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Officers’ flight cut to size

Steps are on the anvil to stop bureaucrats from flying frequently to gain mileage points that are then used by them for private travel, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.
By Soumyajit Pattnaik | Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2008 01:07 AM IST

Steps are on the anvil to stop bureaucrats from flying frequently to gain mileage points that are then used by them for private travel. The Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC), in its report, has referred to the prevalence of such flying practices and recommended suitable departmental action against such officers. Now, the official committee of secretaries constituted to study and review the panel’s report will take a final view on this issue, sources said.

The panel report says: “There is an increasing tendency on part of government officers to travel by air in order to gain mileage points which are then used by them for private travel. The commission is strongly of the view that official tours cannot be made a source of any profit. Accordingly, the commission recommends that henceforth all mileage points earned by government employees on tickets purchased for official travel should be utilised by the department concerned for the travel of its respective officers. Any usage of these mileage points for purposes of private travel by an officer should be viewed seriously and appropriate departmental action initiated.”

Presently, air travel is allowed to central government officers who draw a pay of Rs 16,400 and above. Officers drawing pay between Rs 12,300 and 16,400 can travel by air in case the distance is more than 500-kms and the journey cannot be completed overnight. Some concessions are also available for air travel to Port Blair and Lakshadweep.

The Fifth CPC had recommended that all Group-A officers should be allowed air travel with Group B, C & D employees being allowed to travel by AC II Tier train, First Class/AC III Tier and Sleeper Class train, respectively. These recommendations of Fifth CPC were not accepted by the government.

But the Sixth CPC has now said, “The conditions today have changed. With the opening up of skies to private airlines, cheap air-tickets are now available. Accordingly, air-travel in the lowest (economy) class may need to be allowed for many more grades of employees. This will improve productivity of the employee as the time spent on travel would be considerably reduced. The travel entitlements of all employees will, in any case, increase.”

The Sixth CPC has recommended no change in the travel entitlement for travel outside India.

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