Draft Clean Wage document points out abuses of the TA/DA system

The Draft Clean Wage document sent from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Education has pointed to various abuses of the TA/DA system calling it all unethical practices and gaming of the system and so will suggest reforms to it.

The document says that while TA/DA and mileage are required to support public servants in discharging their duties, it has been widely abused.

It says that agencies in Thimphu usually organize workshops, meetings or trainings in hotels located at 10 km and beyond offices in Thimphu like Institute of Management Service, Hotel Rochogpel and the Convention Center as according to BCSR civil servants can claim TA/DA for travel of 10 km or more.

Participants drive to the meeting and back on the same day, but yet claim daily allowance not required for day meetings and some carpool but yet claim mileage.

Similarly, agencies in Thimphu organize meetings in Paro and Punakha but given the close proximity people drive to the meeting on the first day and return on the evening of last day but yet claim TA/DA for two additional days of travel which is the day before and after the event.

The document says another issue is Table Tours where civil servants in districts are expected to travel at least 15-20 days to the villages for monitoring and verification but there are cases where civil servants do not travel but yet claim TA/DA and other related claims on a regular basis to both supplement their income and also have a proof of travel to avoid possible repercussions for not conducting monitoring visits.

It says there was an instance where a staff member proposed a trip to the periphery to conduct a workshop on changes in rules and regulations.

While it was put to the management as an urgent work, he shared with his peers that the travel is being organised to supplement his salary-an act that he apparently conducts regularly to make ends meet.

As part of the reforms the in country DSA that people used to collect for trainings will no longer be allowed. This is because a training is seen as a privilege and skill up gradation being provided for free and so there is no need felt for such a DSA.

The TA/DA system in the reformed system is expected to be administered much more tightly with the proposal to even do away with driving private cars and claiming mileage. Instead transportation is proposed to be outsourced and be digitally monitored.

The Clean Wage system is divided into three phases of which phase two will be a new TA/DA system with no traveling in private cars and mileage allowed but instead such a service will be outsourced and tracked.

The RCSC in May 2022 had already withdrawn DSA for all short term trainings that it funds or administers.

In the 2022-23 Budget document travel in country and ex-country is budgeted at Nu 688 mn ever after much cutting.

This does not include the travel that comes under capital projects funded by foreign grants.  

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