The government officers should get ready to bare all. The Centre is set to change asset disclosure rules for babudom to make them file annual reports on their movable assets and put them in public domain.
So far, the department of personnel and training only requires officers to file annual property returns. These returns were stacked away without scrutinising them and pulled out, only when the officer concerned faced a corruption charge to compare the real estate declared by them.
The Prime Minister’s Office had last month decided to put the property returns in public domain.
There was criticism that property returns only tell half the story. Real estate — often in fake names — is still a hot favourite avenue of putting slush funds away amongst officers facing corruption charges.
But there are other instruments too such as shares, bank accounts, gold and insurance policies. BL Agarwal, the Chhattisgarh IAS officer under scanner for owning disproportionate assets, faces charges of having more than 200 bank accounts. Another, an Indian Forest Service officer, RK Sinha, has a dozen insurance policies.
Minister of State (Personnel & Prime Minister’s Office) V Narayanasamy said the fresh move to put property returns was only the beginning. “Movable property details will also be made public,” he said.
A senior official at the department of personnel and training too confirmed the move was on the cards. A decision on the changes required and format in which this information would be collect, however, was yet to be taken, the official told HT.
The rules require officers to report any transaction higher than twice their basic salary within a month. But this information is not tabulated yearly.
One way, an official said, would be to expand the scope of the annual returns to be filed in January to include all assets and liabilities of officers.