28 Dec, 2014 6:57p.m.

Furniture, fixture, antiques, paintings and electronic equipment included for asset declaration

The DoPT has added clauses in the asset declaration from public servants to include the details of furniture, fixture, antiques, paintings and electronic equipment (costing more than Rs one lakh) in addition to the details of deposits in foreign banks, from this year onwards in the annual disclosure of assets and liabilities.

“Details of deposits in the foreign bank (s) to be given separately,” states the DoPT order, adding that government employees have to file statements of movable property separately for self, spouse and dependent child. While investments above Rs.2 lakh have to be reported individually, amounts below that can be reported together.

These were some of the changes in the 'Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Second Amendment Rules, 2014' that were uploaded on the DoPT website late on Friday.

There is no bar on any individual to operate a foreign account as long as the total deposit amount does not cross $ 1,25,000 ( approximately Rs 75 lakh) per person per annum. But what has surprised many officers is the clause that seeks them to disclose purchases of furniture, fixture, antiques, paintings and electronic equipment. These should be disclosed only if the amount invested in them exceeds two months' basic pay of the officer concerned or crosses Rs one lakh. DoPT sources claimed that this clause was introduced after it received several complaints about black money being laundered in the guise of buying paintings.

All these will now have to be disclosed by the officers along with their annual immovable property returns. "This is to facilitate the officers to submit a comprehensive report about their total assets and liabilities to the Centre. The changes made in the service rules will check the spread of black money at least in the bureaucracy," opined a senior official.

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