London is the costliest mission of India with an annual expenditure of over Rs 58 crore while the cheapest consulate is in Indonesia's Bali where expenses run into little over Rs 20 lakh, an RTI reply shows.
This curious piece of information was given by External Affairs Ministry in response to query posted by Mumbai-based RTI activist Ajay Marathe, who was intrigued by the reports of expenses incurred on various embassies by India.
The total expenditure on maintaining 178 missions across the world was Rs 1497.58 crore in 2011-12 while it was Rs 1,386.95 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 1,374.48 crore in 2009-10, the RTI reply shows.
Through his RTI petition, Marathe demanded from the MEA the expenses incurred on India's missions across the globe for the past five years.
In its response, MEA gave information for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 for all its diplomatic missions.
The information revealed that expenditure incurred on High Commission in London is Rs 58.67 crore for 2011-12 whereas for 2010-11 it was Rs 50.48 crore and for 2009-10 it was Rs 52.32 crore.
Closely following in terms of expenses are missions in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia which incurred expense of Rs 45.63 crore in 2011-12, Kabul with Rs 39.09 crore and Paris in 36.38 crore for the year.
"I have come to know that some embassies were incurring massive expenses. In order to know the expenses of all the missions, I filed the RTI application," Marathe told PTI.
"I could have asked for the break-up of expenses but it would have been voluminous information and could easily be denied by the Ministry so I sought only consolidated statement," he said.