Dechen Dolkar  

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has reviewed the electronic daily allowance and travel system (eDATS) in an attempt to make it more user-friendly.  

The ministry earlier stated that it would soon issue a notification with the user manual for an easy and smooth operation of the system by the first week of June 2023. 

Ministry officials claimed that the updated version of the system is implemented in the agencies. However, the individuals using the system have still been processed through human resource officers (HROs) and the system is “very sophisticated”. 

The eDATS was developed in-house and implemented by the MoF in July 2021 to streamline the travel authorisation and claims process to undertake official travels. 

In May this year, a new version of the eDATS was rolled out with the travel admin management process where digital office order was introduced to make the process paperless and efficient. In the updated system, HROs were incorporated to create a travel authorisation in the eDATS.

According to the official from MoF, the digital office order replaced the earlier requirement of having to upload hard copies of the office order in the system which occupied huge space in the system and rendered the system slow which in turn made it difficult to verify documents by the Management.

The officials from the ministry said that now with the introduction of the digital office order, after review, the role of issuing the travel order can be assigned to any one official in an agency by the head of the agency.

The officials said that since the issue was raised that HROs’s involvements? are burdensome, they don’t have to create travel orders in the system.

He said the identified official as the travel admin based on the human resource committee endorsement can create the digital travel office order, upon which the travel authorisation will be enabled in the individual accounts for creating travel authorisation.

The officials from the ministry said that this additional feature in the eDATS will ensure financial discipline through minimum human interaction and streamline all travels regulated through system controls.

The officials claimed that before, civil servants claimed the mileage even if they have carpooled and they can manipulate the travel. “Now the system will control them.”

According to the ministry, this is in line with the Cabinet directive stating that the approval for in-country and ex-country travel for officials below the Secretary level will be approved by the respective Human Resource Committee (HRC) irrespective of fund sources through proper assessment of the outcome, need and cost implications of the travel.