India ministers' foreign trips hit PM roadblock
India's PM Manmohan Singh has been increasingly turning down requests for foreign trips by officials in what is believed to be a measure of austerity.
Since the beginning of 2010, Mr Singh has said no to as many as 50 requests.
The PM's new strict attitude towards foreign travel is revealed in documents obtained by the BBC from his office.
In May, the government had announced a series of austerity measures, including restricting foreign travel by officials to curtail expenses.
In the rejection letters there is no mention of austerity, but analysts say that this is the most likely reason why the prime minister is not keen on allowing ministers to go abroad.
Between January and May this year, Mr Singh had received 52 requests for foreign visits by ministers and he turned down 10 of those.
When Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan wanted to travel to Sweden in April, she was told that ''the prime minister felt that the minister should decline the visit''.
Similarly, when Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad planned a visit to Geneva, Switzerland, in May, he was told the ''pm feels that the visit need not be undertaken''.
In many of the cases, the "ongoing parliament session" was cited as the reason for refusal.
The prime minister was not as strict with his ministers earlier - between May and December 2009, he had rejected just one out of 52 requests.
India's economy has been slowing down in the last couple of years.
Last year, the economy expanded by 6.1%, down from 8.2% in 2010.
And this year, it grew at an annual rate of 5.3% between January and March - its slowest pace in nine years.