Governance

Ineffective use of video-conferencing as ‘unnecessary’ travel of Babus costs lakhs of rupees to Govt

Representative Photo.

Srinagar: Putting a huge burden on the state exchequer, it has become a routine for the bureaucrats posted in Kashmir division to travel unnecessarily to Jammu and various parts of the country.

Official sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that heads of departments who have to stay in Kashmir are “unnecessarily” travelling to Jammu. “There travel expenses are costing lakhs of rupees to the government,” an official said.

The official said that each bureaucrat, who has to stay in Kashmir, is travelling at least five times in a month to Jammu.

“Government directed the officials several times to avoid unnecessary expenditure but to no avail,” the official said.

In order to promote fiscal discipline, government had ordered its officials to avoid unnecessary expenditure in functioning of the departments.

The departments have been told that facility of video conferencing must be used effectively and travel for the purpose of attending meetings should be avoided to the extent possible. “But 90 percent departments didn’t use such facility and would travel to Jammu by flight that puts a huge burden on the state exchequer,” an official said.

“There are departments where employees are without salaries for months but their authorities would spend lakhs annually on travel expenses,” he said.

Further the officials have been directed to travel only by economy class regardless of entitlement within the country.

In all cases of air travel, the lowest air fare ticket available for entitled class is to be purchased/ procured, says the government instructions. “The Finance department had issued these instructions as most of the heads of departments have spent crores on travel within and outside the country. The functioning of several departments have been affected for want of funds due to unnecessarily expanses by several bureaucrats and politicians. Despite these instructions there is no change and bureaucrats travel within and outside country on the money of state exchequer,” a senior official of Finance department told KNS.

Government had issued instructions in view of the increasing liabilities of various departments as bureaucrats and ministers had spent crores of rupees “unnecessarily” over the years thus putting a huge burden on the state exchequer.

Finance Department Jammu and Kashmir has also asked administrative secretaries to adhere to its instructions for promotion of fiscal discipline and to ensure balanced pace of expenditure.

Further, departments were asked to have utmost economy in organizing conferences, seminars and workshops. The departmental heads were instructed that only conferences, workshops seminars shall be held which are ‘absolutely essential’.
Meanwhile sources said that despite the state and central government having advised the officials to use video- conferencing as far as possible for their official work, with an eye on saving costs entailed in convening physical meetings, it has been seen that the large number of bureaucrats are still visiting from one station to another even on small meetings.

The departments have been told that facility of video-conferencing must be used effectively and travel for the purpose of attending meetings should be avoided to the extent possible. “But 90 percent departments didn’t use such facility and would travel to Jammu, or Srinagar by flight that put a huge burden on the state exchequer,” an official said.

 

(With inputs from KNS)


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