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The E-governance Muddle – Ring-Fencing the Good – The Larger Question

Posted by egovernance on January 10, 2007

The E-governance Muddle
What was expected to bring transparency in government transactions has got mired in a slew of allegations. Dataquest probes the charges made by an IAS officer against his own clan…
Shubhendu Parth
Friday, September 02, 2005

http://www.dqindia.com/content/DQTop20_05/BestEmployers2005/2005/105090203.asp

Ring-Fencing the Good

http://www.dqindia.com/content/industrymarket/newsanalysis/2005/105102801.asp

The Larger Question

http://www.dqindia.com/content/spotlight/2005/105111001.asp

http://www.dqindia.com/content/spotlight/2005/105111001.asp

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E-Governance efforts in Kerala : CAG indicting IKM // A local state affair is now part of a global corrupt mafia !

Posted by egovernance on January 8, 2007

E-Governance efforts in Kerala : CAG indicting IKM

http://cag.nic.in/cag_reports/kerala/rep_2004/LB_08_CHAPTER_IV_.pdf
is the original document of Comptroller and Auditor General indicting 
(the most dubious e-governance project in the subcontinent) IKM and 
Government (exposing the links that senior IAS officials have with the 
project and Microsoft).

"A review of the implementation of the project was conducted by Audit 
during February – July 2003 with reference to records in IKM 
headquarters, one Grama Panchayat2 and two Municipal Corporations3. The bilingual 
data base in SQL4 Server in MS Access format was analysed using 
Computer Assisted Audit Technique and sample test method."
==> Project clearly involves proprietary corporate solution.

"Government stated (July 2004) that the unutilised Central assistance 
of Rs 25.72 crore released during March 2003, according to ways and 
means position, had been deposited in the PD account of the Director of 
Panchayats. As IKM had utilised only Rs 2.37 crore during 2003-04, there 
was no justification to release funds of that magnitude to them."
==> (in this period we have farmers committing suicides)

"Wasteful expenditure of Rs 69.78 lakh to train technical persons                                                           
The expenditure of Rs 69.78 lakh incurred on selection, training and 
stipend to the apprentice trainees had become a waste. The Government 
stated (November 2004) that the expenditure incurred on training of 
technical persons was insignificant compared to substantial cost
benefits that would accrue from BOLT mode. The reply is not tenable as 
the wasteful expenditure represented 22% of funds earmarked for 
training (Rs 3.15 crore).."
==> 3.15 crore for training - includes food, accommodation, travel and 
campfire expenses - truly 5 star for a State like Kerala.

"Though the administrative control of IKM was transferred from the SPB 
to LSGD in July 2001, no fresh agreement was executed between C-DIT and 
LSGD for continuation of the project after 31 March 2001.  Government 
stated (November 2004) that steps were taken to sign the MoU between 
C-DIT and LSGD with effect from April 2001. Such agreement with
retrospective effect will not serve the desired purpose."
==> Conspiracy between State Planning Board and Local Self Government 
Department

"In the absence of higher level suitable provision for validation of 
data at an upper level, there was a risk of issuing incorrect 
certificates, as the integrity of the data input cannot be                       
vouchsafed. "
==> Even if it is technically corrected, the platforms and standards 
are proprietary and the risk  would only continue.

"The Government stated (November 2004) that online operation of 
Soochika and Sevana had commenced. But online operation of Sulekha, Sanchaya 
and Samkhya is yet to start."
==> IKM presenting plain lies before public with Government approval.

"Due to inadequate controls for authorizing and capturing system access 
logs, the security of the system cannot be vouchsafed."
==> Since freedom to access software components is missing, security is 
not there and can never be there.

All this and more at 
http://cag.nic.in/cag_reports/kerala/rep_2004/LB_08_CHAPTER_IV_.pdf
========
As of now, the Executive Mission Director of IKM has been promoted to 
be Chairman of IKM and is a member of State Planning Board. The earlier 
Planning Secretary, SPB is now Secretary to LSG Department (under whose 
control now IKM also comes). ==> simple switching theory.

CK Raju
Thrissur
______________________________


A local state affair is now part of a global corrupt mafia !

 

Its not just an in-house affair, the nexus spreads it wings beyond and 
extends them to bodies like United Nations - with a different theme 
altogether.

http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/wsis-themes/ict_stories/themes/case_studies/kerala.html

A local state affair is now part of a global corrupt mafia !

CK Raju -- doxa@sancharnet.in 

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PM calls for end to corruption, cites Lage Raho…

Posted by egovernance on November 18, 2006

PM calls for end to corruption, cites Lage Raho…
Saturday November 18 2006 00:00 ISTIANS

 http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEL20061117044319&Title=Top+Stories&rLink=0

NEW DELHI: Likening corruption to a canker that would blight the system, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday called for a comprehensive approach to eliminate sleaze and emphasised that lessons must be learnt from the Bollywood blockbuster “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”.

Delivering the keynote address at a conference of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and state anti-corruption bureaus here, Manmohan Singh also announced that his government proposed to bring forward a Public Services Bill before parliament that would define a public services code of ethics and management.

While referring to the smash hit film that had brought Mahatma Gandhi back into the popular reckoning, his second mention of the Sanjay Dutt starrer in less than two months, Manmohan Singh said he was touched by one incident where a senior citizen was trying to get his pension without having to pay a bribe.

“In stripping his clothes, as an act of protest, this pensioner was stripping our system, exposing the ugly nakedness of the self-aggrandisement of those who man our institutions of governance.”

“Any system in which a retired senior citizen is required to pay a bribe to secure his legitimate dues is a most despicable system,” he emphasised, adding, “Such corruption must be visited by the sternest action to reform, restructure and rejuvenate the system.”

The prime minister had recently watched a special screening of the film along with members of his staff and family.

Some of the other provisions of the proposed bill include protecting whistleblowers and having the objective of developing public services as a professional, politically neutral, merit based, and accountable instrument for promoting good governance and better delivery of services to all citizens.

Pointing out that the level of tolerance of people to corruption in public life and administration had changed, the prime minister said he was happy that India’s ranking had improved in the global index of corruption in the last two years.

Graft watchdog Transparency International said in its report last week that India was perceived to be marginally less corrupt than in 2005 – climbing to 70 of 183 countries.

Alluding to economist Gunnar Myrdal’s book “The Asian Drama” that identified corruption as one of the constraints on development, Manmohan Singh agreed with the author’s perception that corruption in public life had contributed to India being a “soft state”.

“The scale, the typology and the mechanisms of corruption may have changed, but the problem of corruption has not gone away,” he said.

Detailing an all-inclusive strategy to combat corruption, Manmohan Singh made a fervent plea to the CBI to take a broader view of individual cases and be able to make a distinction between a “bonafide mistake” and deliberate “wrong-doing”.

Some of the other elements underlined in this plan include elimination of all discretionary controls, reforming tax systems to make it simple and transparent, modernising the justice delivery system, reform of public procurement systems both civil as well as defence, with complete transparency in the tender processes at all stages.

The Right to Information Act, he said, was also a powerful to combat corruption in public life and empower civil society.

Manmohan Singh said he believed that a Citizen’s Charter stating explicitly the rights of taxpayers and consumers of public services was important because a citizen would be able to secure his entitlement without recourse to corruption.

In a speech during his visit to South Africa last month, Manmohan Singh had made it a point to mention “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, though not by name.

“I was heartened to see recently that back home in India the most popular movie this festival season is a film about a young man discovery of the universal and timeless relevance of the Mahatma’s message.”

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Be ruthless on corruption: PM

Posted by egovernance on November 18, 2006

Be ruthless on corruption: PM
 
New Delhi, DHNS & Agencies:

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/nov182006/national23182620061117.asp

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Friday, advocated the aggressive pursuance of cases pertaining to high-level corruption to their logical ends. He also suggested reforms in the tax system, an area of high corruption, to combat the widening menace.

Dr Singh was addressing the 16th Biennial Conference on anti-corruption of the CBI on its concluding day.

“The anti-corruption machinery in the country should create deterrence against it by aggressively pursuing cases of high-level corruption to their logical end. Rapid, fair, and accurate investigation of allegations of corruption against public servants at all levels should remain a priority,” he said.

Stressing for a comprehensive strategy to reduce the scope of corruption, the Prime Minister said, “We must work out an integrated approach for dealing with corruption. Agencies like the CBI can’t operate in isolation.”

Calling for a distinction between an “honest mistake” and deliberate “wrong-doing”, Dr Singh said, “We need to have a system that protects a honest mistake. Life is full of uncertainty and in this environment, honest mistakes are unavoidable.”

He also announced that his government would bring forward a Public Services Bill before the parliament to define a public services code of ethics and management.

The provisions of the proposed bill include protection of whistleblowers and measures for developing public services as a professional, politically-neutral, merit-based and accountable instrument for promoting good governance and better delivery of services to all citizens.

Munnabhai

He also said there were lessons to be learnt for the recent hit Lage Raho Munnabhai, which had brought Mahatma Gandhi back into the public consciousness.

In his second mention of the Sanjay Dutt-starrer in less than two months, Dr Singh said he was touched by a particular scene in which a senior citizen was trying to get his pension without having to pay a bribe.

“By stripping his clothes as an act of protest, this pensioner was stripping our system — exposing the ugly nakedness of the self-aggrandisement of those who man our institutions of governance,” he said, adding:

“ Any system in which a retired senior citizen is required to pay a bribe to secure his legitimate dues is a most despicable one. Such corruption must be visited by the sternest action to reform, restructure and rejuvenate the system.”

Pointing out that the level of tolerance to corruption in public life and the administration had changed, the Prime Minister said he was happy that India’s ranking in the global index of corruption had improved over the last two years.

The Right to Information Act, he said, was also a powerful tool for combating corruption in public life and empowering civil society.

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Watchdog says India less corrupt, but public sceptical

Posted by egovernance on November 16, 2006

Watchdog says India less corrupt, but public sceptical

Published: Monday, 13 November, 2006, 09:41 AM Doha Time

NEW DELHI: India has become less corrupt domestically, graft watchdog Transparency International said in its latest annual survey, but Indian analysts and members of the public are not so convinced.

India’s ranking on the agency’s Corruption Perception Index 2006, based on surveys with business people and analysts, improved from 88 in 2005 to 70 this year, and its honesty score rose from 2.9 to 3.3.

The least corrupt countries in the world — Finland, Iceland and New Zealand — tied for first place with honesty scores of 9.6, according to the survey released last week.

But Kuldeep Mathur, a former professor of governance at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University who has studied Indian bureaucracy, was unconvinced about India’s ratings improvement.

“I don’t think there’s much credibility in drawing a conclusion that India is now doing better than it was doing before,” said Mathur, who believes procedural red tape must be cut to reduce corruption.

“The number of forms that have to be filled in, the number of inquiries that have to be made… I’ve not seen any evidence that procedures at work have undergone a change.”

The nation has long been notorious for corruption, with Indians paying $4.6bn in bribes each year to obtain basic services such as water and electricity, according to another Transparency study.

But Mathur said new technology held the potential to change the way things have worked for decades in India.

“The prime example of this is the railways bookings and reservations” so people no longer have to pay bribes to get seats, he said.

Technological changes like those in the railways as well as in record-keeping are some of the forces behind this year’s improved score, an official with the Indian arm of Transparency said.

“Activism on the part of the courts, the Supreme Court and high courts, has (also) helped,” said Santosh Kumar Agarwal, vice-chairman of Transparency India.

He highlighted the role of the national Right-to-Information Act, in place for a year. Under it, citizens can petition government agencies for information, which must be released within a fixed amount of time.

Newspapers regularly report on acts of government wrongdoing uncovered by intrepid citizens using the act.

But Indians on the street were more cautious about the country’s improved ratings.

In New Delhi’s commercial centre, Connaught Place, people said civil servants were as likely to ask for bribes as ever but citizens could accomplish some tasks now using the Internet and did not have to deal face-to-face with the bureaucracy.

“People are more educated nowadays. That helps,” said Pradeep Kumar Jain, 31, a cigarette and sweet seller, who first laughed when asked if he thought the country was less corrupt but then said things were “slightly better.”

“You can get more work done on computer, by the Internet, it’s easier to find information,” Jain said.

Telephone numbers for many government officials and agencies are now available online along with information about application procedures and fees.

“Because of computerisation and e-governance there’s much more supervision and checking by senior people,” said former bureaucrat N C Saxena who has written extensively about graft in India’s administrative services.

But based on his travels as a member of an Indian policy advisory body, he added, “I don’t think there has been a substantial change. In some places it’s up, in some places down.”

The manager of a Delhi parking lot said things were as bad as ever.

“If anything corruption is going up with inflation,” said Amresh Kumar Tiwari, 35, in the parking business for a decade.

“You can’t get any government work done without paying a bribe. Otherwise it’s the same old delaying tactics: Come today, no, come tomorrow, come the day after. It won’t happen fast. With bribes, it gets done fast.” – AFP

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If states suspend IAS officers, they will now need to explain to Centre

Posted by egovernance on October 22, 2006

If states suspend IAS officers, they will now need to explain to Centre

Pranab Dhal Samanta

Posted online: Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 0000 hrs

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/15086.html

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 20: In a move to check the widespread practice of “arbitrary” suspensions of civil servants by politicians — especially in states — the UPA government is set to amend rules making it mandatory for state governments to report its reasons to the Centre within 15 days of issuing a suspension order.

A committee at the Centre will then examine the merits of the case and decide on the fairness of the order.

It’s learnt that Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi has approved the proposal moved by the Department of Personnel & Training. It now awaits the Prime Minister’s consent.

Officials argued that while there were doubts on whether this infringes on the powers of the state, there was nothing in the rules preventing the Centre to demand such a report and make its recommendation.

If the Centre disagrees with the state over a suspension and the state doesn’t agree, the Centre will explore “all options,” sources said.

With the Supreme Court having paved the way for police reforms that include insulating IPS officers from unfair political interference, the amendment to this rule will cover IAS and Indian Forest Service officers as well.

Sources said the power to suspend was being abused on a regular basis in some of the states and this amendment will at least ensure some accountability.

Even on the selection of state Chief Secretaries, the Centre is keen on setting up a selection panel that would include state nominees — this may even be the outgoing Chief Secretary — and a Secretary-level officer from the Centre.

The panel will shortlist names that can be forwarded to the Chief Minister who still gets to make the final pick. This way, sources said, at least the arbitrary methods by some politicians to handpick their favourites is somewhat checked.

Besides this, the DoPT has finalised the new assessment form for IAS and IPS officers. They will now be graded on a scale of 10. An officer will have to score a minimum of 6 to be considered for further promotion. The new form is to be notified this month. It requires assessing officers to also write a “pen picture” of the assessee. According to the new assessment system, the officer will be allowed to view his or her report after the entire cycle of assessment is concluded. The hope is this will make it easy to seek redressal and also bring pressure on assessors to be fair.

Taking a cue from the SC order for police personnel, the Centre is also working on another move to fix the tenure of Chief Secretaries and DG (Forests) in States. This could be fixed at two or three years though the Centre is looking to add a rider that, ideally, officers who have only two years left in service be picked for the job. Going a step further, the Centre is proposing to fix tenures even for District Collectors. In some states, sources said, the average tenure of a collector does not cross six months. The tenure can be agreed through consultation, but the idea is to provide a reasonable timeframe for officials at this crucial level of administration.

pranab.samanta@expressindia.com

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Murthy lambasts bureaucrats and corporates on corruption

Posted by egovernance on October 20, 2006

Murthy lambasts bureaucrats and corporates on corruption

http://www.newkerala.com/news4.php?action=fullnews&id=38248

Bangalore, Oct 19: A CII-spearheaded “Integrity India Campaign” against corruption was launched here today, with IT icon N R Narayana Murthy advocating a simple life and lashing out at bureaucrats and corporates for being “more corrupt than the poorest of the poor.”

“It is the big bureaucrats and corporates who are more corrupt than the poorest of the poor. Corruption has nothing to do with poverty. It has everything to do with greed,” Murthy, Chief Mentor of software giant Infosys, said, launching the Confederation of Indian Industry campaign.
The campaign aims at creating a national debate, consciousness and positive action to inculcate values of transparency, accountability and efficiency in spheres of economic activity, the CII said.

Murthy gave a call to the youth to contribute towards making India a power to reckon with in the global market, at a time when “there is a global sense of confidence and acceptability about India.”
“For the first time in the history of post-independent India, there is sense of confidence, enthusiasm and acceptability about India in the global market and this is the time for the youth to consolidate upon what has been done so far,” Murthy said.

The youth today not only has tremendous responsibility but also the potential to transform the face of India and accelerate its economic growth “through their energy, enthusiasm, integrity, dedication and sacrifice,” he said.

— PTI

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Retired bigwigs get together to fight corruption

Posted by egovernance on October 4, 2006

Retired bigwigs get together to fight corruption

Friday, 23 June 2006 | http://www.nerve.in/news:2535005926 | channel: India

“Besides Lahoti, Lygndoh and Ribeiro, the forum has as members former comptroller and auditor general of India V.K. Shunglu and former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Hari Gautam.”

 

http://www.nerve.in/comptroller+and+auditor+general+of+india/news:2535005926

 

New Delhi, June 23 – Boasting of big names such former chief justice R.C. Lahoti and former poll body chief J.M. Lygndoh as its founder members, a citizens’ group has been formed to check corruption in public life.

India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI) or Bharat Punaruthhan Abhiyan came into being last week as a non-political and social forum formed by some conscientious individuals.

‘The group will adopt legal and democratic means to bring about changes and improve accountability in all matters of importance to the public and the nation,’ former police chief of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Mumbai J. Ribeiro, who is a member, said in a press release Friday.

At its first meeting, IRI resolved to expose corruption, gross inaction and inefficiency in high places. The forum also decided to support honest public servants so that they are able to continue their hard work fearlessly.

The members were unanimous about the need to make the initiative a mass movement and to give voice to those who are at the receiving end of the system.

In particular, it was felt that to boost the morale of youth, seminars, extension lectures and workshops should be organised in educational institutions.

One of the start-up actions proposed is to prevent the creation of VIP facilities for the privileged like public servants, appropriate means to satisfy the needs of the common man and law abiding citizens.

The IRI also decided to work for strengthening decentralised governance in the country.

The forum made an appeal to all citizens to come forward and join hands in this initiative. The e-mail of the organisation is irinitiative@gmail.com.

Besides Lahoti, Lygndoh and Ribeiro, the forum has as members former comptroller and auditor general of India V.K. Shunglu and former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Hari Gautam.

It also includes retired chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, former secretaries to the union government S.A.T. Rizvi and N.C. Saxena, renowned educationist H.C. Pandey, former Border Security Force (BSF) chief Prakash Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur director S.K. Dube, journalist Sharat Pradhan and administrative officers S.R. Lakha, V.S. Pandey, Raju Sharma, Sunil Kumar and Renuka Kumar, besides police officer Jasbir Singh.

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Crusaders for action against corrupt

Posted by egovernance on October 4, 2006

Crusaders for action against corrupt


Tuesday, 26 September 2006 | http://www.nerve.in/news:25350015944 | channel: India

“The former top cop also emphasised upon the need for setting up of an Integrity Commission at the national level. “

 

http://www.nerve.in/comptroller+and+auditor+general+of+india/news:25350015944

 

 

New Delhi, Sep 26 – India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI), an organisation fighting against dishonesty in workplace has decided to launch a public movement against corruption and lack of accountability at the top.

Said ex-director general of Punjab Police and IRI member, J.F. Ribeiro: ‘The IRI has decided to mobilise public opinion for the purpose of urging the government to set up a mechanism to verify the returns of assets (moveable and immoveable) filed by all the public servants (both political and bureaucratic) who occupied influential positions in the country.’

He suggested that returns of assets of all those who occupied or are occupying high public offices in government, should be taken up for verification on a fast track.

The former top cop also emphasised upon the need for setting up of an Integrity Commission at the national level.

Among other crusaders involved with IRI are former Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, former comptroller and auditor general of India S.K. Shunglu, former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh and former chief justice of India R.C. Lahoti.

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