Governance

Bihar’s Panchayati Raj institution members have to declare assets by year-end

The step will help to check and control financial irregularities cases in panchayats in zila parishads, the government says

 
By Mohd Imran Khan
Last Updated: Thursday 05 December 2019
Bihar Panchayat and Zila Parishad members have to declare their assets by December 31
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a meeting with officials. Photo: Nitish Kumar
@NitishKumar / Twitter
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a meeting with officials. Photo: Nitish Kumar @NitishKumar / Twitter

The government of Bihar has directed all elected representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions to make their assets public by December 31, 2019, the state’s Panchayati Raj minister has said.

“All elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions will have to submit details of their assets by December 31, within 30 days of the department issuing directives to this effect,” Bihar’s Minister for Panchayati Raj, Kapildev Kamat said on December 2, 2019.

The government decided to take this step after receiving regular complaints of financial irregularities against elected Panchayat representatives, Kamat told this reporter. 

District magistrates will collect details about the movable and immovable assets of all the elected representatives of gram panchayats and zila parishads, their spouses and dependents, and upload these to the official website of the respective districts.

This will be done every year.

Elected Panchayat members who will have to disclose their assets include Mukhiyas, Deputy Mukhiyas, Prakhand Pramukhs, Deputy Prakhand Pramukhs, Zila Parishad Adhyaksh and Upadhyaksh. They total around 17,916 people.

Kamat said this step will help to check and control financial irregularities cases in panchayats.

The Panchayati Raj Department has issued orders to its officers in districts across the state to ensure that the government’s directive is carried out, department official Brajnandan Prasad told this reporter.

In recent years, the Bihar government has acted against more than a dozen Mukhiyas for amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. Each panchayat gets annual funds of Rs 2 crore for different schemes.

After becoming chief minister for a second consecutive term in 2010, Nitish Kumar first made it mandatory for everybody including the chief minister, members of the cabinet, and lawmakers like Members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council to declare their assets.

Later, all government officials including bureaucrats and government school teachers were directed to submit details of their assets to their concerned department.

All year-wise details are now posted on the state government's official website.

Nitish Kumar had repeatedly announced that corruption will not be tolerated in the state and his government will not compromise on it.

However, despite his much-hyped war against corruption, cases continue to be reported and the opposition has accused the government for failing to tackle rampant corruption.

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