Proposal for 39 foreign trips by Union Ministers turned down by MEA3 May, 2012
An application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) refused grant of clearance on several grounds for at least 38 official trips and one personal trip proposed by 25 Union ministers since June 2009.
The proposed destinations for travel included countries like the US, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Australia and South Africa, and proposed duration of stay abroad was 125, excluding the travel time. The Food Minister K V Thomas has been refused clearance the maximum number of times i.e. four refusals. The other ministers who were refused clearance include Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
The approvals for the foreign trips of the Union Ministers, both personal and official, are granted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In addition, the financial advisor in the concerned ministry looks after the “austerity” measures adopted by the Department of Expenditure.