Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finance ministry restricts foreign junkets, buying of new vehicles for bureaucrats

NO more buying of SX4, Ford Fiesta for Central government babus! In a strict finance ministry order dated July 11, 2011, the “purchase of vehicles including those against condemnation of the existing vehicles, will not be permitted.” The order signed by new expenditure secretary Sumit Bose however exempted operational requirements of defence forces, Central paramilitary forces and security related organizations.
The finance ministry has further put restrictions on foreign junkets and foreign study at government expenses. The order said that the higher level officers are discouraged to travel abroad, and “officers of the appropriate level dealing with the subject are sponsored.”
Here are the sets of restrictions in government’s new austerity drive meant mainly for bureaucrats.
* It would be the responsibility of the secretary of each ministry or department to ensure that foreign travel is restricted to most necessary.
* Ministries or departments would lay down quarterly ceilings based on the annual budget under foreign expenses which they may not exceed during the quarter in question.
* Where travel is unavoidable, it will be ensured that officers of the appropriate level dealing with the subject are sponsored instead of those at higher levels. The size of delegation and the duration of visit will be kept to absolute minimum.
* Proposals for participation in study tours, workshops, conferences, seminars, presentations at government costs will not be entertained except those that are fully funded by sponsoring agencies.
* There will be total ban on creation of Plan and Non-Plan posts, except for new organizations which are set up during the course of the current year based on already approved schemes.

Action and Appointments
The government has launched a drive to fill up backlog of vacancies of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs and Persons with Disabilities by March 31, 2012. Two earlier drives launched in 2008 and 2009 respectively enabled various offices to fill up about 26750 such vacancies. 


  1. Banning of purchasing of new cars unless required to run operations of government bodies under an austerity drive is a welcome step by the government. Misuse of government vehicles by bureaucrats and their kith and kin for personal use can cumulatively qualify as a huge misapprpriation/scam by babus. It is not only the cost of cars involved here but more importantly is the huge cost of running these so called 'official' cars - petrol/diesel, maintenance and above all the drivers' salaries/benefits. If log books of official vehicles of the bureaucrats are audited by an independent agency, 95% of the car use would easily qualify as that as personal use. Official vehicles at most can be allowed to pick and drop the official to work/home as an official perk...nothing else. Even car pools for officers can be initiated in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc. where traffic jams at peak hours are a regular feature. When MPs can go to PArliamnet in buses and vans why can't the bureaucrats including senior ones use official buses and vans for going to office and getting dropped back. Cost savings resulting thereof against such optimisation and prevention - official misuse, driver's salaries/benefits, petrol/diesel consumed, maintenance/repair, depreciation, etc. can easily run into hundreds of crores of rupees. Could be even a thousand crore...who knows. Other measures like centralised bus service/car pool, centralised driver pool, centralised purchasing, centralised vehicle maintenance/repair, online vehicle allocation/use portal, etc. can save huge amount of tax payers money for better use by government elsewhere. This is hard earned money of taxpayers and government can't wastefully keep this scarce resource at the beck and call of bureaucrats and their family members. Even in developed countries, this perk is not offered to even senior bureaucrats and car use is strictly monitored and audited.

  2. totally disagree...there shouldnt be any comparison between bureaucrats & the MPs , they both are widely different from every perspective, if that is the case , why do we have civil services exam as the toughest exam with loads of criterias. Bureaucrats practially run the nation and even thinking about spendings on cars & fuel costs and having bus services clearly makes them a "general category" personnel which they are obviously not. WE need to be more practical although they are in the service of the nation, such move will just disgruntle the bureaucrats....