New Delhi: Government has spent nearly Rs 42
crore on foreign visits by Union Ministers during the last one
The information provided in an RTI reply shows that while
Cabinet Ministers spent Rs 37.16 crore on their foreign
visits, their junior colleagues, Ministers of State, spent
about Rs 4.76 crore on these visits bringing the total travel
expenditure to Rs 41.82 crore for the year 2010-11.
The Cabinet Secretariat has given these consolidated
figures of foreign visits expenses incurred by the Ministers
to activist SC Agrawal after instructions from the Chief
Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra who directed it to
make the disclosure.
In the case, Agrawal had sought to know from the Cabinet
Secretariat the travel details of Union Ministers for the last
three years, but he was told that information was "scattered"
across different ministries and he would have to collect it
from them separately.
When the matter reached the Central Information
Commission, the Cabinet Secretariat reiterated its position.
The Secretariat also noted that to collate the
information, a large volume of records and documents would
have to be scrutinised which would disproportionately divert
the resources of the public authority.
"While we tend to agree with the submission made by the
respondents (Cabinet Secretariat), we think it would be in the
interest of transparency if some key information about the
domestic and international travel by Union ministers could be
maintained centrally in Cabinet Secretariat itself, especially
since the pay and accounts office under it is responsible for
all accounting details for payment of the salary and
reimbursement of their travel expenditure," CIC Satyananda
Mishra had said in his order.