New rules to cut down expenditure for MP tours: Naidu

New rules to cut down expenditure for MP tours: Naidu

Seeking to streamline the outdoor visits of parliamentary committees and cut expenses, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has prescribed new guidelines.

The new rules seek to avoid holding meetings in hotels and put a cap on tours undertaken by each committee in a year.

Sources said the decision was prompted by the frequent outstation tours of the committees at a huge cost on MPs' stay in expensive hotels and holding meetings there.

In the name of study tours, the committees visited exotic locations, sources said.

In the past two years, 12 parliamentary committees serviced by the Rajya Sabha undertook 85 tours, almost double the prescribed number of 48 tours  (two times a year by each committee). The Rajya Sabha secretariat took note of the “excess 39 visits”.

“The move is aimed at 'bringing some order into outside visits of committees of the RS. This is also to discourage stay and holding meetings in hotels at huge cost,” a source said.

Under the new rules, no permission shall be granted to Parliamentary committees serviced by the Upper House for more than two study tours a year.

A study tour should also not ordinarily exceed five working days and the total number of days of a tour under no circumstances shall exceed 10 days in a year.

It has also been made clear that one year means a period of 12 months from the date of constitution of the committee. Hence, committees constituted in the middle of the year cannot claim two tours in that financial year.

Naidu has insisted that committee meetings and discussions should be held in Delhi instead of offsite.

“The committee should go to any place for the purpose of the on-the-spot study and holding discussions on the spot for acquiring information,” he has said, a move which seeks to discourage the practice of long-term visits of Parliamentary panels and meetings offsite.

The new rules emphatically say that a “committee should generally avoid meetings in a hotel” and discussions can be held at the organisation being visited.

If no arrangements are available in the organisation concerned, the discussions may be held in the Committee Room of the state Assembly concerned.

Cap on officials

“If accommodation is not available in the Committee Room of the Assembly, then discussions may be held in a hotel,” the new rules state, limiting the scope of hotel stay during committee tours.

As per the new norms, a maximum of three officials would be allowed to go with the committee. In the graded scheme now introduced, only one official would accompany the Committee if only 10 members are undertaking the visit, two officials if the number of Committee members is in the range of 11 to 15 and a maximum of 3 officials if 16 or more Committee members go on outside visits.

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