometimes request the vigilance wing to assign the task to other colleagues.

Complaints against former Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan commissioner Ranglal Jamuda, received months before he retired last year, are still to see any outcome, sources said. Complaints against director of Rashtriya Sankrit Sansthan and the Director of IIT-Delhi are also pending.

Officers who have received the letter, however, dismissed suggestions that delay in probing cases was related to a reluctance to probe administrators. “That would be a simplistic and incorrect conclusion to draw. Yes, we may be uncomfortable probing people we know, but we are professionals and try our best to perform tasks assigned to us,” a senior officer said.

HRD ministry officers argue they are as of now overstretched. "You look at our workload today as compared to just two years back, and you would see that it is next to impossible to complete all work on time", another officer said.

The MHRD’s workload has expanded over the past two years, following an increase in the number of institutions and schemes. India has 40 central universities today, as compared to just 25 two years back. It also has to tackle challenges thrown up by the Right to Education law and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.

Source: Hindustan Times, July 4, 2010

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