Govt fails to curb foreign junkets of ministers, officials

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 13, 2017-Despite widespread criticism, the government has failed to curb foreign junkets of ministers, secretaries and other senior officials. 

After assuming office in June, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had instructed the then chief secretary, Somlal Subedi, to control senior officials’ foreign junkets. Rajendra Kishor Chettri, Subedi’s successor, continued with PM Deuba’s instructions. But the directives seem to have fallen on deaf ears. 

Only on Tuesday, as many as 10 secretaries and 15 joint secretaries left for China to attend various seminars and functions while Minister for Energy Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay are set to leave for Australia. 

Minister for Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and some senior officials at the ministry have already left for the United States for a bilateral agreement signing with the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Minister for Commerce Min Bahadur Bishowkarma is currently in the US and Minister for Youth and Sports Rajendra Kumar KC is set to visit the Indian state of Odisha to participate in the South Asian Youth Conference.

The list of government officials’ foreign junkets is long. 

Yam Kumari Khatiwada of the National Information Commission, Additional Attorney General Badri Prasad Gautam, Deputy Auditor General Ramu Prasad Dotel and Eastern Regional Administrator Rajeshwor Man Singh also left for China on Tuesday on a study tour. 

Other officials who have headed to the northern neighbour are Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Ram Kumar Acharya, Supplies Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota,  Secretary at National Planning Commission Bishnu Lamsal, Mani Ram Ojha of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Nripa Dhwoj Niraula of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) and Shambhu Koirala of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management. 

Chief Secretary Chettri said the officials were visiting China under a bilateral agreement as per which they have been invited to study the development there. 

“This is a big opportunity for them. These visits [to China] will not incur any financial burden on the state,” said Chettri, adding that the Election Commission’s approval was taken 

before sanctioning the 

officials’ visits.  

Joint Secretaries who have left for China are Kumar Dahal, Ishwor Rijal, Ishwor Poudel, Tek Narayan Pandey, Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, Damodar Regmi, Khagendra Subedi, Hari Prasad Joshi, Lila Gadtaula and Raguram Bista. 

Similarly, Hari Prasad Joshi, Ada Prasad Neupane, Kul Prasad Chudal and junior officials Suprabha Dhungel and  Srijana Thapaliya are also part of the delegation. 

Mohan Krishna Sapkota , secretary at the Ministry for General Administration,  is also in South Korea. 

“Recently we cancelled the visits of PMO officials to Japan and South Korea because these trips would have incurred a burden on the state coffers,” said Chettri.“It’s not that we have not been doing anything. We are discouraging unnecessary foreign visits.” 

 

Published: 13-09-2017 07:15

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