Before they get permission to sign new pacts with foreign countries, central ministries will have to give a report card on what they did with previous agreements.
In a move aimed at reining in departments from going on a MoU-signing spree, Cabinet Secretary AK Seth has made it mandatory for ministries to spell out the rationale for the agreement and submit a status report of previous pacts.
Seth’s directive came months after the Prime Minister’s Office started an exercise to evaluate the utility and status of memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed during the previous decade.
A government official said it was felt that quite a few of the pacts were signed, and forgotten without any proper follow-up by the ministry concerned.
“It has been decided that while seeking the approval of cabinet for entering into the MoU, ministries must provide the rationale of opting for the MoU route,” an office memorandum by the cabinet secretariat under secretary Dheeraj Bhaskar said.
It added that ministries would also have to report on the existing MoUs, and their status while seeking approval for a new pact.
The UPA government had signed close to 600 bilateral agreements in various areas including trade and business, transport, defence, security, education, health and cultural relations since May 2004, when it first came to power