Whistle Blower Scheme of FCI
1. Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department Of Personnel and Training), vide Resolution No.371/12/2002-AVD-III dated 21.04.2004, has set up a mechanism under which the members of the public, as well as public servants, may make a written disclosure to a Designated Agency, regarding any allegation of corruption or misuse of office by, inter-alia, any employee of any Corporation established by or under any Central Act.
2. The Food Corporation of India, being a Corporation established under the Food Corporations Act, 1964, comes within the purview of the mechanism set up by the said Resolution.
3. Pursuant to the said Resolution of the DOPT, the Central Vigilance Commission has been named as the Designated Agency for the purposes of this mechanism. The Central Vigilance Commission has, in turn, issued detailed instructions for operationalizing the said mechanism.
4. The Department of Public Enterprises has also included the establishment of such a mechanism as one of the suggested list of items to be included in the Report on Corporate Governance in the Annual Reports of PSEs. This mechanism, under the guidelines for Corporate Governance of Central Public Sector Enterprises issued by the DPE (vide O.M. No.18(8)/2005-GM dated 14.5.2010), is for employees of such PSEs to report to the management any concerns about unethical behaviour, actual or suspected fraud etc., to provide for adequate safeguards against victimization of employees who avail of the mechanism, and also to provide for direct access to the Chairman of the Audit Committee in exceptional cases.
5. In the Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the FCI and the Government of India for the year 2011-12, the following has been included as one of the actions to be taken during 2011-12: “Whistle Blower Scheme – Approval by Board of Directors”.
6. Keeping in view the Resolution of the DOPT, the instructions of the CVC, and the guidelines of the Department of Public Enterprises, the following mechanism for the Whistle Blower Scheme is hereby brought into force : a) The General Manager (Vig.), FCI, HQrs. is hereby authorised, as the Designated Agency, to receive written complaints or disclosures on any allegation of corruption, or of misuse of office, by any employee of the Food Corporation of India. b) The disclosure or complaint shall contain as full particulars as may be possible, and shall be accompanied by supporting documents or other material. c) The Designated Agency named, if it deems fit; can call for further information or particulars from the person making the disclosure. If the complaint is anonymous, the Designated Agency will not take any further action in the matter. d) The Designated Agency to whom the complaint or disclosure is made has the responsibility of keeping the identity of the complainant secret. All persons who desire to make a complaint under this mechanism are, therefore, required to Comply with the following: i) The complaint should be in a closed/secured envelope. ii) The envelope should be addressed to General Manager(Vig.), FCI, HQrs. and should be superscribed “Complaint under Public Interest Disclosure”.If the envelope is not closed and superscribed as described above, it will not be possible for the Designated Agency to protect the complainant under this mechanism and the complaint will be dealt with as per the normal complaint handling policy of the Corporation. The complainant should give his/her name and address in the beginning or end of complaint or in an attached letter. iii) The Designated Agency will not entertain anonymous/ pseudonymous complaints. iv) The text of the complaint should be carefully drafted so as not to give any details or clue as to the complainant’s identity. However, the details of the complaint should be specific and verifiable. v) In order to protect identity of the person, the Designated Agency will not issue any acknowledgement and the whistle blowers are advised not to enter into any further correspondence with the Designated Agency in their own interest. The Designated Agency has a responsibility to ensure that, subject to the facts of the case being verifiable, it will take the necessary action, as provided hereinafter. If any further clarification is required, the Designated Agency will get in touch with the complainant.
7. If the complaint is accompanied by particulars of the person making the complaint, the Designated Agency shall take the following steps:
i) The Designated Agency will ascertain from the complainant whether he was the person who made the complaint or not.
ii) The identity of the complainant will not be revealed unless the complainant himself has made the details of the complaint either public or disclosed his identify to any other office or authority.
iii) After obtaining the identity of the complainant, the Designated Agency shall make, in the first instance, discreet enquiries to ascertain if there is any basis of proceeding further with the complaint. For this purpose, the Designated Agency shall take appropriate action.
iv) Either as a result of the discreet inquiry, or on the basis of the complaint itself without any inquiry, if the Designated Agency is of the opinion that the matter requires to be investigated further, the Designated Agency shall officially seek comments or explanation from the concerned persons. While doing so, the Designated Agency shall not disclose the identity of the informant.
v) After obtaining the response of the concerned persons, if the Designated Agency is of the opinion that the investigations reveal either misuse of office, or substantiate allegations of corruption, the Designated Agency shall recommend appropriate action to the concerned disciplinary authority. These shall, inter-alia, include following:
a) Appropriate proceedings to be initiated against the concerned employee.
b) Appropriate administrative steps for redressing the loss caused to the FCI as a result of the corrupt act or misuse of office, as the case may be.
c) Recommend to the appropriate authority/agency initiation of criminal proceedings in suitable cases, if warranted by the facts and circumstances of the case.
d) Recommend taking of corrective measures to prevent recurrence of such events in future.
8. If any person is aggrieved on the ground that he is being victimized due to the fact that he had filed a complaint or disclosure, he may file an application before the Designated Agency seeking redress in the matter, who shall take such action as deemed fit.
9. Either on the application of the complainant, or on the basis of the information gathered, if the Designated Agency is of the opinion that either the complainant or the witnesses need protection, the Designated Agency shall bring the matter to the notice of the appropriate higher authorities in FCI.
10. The machinery evolved herein shall be in addition to the existing Complaint Handling Procedure issued vide Circular 86 dated 20.10.2010 issued by Vigilance Division. However, the secrecy of the identity of the complainant shall be protected only if the complaint is received under the mechanism described in this Circular.
11. In case the Designated Agency, finds the complaint to be motivated or vexatious, the Designated Agency shall be at liberty to take appropriate steps.
12. It shall be ensured that no punitive action is taken by any concerned Administrative authority against any person on perceived reasons/suspicion of being “Whistle Blower”.
13. No complaint or disclosure under this mechanism shall be entertained in respect of any matter regarding which a formal and public inquiry has been ordered under FCI (Staff) Regulations, 1971.
14. In the event of the identity of the informant being disclosed in spite of directions to the contrary, it is authorised to initiate appropriate disciplinary action as per FCI (Staff) Regulations, 1971 against the person or agency making such disclosure. This issues with the approval of Board of Directors. GENERAL MANAGER(VIG)