PM asks ministers to declare assetsJune 7th, 2011 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed his council of ministers to declare their personal assets and business interests, along with that of their spouses and dependants - an annual exercise to maintain transparency.
The prime minister’s move comes in the wake of a spate of scandals such as the 2G spectrum allocation and telecom licensing controversy involving former communications minister A. Raja and Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran, and the tiff with yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Gandhian Anna Hazare’s team on the Lokpal Bill drafting panel.
The ministers have been told to submit the details before Aug 31 in accordance with the code of conduct for ministers, in a letter written by Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar June 2.
“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, a copy of which is enclosed,” Chandrasekhar said in the letter to the 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 code mandates the disclosure before Aug 31 every year of assets, liabilities, business interests of the ministers and their family members that would include immovable property, value of shares and debentures, cash holding and jewellery, for the financial year for which income tax return has already been filed.
It also includes reporting to the prime minister - or the chief minister for state governments - the setting up or management or conduct of any other business by the ministers’ family members.
The code also stipulates that a minister should not permit their spouse and dependants 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.
If the spouse or dependant of a minister is already in such an employment, this has to be reported to the prime minister for a decision whether such an employment should or should not be continued.
As a general rule under the code, the ministers’ spouse or dependants are totally prohibited from employment with a foreign mission.
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