NEW DELHI:While bureaucrats were already barred from accepting any foreign hospitality, the government has decided to keep a close watch on family members accompanying them on private foreign trips and would like to have a complete estimated expenditure of all dependent members before they board a flight.
The new rules aim to remove the use of proxies to circumvent scrutiny of expenditure on foreign sojourns. Sources said bureaucrats are now required to provide estimated expenditure head-wise that includes travel cost, lodging, visa and miscellaneous expenditure on the foreign visit.
“Subsequently, the officer concerned must file an expenditure statement furnishing the head-wise details of actual expenses incurred along with sources of the money within two weeks of return from a private foreign visit. Two most important aspects that would be examined before the foreign trip is whether the officer is custodian of large amounts of government money in the department he/she is working for, and does the officer deal with top secret matters involving national security. This is an excellent move by the government to ensure checks and balances in the system,” sources said.
Requirement of vigilance clearance has already been made compulsory by the government since 2014 and the Chief Vigilance Officer of the concerned departments are required to maintain and update the data bank on officers annually.
As per the existing instructions, when an officer applies for leave to make a private foreign trip, separately prior permission of the competent authority for such visit is also required. As per the rules while granting permission, many factors are required to be kept in view. For example, permission may be denied in the interest of security. Individuals facing investigation on serious charges, who may try to evade apprehension by police authorities, are not permitted to leave the country.
The babus are also restricted to accept foreign hospitality under Section 6 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. It says: “No member of a legislature or office-bearers of a political party or judge or government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body owned or controlled by the government shall, while visiting any country or territory outside India, accept, except with the prior permission of the Central government, any foreign hospitality.”
The officers are exempted only in medical emergency to accept foreign hospitality but even then they need to report to the government within a month about such support received abroad while divulging the source from which, and the manner in which, such hospitality was received.