Tamil Nadu

Finance Department clearance must for foreign trips, says Chief Secretary

With some senior officials in the Tamil Nadu government bypassing the Finance Department while going abroad, Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu has issued a communication reiterating the protocol to be followed for undertaking foreign trips.

In a communication to Secretaries of all departments, he said: “It has been noticed in a number of cases recently that orders in circulation have been obtained without routing the files through Finance Secretary.”

The tendency of some of the officers to not follow the procedure has resulted in the Public Department “to process again de novo for getting the approval of Finance Secretary before issuance of final orders at short notice, before the scheduled departure of the officials.”

The Chief Secretary has instructed officials concerned to ensure that all the cases of official tours abroad by the officers irrespective of financial implications are routed through the Finance Secretary and the Chief Secretary and then remit the cases to this department to take appropriate action in time.

Since 1970s, it has been the practice that a Committee with Chief Secretary as its chairperson with Finance Secretary and the Administrative Department Secretaries as its members decide on the official tours abroad by officers.

As per the existing practice, the files relating to the official tours of the officers abroad, irrespective of the financial implications, should be circulated through the Chief Minister’s Office and the Finance Department. Every foreign trip of officers has to be cleared by the Public Department.

Clearances are also obtained from the Union Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Department of Economic Affairs in the Union Ministry of Finance primarily on two accounts — whether the foreign country is friendly with India and over allowances, the officials are entitled to, in foreign exchange.

An official told The Hindu: “Since the past few months, some senior officials have been bypassing the Finance Department before going on foreign trips. On their return, they produce documents to claim the amount incurred as expenditure.”

Officials tend to bypass the Finance Department, as top officials have been giving adverse but valid feedback on such requests, the official said. “There have been written observations in files that choosing another airline company/alternate route could bring down ticket fare substantially.”

Another official sought to explain that if the established system is followed, it could help avoid situations wherein MoU/agreements are signed with other countries with heavy financial implications only to be turned down later on by the Finance Department.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 11:52:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/finance-department-clearance-must-for-foreign-trips-says-chief-secretary/article65468064.ece