Take clearance from MEA before foreign travels, Rajya Sabha MPs told
Bulletin advised Rajya Sabha members to inform both the MEA and the Union home ministry before accepting any invitation from foreign source
Days before the winter session of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha on Thursday reminded its members to take political clearance from the ministry of external affairs (MEA) before travelling abroad, even on a personal trip.
“All invitations from any foreign source, namely, government of any country or any foreign entity are expected to be routed through the ministry of external affairs. However, in case such an invitation is received directly, members are required to bring it to the notice of the ministry of external affairs and necessary political clearance of that ministry should also be obtained for the purpose,” a bulletin issued by the Rajya Sabha secretariat, citing the 2005 code of conduct for its lawmakers, stated.
The winter session of Parliament will convene on December 4 and it will continue till December 22. While the Rajya Sabha secretariat issues the code of conduct from time to time, the Lok Sabha is yet to prepare one for its lawmakers. Last month, the Lok Sabha ethics committee recommended that the Lower House, too, should constitute a code of conduct. The committee also raised a number of questions about Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra over her visits to Dubai during the hearing in cash-for-query allegations against the Lok Sabha MP.
Citing the code of conduct, the Rajya Sabha bulletin said: “Members are requested to send information of their visit abroad, stating the purpose, to the secretary-general at least 3 weeks in advance so that the ministry of external affairs and the concerned Indian mission/post could be informed of the same.”
The bulletin reminded MPs that “none of their activities during those visits give an unintended impression that members are on an official visit on behalf of the Indian Parliament.”
The code also stated that “members are required to obtain prior permission of the central government for accepting any foreign hospitality during their private visits abroad or visits abroad in their personal capacity, under Section 6 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.”
The bulletin advised Rajya Sabha members to inform both the MEA and the Union home ministry before accepting any invitation from foreign source.
“If any invitation from any foreign source namely, government of any country, foreign organizations, etc. is received directly by a member, a copy of such invitation letter giving full details of the purpose of the visit and the hospitality to be accepted should be sent to the ministry of external affairs for political clearance; and the secretary, ministry of home affairs (Foreigners Division; FCRA), for accepting any foreign hospitality being offered during visits abroad,” the bulletin added.
The Rajya Sabha members have been informed that after receiving political clearance from MEA and FCRA permission from MHA, the member concerned shall keep the Rajya Sabha “chairman informed, inter-alia, of the purpose of the visit and the hospitality proposed to be received.”
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