Govt relaxes norms for overstay beyond official foreign tour

New Delhi: Government has relaxed the 50 per cent norm for overstaying abroad after official visit, by allowing bureaucrats to avail a four-day holiday if their official tour is of less than 8 days.

Ashok Lavasa  finance secretary with charge of expenditure department in the finance ministry.
Ashok Lavasa, finance secretary with charge of expenditure department in the finance ministry.

Under the earlier norms, bureaucrats travelling abroad on official tour could seek leave for staying abroad up to 50 per cent of the duration of visit, subject to a maximum of 15 days.

“It has been decided that in case of official visit/tour abroad (including training and excluding study leave) where the period of deputation is less than 8 days, the government official may be granted ex-India leave for a maximum period of 4 days,” said the office memorandum issued by the Department of Expenditure in the Finance Ministry.

The memorandum, however, clarified that in respect of official visit/tour abroad, including training for more than 8 days, the limit of 50 per cent ex-India leave will continue.

It further said, that during ex-India leave the closed holidays, like Saturday, Sunday, etc, may be pre-fixed/ suffixed subject to the condition that no extra financial implications like payment of hotel charges/per-diem allowance are involved.

Earlier this year, the Ministry had said that bureaucrats can go on a maximum four overseas trips in a calendar year, and that Secretaries should undertake such travels only when no one else can be deputed.

Secretaries to government departments had also been barred from travelling abroad during a Parliament session unless absolutely unavoidable. Also, Secretary and the Minister of a department cannot be abroad at the same time.

The foreign travels of bureaucrats have to be authorised by Screening Committee of Secretaries (SCoS).