Revision of SOP for Integrity Pact

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    • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has revised the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for adopting and implementing the Integrity Pact.

    What is Integrity Pact?

    • The ‘Integrity Pact’ envisages an agreement between the prospective vendors/bidders and the buyer, committing persons and officials of both sides to not resort to any corrupt practices in any aspect or stage of the contract.
    • Any violation of the clause entails the disqualification of bidders and exclusion from future business dealings.
    • The pact also ensures transparency, equity and competitiveness in public procurement.

    Independent External Monitors (IEMS) 

    • The changes are expected to provide a larger pool of Independent External Monitors (IEMS) for examining government contracts.
      • IEMs are appointed by the apex vigilance body to look into issues relating to the execution of the contract(s) and any irregularities.

    Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Revision

    • IEMs will only be picked from a panel of eminent persons/officers who have held the post of additional secretary or equivalent or any other position at a higher pay scale in the government of India at the time of retirement.
    • Existing rules, issued in June 2021, only considered officials at the rank of secretary to the government of India, chief secretaries in the states or officials at equivalent pay scale at the time of retirement.
      • This change will provide a larger pool of officers retired from various government departments who can be appointed IEMs in case there is a shortage of officers.
    • The latest SOP has also removed retired director generals of police from the list of eminent persons to be considered for IEMs. 
      • For retired armed officers, too, only those officers equivalent to the ranks of additional secretaries or higher in the government of India will now be eligible to become IEMs. 
        • Earlier, this was allowed only for officers on the apex pay scale.
    • Persons who have held the post of CMD/MD or CEO of public sector banks, insurance companies, and other state-owned financial institutions at the time of retirement will continue to be included in the list of IEMs.

    Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

    • It is an apex body for the prevention of corruption and exercising general superintendence over vigilance administration.
    • It was set up by the Government of India (Ministry of Home Affairs) vide Resolution in 1964 on the recommendation of the Santhanam Committee.
    • It is an independent body and is only responsible to the Parliament.
    • The Parliament enacted Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (CVC Act) conferring statutory status on the CVC.
    • The Central Vigilance Commissioner shall hold office for a term of four years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier
      • The Central Vigilance Commissioner on ceasing to hold the office shall be ineligible for reappointment in the commission.

    Source: TH