Government of India appoints Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) in various Ministries / Departments / Central Public Sector Undertakings / Public Sector Banks / Public Sector Insurance Companies / Autonomous Bodies / Societies, etc. to carry out vigilance work. In order to be effective, a CVO is normally an outsider appointed for a fixed tenure on deputation terms as stipulated by Department of Personnel & Training after prior consultation with the CVC
The primary responsibility for maintenance of efficiency, integrity and transparency in an organization vests in the Chief Executive of Public Sector Enterprises. Such an authority is assisted by the CVO in the discharge of vigilance functions. The CVO acts as an advisor to the Chief Executive and reports directly to him. She heads the Vigilance Division of the Organization and provides a link between the Organization and the CVC as well as the CBI.
Vigilance functions to be performed by the CVO are of wide sweep and include collecting intelligence about the corrupt practices committed, or likely to be committed by the employees of her Organization; investigating or causing an investigation to be made into allegations reported to her; processing investigation reports for further consideration of the disciplinary authority concerned; referring the matters to the Commission for advice wherever necessary; taking steps to prevent improper practices and commission of misconducts, etc.
The CVO’s functions can broadly be divided into three categories, as under: - (i) Preventive vigilance (ii) Punitive vigilance (iii) Surveillance and detection. While ‘punitive action’ for commission of misconduct and other malpractices is certainly important, ‘surveillance’ and ‘preventive measures’ to be taken by the CVO are equally more important as these are likely to reduce the occurrence of vigilance cases. Thus, the role of CVO is predominantly preventive.
As CVC has jurisdiction over any organization so long as the administrative Ministry / Department of the Central Government continue to exercise administrative control over these organizations including appointment of Chief Executive and Board Members, etc. Accordingly, the CVOs are expected to ensure that vigilance activity is carried out in PSUs, their subsidiaries and joint venture companies in accordance with guidelines of the CVC.
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