‘Show door’ to corrupt, inept officials: Tejender Khanna

October 7th, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) Stressing that civic officials who do not exhibit professional competence should be “shown the door”, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Tejender Khanna said Tuesday there was a need to oust corrupt officials and also make third-party audit of quality standards mandatory in the delivery of civil services.Addressing the second day of the two-day India mayors’ conference here, Khanna said: “There should be professional competence assessment and those who do not fit in must be shown the door from local bodies. It is now an essential pre-requisite for effective delivery of civic services at the grass root level.”

Khanna candidly added: “The senior functionaries of civic bodies have to critically analyse what kind of culture they are protecting. Time has also come when the local bodies should ensure hundred percent quality in civil works.”

He also mentioned that local bodies often spoke of paucity of resources.

“That (scarcity of resources) may be true to some extent but we must critically analyse whether we are giving their money’s worth to the taxpayers.”

He emphasized the need for a mandatory third-party audit.

“During a recent interaction, Singapore Land Transport officials pointed out with regret that the quality assurance in India is very poor. There must be mandatory third- party quality audit.

“The senior functionaries of local bodies are custodians of public money and its use should be exercised with the same restraint, which we exercise while spending our personal money,” Khanna averred.

Talk of an independent audit triggered discussion among Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials present at the function.

Commissioner K.S. Mehra stressed that the primary challenge before the local bodies is good governance.

Mehra said: “There cannot be good governance without humane face and humane touch. Local bodies need to spend more on developmental activities and less on administration and establishment.”

He observed that civic bodies must increase their revenue base so that they are able to spend more on civic services.

“The 74th amendment (that defines the domain of urban civic bodies) gave more power to civic bodies but somehow or the other the resource base did not increase,” said Mehra.

Eminent Supreme Court lawyer Pinki Anand, who was also present, emphasized that the 74th amendment had not become fully operational because the powers had not been directly divested in local bodies.

“They are still with the state government. The states have not done enough to devolve sufficient powers to local bodies. Vital issues like Town Planning and Urban Planning are dealt with by state governments at their own level without involving local bodies.”

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