Government permits IAS, IPS officers to retain gifts received from foreign dignitaries

The existing rules allowed IAS, IPS officers to accept gifts from their personal friends or the near relatives with whom they have no official dealings, on occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, funerals, and religious functions.

Created On: Sep 22, 2021 14:39 IST
Gifts permitted to IAS, IFS
Gifts permitted to IAS, IFS

According to the official order, the Government of India has decided to amend over a 50-year-old rule to allow IPS, IAS and IFoS officers to retain the gifts received from foreign dignitaries while being the member of the Indian delegation.

According to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, applicable to the officers of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), and the Indian Police Service (IPS), ‘no member of the service shall accept any gift without the sanction of the government if the value of a gift exceeds Rs. 5,000.”

The gifts that are received by the officials, from the known and unknown sources, are usually deposited with the ‘toshakhana’ in the Ministry of External Affairs.

What were the existing rules regarding gifts for officials?

•  The existing rules allowed these officers to accept gifts from their personal friends or the near relatives with whom they have no official dealings, on occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, funerals, and religious functions.

•  However, as per the rules, they will have to make a report to the government if the value of such gifts exceeds Rs. 25,000.

•  Gifts including free boarding, free transport, free lodging, or any other service when provided by a person other than a near relative or the personal friend having no official dealings with the officer. But the gift must not include a casual lift, casual meal, or any other social hospitality.

Amendment to All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968

The Personnel Ministry has now amended the rules and has inserted a new sub-rule under Section 11 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968.

As per the recently amended rule, “a member of the service, being a member of Indian delegation or otherwise may receive and retain gifts from foreign dignitaries in accordance with the provision of the Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentations) Rules, 2012, as amended from time-to-time.”

The Ministry in March 2020 had also sought comments from the State Governments on the proposed rules. The governments were asked to send their responses by March 31, 2020.

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