New Delhi/ Dr. Amandeep Aggarwal/ November 2019: The Indian School of Public Policy or the ISPP organized a workshop on Ethics and Accountability in Governance-A workshop by V. Srinivas, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pensions, Government of India.
Mr. Srinivas opened the session by emphasizing the need for high moral standards in the domain of governance: “The system of Government that we have adopted postulates the necessity of high moral standards in both the Government and the Administration. The Parliamentary system of Government cannot be effective unless the standard of morality of those who work is high and the general public believes that it is so. As an Institution, the Civil Services, particularly the All India Services, have always commanded considerable respect from the people of India. Such respect emanates from a perception that decision-making would be neutral and unbiased and would enable the nation to achieve the objectives outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution. You can hire skills, but leadership and faith in fairness and impartiality cannot be outsourced.”
During his session, Mr. Srinivas discussed a number of topics covering the following sub-aspects: Improving the Quality of Public Service Delivery, Constitutional Provisions – “The Services”, The All India Services (Conduct) Rules 1968, Focus on Preventive Vigilance, Strengthening Audit and Accounting processes, Future Policy Challenges, among many others.
On the subject of corruption he added: “India’s “zero tolerance to corruption” approach, as well as “minimum government and maximum governance” approach has resulted in simplification of the governance model in recent years. Some of the steps taken include abolition of the system of attestation/authentication by Government servants for submission of certificates, abolition of personal interviews for recruitments to lower level posts and weeding-out of inefficient public servants and those of doubtful integrity above the age of 50 years, prematurely. A special investigation team has also been constituted to fight black money. The Government conducted online auctions of coal blocks, and sought international cooperation in G-20 meetings on ending tax havens in Europe and other countries. In bilateral meetings with Swiss authorities, India has said that combating the menace of black money and tax evasion was a “shared priority” for both the countries. My own approach to fighting corruption in my three decades in Government service has been enhanced supervision, increased transparency, greater stakeholder engagement and severe penalties with time bound completion of disciplinary proceedings. I always felt that prevention of corruption should be based on credible deterrence and strong audit and accounting mechanisms. Further, robust oversight and monitoring always send a strong message to potential wrongdoers.”
Notes to the Editor
The Indian School of Public Policy is an initiative by the Centre for Civil Society and was started with the support of some of India’s leading businessmen, bureaucrats and academicians. The Founder Dean is Dr Shubhashis Gangopadhyay. The Academic Advisory Council Chairman is Dr Vijay Kelkar. The School runs a year-long Certificate Programme in Policy, Design & Management, intended to prepare students for challenging careers in policy action across government, industry and civil society.
V. Srinivas is the Additional Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. He was the Advisor to Executive Director (India), International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2006, besides serving as Private Secretary to the Finance Minister of India from 2002 to 2003 and Private Secretary to the External Affairs of India between 2001 to 2002. Mr. Srinivas has also held the post of Deputy Director (Administration) AIIMS, New Delhi from 2014-2017, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Culture and as Director General National Archives of India from 2010-2014, among many other notable positions.
In 2017, he was awarded the Indian Council of World Affairs Book Research Fellowship for “India’s Relations with the International Monetary Fund 1991-2016 – 25 years in Perspective”. His second book “Towards a New India: India’s Welfare State Programs 2014-2019” was published in September, 2019 by Konark Publishers. He has delivered 47 orations and published 124 papers. He is a senior administrator, a respected academician and an institution builder par excellence.