As the PM completes three years in power, figures show that the spending on foreign travel has reduced as compared to his predecessors Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Nivedita Mookerji reports.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign travel expenditure during his third year in office has more than halved compared to the first year and is down by around 30 per cent from the second year.
The numbers, made available by the government days before Modi completes three years in office on May 26, show that the spend on foreign travel for former PMs Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee during their third year in office had risen from the first year but had dipped from the second year.
Out of the six overseas trips made by PM Modi during his third year in office (till now), the cost related to chartered flights for five of these is a total of Rs 47.33 crore.
The expenditure towards the last trip, to Japan, is still not available, but it is estimated to be in the range of Rs 10 crore to Rs 13 crore.
In fact, a trip to Japan, though for a slightly longer duration in August-September 2014, had cost the exchequer Rs 13.47 crore.
Assuming that Modi’s Japan trip during November 2016 was priced at Rs 13.47 crore (the same as 2014 to that country), the total expenditure on overseas chartered flights during his third year in office would come to Rs 60.80 crore.
In that case, the PM’s foreign travel cost is down by 56.5 per cent during the third year in office, compared to the first and lower by 30.2 per cent from the second year.
In Singh’s case, the third-year foreign expenses on chartered flights at Rs 49.84 crore were up 14.5 per cent, compared to the first year (Rs 43.52 crore) and down 21.3 per cent from the second year (Rs 63.37 crore).
Vajpayee’s foreign travel flight cost at Rs 22.94 crore during the third year was up 81.3 per cent from the first year (Rs 12.65 crore) and down 0.6 per cent from the second year (Rs 23.09 crore).
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah reportedly said Manmohan Singh had travelled to foreign countries more than Modi as PM.
But, the total chartered flight expenditure on overseas travel for PM Modi during the first three years far exceeds the bills of Singh, though there’s a gap of 10 years between the two regimes and inflation has to be taken into account.
If the last trip of PM Modi to Japan is taken at an estimated Rs 13.47 crore (as in the case of the 2014 trip to that country), the total expenditure on overseas chartered flights during the first three years in office comes to Rs 288.1 crore, against Rs 156.73 crore for Singh and Rs 58.68 crore for Vajpayee.
As for the number of foreign trips, PM Modi went for 26, Singh to 21 and Vajpayee to eight during their first three years in office.
Modi made 11 foreign trips during his first year in office (three of which were by Indian Air Force flights), nine in the second year (one of which was on an IAF plane) and six in the third year that’s currently on.
Singh went on six foreign trips in the first year, followed by nine in the second year and six again in the third year. During Vajpayee’s term, he went on two official foreign trips in the first year, and three each in the second and third year.