Who are the Chief Vigilance Officers?
Government of India appoints officers in all Central government organizations to assist the Head of the Organization in maintaining integrity and transparency and in the discharge of vigilance functions. The CVO acts as an advisor to the Chief Executive and reports directly to them. They head the Vigilance Division of the Organization and provide a link between the Organization and the Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

What are the Selection and Appointment Procedures for the Chief Vigilance Officers?
Selection and Appointment
Chief Vigilance Officers are appointed by Government of India with prior approval of the Central Vigilance Commission regarding their suitability. The tenure is for three years, extendable by two years in the same organization and three years on transfer, with approval of the Commission. As far as possible, they are from outside the organization. The charge of Chief Vigilance Officer in Ministries / Departments of Government of India, or smaller organizations which are small in size, may be entrusted to an officer of the Ministry / Department on a part time basis with the approval of the Commission. A few Departments viz., CBDT, CBEC, Department of Posts and Railway Board, there is an encadred post of full time Chief Vigilance Officer.

What is the role and functions of Chief Vigilance Officers?
Role and Functions of Chief Vigilance Officers
The Chief Vigilance Officer heads the Vigilance Division of an Organisation and acts as an advisor to the Chief Executive in all matters pertaining to vigilance. He is also the nodal officer of the Organisation for interaction with CVC and CBI. Broadly speaking, the functions of the Chief Vigilance Officer can be divided as under: -

  1. Preventive vigilance
  2. Punitive vigilance
  3. Surveillance and detection.

On the Preventive Side
The Chief Vigilance Officers are mandated to carry out several preventive measures such as examining in detail the existing Rules and procedures of the Organization with a view to eliminate or minimize the scope for corruption or malpractices. They are to identify the sensitive/corruption prone spots in the Organization and keep an eye on personnel posted in such areas. CVOs are required to plan and enforce surprise inspections and regular inspections to detect system failures and existence of corruption or malpractices and to maintain proper surveillance on officers of doubtful integrity. They are further obliged to ensure prompt observance of Conduct Rules relating to the integrity of the Officers, like filing of Annual Property Returns, Gifts accepted by the officials, etc.

On the Punitive Side
Regarding Punitive Vigilance, Chief Vigilance Officers are to ensure prompt and effective end to end disposal of vigilance cases. They should ensure that documentation of the investigation and drafting of reports, chargesheets and orders should be such that it holds up to scrutiny. As the nodal link with CBI, it is also the responsibility of the Chief Vigilance Officers to see to it that proper assistance is given to them in the investigation of cases entrusted to them/started by them.

On Surveillance and Detection
Chief Vigilance Officers are expected to keep a close observation on the activities of the organization to minimize the possibility of malpractices or misconducts. They should conduct regular and surprise inspections in the sensitive areas in order to detect if there have been instances of corrupt or improper practices by the public servants. They should carry out at least six CTE type inspections on one of the projects / works in the organisation every year. They may also initiate suo motu enquiries based on any prima facie information regarding misconducts.