Government asks employees to opt for the lowest airfare and book tickets 21 days in advance

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The Ministry of Finance has asked government employees to opt for the “cheapest available fare” on their authorized class of travel and to book air tickets at least three weeks before the date of their trip for visits and long-term care, as this aims to reduce unnecessary expenses.

The ministry further said that employees should book only one ticket for each leg of the planned trip, make reservations even if the tour schedule approval is pending, and also avoid “unnecessary cancellations.”

Government employees are currently only required to purchase airline tickets from three authorized travel agencies: Balmer Lawrie & Co, Ashok Travel & Tours and IRCTC.

Any reservations made less than 72 hours prior to scheduled travel or cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to scheduled travel will require the submission of self-declared justification by the employee in accordance with the amended airline ticket booking instructions on the government. Account.

“Employees should select flights with the best available fare in their authorized class of travel which is the lowest fare available, preferably for a nonstop flight within a given time slot at the time of booking,” the memorandum from the airline said. Expenditure Department office.

Tickets for all employees for a single visit must be purchased through only one selected travel agent and no fees/charges must be paid to such booking agents as instructed.

“Employees are encouraged to book airfare at least 21 days in advance of planned travel on tour and LTC, to take advantage of the most competitive rates and minimize the burden on the treasury,” he said.

The amended instruction also encouraged employees to make ticket booking digitally through the self-booking tool/website/online booking portal of the three licensed travel agents.

“Employees should preferably book a single ticket for each leg of the intended journey. Possession of more than one ticket is not permitted. However, in the event of special requirements or exceptional circumstances, a maximum of two tickets for alternative flights for different time slots can be booked for the same leg of travel with self-declared justification for the same,” the instruction read.

In unavoidable circumstances where the ticket booking is made from an unauthorized travel agent/website, relaxation should only be granted by an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary or above.

The Expenditure Department has also requested all Ministries and Departments to pay their dues to travel agents within 30 days of the end of the trip, while agents will be required to submit a certificate/undertaking within 72 hours of the trip confirming their travel.

Ministries must settle all previous outstanding dues to travel agents by August 31, 2022, he said, adding that no mileage points will be generated for travel on government accounts.

The ministry is seeking to reduce wasteful spending, as budgetary outlays are already high due to reductions in excise duties on gasoline and diesel, reduction in customs duties on certain products, increased subsidies to fertilizer and the free food program for the poor.

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