Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits after assuming office in May 2014 cost Indian tax payers Rs 2,021 crore as he travelled to 55 countries in 48 foreign trips. The cost included money spent on chartered flights, maintenance of aircraft and hotline facilities.
The information, according to news agency PTI, was made public by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh in the Rajya Sabha in response to questions. According to Singh, a total of Rs. 1,583.18 crore was spent on maintenance of the Prime Minister’s aircraft and Rs. 429.25 crore on chartered flights during the period between June 15, 2014 and December 3, 2018. The total expenditure on hotline was Rs. 9.11 crore.
The cost of PM Modi’s foreign visits could be higher since the information provided by Singh include the expenditure on hotline facilities during his foreign tour in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
In contrast, Rs. 1,346 crore was spent on chartered flights, maintenance of aircraft and hotline facilities during Manmohan Singh’s foreign visits between 2009 till he demitted office in 2014.
The latest information comes just days after it was revealed that the Modi government had spent Rs 5245.73 crore on advertisement since it assumed office in May 2014.
In the first year of assuming office, the Modi government had splashed Rs 979.78 crore on advertisement, which included Rs 424.84 crore on print (newspapers), Rs 473.67 crore on electronic and audio visual ads and Rs 81.27 crore on the outdoor publicity.
In the following year, the amount spent on advertisements increased to Rs 1160.16 crore. This included Rs 508.22 crore spent on print ads, Rs 531.60 crore splashed on electornic and audio visual and Rs 120.34 crore spent on outdoor publicity. The money spent on government ads kept increasing in the next two years with Rs 1264.26 crore and Rs 1313.57 crore being spent in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
Modi’s foreign trips and focus on self publicity have always been a topic of intense discussion in India with opposition parties accusing him of ignoring the issues of governance.