Apply ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ Strictly Against Corruption: Odisha CM

**Bhubaneswar: ** Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday issued strict directive to the State Administration to implement stringent action against corrupt practices by any means adopting his government’s ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ in true letter and spirit as corruption is the biggest enemy of development.

Presiding over an important meeting at the State Secretariat here aimed at applying preventive measures to combat corruption in the social welfare schemes with an iron hand, the Chief Minister warned corruption must not be compromised at any cost. He ordered the officials to maintain a strict vigil so that no poor man is deprived of his/her right while reaping benefit from the ongoing social welfare programmes.

The CM also asked the officials to focus specially on various rural housing schemes, Niramaya Yojana, Janani Surakhya Yojana, ICDS programmes, etc.

It was also decided in the meeting that the all panchayat representatives at the block level and the government officials will be regularly made aware of the ill effect of corruption. For this purpose, committees will be formed at the block, district and State levels. Local Vigilance officials will be members of the committee.

Whenever warranted, the block and district committees will make field surveys in order to ensure transparency in developmental and welfare schemes. The committees will hold meetings at regular intervals and submit reports with the Vigilance Headquarters. The Vigilance Department will scrutinise the reports received and apprise the departments concerned.

An Oversight Committee headed by the Chief Secretary will be constituted at the State level to oversee the pre-emptive drive launched against corruption.

The meeting was apprised of the steps taken by the Vigilance Department till date.

While 560 complaints against corruption are with the anti-corruption wing, surprise checks have been made in 196 cases and 37 cases have already been registered. Since the installation of toll free telephone numbers by the Vigilance Department on July 20, 289 complaints have been lodged over the phones. Such toll free telephone numbers have also been installed at the vigilance divisions of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Sambalpur and Koraput.

Briefing media after the meeting, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “Hon’ble Chief Minister emphasized on preventive vigilance. Director, Vigilance gave a presentation at the meeting. It was discussed how to pre-empt corruption in implementing different government schemes. Instruction has been given to Director, Vigilance to chart out a plan. Basically awareness ought to be generated against bribing to gain benefits from government schemes. People will be made aware that those who have the eligibility could obviously reap benefits from the government schemes.”

Vigilance Director R.P. Sharma said, “Our vigilance drive is still on. We’ve opened toll free telephones at 7 places. Since July 20, within this four days, we’ve received about 300 calls. Out of the 300 calls received by us, around 50% calls are related to this. Hence, there is a very good public response. Whatever corrupt practices are there, it will act as an effective deterrent.”

The high level meeting was attended by the Development Commissioner, Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary and Secretaries of Panchayati Raj and Health departments.