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Centre allows bureaucrats to retain gifts valued up to Rs 5,000 received from foreign dignitaries

If the value surpasses the threshold of Rs 5,000, the recipient is offered the option of buying the gift by paying the difference of amount between the market value and Rs 5,000.

The central government has issued an official order, allowing bureaucrats of All India Services like the IAS, IPS and IFoS officers to retain gifts received from foreign dignitaries while being members of Indian delegation.

A five-decade-old law governing rules over foreign contribution to bureaucrats has been amended by the Centre, bringing it in line with the Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentations) Rules, 2012, that regulate acceptance of gifts by VIPs on foreign visits. 

As per the rules, the recipients of the gifts are required to submit them in the ‘toshakhana’, a repository of such articles in the Ministry of External Affairs, for assessment by customs appraiser to evaluate their market value. The recipient is then informed about the value of the gift by the ‘toshakhana’.

Bureaucrats can retain gifts with value less than Rs 5,000. However, if the value surpasses the threshold of Rs 5,000, the recipient is offered the option of buying the gift by paying the difference of amount between the market value and Rs 5,000.

It is worth noting that existing rules lacked any provision in the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, with respect to receipt or retention of gifts received from foreign dignitaries by Civil Services Officers as a part of the Indian delegation or otherwise. The rules had allowed officers to receive gifts from only near relatives or from personal friends having no official dealings with them, on occasions like wedding or religious functions, etc., when bestowing gifts is in accordance with prevailing customs and traditions. Besides, they are also required to report it to the government if the value of such gifts exceeded Rs 25,000, the rules say.

So in order to address the lacuna in the rules governing retention of gifts from foreign dignitaries, the government inserted a new sub-rule under Section 11 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968. The new sub-section allows officers to receive and retain gifts as per the same set of rules that govern acceptance of gifts by VIPs from foreign dignitaries.

The Centre had in March 2020 circulated a draft proposal for amendment to AIS(Conduct) Rules and sought responses from states and UTs, positively failing which would be “presumed that the state government has no objection to the proposed amendments”.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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