Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena has “in principle” approved Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s travel to the US to attend an education convention but flagged a “lack of clarity” on who would bear his visit’s expenses, Raj Niwas officials said on Friday.
The development comes at a time when the Delhi government’s proposal to send primary teachers of its schools to Finland for training is still awaiting the approval of the lieutenant governor (LG).
The teachers’ training issue led to a war of words between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the LG’s office, with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party alleging Saxena of interfering in an elected government’s work. The charge has been denied by the LG’s office.
The proposal for Sisodia’s US trip in March was moved by the Delhi government’s Department of Education and it came to the LG for his approval after the deputy chief minister’s nod, the officials said.
Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, had expressed his willingness to attend the TESOL Education Convention in City Portland in the US along with some government officials.
“The proposal lacks clarity as to who will bear the expenses of Sisodia’s visit. While in one para, the department has noted that ‘all expenses of the visit by Deputy CM will be borne by TESOL and there will be no financial liability on the government’, a subsequent para further says that, ‘all expenses of the visit by Hon’ble Deputy CM will be borne by the GAD (General Administration Department), GNCTD (Delhi government)’,” an official at the Raj Niwas said.
Noting that both these statements were contradictory, Saxena gave “in principle” approval for the proposed visit, “subject to the requisite clearances from ministries in the Centre concerned, including FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) clearances from the central government, as is the case with every foreign visit undertaken by any minister or officer of any state”, the official said.
To allow teachers to visit Finland, the Delhi government had on January 20 sent the proposal to the LG office, days after Saxena asked the government to first conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the programme.
Last year in July, Chief Minister Kejriwal was supposed to travel to Singapore for the World Cities Summit but the LG had rejected the Delhi government’s proposal.