Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Centre about the delay in the clearance for his trip to Singapore, where he has been invited to attend a World Cities Summit starting 31 July.
Mr. Kejriwal is expected to present the ‘Delhi model of governance’ at the summit.
‘I am not a criminal, I am the elected Chief Minister and I am a free citizen of the country. Why am I being stopped? The Government of Singapore has specially called me to present the Delhi model,’ Mr. Kejriwal said Monday, after voting in the Presidential Elections.
The Delhi CM reportedly wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the delay. He alleged that there were ‘political reasons’ behind the delay to grant him ‘permission’ to attend the summit.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs protested against the Centre in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament against the delay.
What permissions and authorizations do dignitaries require before heading out on foreign visits?
The Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) all need to be informed of all proposed foreign visits, either official or private, of Chief Ministers and Ministers of State Governments/Union Territories.
Prior political clearance and FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) clearance are also mandatory processes that need to be followed.
Most CMs, such as Mr. Kejriwal, generally write to the PMO for permission.
The PMO then sends the application to the MEA.
The MEA, in turn, sends the application to the Indian mission in the visiting country for clearance.
A thorough investigation is carried out prior to the visit, with a check on the hosts of the event the dignitary wishes to attend.
The nature of the event, details of participating nations and ties with the host country are all taken into consideration, based on the findings, a report is sent back to the MEA.
The MEA can add an ‘unfavourable remark’ if they suspect anything regarding the event or the host is amiss.
A copy of the application is also sent to the Department of Economic Affairs, based on a green light from the MEA. The MEA forwards the report to the PMO, which takes the final call.
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act clearance, given by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), is needed for a foreign trip involving the hospitality of organizations other than those of the United Nations.
Kejriwal Has Been Denied Permission Before
In October 2019, Kejriwal was refused clearance by the MEA to attend a climate conference in Copenhagen, which he later attended virtually. He was not given a political clearance by the MEA. The explanation given was that the summit was a ‘mayor-level conference.’
‘I am an elected MLA. I don’t understand why am I being stopped (from going to World Cities Summit). Singapore govt has called me to tell them about Delhi model growth of services in health & schools. This will promote the country on an international level,’ Mr. Kejriwal complained.
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