To draw a line between the new government and bureaucrats, the Ministry of Home Affairs has provided a revised ‘Code of Conduct’ to the Narendra Modi government. The rules framed to insulate the bureaucracy from the ministers are among a set of directives required to be followed by the Union Council of Ministers and monitored by the Prime Minister.
The new rules state, “After taking office, and so long as he remains in office, the minister shall uphold the political impartiality of the civil services and not ask the civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the duties and responsibilities of the civil servants.”
The revised ‘Code of Conduct’ circulated by the MHA was cleared by the UPA government last year.
The rules also state that the minister shall ‘ensure that his family members do not start or participate in business concerns engaged in supplying of goods or services to the government and there should be total prohibition on employment of spouse and dependents with a foreign mission’.
The Code of Conduct reiterates that ministers “should sever all connections, short of divesting himself of the ownership, with the conduct and management of any business in which he was interested before his appointment as minister. He/She is ‘required to furnish details regarding assets, liabilities for the financial year by August 31 every year’.
The rules state, “In case of grant of an award by any organisation to a minister, the credentials of the organisation giving the award may be gone into. If the awards related to the work done by the individual prior to his holding the office of minister, such awards may be accepted but in all such cases specific approval of the PM or the CM as the case may be, should be obtained.”