Software mandates to update the status from time to time

Exclusive: Tech to help govt in internal probes

In a first, Karnataka will streamline departmental enquiries against government officials by putting in place a tech-based system that helps authorities monitor the proceedings and ensure time-bound conclusion.

For this, the government has developed a virtual tool — the Departmental Enquiry Case Management System — to track cases of departmental enquiry. This promises to help the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) not only to oversee cases, but also get a correct figure on how many officials are facing internal probes.

The departmental enquiry is conducted against government officials who face charges of misconduct or dereliction of duty under the Karnataka Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1957. It is estimated that several hundred, if not more, officials are facing departmental enquiries across the state.

At present, matters related to a departmental enquiry are handled in the traditional way — physical files making the rounds.

Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) has now issued a circular seeking to put an end to this. It has directed heads of all departments to start making use of the new software and a detailed workflow has been laid out.

According to Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, the software was already there, but was not being used. The new circular, he said, was to revive it and get departments to use it.

“In the absence of a system like this, we can’t tell how many cases of departmental enquiry are really there. I’ve been discussing this at every meeting I hold with secretaries,” he said.

Apparently, there are cases of departmental enquiry going on for years.

“What is the point if a departmental enquiry drags on for six-seven years? It is a loss for both the department concerned and the person against whom proceedings are initiated,” Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms secretary Anjum Parwez said.

“Every departmental enquiry should happen in a time-bound manner, but in the absence of a monitoring mechanism, they drag on or get delayed.”

The software mandates departments to not only record cases of departmental enquiry, but also update the status from time to time.

e-office in phases

The software has been integrated into the Sachivalaya Vahini, the government’s e-governance portal.

The push for paperless monitoring of departmental enquiry is part of a larger “e-office” initiative, a paperless ecosystem that seeks to ensure speedy clearance of files thereby reducing pendency.

The “e-office” will be implemented in phases starting January 2019.

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