Falsification of financial information concerning any State by all-India Service Officers and Central Services officers working on deputation in States, may affect his/her empanelment, foreign assignment, and foreign training at government cost, Finance Secretary TV Somnathan has said.

In a recent communication to all Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories, Finance Secretary TV Somnathan said that there are instances of wrong information being provided to the Government of India. The Finance Secretary said such material is 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 over-borrowing by a State during the tenure of one government, which led to the deduction of such an amount during the tenure of a subsequent government, causing difficulties,” the letter read, which has been seen by BusinessLine.

However, the Finance Secretary refrained from divulging precise details about either the officer or State concerned in the cited instance.

The Centre gives permission for borrowing by State governments. Also, it releases funds under various centrally sponsored schemes and under the recommendation of the Finance Commission. In both cases, the Centre relies on information supplied by the State governments and certified by their officers. Somnathan’s letter cited All India Services Conduct Rules, saying, “Civil servants are responsible for tendering proper and factual advice and are required to sign certificates and provide information in a truthful and correct manner.”

Disciplinary action

According to the letter, it has been decided that if falsification of financial information or provision of wrong information in a grossly negligent manner is detected, the Finance Ministry will take disciplinary steps.

“In respect of all India Service Officers, the facts and names of the officers involved will be communicated to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) 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, and permission to take up assignments. For this purpose, the officers signing the wrong information and those putting up such wrong information will be taken into account,” it said.

Further, it advised that the matter may also be taken up with the State government to initiate disciplinary proceedings in appropriate cases. 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 “possible recall from State deputation and/or disciplinary proceedings.”

The communication, however, underlined that errors, which are bona fide, not material minor, will not attract action.