Ministers' foreign trip details to be posted on website

Ministers' foreign trip details to be posted on website

Move follows CICs directive to Centre to disclose information

The CIC order, if implemented true to its spirit, could bring more transparency and accountability in the government functioning as it would provide the common man with an opportunity to know how many ministerial foreign jaunts are for serious business and how many are for pleasure at the expense of tax-payers’ money.

The panel favoured posting of the details of foreign visits of ministers and the Prime Minister on the respective ministerial website.

“The relevant ministries in the government should on their own disclose such information for the general public as and when the ministers including the Prime Minister go on any foreign visit,” the CIC said in its order issued last week.

“Similarly, the salary, other allowances and perks enjoyed by the ministers should also be disclosed routinely in the public domain. This would eliminate such requests under the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.

The Commission made the observations while deciding an appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Nitesh Kumar Tripathi who wanted to know the details of foreign tours of the Prime Minister since 2004 as well as about the salary and other allowances paid to him.

While the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) at the Prime Minister’s Office provided some information regarding the salary drawn by the Prime Minister, he forwarded Tripathi’s application for further information to the Home and External Affairs ministries.

However, nobody from the Home Ministry or the External Affairs Ministry appeared at the CIC hearing. Moreover, it was not clarified to the Commission whether the CPIOs of those ministries had provided any information to the appellant.

Directing both ministries to provide relevant information to Tripathi within 10 working days, the Commission asked the government to take steps for posting such information in the public domain.

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