Permission from Ministry of Finance is essential for travel abroad, says chief secretary

Irai Anbu issues communication reiterating protocol for officials to follow when traveling abroad

Irai Anbu issues communication reiterating protocol for officials to follow when traveling abroad

With some senior Tamil Nadu government officials bypassing the Ministry of Finance when traveling abroad, Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu issued a communication reiterating the protocol to be followed for undertaking overseas trips.

In a communication to secretaries of all departments, he said: ‘It has been noticed in a number of cases recently that outstanding orders have been obtained without routing the files through the finance secretary.

The tendency of some officers not to follow procedure led the Crown “to proceed again de novo to obtain the approval of the Secretary of Finance before issuing final orders at short notice, before the officials’ scheduled departure”.

The Chief Secretary has instructed relevant officials to ensure that all cases of official overseas tours by officers, regardless of financial implications, are channeled through the Finance Secretary and Chief Secretary , and then refer the cases to this department to take appropriate action in time.

Since the 1970s, it has been customary for a committee with the chief secretary as chairman with the finance secretary and secretaries of the administrative department as members to decide on official overseas tours of officers.

In accordance with current practice, records relating to officials’ official tours abroad, regardless of the financial implications, should be circulated through the Office of the Chief Minister and the Department of Finance. Any overseas travel by officers must be authorized by the Public Department.

Clearances are also obtained from the Union Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Economic Affairs Department of the Union Ministry of Finance mainly for two reasons – if the foreign country is friendly with India and on allowances, officials are entitled to exchange abroad.

An official said The Hindu“For several months, some senior civil servants have bypassed the Ministry of Finance before going on a trip abroad. On their return, they produce documents to claim the amount incurred as an expense.

Officials tend to bypass the finance ministry because senior officials have given negative but valid comments on such requests, the official said. “There were written observations on file that choosing another airline/route could lower the ticket price significantly.”

Another official attempted to explain that if the established system is followed, it could help avoid situations where MoUs/agreements are signed with other countries with heavy financial implications only to be subsequently refused by the Finance Department.

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