Policy

Centre cracks the whip on foreign travel by babus

| | Updated on: Jan 06, 2016
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Finance Ministry slaps fresh curbs on visits and duration of stay

Travelling abroad is getting tougher for the babus, with the Narendra Modi government further tightening the rules for foreign travel.

The Centre has directed officials to try and keep foreign travel to a maximum — of just five days.

“The duration of the visit shall also be kept to the absolute minimum…Foreign visits shall not exceed five working days,” said fresh guidelines issued by the Finance Ministry’s Department of Expenditure.

Any foreign visit exceeding five working days or including more than five members in the delegation would be expected to be placed before the Screening Committee of Secretaries (SCoS), said the guidelines.

This is the latest in a series of such communication by the Centre, which had earlier asked its officials and Ministers to submit foreign travel proposals at least 10 days in advance and explain the results of the sojourns.

Now, all proposals have to be submitted to the SCoS at least 15 days before departure.

To monitor the outcome of foreign visits, the Finance Ministry has also set up an online Foreign Visit Management System (FVMS) where nodal Ministries and Departments would be expected to provide details of all trips planned for the quarter.

Visit outcome

“To optimise the outcome from foreign tours of officers, each Ministry and Department shall prepare a Quarterly Rolling Plan of proposed programmes and visits for the next three months,” the guidelines said, adding that only the essential foreign visits which cannot be avoided may be included.

Further, no officer would be expected to undertake more than four official visits annually.

Permission will have to be taken from the Prime Minister through the SCoS for visits by Secretary-level officials exceeding this limit.

The Finance Ministry has also repeated its earlier directive asking Secretary-level officials to travel abroad only when their presence is required and no other officer can be deputed.

Further, Secretaries should not go aboard during Parliament sessions and, ideally, both the Minister and Secretary of the Ministry should not be travelling at the same time.

It has also urged officials to take the help of Indian missions and leverage technology such as exchange of letters, telephone and video conferencing instead of depending on foreign visits.

Published on January 19, 2018

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