Home / Politics / Policy /  Centre reads riot act to IAS, IPS officers over false information
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NEW DELHI' : The finance ministry has expressed severe disapproval of false information filed by state governments and has set out penalties for officers of All India Service and Central Services certifying them. Such acts will have a bearing on Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers’ promotion and deputation to centre, as well as foreign and inter-cadre positions.

In case of officers belonging to central services such as Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service and Indian Railway Traffic Service, among others, on deputation to states; their central cadre controlling authorities will be asked to take action, including recall and disciplinary proceedings.

In a 21 April letter to chief secretaries of all states and Union territories, finance secretary T.V. Somanathan said, “It has come to light that, of late, there are some instances where the factual information provided to the government of India is wrong in material respects even though certified by competent officers of the state governments, in a manner indicating either falsification or gross negligence. As an illustration, in one case, wrong information led to heavy over-borrowing by a state during the tenure of one government, which led to a deduction of such amount during the tenure of a subsequent government, causing difficulties."

The Union government relies on information supplied by state governments to permit states to borrow, release funds under centrally sponsored schemes.

“It has been decided that if falsification of financial information or provision of wrong information in a grossly negligent manner is detected, this ministry will take the following steps—(i) In respect of All India Service Officers, the facts and names of officers involved will be communicated to the department of personnel and training, government of India, to be taken into consideration, as deemed appropriate by them in matters relating to empanelment, central deputation, inter-cadre deputation, deputation for foreign training at government cost or foreign assignments, permission to take up assignment under Rule 6(2)(ii), etc. For this purpose, the officers signing the wrong information and those putting up such wrong information will be taken into account," the communication, reviewed by Mint, said.

Since the Narendra Modi government first assumed office in May 2014, there have been several massive reshuffles of the top levels of the bureaucracy, including secretary-level appointments. Also, senior IAS, IPS and IFS officers have been dismissed from service on the grounds of misconduct and misbehaviour, disproportionate assets, and prolonged unauthorized absence from duty.

“The matter may also be taken up with the state government to initiate disciplinary proceedings in appropriate cases," the communication said. “In respect of officers of the central services on deputation to state governments, the matter will be brought to the notice of their central cadre controlling authorities for such action as deemed appropriate by them, including a possible recall from state deputation and/or disciplinary proceedings."

“Errors which are bona fide/not material/minor will not attract such action," the letter stated.

Queries emailed to a finance ministry spokesperson late Sunday night remained unanswered.

A top finance ministry official seeking anonymity said while a few states provided incorrect information, it was quite significant in the case of at least two states. The official declined to name the states.

“To some extent, data given by states is used for determining borrowing series and utilization certificates of states provided by them helps in releasing further instalments of centrally sponsored schemes. To that extent, we are reliant on certifications that we get from the states. In a few cases, there have been instances where data initially given on the basis of which borrowing was authorized was later found to be incorrect," the official said.

The official said that this leads to subsequent adjustments. “When subsequent adjustments are made, it causes a difficulty as there is excess utilization in one period, which leads to difficulty in subsequent periods, as it goes below what the normal entitlement is," the official said.

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