Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday acknowledged existence of corruption at various levels in his ministry and said the government is determined to weed it out through stringent action and putting in place a transparent system.
"There have been instances, allegations, complaints of corruption about corrupt practices at various levels. . .One of the memebers of the Railway Board is under suspension. I agree that we need to take corrective steps," Prabhu said replying to questions in Rajya Sabha.
He acknowledeged the existence of corruption and corrupt practices in areas including award of contracts and employment.
He also admitted to instances of hoodwinking of people.
Prabhu said his ministry is trying to put in place a system in all award of contacts and introduce ‘utmost transparency’ in other areas including appointments.
"We have implemented utmost transparency.
“We need to change the whole system. . .There is corruption at various levels . . .But we are committed to do everything to weed out corruption," Prabhu said.
"We need to take very stringent measures.
“We have sought the services of former CAG Vinod Rai... He is my Advisor.
“We will take as many steps as possible in as many areas as desirable to prevent corruption," the minister added.
To prevent hoodwinking of people, he said, the Railways have started a web-based interactive redressal mechanism where one can lodge a complaint using mobile.
Update of the complaint can also be tracked.
Prabhu said corruption generally prevails if the system is susceptible to it.
The Railways Minister said the number of officers on whom punishments were imposed departmentally as a result of vigilance proceedings were 251 in 2012, 168 in 2013 and 231 in 2014.
Similarly, sanctions were given to Central Bureau of Investigation for prosecution of 15,16 and 13 officers respectively in those years, he said.
"Railways have well established systems, rules and procedures which guide its various functions.
“Taking corrective measures, as and when required, is a continuous process," Prabhu said in the written reply.
"If any irregularity is detected, suitable disciplinary action is taken, depending upon the gravity of the charges and in consultation with the Central Vigilence Commission, in cases of involving Group A officers," he added.
The minister also highlighted the recent intiatives taken to prevent corruption including putting details of all tenders on website, stores procurement through e-tendering and reverse auctions, changes in the tatkal reservation process and on-line allotment of rakes among others.