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Biased move, say govt staff

The state government’s suggestion that the way its employees declare their assets be changed, has met with stiff resistance.

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2010 02:09 IST
Dharmendra Jore

The state government’s suggestion that the way its employees declare their assets be changed, has met with stiff resistance. Employees say they will not accept the new system unless the government makes it mandatory for officers of the Indian administrative, police and forest services (IAS, IPS and IFS) to do so as well.

The state government has proposed that employees declare their assets every year instead of every five years. It has also proposed to change the manner in which the declarations have been made so far – the declaration will not be secret anymore and cannot be submitted in a sealed envelope.

If the new method is approved, then more than 20 lakh state cadre employees will have to submit their declarations this way. IAS, IPS and IFS officers follow the same practice, as per all India service rules.

Assets declaration is seen as a tool to check corruption. But, many feel that the officers who amass assets disproportionate to their known source of income, have their own ways of concealing information – they either undervalue assets or simply buy or make investments in relatives’ or friends’ names.

The state’s General Administration Department (GAD) has convened a meeting of all employee unions on Thursday at Mantralaya. Principal secretary (GAD, services) K P Bakshi will interact with the unions before making a final proposal. Recognised employee associations who spoke to HT a day before the meeting said they would ask the government to apply the new method to IAS, IPS and IFS officers, who work on deputation with the state government, before asking them to follow it. State service rules don’t apply to IAS, IPS and IFS cadre because their principal employer is the union government. “We will ask the state to request the Union government to change its all-India service rules,” said an office bearer of one of the state officers’ unions requesting anonymity because he did not want to be quoted officially before the meeting.

Bakshi, also an IAS officer, was unavailable for comment. But, a senior GAD official said the administration had made up its mind to make its own law on yearly declaration of assets. “We are under pressure from various quarters like social/anti-corruption organisations that have been insisting on such a law.”

Another employee union representative said the new practice would be unfair because the information furnished by employees could be misused.

“People who need to know, can seek information under the RTI Act,” he said.