Maharashtra govt issues guidelines for foreign tours by officials

THE CASH-STRAPPED Maharashtra government has issued fresh guidelines for the foreign travels of bureaucrats and officials asking them to avoid unnecessary travels and limiting their travels in a year.

The General Administration Department (GAD) led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray issued the guidelines on Monday for IAS officers and state officials for their foreign tours. The guidelines say that the officials will be permitted to make three foreign travels with a maximum of 15 days in a year.

The guidelines also say that the officials should check whether the information to be obtained from foreign tours can be obtained through other means. The proposals of foreign tours that are beneficial to the state government or that can’t be avoided should be taken up for consideration, it said.

As per the guidelines, the department secretary has been entrusted with the responsibility of certifying the benefits of the foreign tours to the state and no conflict of interest of officers going on travel. All these proposals will be placed before the chief secretary-headed committee that will recommend the proposals for chief minister’s nod. The committee will consider the travel proposal with the government expenditure only in exceptional cases based on the benefits to the government, it added.

However, the guidelines do not mention the criteria required for the foreign travels of ministers and legislators. The previous guidelines of June 2016, issued by the Devendra Fandavis government, were applicable to the ministers and legislators as well.

“All these guidelines, issued previously, have been consolidated for clarity. There is no change in it. The 2016 guidelines applicable to ministers and legislators were related to the political clearance of the cabinet secretary, Ministry of External Affairs with others. These are still applicable,” said an official.