Tour details of ministers to be made public
New Delhi: In a move aimed at increasing transparency, the Centre on Tuesday asked all its ministries to make public details of official foreign and domestic tours undertaken by ministers and senior officers.
The details will include nature of the official tour, places visited, the period, number of people included in the official delegation and total cost of such travel undertaken by a minister or senior officers.
The "suo motu" decision was taken after central government departments received frequent applications under the Right to Information Act seeking details of official tours undertaken by ministers and other officials.
"It has been brought to the notice of this Department that public authorities are receiving RTI applications frequently asking for details of the official tours undertaken by ministers and other officials of the ministries or departments concerned.
"In compliance with the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005, it is advised that public authorities may proactively disclose details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by minister(s) and officials of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government and above and Heads of Departments, since January 1, 2012," according to a directive issued today by Department of Personnel and Training.
The disclosures may be updated once every quarter starting from July 1, 2012, it said.
The decision, official say, was in compliance of Section 4, sub section 2 of the RTI Act, 2005 which mandates a public authority to take steps for providing as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including Internet, so that the public has minimum resort to use the transparency law to obtain information.
However, the directive will not be applicable on security and intelligence organisations including RAW, IB, CBI and Enforcement Directorate among others which are exempted from providing information under the RTI Act.
Besides, Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of government departments and public sector units have been kept out of this directive, the DoPT said in an official memorandum sent to all ministries, chief secretaries and union territories.
"The information will be put on the concerned department or ministry's website," a DoPT official said.