Keep off costly gifts,declare assets: Akhilesh to ministers

Akhilesh,who took over as Chief Minister on March 15,declared his assets on March 27

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: July 2, 2012 12:08 am

Accepting expensive gifts like gold crowns,private hospitality when on official tours,running any kind of business,entering into any kind of property deal with the government — all these have been prohibited for UP ministers.

In a “most confidential” letter to his ministers earlier this week,Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has laid down certain do’s and don’ts for them,and asked for total compliance in the interest of transparency and probity in public life. To begin with,he has asked the ministers to make a declaration of their own assets,and those of their family members and dependent relatives.

Akhilesh,who took over as Chief Minister on March 15,declared his assets on March 27. After two days,he also declared the assets of his wife Dimple Yadav. The details were posted on the official website of the state government. It was expected that all ministers will follow suit. Barring Minister of State for Social Welfare Narendra Verma,none did.

Sources said the silence on the part of the ministers has prompted the Chief Minister to prod his colleague”. “He wants to send out a clear message that this government believes in transparency and it is different from its predecessor BSP government,’’ said sources.

In the letter,the Chief Minister has asked the ministers to declare details of their own properties,and those owned by their spouse,minor children and dependent blood relatives. They are also expected to provide details of investments,jewellery,and cash they own. This has to be an annual exercise to be completed on March 31 every year. “ “This year we have to declare the assets in 10 to 20 days. It is an order by the CM,not a suggestion. Everybody has to comply,” said Minister of State for Protocol Abhishek Mishra. Labour Minister Waqar Ahmed Shah confirmed the receipt of the letter and termed it as “a good step’’.

The ministers have been told that they or their family members should not buy or sell property to the government. Also,they cannot run a business,either by themselves or in partnership. Even their family members should not start a business. If it is necessary,then the information has to be given to the CM. “In the past,there were instances when ministers ran contractorships in the names of their wives. We have to maintain dignity,and not indulge in such practices,” said Mishra.

The ministers have been told to avoid accepting expensive gifts and deposit every gift worth over Rs 5,000 in the state treasury. In case of doubt about the value of a gift,it should be sent to the treasury for assessment. If a minister wants to retain a gift,he will have to pay its value in excess of Rs 5,000. Cash and Gold and silver crowns should not be accepted. No gift should be accepted from government employees.

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