By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Since he assumed office in 2004, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has spent several hundred crores of rupees on his foreign trips. However, the austerity drive of the government and ruling Congress Party seems to have begun yielding result since late 2008. A quick example: during his 2005 UK trip, his chartered aircrafts and hotlines/communication cost the country Rs 6,87,08,798 while during his 2009 trip to same UK, the expenses under the two heads were Rs 14,66,060.
According to data made available by Prime Minister’s Office to RTI activist and Jamia Millia Islamia student Afroz Alam Sahil, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has visited 41 countries, some of them twice and thrice, from 2004 to 2009. Of all, his trip to US and France in 2008 was the most expensive: more than Rs 25 crore was spent.
Interestingly, each of his trips from 2004 to late 2008 cost several crores of rupees, but suddenly after that his every foreign trip cost some lakhs of rupees.
As PM, Dr Manmohan Singh has visited US the most – 7 times; UK is at No. 2 with four trips.
The expenditure on PM’s tour is incurred by multiple agencies like PMO, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, SPG, VSNL etc. Bills pertaining to only chartered aircrafts and hotlines/communication (as received through MEA) are processed, accepted and sanction orders issued by PMO for payment.
Based on the PMO’s sanction orders and bills received till January 29, 2010, details of expenditures are given below. To be more clear, the list has only expenses on chartered aircrafts and hotlines/communication. It means entire expenses on PM’s foreign trips are much higher.
|France, USA, Germany||13,42,00,269|
|USA, Germany, Switzerland||12,06,43,098|
|Nigeria, South Africa||10,58,99,080|
|Thailand||Bills not received|
|USA, Port of Spain||Bills not received|