According to data obtained by the Department of Pay and Accounts Office of the Cabinet Division, there has been a considerable dip each year in the foreign travel expenses incurred by the NDA government in the last 4 years.
As per the data, the NDA government has in totality spent Rs 239.05 crore on official foreign trips, which include Rs 225.30 crore spent by the Cabinet Ministers and Rs 13.75 crore on Ministers of State from April 1, 2014, till March 31, 2018.
The total amount mentioned above is expected to be marginally higher since the 2014-15 bill submitted to the Pay & Accounts Office, Cabinet Affairs could include foreign trips undertaken by the previous UPA Council of Ministers, before the NDA government took charge on May 27, 2014. This remains unclear as the response did not include details or a break-up of expenditure.
Currently, the Council of Ministers comprises of 25 Cabinet Ministers and 45 Ministers of State, including 11 with independent charge.
The data, however, reveals a significant and constant decline in the amount spent on these official foreign trips by the Council of Ministers in the last four and a half years since BJP has been in power.
The Minister of States, External Affairs, V K Singh, in a reply dated December 13 to the Rajya Sabha, had stated that a total of Rs 2,021.58 crore was spent on the Prime Minister’s 48 official trips abroad so far, including for aircraft maintenance, chartered flights and a secure hotline.
Even though the Congress had earlier gone hammer and tongs, accusing PM Modi of going on an exorbitantly high number of foreign trips during his tenure, a report published earlier in July 2018, had proved that PM Modi in comparison to Congress’ Manmohan Singh, has done more trips and spent more days abroad in almost the same cost.
PM Modi until July 2018 had completed 184 foreign trips at almost the same cost as incurred by the UPA to complete 161 abroad trips during its five years of leadership under the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
Though Modi’s foreign trips have often become a point of contention for the opposition to target him, recent reports validate that the NDA government, have been watchful and vigilant.