Now, our hi-flying ministers and senior bureaucrats will have to tell the public how much taxpayers' money has been spent on official tours.
The government on Tuesday advised all the departments to put out details of official tours undertaken by ministers and joint secretary-level officers after January 1, 2012, as part of proactive disclosures under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The details of the tour, which would have to be put on the public domain, include places visited, duration of the visit, size of the official delegation and total cost incurred during the trip.
"The disclosures may be updated once every quarter, starting July 1, 2012," the office memorandum issued by Sandeep Jain, from the department of personnel and training, said.
The advisory applies to bodies such as the President's Office, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, CAG and the Central Vigilance Commission. States have also been sent a copy. Security and intelligence agencies exempted under the RTI Act have been kept out of the purview of this advisory.
Last year, the government spent Rs. 500 crore on tour expenses of Union ministers, including the Prime Minister. Tour expenses made up for half of the central budget for the PMO and the council of ministers.
The advisory - issued at the instance of the PMO - comes in the backdrop of RTI activists frequently seeking information on trips made by ministers and senior officials.