Continuing his efforts to ensure probity of his cabinet colleagues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked them to declare their assets as also those of their spouses and dependents along with any business interests, as per the annual exercise.
The ministers have been asked to furnish the details by August 31 in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Ministers.
"I have been directed by the Prime Minister to apprise you of the declarations required to be made by a member of the Union Council of Ministers in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Ministers...," Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar has said in his June 2 letter to ministers.
"In this connection I am to inform you that in terms of the Code of Conduct details in respect of assets, liabilities business interests conduct and management of any other business and employment of spouse and dependents under a foreign government or organisation are required to be disclosed by the Members of the Union Council of Ministers," he said.
The annual practice of the Prime Minister is part of his efforts to ensure probity and transparency of his cabinet colleagues amidst a rash of scams that have hit the government.
In his letter, which was similar to the one sent last year around this time, the Cabinet Secretary drew ministers' attention to paragraphs 1(a), 2(a), 2(e) and 3.2 of the Code.
The paragraph 1(a) states -- "disclose to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Minister, as the case may be details of the assets and liabilities, and of business interests, of himself and of members of his family.
"The details to be disclosed shall consist of particulars of all immovable property and the total approximate value of (i) shares and debentures, (ii) cash holdings and (iii) jewellery. Such a Statement of assets and liabilities could be in respect of the financial year for which the income tax return has already been filed by the Minister".
The paragraph 2(a) states that "After taking office, and so long as he remains in office, the Minister shall furnish annually by the 31st August to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Minister, as the case may be, a declaration regarding his assets and liabilities for the previous financial year".
The paragraph 2(e) states that a minister should "report the matter to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Minister as the case may be, if any member of his family sets up, or joins in the conduct and management of, any other business."
According to paragraph 3.2 "A Minister, including the Union Ministers, the Chief Ministers and other Ministers of State Governments/Union Territories, should not permit their spouse and dependents to accept employment under a Foreign Government, in India or abroad, or in a foreign organisation (including commercial concerns) without prior approval of the Prime Minister.
"Where the wife or a dependent of a Minister is already in such employment, the matter should be reported to the Prime Minister for decision whether the employment should or should not continue."