BANGALORE: Foreign junkets undertaken by the State government officials from July 24, 2011 to July 5, 2014 has cost the exchequer Rs 1.10 crore.
Interestingly, 189 officials, including IAS, IPS, KAS, forest and other officers, had gone abroad to attend workshops, conferences and also on study tours.
Of the total 121 foreign junkets undertaken by the officials in the last three years, expenses of 18 tours had been met by the government. The expenditure of the rest of the tours was borne by the organisers.
While 39 officials went abroad between July 24, 2011 and December 31, 2011, 48 officials undertook tours from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, 77 from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 and as many as 25 officials from January 1, 2014 to July 5, 2014.
The government had met the expenses of officials to attend Geneva Festival in Switzerland, 19th triennial meeting of the International Association of Forensic Science at Madeira (Portugal), Indian Tourism Marketing meet in New York, conference on advances mid-career VAT and GST Training programme at Duke University (North Carolina, USA), inspection of facilities of manufacturer of arial ladder platform, turn table ladder at Finland, Austria, Italy and Germany, Indian Show at Toronto (Canada), Agri-business meet in Israel, FITUR International Tourism Fair at Madrid (Spain), Singapore Air Show, International Tourism Bourse at Berlin (Germany), Bangalore Delegation to Cambridge (United Kingdom), World Travel Mart at United Kingdom, International Luxury Travel Mart at Cannes (France), discussion with Sheffield Hallam University at United Kingdom regarding modalities for transfer of fingerprint technology, International Travel Mart in Berlin (Germany), International Conference on Business Excellence in Dubai (UAE), 16th edition of International Summer school on regulation of public services at Turin (Italy) and World Travel Mart in London.
Apart from this, Karnataka State Co-Operative Marketing Federation, Visvesvaraya Industrial Trade Centre, Department of Agriculture, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology, Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, State Library Authority Fund, Hutti Gold Mines Limited, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation Limited and Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited too have footed junket bills.
Most of the trips were aimed at promoting tourism, trade and business, technological innovation in fields of agriculture, roads, rural sanitation, and leadership development.
A senior official said, “We keep getting invitations from foreign countries requesting officials to attend workshops and conferences. Officers are deputed to such conferences if expenses are borne by organisers...we do not want to spend money from the state exchequer. However, some tours are undertaken by the government to promote the state at international forums”.
When contacted, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee said any official, who goes on a study tour, needs to submit a detailed report soon after his/her return from the junket. In fact, some reports presented by officials are really informative but some are very sketchy, he said.