Govt employees doing business by violating rules
Despite drawing more than reasonable salaries and a binge of perks from the government, it is frustrating to note that many civil servants and government employees have reportedly indulged in running several types of businesses. Additionally, just earlier this month, the finance minister proposed the highest allocation for government employees in the recent budget, a mammoth 18.7 percent, for salaries and other benefits of government employees. Such unethical practices go straight against service rule.
We welcome the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to have unearthed this shocking revelation. Additionally, the ACC has alleged that a vast number of government employees have either become contractors or opened businesses in their names or in the names of their dependents. These men and women have accumulated 'huge' amount of wealth in recent years. In tuned with the ACC we also believe it is time to take drastic action and stop this illegal practice.
However, it is important to note two crucial legal codes mentioned in the rule book for government employees. First, Section 17 (1) of the rules, it says: Subject to the other provisions of this rule, no government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of government, engage in any trade or undertake any employment or work, other than his official duties. And second, Section 17 (3) of the rules says: A government servant shall not, without the previous sanction of the government, permit any member of his family to engage in any trade in the area over which such government servant has jurisdiction.
It would be foolish to assume that the government employees who have engaged in businesses are ignorant of the two clearly specified service rules. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the graft watchdog must move ahead to investigate while take punitive actions against the offenders. The Cabinet Division, in response to the ACC's letter had merely asked secretaries to make sure that public servants under their jurisdiction were aware of the rules.
The point, however, simply drawing attention of the government and requesting to create awareness is not enough. Appropriate and prompt action must be taken to ensure accountability of those who are violating service rules. Moreover, in order to set an example of justice served, ministries and departments concerned must act together with the ACC. A billion dollar question automatically pops up, how much or what amount of money is enough for our state-paid employees to refrain from running businesses via illegal means? Perhaps these dubious employees, they themselves don't know since the greed for wealth has no ceiling.
We want to witness the next step taken following the ACC letter; it is time to bring the culprits to book.