The format for declaration of assets and liabilities by government employees under the Lokpal rules may be simplified, following concerns raised by several departments.
According to the rules notified under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, all public servants shall file declaration, information and annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities, along with that of their spouses and dependent children.
However, several ministries/departments and other stakeholders have raised concerns about the complexity involved in furnishing the desired details in the form prescribed under the rules, official sources said.
Following this, a committee was formed to look into the matter. The committee has submitted its first report, recommending simplified formats for declaration of movable property, debts and other liabilities, they said.
The government may issue an amended form for filing of assets by its employees. The matter is now being examined by officials of the
Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and a final decision is likely to be taken soon as the last date for filing such details is approaching, the sources said.
The DoPT had in September notified the Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Amendment Rules, 2014, extending the date for the filing of returns to December 31.
As per the rules, every public servant shall file the returns of his assets and liabilities, including that of his spouse and dependent family members, on March 31 every year on or before July 31 of that year. For the current year, the last date for filing these returns was September 15, which was later extended to December-end.
The declarations under the Lokpal Act are in addition to similar ones filed by the employees under various services rules.
All Group A, B, and C employees are supposed to file a declaration under the new rules. There are about 22,95,374 employees in these three categories, as per the government’s latest data.
The form for filing this return has fields for mentioning details of cash in hand, bank deposits, investment in bonds, debentures, shares and units in companies or mutual funds, insurance policies, provident fund, personal loans and advance given to any person or entity, among others.
The employees need to declare motor vehicles, aircraft, yachts or ships, gold and silver jewellery and bullion possessed by them, their spouses and dependent children.
However, the rules state that the competent authority may exempt a public servant from filing information in respect of any asset if its value does not exceed his or her four months’ basic pay or Rs 2 lakh, whichever is higher.