Amid staff shortage in agencies, funds for government sleuths may increase

For representational purposes (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service
The Centre may increase funding for investigative agencies such as Enforcement Directorate (ED), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and Competition Commission of India (CCI). The agencies have requested more funds, given the rising number of cases and their shortage of manpower.

“The government may increase funding for investigative agencies. Most of them are overburdened. There is a need to increase the budget, so that they can strengthen infrastructure. It’s a long-pending request from them,” said a finance ministry official.

The probe agencies have a huge number of vacant posts. Take SFIO, the agency that probes white-collar crimes. Out of its 133 sanctioned posts, only 66 posts are currently filled by regular incumbents; six officers have also been posted on a loan basis, the rest of the posts are vacant. Given the surge in cases, SFIO has said that it is working with half the strength and that it needs manpower.

While the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is making efforts to improve the vacancy situation by expediting the selection process, SFIO has also requested to incentivise the postings by a special grant of 20 per cent of the basic pay and engagement of technical consultants.

Similar is the state of affairs at CCI. Out of the 195 sanctioned posts at CCI, only 123 positions have been filled.

The case in Enforcement Directorate isn’t different either. Apart from being short-staffed while handling high-profile cases, it is also burdened with an increasing number of cases as well as a lack of infrastructure to maintain the seized property and a dearth of evaluation and technical staff.

According to sources, the ED has requested 30 per cent hike in its budget.

The matter has been flagged by the Standing Committee on Finance.

“The multi-year pattern of high vacancies and lack of human resources should be addressed at a structural level so that these gaps are closed as soon as possible… They should be suitably equipped in terms of human capital and systems so that they can provide the necessary support to the economy,” the standing committee said.

“Various regulatory entities of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs are critically important for the smooth functioning of the economy. They should be suitably equipped in terms of human capital and systems so that they can provide the necessary support to the economy,” the panel has said.

ED lacks infra to maintain seized assets

Apart from being short-staffed while handling high-profile cases, the Enforcement Directorate is also burdened with an increasing number of cases as well as a lack of infrastructure to maintain the seized property and dearth of evaluation and technical staff. Sources said ED has requested 30 per cent hike in its budget, for speedy disposal of cases.

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