New Delhi: In a stern directive, the Centre has asked all its officials to exercise "utmost discretion" and not to seek personal favours while interacting with officials of foreign countries.
In the missive, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has restricted any "private or personal correspondences" related to official nature with officials working in foreign missions here and abroad.
"Some instances have come to the notice of the government where officials have been in touch with or interacting with foreign service nationals (FSNs) or embassy officers or staffers of other countries in contravention of the laid down rules and circulars therein for personal favours e.G. Being nominated for various courses abroad, etc.
"This has been viewed seriously by the government," the DoPT said in the official memorandum sent to secretaries of all central government ministries.
It has said that the government servants should exercise utmost discretion in their contacts with foreign correspondents, members of foreign missions or organisations and other foreign nationals in India.
"No private or personal correspondences on matters of an official nature should be entered into," the DoPT said.
It has also advised all government officials to inform their respective ministries or departments about attending formal receptions, acceptance of invitations or hospitality, supply of information, employment of spouse or dependants, association with cultural organisations and language classes among other things.
Citing an earlier directive issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard, the DoPT through its recent note said its instructions should be "scrupulously followed by all government servants in letter and spirit".
Union Home Secretary R K Singh has also sent a strongly worded letter to all secretaries of central ministries and departments.
"Such contacts give an opportunity to FSNs, embassy officials or staffers to cultivate sources within the government and push their agenda," Singh has said in his letter.