2022 GS4 Answer

Q. Whistle blower, who reports corruption and illegal activities, wrongdoing and misconduct to the concerned authorities, runs the risk of being exposed to grave danger, physical harm and victimization by the vested interests, accused persons and his team. What policy measures would you suggest to strengthen protection mechanism to safeguard the whistle blower?

Question from UPSC Mains 2022 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Policy Measures to Strengthen Whistleblower Protection in India

In order to strengthen the protection mechanism for whistleblowers in India, the following policy measures can be suggested:

1. Strengthen existing legislation:

The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 can be reviewed and amended to ensure more comprehensive protection for whistleblowers, including provisions for confidentiality, stronger penalties for retaliation, and protection against false claims.

2. Establish an independent authority:

Create an independent body, separate from existing government departments, to receive, investigate, and act on whistleblower complaints. This body should be empowered to impose penalties and offer protection to whistleblowers.

3. Anonymity and confidentiality:

Strengthen provisions for maintaining the anonymity and confidentiality of whistleblowers, including during investigations and legal proceedings. Develop secure channels for reporting corruption, such as encrypted messaging services or online platforms that protect the whistleblower’s identity.

4. Comprehensive witness protection program:

Develop and implement a robust witness protection program to ensure the safety of whistleblowers and their families. This program should include measures such as relocation, financial assistance, and legal support.

5. Awareness and education:

Promote awareness of whistleblowing laws and protections among the general public and within government departments. Implement educational programs to train employees on how to identify and report corruption, and ensure they understand their rights and protections as whistleblowers.

6. Encourage corporate whistleblowing:

Encourage businesses to establish internal whistleblowing policies and procedures, providing employees with a safe and anonymous way to report corruption within the organization. Offer incentives for companies that adopt robust anti-corruption measures.

7. Accountability and transparency:

Foster a culture of transparency and accountability within government and private organizations. Encourage the use of technology and digital platforms to increase transparency in procurement, contracting, and decision-making processes.

8. Timely action and resolution:

Ensure timely action and resolution of whistleblower complaints by setting clear deadlines for each stage of the process. Hold authorities accountable for delays and inaction.

9. Compensation and rewards:

Establish a system of compensation and rewards for whistleblowers, in recognition of the risks they face and their contribution to fighting corruption. This could include financial incentives or job security measures.

10. Regular monitoring and evaluation:

Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of whistleblower protection mechanisms, and make adjustments as needed to ensure that whistleblowers are adequately protected.

By implementing these policy measures, India can work towards creating a stronger protection mechanism for whistleblowers, ensuring their safety and encouraging more individuals to report corruption and illegal activities. This, in turn, will contribute to a more transparent and accountable society.

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