KATHMANDU, Sept 29: Four ministers and three secretaries of the federal government are currently abroad. Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Devendra Paudel, who went on a week-long foreign tour, returned home on Wednesday evening.
While the country’s foreign exchange reserves are declining and the government has decided to cut spending, ministers and secretaries are going on foreign tours. Ministers and secretaries themselves have gone on foreign tours to attend the programs where other junior officials could have been sent.
Forests and Environment Minister Pradeep Yadav; Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Sashi Shrestha; Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration, Rajendra Shrestha; and Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation, Jeevan Ram Shrestha have gone on foreign junkets to participate in various programs.
Education Minister Devendra Paudel returned home on Wednesday after participating in a program of the International Atomic Energy Agency held in Vienna, Austria. Science Secretary Pramila Bajracharya, who accompanied Minister Poudel to participate in the same program, has also returned home. In the Ministry of Education and Science, separate secretaries have been arranged to look after education and science.
Tourism Minister Jeevan Ram Shrestha is currently in Canada. He went there on Monday to participate in the 41st International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) General Assembly. According to the ministry, ministers and high-ranking officials from 193 countries of the world are participating in the General Assembly, which will begin on Thursday in the city of Montreal, Canada.
Tourism Minister Shrestha will return to Kathmandu after a week. Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Minister Sashi Shrestha went to Israel on Sunday to participate in a weeklong program on cooperatives. Along with her, the ministry’s Spokesperson Joint Secretary Janak Joshi, Administration Division Chief Joint Secretary Nirajan Ghimire, a private secretary and a personal secretary have also gone to Israel.
Similarly, Federal Affairs and General Administration Minister Rajendra Shrestha is in Norway. Federal Affairs Minister Shrestha reached Norway last week to participate in a program related to good governance and local administration. There are five people in his visiting team, including joint secretary of the ministry, Balraj Rijal. Forests and Environment Minister Pradeep Yadav is also currently on a US visit. He is expected to return to Kathmandu on Friday.
Minister Yadav reached America to participate in a program related to methane gas. Forest Secretary Pem Narayan Kadel is also in America. However, his visit is for a different purpose. Secretary Kadel has gone to America to participate in a program related to International Mountain Day.
Labor Secretary Ek Narayan Aryal is also currently on a foreign tour. He went to Sweden last Friday to participate in a labor market program organized by NRNA. Likewise, Finance Secretary Krishnahari Pushkar went to the Philippines on Sunday to participate in the annual general meeting of the Asian Development Bank. Less than two weeks after Finance Minister Janardan Sharma returned from Korea, Finance Secretary Pushkar went to the Philippines.
Agriculture Development Secretary Govinda Prasad Sharma returned home a few days ago after spending a week abroad. According to a secretary, lower level employees go abroad at the expense of the organizers and higher level employees than the joint secretary go abroad at the expense of the government. The secretary said that usually a one-week visit costs 5,000 US dollars for a joint secretary and secretary and 10,000 US dollars for a minister.
The Election Commission has implemented the election code of conduct from Wednesday. However, ministers and secretaries have gone on foreign visits in this way prior to the implementation of the code of conduct.