Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have projected himself as country’s pradhan sevak, who had risen from a very humble background. But his ministers appear to have left no stone unturned in creating five-star office space for themselves. Smriti Irani along with Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are among those who’ve spent hundreds of thousands of rupees to create personal comfort.
According to a new RTI reply to Economic Times, the HRD ministry with Smriti Irani at the helm, had spent Rs 1.16 crore just on office renovation. This included Rs 70 lakh for Irani’s office and over Rs 40 lakh for the offices of two junior ministers in the HRD ministry.
While Irani was removed from the HRD ministry during the last cabinet reshuffle, her two junior ministers, RS Katheria and Sanwar Jat were dropped from the Council of Ministers.
Among other ministers guilty of splashing public money creating five-star facilities in their offices were the junior minority affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who spent Rs 7,000 on just dustbins.
According to the RTI reply, 23 ministers in Modi’s cabinet spentnearly Rs 3.5 crore on office renovation in the first two years since May 2014.
Naqvi told the paper that while he was not aware of the expense details, he said that his office had been in “shambles” when he took charge.
I&B ministry, for its part, said, “There was no office for MoS to sit in when he took over. He sat in a small room for over six months. The ministry got space on the first floor. The cost received under RTI is not for refurbishing an office. It is for constructing a new office. The space that we got was raw and bereft of standard civil/electrical design.”
Curiously, the four senior most ministers in the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did not spent anything on office renovation.
Those splashing public money for creating personal comfort are all junior and less-high profile ministers.