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Rediff.com  » News » Exclusive! Cabinet secretary cracks down on secretary-level foreign travel

Exclusive! Cabinet secretary cracks down on secretary-level foreign travel

October 22, 2010 12:54 IST
Reacting to incidents where foreign tours have been proposed by ministries and government departments for officers of the rank of secretary which could as well be undertaken by junior officers, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, in a confidential letter, has issued guidelines that secretaries to the Government of India should travel abroad only in the most essential circumstances.

According to his letter, a copy of which is with rediff.com, secretaries should travel abroad only for such international conferences/meetings where their presence is required for the purpose of elucidating the government's policies or stand.

Even here, such participation should be commensurate with the level of participation from other countries, Chandrasekhar has written. In any case, secretaries should not be absent from headquarters for more than a week.

The cabinet secretary would like ministries and departments to recommend visits abroad for secretaries only in circumstances where representation at a lower level is not advisable or where no one else can substitute them.

An annexure to the cabinet secretary's letter further states that proposals for foreign travel should not be initiated without the prior approval of the ministry of external affairs.

Further, secretaries should not travel abroad when Parliament is in session. Nor should the secretary travel abroad at the same time as his minister. If there is a need for both of them to be away at the same, the circumstances should be brought out clearly for the prime minister's consideration.

These guidelines, Chandrasekhar writes, is in line with the prime minister's approval.

A Correspondent in New Delhi