Disclose travel expenses of ministers proactively: CIC panel

The PMO not disclosing information about expenses incurred on foreign visits of the Prime Minister notwithstanding, a CIC-constituted committee has recommended not only putting out such details proactively by all ministries but regular updating as well.

New Delhi: The PMO not disclosing information about expenses incurred on foreign visits of the Prime Minister notwithstanding, a CIC-constituted committee has recommended not only putting out such details proactively by all ministries but regular updating as well.

The committee of former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari and Information Commissioner M M Ansari, constituted by the CIC gave its report on "Transparency Audit: Towards An Open and Accountable Government".

It referred to the circular issued by the ministry dated September 11, 2012 where it asked all departments to proactively disclose expenses incurred on the foreign and domestic visits of their respective ministers.

"These disclosures should be updated once every quarter," the committee said in its report asking the government to also disclose other details such as places visited and the institutions/individual interacted, period, number and the names of the members in the official delegation, mode of conveyance, travel expenses and source of funding and outcome of the visit.

It said a democratic government keen on empowering the people and delivering to them goods and services speedily and efficiently, cannot allow walls of secrecy to separate them from the very people they serve.

"Transparency brings the government closer to its people-? a closeness which underpins good governance. In spite of repeated directions to the public authorities, the results on account of voluntary disclosures have been below par," the committee observed.

It said quite large numbers of wholly avoidable RTI petitions by citizens for information, which should even otherwise be openly available, are still being filed.

"One cardinal aspect of the RTI i.E. Timely furnishing of quality information to the citizen, became difficult to be adhered to, while the cost for disclosing information, at all levels, kept increasing," it said. 

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