Pay cut to bring top govt officials in line?

Tightening the noose around bureaucrats who don’t file their Immovable Property Returns on time,
the department of personnel and training plans to recommend salary cuts for them.

At present, all they face is an adverse entry in their annual confidential report.

This comes at a time the government is keen to be seen as being transparent and acting tough on corruption. The department of personnel and training also plans to pick an independent valuator, maybe even a real estate management firm, to assess current market values of property details furnished by government officials.

This is felt necessary as the department of personnel and training is aware that the officials tend to
declare underestimated property values, often based on costs when the property was purchased
many years ago.

The department of personnel and training figures show that despite five reminders, 437 officials —
including 87 IAS officers — had not filed property details for 2009 and 2010.

Their names have been posted on the department of personnel and training website.

It is mandatory for all officers of the rank of undersecretary and above to file property returns annually.
“What is happening now is that if an officer has purchased a house 15 or 20 years ago, they give the
amount they then paid as the property value — which is obviously far lower than the current rate. But the government wants to know the present market value of such properties so that the exact financial worth of the official can be assessed,” a senior official of the DoPT said.

The department now feels that a salary cut threat will prompt officials to file their returns.

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