Assam Cabinet Minister Ranoj Pegu on October 3 revealed plans to introduce the "Toshakhana" system within the state, aimed at safeguarding items gifted to government officials during official trips. Pegu explained that this system would serve as a repository for gifts presented to government officials on official visits to other states or foreign excursions.
Pegu clarified the system's purpose, stating that it would be implemented to protect items given to ministers, MLAs, and high-level government officials, among others, who represent the government during official trips. He noted that the term "Tosha" has its roots in Sanskrit, and because Assamese is derived from it, they sometimes use the term "Tukhamud," signifying appeasement.
Under the proposed system, gifts received by the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers, legislators, public sector undertakings' chairpersons, and senior government officials during official visits to the national capital, other states, or international trips will be submitted to the Toshakhana.
Pegu stated that gifts received do not belong to the recipients personally but rather to the state government, as they receive them as representatives of their government positions. Therefore, the state government would become the rightful owner of these items. If gifts received from foreign governments, other state governments, or dignitaries exceed the value of Rs 2,000, they cannot be retained for personal use. Instead, they must be submitted to the Toshakhana.
Pegu clarified that should officials wish to retain such items for personal use, they would be required to pay the item's price at the Toshakhana, which would be the item's value minus Rs 2,000.
As an example, he noted that if a gifted item costs Rs 10,000, and the recipient wishes to keep it personally, they would pay Rs 10,000 minus Rs 2,000, totaling Rs 8,000, at the Toshakhana and claim the item.
Pegu also mentioned that a board would be established to finalize the valuation of the gift within one month, and the gifts would be securely stored in the Toshakhana strong room under lock and key.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today