Hyderabad: In another exemption from the ban on foreign tours by ministers and officials, the state government on Wednesday decided to bear the expenses of tourism and culture minister Vatti Vasant Kumar's recent visit to the United Kingdom and Dubai. Vatti visited the two countries from July 12 to July 16 on an official visit to attend the World Telugu History Conference. The government accorded permission for reimbursement of his expenses and has given "post facto permission" to Vasant Kumar. Thus the visit is being treated as official and the expenditure is being borne by the department of tourism.
This was Vatti's second official visit in one year. He had earlier been allowed to claim the expenses incurred on his official visit to Switzerland in August last year. Apart from Switzerland, he had visited Italy, Netherlands and France on a private visit during the same period from August 1 to 12, 2011. It may be recalled that information minister DK Aruna too has visited a foreign country recently.
The government has issued orders recently extending the ban on official visits of ministers and officers to foreign countries as part of its austerity measures. Now, it has also permitted APIIC vice-chairman and managing director BR Meena to visit Japan to woo investors in PCPIR. "What is the point of having a ban when it is observed more in the breach?" wondered one official in the GAD.
The government has decided to bear the expenses of tourism and culture minister Vatti Vasant Kumar\'s visit to UK.