Ministers to brave Delhi heat, abandon vacation plans

Eagle-eyed Prime Minister's Office has them working hard

Ministers to brave Delhi heat, abandon vacation plans

Delhi may be sizzling at 46 degree plus but Union ministers have been forced to put off their vacation to beat the heat as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets them cracking on work.

Many ministers had to give up on their plans to fly off to their favourite destinations abroad to chill out either in United States, Switzerland and United Kingdom since Narendra Modi has given them the task of individually preparing blue prints of the agenda they wish to deliver in a time-bound manner.

For instance, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had to drop his summer vacation plans after a gap of around 24 years since he is also busy holding meetings for preparing the Budget which has to be presented before Parliament by the end of next month.

Similarly, jet-setting Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal too had to abort his idea of taking a break after the long-drawn and tiring Lok Sabha election.

A minister who has served in the earlier NDA regime said that the trick of arranging an invitation for a conference at a cooler location in a foreign country is not working given the eagle eye the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is keeping on the council of ministers. The foreign trips of ministers are cleared by the PMO. 

The minister of state in the PMO, Dr Jitender Singh has already sent a signal to his colleagues by recently taking a policy decision that ministers will not lead delegations at global conventions on science and technology.

In his case, he made it clear that only scientists will fly to attend conferences.The ministers at the Centre and states had acquired the notoriety of holidaying abroad on public money.

Even senior bureaucrats would enjoy foreign sojourns due to the nexus with politicians. But a BJP leader said that a few of the ministers are not in the habit of taking off from work to take their families to hilly locations.

The two regimes of the UPA were replete with instances of ministers exploiting every opportunity to go abroad. Information sought through RTI way back in 2012 had revealed that PMO got 777 proposals, between May 2009 and June 2011, for foreign sojourn from at least 40 ministers.

The PMO had cleared most of them. The Manmohan Singh government had invoked austerity measures when the economy had slipped but it had little impact.

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