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Haj duty: 945 officials in trouble for pulling strings

Over 900 government officials who pulled strings to get a three-month stint in Saudi Arabia for the Haj this year could be in trouble. Jayanth Jacob reports.
By Jayanth Jacob | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2011 11:27 PM IST

Over 900 government officials who pulled strings to get a three-month stint in Saudi Arabia for the Haj this year could be in trouble.

The foreign ministry has sent a list of 945 officers to state chief secretaries, asking them to take action against these officers for putting extraneous pressure on the ministry to get the posting.

The three-month assignment entitles officials to foreign allowance, ranging from US $1500 (Rs 69,000) to US $ 2500 (Rs 1.15 lakh) per month, depending up on the rank of officials.

There have been thousands of recommendations from various state ministers, MPs and other top officials for sending certain personnel.

Government sources said Sanjay Singh, (secretary east) in the ministry of external affairs complained to states that getting such recommendations for the Haj posting "violates service rules" and action should be taken against the officials.

The letter names the officials who violated the conduct rules and politicians including ministers who pushed their cases.

The Central Civil Services (Conduct Rules) 1964 stipulates: "No government servant shall bring or attempt to bring any political or other outside influence to bear upon any superior authority to further his interests in respect of matters pertaining to his service under government.”

Last year, India had sent nearly 600 officials including doctors, nurses, caregivers, office assistants and security personnel for facilitating the 1.6 lakh Indian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

A senior government official said, “Such practice of seeking recommendations goes against the principle of fairness and transparency. And the officials should resist from seeking such favours."

“We have laid out principles for sending the officials based on merit and seniority and other objective parameters. Any attempt to bypass them through recommendations goes against the government's as well as MEA's attempt to bring about transparency in the Haj affairs,” the official added.

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