New Delhi, July 1: In his 48 months as Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made 41 trips to 52 countries, and spent 165 days abroad. His globe-trotting cost the Indian taxpayer INR 3.55 billion (US$ 51.6 million), reports S.Venkat Narayan in The Island.
This was revealed through replies to Right to Information (RTI) queries submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) by RTI activist Bhimappa Gadad of Karnataka.
Of these 41 trips by PM Modi to 52 countries, the highest amount was spent on his nine-day tri-nation visit to France, Germany and Canada between April 9 and 15, 2015, which incurred expenses to the tune of INR 31,25,78,000. The least expensive trip was his very first one as Prime Minister, to Bhutan on June 15-16, 2014 at a cost of INR 2,45,27,465.
Gadad, who filed the RTI (Right To Information) petition seeking details about expenses on PM’s foreign trips, said he filed it out of curiosity. “A few years ago, I had applied for details of foreign visits by chief ministers of Karnataka. Recently, I was going through news reports wherein Prime Minister’s foreign visits were heavily criticized. Then I applied under RTI, seeking details of PM’s foreign visits. I was really shocked to know the details,” he told the New Indian Express.
The activist said he is bitter about the PMO not providing information on Modi’s domestic travels. “They have not furnished details of domestic visits and expenses for security provided during the visits. I did not ask for details of security measures. I just asked for the expenses. But they refused, saying the SPG (Special Protection Group) security organisation, which takes care of the PM’s security, is exempted from the purview of RTI,” he said.
“Though I got the information out of curiosity, I want it to reach the public. Everyone should know about it,” he said. The Central Government should also release reports on the benefits to the country emerging from these visits, Gadad added.
(The featured image at the top shows Narendra Modi hugging French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris)