IAS officer makes assets public

Namakkal collector creates history, voluntarily declares property worth Rs 9 lakh


U Sagayam

U Sagayam, Collector of Namakkal district, has created history of sorts by being the first IAS officer in the state to upload details of his assets on the district website, taking fellow officers by pleasant surprise.

Taking recourse to the “purely voluntary disclosure” provision under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the 47-year-old officer, during the RTI Week observed in Namakkal district last month, had announced that he would make known his property and bank balance details on the website.

Walk the talk

Fulfilling his intent, Sagayam declared on the Namakkal district website recently that he has a house property worth Rs 9 lakh in Madurai, jointly owned by his wife Vimala and himself, besides a bank balance of a mere Rs 7,172 in his account with the State Bank of India.

As per the All India Service Rules, people entering IAS not only have to furnish details of their personal assets at the time of joining service, but should  also submit their property statement to the government every year. Does this make the bold IAS officer’s move a wee bit superfluous?

Sagayam, speaking to Deccan Herald from Namakkal on Wednesday, said though the asset details of IAS cadre officers were already with the government and in the public domain at that level, he still felt impelled to take it to a larger domain of public visibility.

Leading by example

“The collector, as one leading the district administration, instead of just telling his subordinates to be honest, should lead by personal example,” he said.

“It will create confidence in the people and also motivate the administration at large as the impression of public servants in the eyes of the people is at low ebb,” Sagayam reasoned.

He hoped that his action would convey that “there are people serious about upholding integrity in public administration.” It should also help to strengthen the democratic process in the country.

Some IAS officers feel that there is no necessity to disclose their assets on the website as they are already with the government. Yet, Sagayam seems to have made a point to ponder.

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