An RTI reply has revealed that more than Rs 55 crore were spent towards the flight cost of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his foreign visits to just seven countries.
While responding to an RTI request, the Prime Minister’s Office only furnished flight costs of PM Modi’s foreign trips to just seven countries.
The Ahmedabad-based activist said, “I had asked for the complete cost breakdown of Modi’s foreign trips, but the PMO has only given the flight costs of seven countries while the rest is said to be under process.”
According to the reply, the cost of flying Modi to Bhutan in June 2014 (his first foreign trip as PM) was Rs 2,45,27,465, while the flight costs of his trips to Brazil (in July 2014) and Japan (in August 2014) were Rs 20,35,48,000 and Rs 13,47,58,000 respectively.
Between Brazil and Japan, Modi also visited Nepal in early August, but the PMO did not give cost details of this trip saying the prime minister had used the IAF chartered flight for this purpose.
Since his trips to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji, Modi visited 29 more countries, but the PMO has not revealed the costs on the grounds that either they had not been processed or the prime minister had used the IAF chartered plane.
As for Modi’s US trip in 2014, jantakareporter.com had exclusively reported last year how his stay in America had cost Indian taxpayers Rs 9 crore even though he had failed to sign a single MoU.
The RTI activist, who originally filed the request on Modi’s foreign trip expense, expressed disappointment over the manner the PMO had divulged the requested information.
He said, “This reply has come to me in installments. First they had sent me a pdf document, which had travel cost of just 3 countries. However, link to that pdf document yesterday turned into a link to PMO website. That really baffled me.”
Another Ahmedabad based, activist, Roshan Shah said that the PMO ought to have provided the information in hard copies than sending just a link to pdf file or the website.
He said, “I request all RTI activists to specifically request for certified copies of reply in future because the information provided through websites can be manipulated and make the information obtained null and void.”