- Government has asked for comments from several ministries
- Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan in the list
- Move aimed at expanding India's footprint in central Asia
Central government employees may soon be able to go abroad on leave travel concession or LTC, top officials said today. A proposal has been finalised by the Personnel Ministry, which has asked for comments from departments such as Home, Tourism, Civil Aviation and Expenditure "at the earliest possible" time, they said.
The plan proposed by the Foreign Ministry seeks to include five Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- under the LTC scheme, the officials said, citing a communication that has been seen by news agency Press Trust of India.
The move to allow central government employees to visit these countries is aimed at increasing India's footprint in the strategically important central Asian region, they said.
In March, the government said it has shelved a proposal to allow LTC to its employees to visit SAARC countries. The LTC allows grant of leave and ticket reimbursement to central government employees.
"A proposal of LTC facility to government employees to SAARC countries with a purpose to enhance people-to-people contact and boost relations in the SAARC region was examined by the government," Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh had said.
"...and after thorough examination of all aspects involved, the proposal was found not feasible and decided not to take it forward," he had said.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is a group of eight nations comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
There are some 48.41 lakh central government employees, according to latest data.