Procedures for official foreign visits of bureaucrats have been made stringent as they will have to explain a host of things, including "benefits" of the trip and why the objectives cannot be achieved by the Indian missions, a junior person or through video conferencing.
The Finance Ministry has prepared a new detailed proforma which officials of any ministry or government department intending to travel abroad for official work will have to fill up for approval. The 19-column proforma, issued by Expenditure department, asks a host of queries, including when did the particular official travel abroad earlier, what were the returns of that visit and why a junior officer cannot travel to achieve the objectives intended to be achieved by a senior officer.
While submitting the proforma, the department asked that it "may be ensured that all the points contained therein have been address/replied upon satisfactorily, failing which proposals will be returned unprocessed by D/o Expenditure".
Seeking the purpose of the visit, the proforma has a column which asks, "tasks proposed to be undertaken/ accomplished & outcome to be achieved by the proposed visit. Please indicate exact outcomes and tangible/non tangible benefits in quantified terms, wherever possible." The Expenditure Department also asks for "full details of the foreign visits undertaken by the officer(s) during the last three calendar years...
"Whether deputations/delegations sent in the past for similar purpose? If so, the name of the officer deputed together with period of deputation."
The proforma for 'approval of deputation/tour abroad' also asks, "whether tour report was submitted after the last visit abroad (a copy of the previous tour report, indicating quantified outcomes, including tangible and/or non-tangible benefits of that visit to be enclosed)."
It further seeks to know: "why cannot the purpose be served by: (i) deputing officers at the functional level viz. Director/ Dy. Secretary instead of deputing officers of higher level (s). (ii) Our Mission abroad/ officer of the Ministry/Department already stationed abroad; or "Any other officer already abroad/or being deputed in the same or neighbouring country: or (iv) Video conferencing. Justification to be given as to why this facility cannot be utilised".