Speech of Hon’ble C.M. at Vigilance Awareness Week celebration at Rabindra Mandap
Bhubaneswar, 31.10.2013 – I am glad to be here today on the occasion of the observance of Vigilance Awareness Week.
Awareness is the first step towards action; and it is hoped that the Vigilance Awareness Week will help us in catalyzing our efforts in the war against corruption. Over the years, the State Government has created and strengthened several institutional mechanisms to channelise the complaints and grievances of the public into concrete action to eradicate corruption from public life.
The Vigilance Department has been playing a vital role in the fight against corruption. The State Government has created fully functional Vigilance Unit Offices in each district, and a new Vigilance Division in the tribal district of Koraput. Thus, the people have easy access to the Vigilance Unit Offices within the district itself and can conveniently lodge complaints against corrupt public servants whenever they are aggrieved. Our proactive action has encouraged people to lodge complaints against corrupt public servants. As a result of such activism, the Vigilance Department was able to register 402 criminal cases last year and launch prosecution against 705 public servants.
Our Government has established a chain of 15 Special Vigilance Courts in the State to expedite the trial of corruption cases. This year, two new Courts of Special Judge, Vigilance have started functioning at Phulbani and Baripada. During the past 5 years, as many as 424 public servants have been convicted by the Vigilance Courts and 145 public servants have been dismissed from service on grounds of corruption. The continued emphasis on effective prosecution in Courts has started yielding dividends, and I am happy to learn that , which is much better than all other cases. The Department should continue with its good work.
The State Government has accorded paramount importance to the maintenance of the highest standards of integrity amongst senior public servants, including those holding high political offices. Odisha is the first state in the country to enact the Special Courts Act towards achieving this goal. Under this Act, two Special Courts have been established at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. So far, 157 cases of corruption have been transferred to these Special Courts for expeditious trial and 15 accused persons holding high public offices have been convicted.
Two Courts of Authorized Officer have been set up at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to try confiscation proceedings under this Act, and 97 confiscation proceedings have been initiated in these Courts. In 17 out of the aforesaid 97 confiscation proceedings, the Authorised Officers have passed final orders for confiscation of the properties of senior public servants. It is a matter of immense satisfaction that our pioneering efforts have received nation-wide recognition and the State Governments of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajastan have enacted similar legislation based on the Odisha Special Courts Act.
Providing good and clean governance for the people of Odisha has been the cornerstone of our policy and it is very appropriate that the Central Vigilance Commission has chosen the theme “Promoting good governance- positive contribution of Vigilance” for the Awareness Week this year. Good governance is indispensable to ensure that the benefits of developmental schemes reach the people for improvement of their lives. An exemplary initiative in this regard is the enactment of the Right to Public Services Act by our Government covering 63 services under 10 Departments in order to ensure timely delivery of public services. The law enables the citizens to demand public services as a right and also includes a provision for penal action against officials failing to provide the services within the stipulated time.
Promoting greater transparency in administration has been an avowed objective of the Government. Several e-governance projects have been initiated in order to promote greater transparency in government services and convenience to the people.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that such initiatives have been yielding satisfactory results in improvement of the lives of the common people. A lot of ground still remains to be covered. Let us resolve to firmly implement the principles of integrity and probity in our lives as per the pledge taken by us today and steadfastly move towards a new era of clean and corruption- free Government.
N.B. – The Chief Minister administered an oath to all present on the occasion. He awarded 27 prizes to best performing divisions and officers of Vigilance Deptt. He also awarded students who own various competitions organised on the subject. Chief Secretary Shri J.K. Mohapatra focused on the negative of corruption on development and social change. He stressed on systemic change to bring transparency in governance and eradicate corruption.