Borrowing a leaf from the book of his predecessor Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered all the Union ministers to submit details of their assets, liabilities and business interests to his office within two months.
Likewise, the ministers have been directed to severe all connections, short of divesting themselves of ownership, with the conduct and management of any business in which they have interests before being appointed minister.
The Union home ministry has issued a code of conduct for the ministers after the incumbent BJP gave orders to renew it. Hit by relentless attacks on allegations of corruption during UPA-II dispensation, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked his ministerial colleagues twice — in 2012 and in 2013 — to declare their assets and business interests.
The Code, whose observance will be monitored by the Prime Minister, also asks ministers to uphold the political impartiality of civil services and not ask civil servants to act in any way that would conflict with their duties and responsibilities.
It also asks the minister to "ensure that his family members do not start or participate in business concerns engaged in supplying of goods or services to the government and there should be total prohibition on employment of spouse and dependents with a foreign mission".
The ministers are supposed to disclose all particulars of their immovable properties, total approximate value of shares and debentures, cash holdings and jewellery owned by self and family members.
The other commandments:
Buying from or selling to the government any immovable property, except where such property is compulsorily acquired by the government in usual course.
Starting or joining any business, ensure that the members of his family do not start, or participate in, business concerns, engaged in supplying goods or services to that government.
Report to the PM if any member of his family sets up or joins in the conduct and management of any other business.
Not to accept contribution for any purpose, whether political, charitable or otherwise.
Pass immediately any purse or cheque presented to him for the organisation for which it is intended.
Not to associate with raising of funds except for the benefit of a registered society, or a charitable body, or an institution recognised by a public authority and a political party.
Not to accept valuable gifts except from close relatives.
Divest themselves of all interests in a business and also of the management thereof which supplies goods or services to the government or whose business primarily depends on licenses, permits, quotas, leases etc.
Spouse and dependents should not accept employment under a foreign government, in India or abroad, or in a foreign organisation (including commercial concerns) without prior approval of PM.