New Delhi: The prime minister inaugurated the National Conference on Vigilance and Anti Corruption on the theme Vigilant India, Prosperous India on Tuesday through video conferencing. The event was organized by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) focusing on vigilance issues aimed at raising awareness and reaffirming India’s commitment to promotion of integrity and probity in public life through citizen participation.

Addressing the Conference, the prime minister said Sardar Patel is the architect of United India as well the country’s administrative systems. As the first home minister of the country, he made efforts to build such a system which is meant for the common man of the country and where the policies are based on integrity. Narendra Modi lamented that the following decades witnessed a different situation which lead to scams worth thousands of crores of rupees, establishment of shell companies, tax harassment and tax evasion,

The prime minister said in 2014, when the country decided to make a major change and to move in a new direction, there was a big challenge in changing this environment. He added the constitution of the committee against black money was in limbo despite the supreme court’s directions. The committee was formed immediately after formation of this government. This shows the commitment of the government against corruption. He said since 2014 the country witnessed reforms in many sectors including banking sector, health sector, education sector, labour, agriculture. He said based on these reforms, the nation is now moving ahead with its  full strength to make the AtmaNirbhar Bharat campaign successful. He envisioned making India one of the leading countries of the world.

The prime minister stressed the necessity for the administrative systems to be transparent, responsible, accountable, answerable to the public. He added that the biggest enemy against this is any form of  corruption. He said on the one hand corruption hurts the development of the country and on the other it destroys the social balance as well as the trust that people should have in the system. And therefore, he said tackling corruption is not just the responsibility of any single agency or institution but that it is a  collective responsibility. He said corruption cannot be dealt with a stand-alone approach.

He said when it is the question of the country, then the scope of vigilance becomes very expansive. Be it corruption, economic offences, drug networks, money laundering, terrorism, terror funding, it has been seen quite often that they are all linked.

He said hence there is a need for systematic checks, effective audits, and capacity building and training with a holistic approach to fight corruption. The Prime Minister emphasized that it is the need of the hour that all agencies work with  synergy and a cooperative spirit.

The prime minister said that for decades, the poor did not get their entitlements but now owing to the DBT the poor are directly receiving their benefits. He said owing to  DBT alone more than Rs 1.7 lakh crore are being saved from getting into wrong hands.

Modi said that over the last few years more than 1500 laws have been abolished and many rules simplified. He said that many applications for pension, scholarship, passport, startup have been made online to reduce the hassle to the common people.

He said similarly preventive vigilance is better than punitive vigilance. He urged the need to remove the circumstances that lead to corruption.

He said earlier there was a nefarious industry to lobby for transfer & postings. Now the government has taken many policy decisions, has shown the will to change this situation and the lobbying for appointments to higher posts has ended. The government has abolished the interview for the post of Group B & C. He said the formation of the Bank Board Bureau, has ensured the transparency in appointments to senior positions in banks.

The prime minister said many legal reforms were undertaken and new laws introduced to strengthen the vigilance system of the country. He cited the new laws enacted to strengthen the vigilance system like laws against back money, benami properties. Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. He said India is among the few countries in the world where a face-less tax assessment system has been implemented. India is among those few countries where technology is being used more and more to prevent corruption. He said the priority of the government has been to provide better technology, capacity building, latest infrastructure and equipment to agencies related to vigilance so that they can work more effectively and deliver better results.

He mentioned generational corruption as a major challenge that has been gradually growing in the past decades. He said when a generation of corrupt people does not get the right punishment, then the second generation commits corruption with more vigour. Modi said, due to this, it became part of political tradition in many States. He said, this corruption and dynasty of corruption from generation to generation makes the country hollow. He said this situation is a major hurdle in the development of the country, for a prosperous India and a self reliant india. He wished that this topic would also be discussed in the national conference.

The participants of the Conference include heads of Anti-Corruption Bureaux, Vigilance Bureaux, Economic Offence Wings or CID from States and UTs, CVO’s, CBI officials and representatives from various Central agencies will also participate. The inaugural session was also attended by chief secretaries and DGsP of States and UTs.