Vol 2, PW 22 (11 Nov 98) People & Policy

Talk to Indian officials and youll fast realise the agency they fear most is the ominous sounding: Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Corrupt officials now have more to fear, following a decision by Indias Supreme Court to grant the CVC and its new "Corruption Buster", N Vittal, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, more power to go after bribe-takers. In the past, the CVC needed higher government approval to prosecute under the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988).

New autonomy, however, allows it to prosecute on its own. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) - two law enforcement agencies - also come under its command.

This month, Vittal announced a ban on all post-tender negotiations by government offices and state-run companies, describing them as the "fountainhead of corruption". He singled out PSUs as the worst offenders, and said he wants to see younger officers in the bureaucracy, believing them less corrupt than older officials.

Hes made it possible for his juniors to send corruption reports directly to him via computer. "This way I can check progress and pull up people if there are delays".

No wonder bureaucrats are running scared!

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