The Prime Minister's Office has asked the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to find out if bureaucrats are using frequent flyer points earned on official trips for family and personal use.
According to a memorandum issued on June 3, 2009, the DoPT had banned using the mileage points for "private travel" by bureaucrats and any violation would attract "departmental action".
The ban was part of a series of austerity measures announced as the global economy went into a tailspin. The government's stipulation was that the mileage points, if earned, should accrue to the organisation or the department concerned so that other officers could use them. Acting on an RTI application filed by Gopal Prasad, the PMO has now asked DoPT to find out whether this rule has been violated by some babus.
"...the mileage points earned on account of travel for official tours/visits shall not be used for purposes of private travel in the form of free companion tickets or other variations thereof by a government servant or members of his (or her) family and any action contrary to these instructions rendered by a government servant liable for departmental action," the memorandum said.
A review of these instructions was done in consultation with the finance ministry and was decided that government officials would be allowed to avail the facility of free companion tickets offered by the airlines for international travel only.
"Action needs to be taken against senior officials of finance and external affairs ministries for buying air and first class railway tickets through credit cards," the RTI application by Prasad said.