Lokpal Chairman Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose ji, Central Vigilance Commissioner Suresh N. Patel ji, CBI Director Subodh Kumar Jaiswal ji, eminent panelists, senior officials from different states and departments and other dignitaries present in the program,
Ladies and gentlemen!
All of you have assembled here for a brainstorming session to find meaningful solutions to new challenges arising out of corruption in the shadow of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sardar Patel had always given top priority to make governance the basis of India's development, public concerns and public welfare. We are celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of India's independence. The country is moving towards realizing the grand resolutions of AatmaNirbhar Bharat in the next 25 years, i.e. this virtuous period. We are committed to strengthening good governance, that is – pro-people and proactive governance. Therefore, your action-oriented diligence will give strength to the ideals of Sardar Saheb.
It is mentioned in our scriptures:
That is, ‘Suraj’ (good governance) is possible only when everyone gets justice. Corruption, whether small or big, takes away the rights of someone or the other. It deprives the common citizen of the country from his rights, hinders the progress of the nation and also affects our collective energy as a nation. All of you colleagues and the institutions that you represent have a huge responsibility to abolish the injustice of corruption. Today, under the shadow of Sardar Patel and on the banks of Mother Narmada, you have to reiterate your resolve and to energize the realization of your responsibilities towards the country.
In the last six-seven years, we have been able to instill confidence among people that it is possible to contain corruption in the country. The people of the country have faith today that they will get benefits of government schemes without any middlemen. And today the country has also come to believe that those who cheat the country, loot the poor, no matter how powerful they are, wherever they are in the country and the world, they are no longer shown mercy, the government does not spare them.
You also know that this trust has been established not so easily. The previous governments and systems lacked both political and administrative will. Today there is also the political will to strike at corruption and there is continuous improvement at the administrative level.
Along with modern approach, India of the 21st century emphasizes the use of technology for the welfare of humanity. New India innovates, initiates and implements. New India is no longer ready to accept that corruption is part of the system. It wants a transparent system, efficient process and smooth governance.
In the decades after independence, the spirit of the earlier system was that the government should keep everything under its control. The earlier governments kept maximum control with themselves and as a result several wrong tendencies crept in the system. Maximum control, whether it is at home, in the family or in the country, causes maximum damage. Therefore, we took it as a mission mode to limit the government interference in the lives of the countrymen. We made constant efforts to simplify government procedures. Instead of maximum government control, the focus was on minimum government, maximum governance.
All of you have observed how special emphasis has been laid on trust and technology to empower the citizens of the country. The government in the country today trusts the citizens of the country and does not look at them with suspicion. This trust has also blocked many avenues of corruption. In order to get rid of corruption and unnecessary hassles, the layers of verification of documents have been removed. Hundreds of facilities are being delivered without middlemen from birth certificates to life certificates required for pension through digital technology. The poor and middle class have got freedom from corruption after interviews for the Group C and Group D recruitments were done away with. Online and faceless processes, from booking gas cylinders to tax-related processes, are liberating people from the long queues that have been a major source of corruption.
You all are well aware of the impact of trust and technology on efficient governance and ease of doing business. Whatever has happened in the past in the garb of permissions and compliances or starting and winding up businesses or taking or closure of loans from banks, the country has suffered a lot but it is now being rectified. In the past few years, we have cleared the web of hundreds of archaic laws and introduced new laws in view of the present challenges. Who knows better than you the kind of corruption which existed in the name of thousands of compliances and different NoCs and permissions? Thousands of compliances have been abolished in the past few years and there are plans to eliminate thousands more in the near future. Most of the permissions have been made faceless and processes like self-assessment and self-declaration are also being encouraged. There is transparency in government procurements and less confusion in e-tendering due to GeM i.e. Government e-Market Place. Investigations are also becoming easier and more convenient due to increasing digital footprints. The recently launched PM GatiShakti National Master Plan is also going to eliminate many problems in decision making.
When we are moving ahead in the era of trust and technology, then the trust of the nation on all of you is equally important. We all have to remember one thing always -- Nation First! There is only one yardstick of our work - public interest, public concern!
If our decisions meet this yardstick, you will always find me standing firmly behind every Karmayogi of the country. The government has put in place strict legal provisions and it is your duty to implement them. But along with the power of law, it is equally important to encourage and motivate fair behavior.
Usually you come into the picture when there is some scam, corruption or any irregularity. I want to share a thought with you. Why can't it be that we work on preventive vigilance? If we remain alert then this can be done easily. You can further strengthen this system through technology and your experience. Along with technology and alertness -- simplicity, clarity, transparency in the processes will go a long way for preventive vigilance.
Today, many government departments, banks, PSUs and financial institutions are doing important work in the direction of preventive vigilance in the country. We all have heard often that prevention is better than cure. You should try that preventive vigilance becomes a part of your methodology. This will simplify your work and save the resources of the nation. I am told that the CVC has made some amendments in its manual. An additional chapter on e-Vigilance has been added to this rulebook. The perpetrators of crime find new ways every day, every month, but we have to stay two steps ahead of them.
You have to remember that your affiliation is with this soil, with Maa Bharati. There should be no safe haven in the country and anywhere in the world for the person who deceives the countrymen. There is no need to back down from action no matter how powerful someone is if he is working against the national interest or against the public interest. We have to keep on doing our work in the interest of the nation and discharge our responsibilities with complete devotion and honesty. One thing you all have to keep in mind is that your job is not to scare anyone, but to remove unnecessary fear from the mind of the poorest of the poor and the atmosphere of hesitation. Your efforts are very important for the country's fight against corruption. We don't have to limit this fight to agencies. It is equally important to deal with the negative aspects of technology. Just as no lock can be foolproof, the one with the wrong intention finds its key, in the same way those with a criminal mentality find the way out of technology. With strong digital governance, cyber crime and cyber fraud are also becoming a big challenge. I am sure all of you will seriously brainstorm on these challenges. Another request I made on 15th August from Red Fort regarding review of rules and procedures in all government departments. I would also request all anti-corruption institutions, including CVC and CBI, to remove any such processes which have been there for decades and which come in the way of the new approach of New India. What can be a better time for a new approach and new resolutions of New India when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence? You should also put in your efforts in this Mahayagya. You are the people who know the nuances of the system and also the loopholes from where corruption flourishes. New India's policy of zero tolerance for corruption has to be strengthened. I hope you will also discuss such procedures and laws during this brainstorming session.
You should implement laws in a way that the poor come closer to the system and the corrupt move out of it. This will be a great service to the nation. With the wish that you will move forward with innovations to build a corruption-free society in this virtuous era of independence, I wish you all the very best!