RTI reveals massive jump in expenditure in foreign tours of ministers
It has reported on the basis of information received in reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his ministers have spent Rs.678 crore on their travel. The amount spent on travel during 2010-11 was Rs.56.1 crore in 2011-12 and the expenses thus show a jump of over 12 times now. The massive jump in expenditure has also been attributed to use of chartered aircraft.
Multi-lateral and bilateral visits have taken the PM to Moscow, the Maldives, and Afghanistan to New York, Bali and Cannes. Amongst the cabinet ministers, some of those making foreign visits are:
- The external affairs minister S.M. Krishna undertook 28 official foreign trips to New York, Islamabad, Beijing, Bali, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Palestine etc..
- Commerce minister Anand Sharma made eight visits to different destinations including Switzerland, South Africa, Pakistan and France.
- Defence minister A.K. Antony made six foreign tours during the last two years.
- The former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee visited six overseas destinations including the US, Nepal, Vietnam and France.
- Tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai travelled to five foreign destinations.
The foreign trips are needed for the various works that the government is required to do, a call has been made to have an effective check on the rising expenditure on the official tours.