The government will not give permission to any illogical tour proposed under a project, said Planning Minister MA Mannan on Thursday.
However, there will be no problem to approve such a proposal if it is for a logical and effective training, the minister told The Business Standard.
"School feeding programme is important to the government. There will an arrangement of a foreign tour under the programme if necessary. We have already instructed the Socio Economic Infrastructure Division to look into it," Mannan said.
The government has already tightened its belt because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister also has an instruction on avoiding unnecessary overseas tours.
Conforming to her directive, the Planning Commission is excluding illogical expenses from all development projects – from car purchase to unnecessary foreign tours, MA Mannan pointed out.
All ministries and their secretaries are well aware of the prime minister's cost-cutting instruction. However, many irrational expenses are still being included in the development project proposals on many occasions, he said.
The demands of bureaucrats often do not match those of political leaders. What political leaders or ministers think may not be logical to bureaucrats. However, the secretaries concerned will have to be more aware of this, the minister pointed out.
He said expenditure on development projects has come down a lot from what was six months or a year ago. Unnecessary spending will be reduced in the upcoming development project proposals too.
The minister said waste of money must be prevented, and development projects need to be implemented for sustainable economic growth. So, it is essential to approve development project proposals quickly.
On September 14, The Business Standard reported that the DPE had sought approval to send 1,000 government officials abroad for "khichuri training" under the primary school feeding programme, creating a huge public outcry.
Later, the story was picked up by a number of online news portals.
In the past, many such foreign tours by government officials with public money hit the headlines on different occasions. The tour would be arranged for officials to see how schools in different countries buy ingredients from markets, cook khichuri, and distribute it among schoolchildren, according to sources at the DPE and the Planning Commission.