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Lokpal: Central government officials to declare assets under new rules

Monday, 21 July 2014 - 4:49pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

 The central government has notified rules under the Lokpal Act making it mandatory for all its employees to file declarations of their assets and liabilities and those of their spouses and dependent children.
It has issued new forms for filing these returns which have fields to give details on cash in hand, bank deposits, investment in bonds, debentures, shares and units in companies or mutual funds, insurance policies, provident fund, personal loans and advance given to a person or any entity, among others.

The employees need to declare motor vehicles, aircraft, yachts or ships, gold and silver jewellery and bullion possessed by them, their spouses and dependent children, according to the form. They need to give detail of their immovable properties and statement of debts and other liabilities on first appointment or as on March 31 of every financial year. There are about 50 lakh central government employees, including IAS, IFS and IPS, among others.

The rules, Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2014-- were notified by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) last week. As per the rules, notified under Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, every public servant shall file declaration, information and annual returns of his assets and liabilities as on March 31 every year on or before July 31 of that year.

These declarations are in addition to such returns being filed by the government employees under various services rules. However, the competent authority may exempt a public servant from filing the information in respect of any asset if its value does not exceed his or her four months basic pay or Rs two lakh, whichever is higher, the rules said

The employees, who have already filed their declarations, information and annual returns of property, shall file revised declarations as on August 1, 2014, to the competent authority on or before September 15, this year. According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, a public servant shall furnish to the competent authority the information relating to the assets of which he, his spouse and his dependent children, jointly or severally, own. He is also mandated to declare his liabilities and that of his spouse and his dependent children, as per the Act. The government is in process of modifying certain rules, including those related to search committee's working, under the Lokpal Act.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption charges against public functionaries. President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to Lokpal Act on January 1, this year. The previous government could not go ahead with the much-touted appointment of the Lokpal due to objections raised by BJP about the selection procedure of the anti-corruption body. As per existing rules, an eight-member search committee will draw up a panel for consideration by the selection committee led by the Prime Minister for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal. 




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