With days to go for Diwali, the Central government has increased the monetary ceiling for accepting gifts for its employees, relaxing the limit by more than three-fold, officials said on Wednesday.

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All officials under Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories that include senior most officers cannot accept any gift without the sanction of the government if the value exceeds Rs 5,000, according to the new norms. (Hindustan Times photo for representation)

All officials under Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories that include senior most officers cannot accept any gift without the sanction of the government if the value exceeds Rs 5,000, according to the new norms.

Earlier, the limit for them was Rs 1,500. Group ‘C’ employees will be able to accept gifts of up to Rs 2,000 value instead of Rs 500 without taking government approval. Government employees under Group ‘B’ could either be gazetted or non-gazetted officials. Most clerical posts and multi-tasking staff fall under Group ‘C’.

Officials said the ceiling limits has been revised to bring them at par with those for the three all India services — Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service. Gifts include free transport, boarding, lodging or other pecuniary advantage when provided by any person other than a near relative or personal friend having no official dealings with the government servant.

A casual meal, lift or other social hospitality is not considered a gift, according to existing rules. The government has also removed the limit of Rs 1,000 for government employees to receive and retain gifts from foreign dignitaries.

A government servant, being a member of the Indian delegation or otherwise, may receive and retain gifts from foreign dignitaries in accordance with the provisions of The Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentation) Rules, 2012, as amended from time to time,” a Personnel Ministry order said, without citing further details.

Existing rules bar a government servant from accepting any gifts from a foreign firm which is either contracting with the government of India or is one with which the government servant had, has or is likely to have official dealings.

Gifts received from foreign dignitaries, from known or unknown sources are usually deposited with the ‘toshakhana‘ — a repository of such articles.

Source from HT media