Chief Minister Harish Rawat has put a ban on foreign tours by ministers, officials and members of the legislative assembly, aiming to cut down on unnecessary expenses and bring about greater transparency in governance.
However, the chief minister said he was not against study tours abroad if there was sufficient justification for it. But, officials or government functionaries who want to undertake a study tour will have to convince the chief minister about the rationale behind it so that when they come back their knowledge gained during the tour can be used for the benefit of the state, he said.
Announcing the decision at a press conference here yesterday, Rawat said this has been done to cut down on unnecessary expenses and bring about greater transparency in governance. The chief minister has also made it mandatory for all ministers, MLAs and officials to declare their assets annually.
He also said that the vigilance department of the state government is being strengthened. Vigilance department has been asked to review the complaints and bring under the scanner, officials or functionaries who occupy positions where they can do favours to people.
Introduction of a self-auditing system in government departments has also been suggested, Rawat said. These decisions are in keeping with Rawat's announcement earlier this month that the government will not hesitate in taking harsh steps if they are in the interest of the state.