Giving in to a long-standing demand from activists, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday decided to make it mandatory for all officers and employees of urban local bodies, panchayats, semi-government organisations and government corporations to declare their assets every year.
Until now, declaring assets and liabilities by May 31 was mandatory only for officials working directly in the state government. Those working with organisations such as the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and so on were out of the ambit.
“After this decision, officers or employees from organisations such as the CIDCO, MMRDA, municipal councils and corporations will have give their assets and liabilities every year to their department head,” said a statement from the chief minister’s office.
These government agencies, including urban local bodies, implement some of the most capital-intensive works of the state and have to deal with private contractors bidding for the works on a regular basis.
Krishnaraj Rao, a Mumbai-based activist, said, “This decision is one big step towards increasing transparency in governance. We had been asking for this for a long time now. I just hope they implement this properly. Adherence has to happen, otherwise it will be of no use.” Rao said the state government should also make it compulsory for all legislators to disclose their assets on an annual basis.
D K Jagdale, joint chief officer of MHADA, whose employees will now have to begin reporting their assets and liabilities every year, agreed that the decision would go a long way in ensuring transparency.
“Employees had to declare their assets every five years till now, but if they know that they have to do it every year they will also be more cautious. It will definitely be a deterrent to corruption if employees know they are answerable to the government every year,” he said.