The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh launched the online Software for Departmental Proceedings, here today.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh complemented the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), CVC and other departments for their collective efforts in this direction. He said that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been working on the principles of ‘maximum governance, minimum government’, transparency with accountability & citizen centricity and zero tolerance against corruption. The Minister said that the aim of the software is to see that the proceedings are done against corrupt officers and the honest officers are not put to harm due to inordinate delays. He said that the bureaucracy is the tool of governance and the aim of the government is to provide work-friendly environment to the officers. He said that the software will check that the honest officers are not intimidated and it will encourage the transparent functioning in the Government. It will ensure that the malpractices are not spared and the good practices are not punished, he added. He said that the efforts have been made to complete the disciplinary enquiry within 2 years. He said that reducing the timeline in completion of disciplinary proceedings will give faster relief to the honest officers.
The Secretary to Prime Minister, Shri Bhaskar Khulbe said that it is a big achievement accomplished by DoPT to bring departmental proceedings online. He said that delays are inordinate in the entire proceedings structure and this software will address that issue. He also emphasised upon the training of the disciplinary proceeding officials and also mentioned that a ready reckoner on rules and procedures should be available to the disciplinary proceeding officials.
The SS & EO, DoPT, Shri Rajiv Kumar said that DoPT has taken various steps to streamline the process and make it more transparent. This software will help fast track the process of departmental proceedings and bring more transparency in the system, he added.
The Secretary, CVC, Smt. Nilam Sawhney said that the focus of the software is to reduce the pendency in the cases related to disciplinary proceedings.
The online software portal for Departmental Proceedings is as per provisions of All India Service (AIS )(D&A) Rules, 1969, against All India Service officers. There had been serious concerns raised on the enormous time and delay encountered for completion of departmental proceedings instituted against government servants. As per a report of CVC, departmental proceedings which should ideally be completed within 2 years take anywhere from 2 to 7 years for completion. The delay is due to numerous factors which inter alia include delays in furnishing replies by the charged officer, finalisation/acquiring of documents required for proving the charges (listed documents), multiple adjournments during the inquiry process due to non-receipt or delayed receipt of information by the stakeholders and lack of accountability for completion of inquiry and in other stages during the departmental proceedings. To plug the delays and to complete inquiries expeditiously, specific timeframes were recently introduced through amendment to the AIS (D&A) Rules, 1969 which were notified on 20.01.2017. The amendments have provided a timeframe of six months for completion of inquiry. Any further extension will require approval of the disciplinary authority with cogent arguments. Similarly, timeframes have also been introduced for reply of the charged officer on the charge sheet and advice of the UPSC. Amendments have also been made to the analogous provisions of CSS (CCA) Rules in respect of Central Government Employees vide notification dated 02.06.2017.
To augment the amendments made to the rules and to further expedite the inquiry process, the online system for departmental proceedings has been introduced. The online system envisages use of cloud based technology and provides interface to different stakeholders like the Administrative Ministry, which is initiating the inquiry, the Cadre Controlling Authority, Charged Officer, Inquiry Officer etc. through separate modules. All documents required for the conduct of the inquiry will be stored online and authenticated through digital signature/e-signature. Further, all communication between the different stakeholders will be through the system with provision for email and SMS alerts. The software also provides status of all pending cases on real time basis along with alerts for adhering to the timeframes indicated in the rule. It is expected that the online system will enable monitoring of the departmental cases more effectively to complete inquiries within stipulated timeframes and fix accountability at different stages. The online portal will initially be adopted in respect of IAS officers posted in the Central Government and will subsequently be extended to AIS officers in the Central Government as well as Central Group ‘A’ employees. The State Government will also be involved in the subsequent phases for consideration of extension to AIS officers serving in the State Government.
The senior officers of the DoPT were also present on the occasion.