Project: Changing Minds

 Vigilance Awareness Week-2015 just got concluded. The Central Vigilance Commission, this year, had a theme after my heart-‘Preventive Vigilance for better Governance’. People like me who have a strong prevention mindset are always working towards making behavioural changes, nudging employees’minds towards that which is desirable. The idea being that unless it comes from within, no change can really take root-both personally and for the organization.

So this year at CIDCO, we have initiated a year long program called ‘Changing Minds’, beginning with the programs of the Vigilance Week. This program will bring in speakers who have, through self motivation achieved something extraordinary with their lives, to try to create extraordinary role models for employees to emulate in their work and personal lives. The program will also organise events in the city to raise consciousness on the importance of vigilance and an environment of clean public service delivery. So in the Vigilance Week, we held an essay competition for students of 8th to 10th class on the topic of ‘Be the change you want to have’. Around 9000 students from 25 schools participated in the competition. Each school selected their best essay and we looked at those 25 essays. Reading those young thoughts which were full of hope made us feel the weight of our responsibility for their world.

The second program under this banner was to be an inter departmental 15-minute skit competition amongst CIDCO employees, on a choice of 4 topics relating to 4 aspects of personal behaviour which leads to a culture of corruption. Interestingly, this activity faced a curious hurdle-the employees’ union declared just before the performance of 7 groups which had practiced hard for the competition, that the employees will not participate in any vigilance program! The union was expressing openly its unhappiness at having a vigilance setup in CIDCO(vigilance dept was created in CIDCO only last year for the first time in its history since 1970)!!

The keynote speech initiating the ‘Changing Minds’ program was given during the Vigilance Week by CIDCO’s MD, Mr Sanjay Bhatia, on the subject ‘Vigilance and Spiritualism’ followed by a session of meditation. This really set the tone for the long term program-which is to influence changes at the personal level in order to create an aggregated atmosphere of integrity and ethics in the entire organization.

We have also put together a small Vigilance Stakeholders Group of RTI vigilantes who watch over CIDCO’s decision making, chairpersons of associations which have a lot of interaction with CIDCO departments for various services and Representative CIDCO officials. Vigilance department will hold meetings with this group periodically through out the year to hear upcoming concerns from the outside.

I am also putting together a Vigilance Strategy Document which I should be able to share soon. In all, prevention is a challenging goal. It needs a careful walk between incentives to promote compliance and an ability to enforce compliance. If ease of doing business is at all to improve in India, there is a lot of work to do in the Vigilance departments of government.

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2 thoughts on “Project: Changing Minds

  1. Full marks to Pradnya on this initiative. This is very difficult territory and only the brave exceptions like you walk in, regardless. I shall read up more and comment. Meanwhile here’s best wishes from kindred spirits!
    S S Vaidyanathan
    1959 Guj
    Sunnyvale, CA Nov 3 2015

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  2. Preventative strategies are as important for crime in general as they are for corruption – and they are to be undertaken primarily by the citizens themselves, as by the institutions in case of corruption. Police role is that of calling people to account for their illegal behaviour, be it crime in general or corruption.

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