Prime Minister has always been keen on boosting India’s global profile and improving bilateral relationships with foreign countries. His frequent foreign trips reveal this point.
While Modi’s foreign trips have won support for improving India’s global stature, the costs associated with traveling abroad so often in a country where many farmers are struggling, have triggered some criticism.
Moreover, the opposition leaders have questioned his foreign trips and their expenses, citing India’s growing tensions with neighbors.
Recently, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Fauzia Khan has questioned the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) regarding how many countries PM Narendra Modi has visited since 2015 and the expenses incurred on those foreign trips.
Even though the MEA has replied to the query, what is interesting is there are significant discrepancies in responses the Ministry submitted in Parliament since December 2018.
On September 22, 2020, the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan replied that PM Modi visited 58 countries since 2015, costing the Indian Government INR 517.82 crores.
However, the figures submitted earlier are different from the latest figures.
During the Parliamentary Budget Session in March, the MEA put the expenses on PM Modi’s foreign trips in the last five years (from 2015/16 to 2019/20) at INR 446 crores.
According to the PM India website, PM Modi has not made any foreign trips this year. So, the foreign trip expenses should be at INR 446 crores. But, the latest figure of expenses, as mentioned earlier, is at INR 571.82 crore, an increase of 125.30 crores.
There is a possibility that some of the bills of the foreign trips undertaken during late 2019 were received during the first half of 2020.
However, there is another figure of expenses incurred during PM Modi’s foreign trips that contrasts with the latest figures submitted by the MEA.
In the 2018 Winter Session of the Parliament, then MoS VK Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that a total of INR 2021 crores expenses were incurred on PM Modi’s foreign tours since 2014. This figure is significantly different from the other two figures.
A Glance at the ‘Three Figures’ of Expenses of PM Modi’s Foreign Trips
- PM Modi visited 58 countries since 2015, incurring an expense of 571.82 crores
- Cumulative expenditure of foreign trips in the last five years stands at INR 446.52 crores
a) INR 121.85 crore in 2015-16
b) INR 78.52 crore in 2016-17
c) INR 99 crore in 2017-18
d) INR 100.02 crore in 2018-19
e) INR 46.23 crore in 2019-20
- In the 2018 Winter Session, MEA informed that the government spent INR 2021 crore on PM Modi’s foreign trips
a) INR 1,583.18 crore on the maintenance of Prime Minister’s aircraft
b) INR 429.25 crore on chartered flights
c) INR 9.11 crore on hotline expenses
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to clarify the discrepancies in the figures it submitted since December 2018.
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