BENGALURU: A two-member legislature panel has suggested steps to make legislators’ trips result-oriented and transparent.
The committee was constituted to frame guidelines on legislators’ tours, long perceived as pleasure trips by the public. It is headed by Assembly Deputy Speaker Shivashankara Reddy, with Deputy Chairman of Council Puttanna as its member.
An earlier set of guidelines prepared by the secretaries of the Assembly and the Council had been rejected by the chief minister.
Reddy told Express that the panel, at its maiden meeting held last week, discussed at length the issue, and worked out some guidelines to govern overseas as well as domestic trips so that “they will not be perceived as joy trips”.
Legislators who wish to go abroad should explain the purpose of the trip, the places to be visited and their areas of interest, Reddy said. It would be mandatory for them to submit a study report to be tabled in the House, he said.
The committee felt that one or two experts need to accompany the MLAs during their foreign trips to help them understand technical aspects. Replying to a question, Reddy said the tour programme would be prepared by the legislative panels, and have to be approved by the presiding officers of the Houses. “The programme will be formulated on the basis of information provided by the legislators on their areas of interest, such as infrastructure, tourism, power, agriculture, transport etc., to be studied overseas,” Reddy said.
Legislators can undertake two foreign trips and three domestic trips during their five-year term, and the cost of the foreign trips would be restricted to not more than `6.5 lakh per legislator, he added. Reddy said the committee would meet again next week and submit its recommendations to the government thereafter. “Once the government approves the report, the tours of legislators, which were put on hold, will resume,” he said.
It may be recalled that there was an outcry against some MLAs going on foreign junkets even as most part of the state were reeling under severe drought conditions.
The chief minister had then directed various legislature committees to call off their tours. The Estimate Committee headed by B R Yavagal, which was touring Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, had to cut short its trip and return to India.