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Disclose tour expenses of Union Ministers: panel

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, May 24 � Noting that voluntary disclosures of information have been �below par�, a CIC-constituted panel has said that details of domestic and foreign visits of Union Ministers should be proactively disclosed and kept updated, reports PTI.

The committee said this against the backdrop of the PMO not disclosing information about expenses incurred on foreign visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister�s Office (PMO) has been refusing to disclose information related to expenses incurred on Modi�s foreign visits, citing various excuses such as the records that are sought for being �vague�.

The committee of former Chief Information Commissioner AN Tiwari and Information Commissioner MM Ansari, constituted by the CIC, gave its report on �Transparency Audit: Towards An Open and Accountable Government�.

The panel referred to the circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel dated September 11, 2012, where it asked all departments to proactively disclose expenses incurred on the foreign and domestic visits of their respective ministers.

�These disclosures should be updated once every quarter,� the committee said in its report, asking the government to also disclose other details such as places visited and the institutions/individual interacted, period, number and the names of the members in the official delegation, mode of conveyance, travel expenses and source of funding and outcome of the visit.

It said a democratic government keen on empowering the people and delivering to them goods and services speedily and efficiently, cannot allow walls of secrecy to separate them from the very people they serve.

�Transparency brings the government closer to its people � a closeness which underpins good governance. In spite of repeated directions to the public authorities, the results on account of voluntary disclosures have been below par,� the committee observed.

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