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Whistleblower Magsaysay winner disappointed with political interference in AIIMS

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New Delhi: Whistle-blower bureaucrat Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who won the Ramon Magsaysay award, on Wednesday said he was highly disappointed with the political interference in the administrative work of the country’s premier health institution, AIIMS, and the PMO’s response to it.

Chaturvedi told IANS in an interview that political interference has increased under the Narendra Modi government.

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www.news.civilserviceindia.com

“During the past 3-4 years, a lot of unwanted activities have happened at AIIMS. I am deeply disappointed with the prime minister’s Office. Honest bureaucrats are not allowed to work independently as there is a lot of interference by the political class in administrative work,” Chaturvedi, who got to know about the Ramon Magsaysay award given to him on Wednesday morning, told IANS at his official residence.

The 40-year-old, 2002 batch, Indian Forest Service officer of Haryana cadre, said bureaucrats in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were also subjected to humiliation if they worked against the government’s will.

Emphasising that he was highly inspired by Modi’s slogan “Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga” or “Zero tolerance against corruption”, Chaturvedi said he was later disappointed, when action was taken against him and not the corrupt officials after he exposed corruption at AIIMS and other departments where he had served earlier.

Chaturvedi, who is currently the deputy secretary at AIIMS, was removed from the post of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the institute in August 2014 much before the completion of his tenure that was till 2016.

Dedicating the award to all honest government officers across India, he said: “It is a strong morale booster for honest officers of the country who are discharging their duties in difficult circumstances.

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“My tribute to the founding fathers of the Constitution, particularly Sardar Patel, who was behind the creation of the all India services.”

Chaturvedi is the younger son of Uttar Pradesh Electricity Board retired engineer DS Chaturvedi. His elder brother Rajeev Chaturvedi is also an IFS officer of the Rajasthan cadre.

Noting that his grandfather was a freedom fighter and had participated in the 1942 Quit India Movement for which he was awarded in the year 1972 by the Centre, Chaturvedi said he was highly influenced by late former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who wanted to serve the country with the same positive attitude and selfless manner.

“During my convocation after the IFS course training, Kalam was the president, and he had come to our academy in August 2005 and awarded me two medals for excellence in training. His lecture was very inspirational,” Chaturvedi told IANS.

Asked if he had received any call from the health ministry, Chaturvedi answered in the negative, saying the first to congratulate him was Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Ashok Khemka, who also faced government action for his fight against corruption.

Recalling his fight against corruption at AIIMS, he said: “My approval as the AIIMS CVO had the nod of all the statutory authorities of the institute and was also a part of the commitment to the Parliamentary Committee. However, all these were violated and a false excuse was given that my appointment had no prior approval of the CVC and that was why I was removed.”

“The worst part is that even as I sent more documentary evidence to the PMO demanding a probe against the culprits, harassment against me accentuated, work was withdrawn from me, instead of taking action against them.

“Attempts were made to implicate me in fake cases, and spoil my annual confidential report, my promotion was withheld and even my own ministry issued a defamatory press release against me of so-called complaints and inquiries,” the officer added.

Indicating corruption in the political system, he said: “When I had to be removed from the CVO’s post, 20 signatures were recorded within 24 hours, and when my reasonable and lawful cases of promotion, cadre change, deputation were concerned, these were kept pending for months. It shows how the system is working.”

Stating that he just had one message for the entire country, Chaturvedi said: “As long as I am a part of the bureaucracy, I will serve the country with full honesty and transparency, regardless of the consequences I face.”

(by Rupesh Dutta, IANS)

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Also Read: British Parliament Access Internal Facebook Data Scandal Papers: Report

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)