New Delhi: The government on Monday imposed fresh curbs on foreign tours by bureaucrats saying that they should restrict their overseas visits to four in a year.
"No officer should undertake more than four official visits abroad in a calendar year. For visits exceeding four by an officer, detailed justification would need to be furnished and such visits would be allowed only in exceptional cases depending on functional need," said an office order.
The order further stipulates that travel expenses for officials for participating in conferences, study tours and presentation of papers should be borne by the sponsors.
"Proposals for participation in conferences/seminars/ conventions/workshop/study tours/presentation of papers abroad at government cost will not be entertained except those that are fully funded by sponsoring/inviting organisations which may be considered keeping in mind the public interest and the government business at home," the order said.
It said that the size of the delegation and the duration of the visit should be kept at "absolute minimum".
As regards the foreign visits by Secretary level officers, it said they should not go abroad unless their presence is essential and the officers of the level of Additional Secretary or Joint Secretary cannot be substituted for them.
Foreign travel by the officers at the expense of PSUs, it said, should be discouraged, unless the journey is undertaken specifically in connection with the affairs of the concerned PSU.
"Wherever the expenditure on the visit of the government officials is borne by PSUs, the entitlements of the officers shall remain as his entitlements under the Government rules," the order said.
The government had last month baned first class air travel by officers and asked them to effectively use videoconferencing facility.
It had also asked them to keep their travel expenses within the budgetary limit.