Ministry of External Affairs

On 26-3-2024, the Ministry of External Affairs notified the Toshakhana Rules, 2024 which will be applicable on the gifts received by the Government functionaries from foreign sources. The provisions came into force on 26-3-2024.

Applicability: Person appointed to a civil service/ post in connection with affairs of Union (includes Defence services).

Key Points:

  1. Toshakhana is a strong room located in the Ministry of External Affairs for gifts received either in India or abroad by the Government functionaries from foreign sources.

  2. Toshakhna will be under:

    • General charge of Joint Secretary (Establishment) in the Ministry of External Affairs;

    • General supervision of an officer not below the rank of Under Secretary (‘US (TK)’) who will ensure that these rules are being followed.

    • In addition, there will be an AO/SO rank officer who will also be Superintendent, Toshakhana;

    • The strong room will be under double lock. The keys will be examined annually, and a certificate will be duly recorded by US (TK) which will be countersigned by Joint Secretary (Establishment).

  3. Duties of Superintendent:

    • is responsible for the safety of cash and stores and is responsible for preservation from rust/ dampness/ worms/ moths etc.

    • Has to safeguard against loss due to negligence or fraud for which he has to furnish security as required under Rule 306(3) of the General Financial Rules, 2017.

      The rule says that Security should be furnished as a Fidelity Bond in GFR 17, executed in Form GFR 14.

    • The Administration will see that the government servant pays the premia necessary to keep the Bond alive, for which he has to submit premium receipt in time.

  4. Gifts/ Presents that can be deposited in Toshkhana:

    • Cases mentioned under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 (‘CCS (Conduct) Rules’);

    • or where any gift is not permitted to be retained by a government functionary under any general or special order of the Government;

    • Gifts received from near relatives and personal friends on social occasions, which are allowed under CCS (Conduct) Rules;

    • Joint Secretary (Establishment) will take decision regarding the disposal of articles and can allow the recipients of gifts the first option of purchasing them at fixed value by the Custom Appraiser.

    • Perishable items (dry fruits/ teas/ jams/ confectionary/ chocolates etc.) are not kept and returned to the recipient.

      Gifts whose estimated value is more than Rs. 5000 (minimum retention limit of gifts provided in Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts of Presentation) Rules, 2012) are returned to the appropriate administrative authority in recipient’s Ministry/ department.

    • Gifts which are not of exceptional historical/ diplomatic significance and are under the ceiling limit of Rs. 5000 can be retained by Government functionaries. No custom duty is leviable on such gifts.

    • Gifts having ‘No Commercial Value (NCV)’ will be returned to the recipient except of gifts having exceptional historical/ diplomatic significance

  5. Duties of US (TK):

    • Every gift/ present is received through US (TK).

    • US (TK) will describe the gift fully.

    • Printed receipt book and receipts will be made in triplicate which will be given to recipient of the gift, authority for the Superintendent and the 3rd one will be the US (TK).

    • US (TK) will check and stock book on monthly basis.

  6. Jewellery and Valuables will be kept in a safe or strong iron bound box.

  7. Coins and Bullions will not be treated as cash but as stores and entered in the Stock Register made over to the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited.

  8. Animals Presented will be given to the nearest Army Service Corps for early sale, or handed over to the Zoological Gardens.

  9. Toshakhana articles can be disposed of by:

    • Giving on loan;

    • Transferred temporarily or permanently under the orders of Foreign Secretary for use in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, Rashtrapati Niwas, Shimla, Vice President’s Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Official Residence, New Delhi, Museums at Delhi, Indian Embassies abroad and Government Departments/State Governments.

    • Alcoholic beverages which are not retained will be transferred to Protocol Division for optimal use.

    • Books which are not retained will be transferred to MEA Library for optimal use.

Note: In case of any doubt in interpretation, it will be referred to Additional Secretary (Administration), Ministry of External Affairs.

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