New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs has informed parliament that Rs 254.87 crore has been spent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overseas trips in the last five years.
In response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha by Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan said on Thursday, July 20: “As per information available, the expenditure on Prime Minister’s overseas visit during the last five years is Rs 2,54,87,01,373.”
In February this year, the ministry had in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha on the expenditure on foreign trips by the president, prime minister and external affairs minister said that Rs 22 crore was spent on Modi’s foreign trips between 21 February 2019 to 16 November 2022.
“GOI incurred an amount of INR 6,24,31,424 for President’s visits, an amount of INR 22,76,76,934 for Prime Minister’s visits and an amount of INR 20,87,01,475 for External Affairs Minister’s visits abroad,” the reply said.
The written reply also included a list of 21 countries that Modi had visited during this period.
On Thursday, in a separate reply, the Ministry of External Affairs also said that an expenditure of over Rs 30 crore has been incurred on Modi’s overseas trips between February 2021 to June 2023.
In response to a written question by CPI(M) MP V. Sivadasan, Muraleedharan said: “As per information available, the expenditure on Prime Minister’s overseas visit from February 2021 till June 2023 is Rs. 30,80,47,075/-.”
The ministry’s reply also lists 20 overseas trips by the prime minister during this period, beginning with his trip to Bangladesh between March 26-27, 2021 to his visits to the US and Egypt between June 20-25 2023.
These two statements seem to suggest that between February 2019 and June 2023, roughly Rs 50 crore was spent on the prime minister’s foreign tours. However, the response to the question on the expenditure during the past five years places it more than Rs 200 crore more – at Rs 254 crore. The Wire has written to the Ministry of External Affairs about the figures.
According to a statement by then minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh given in the Rajya Sabha on July 19, 2018, a sum of Rs 1,484 crore was spent on Modi’s foreign trips between June 15, 2014 and June 10, 2018.
According to details available on the PM India website, Modi has been on 71 foreign trips since he first became Prime Minister in 2014.
The website lists Modi’s foreign visits – from his first to Bhutan in June 2014 to his visit to the US and Egypt last month. Since then Modi has visited France and the UAE this month.
According to figures available on the PM India website, in comparison, former prime minister Manmohan Singh visited 73 countries during his tenure between May 2004 to May 2014.
Modi’s frequent foreign trips have been questioned by the opposition in the last nine years.
In recent months Modi’s foreign trips have also been raked up by the opposition to ask questions about how many times Gautam Adani accompanied Modi on these trips.
The questions came on the heels of the opposition demanding a joint parliamentary probe into the alleged stock market manipulation by the Adani Group, as claimed by the short-seller Hindenburg Research.
In 2018, The Wire reported that the Ministry of External Affairs had refused to disclose information filed in an RTI query about the individuals accompanying the PM on foreign visits.
The refusal to provide information was in violation of an order by the Central Information Commission (CIC) that had asked the ministry to disclose the names of the government and private individuals who had accompanied Modi on foreign tours from 2014-15 onwards.