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Updated: April 30, 2012 19:03 IST

Pratibha's foreign trips cost nation a record Rs. 205 crore

PTI
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President Pratibha Devisingh Patil plays table tennis during a visit to M.J. College in Jalgaon on Saturday.
PTI President Pratibha Devisingh Patil plays table tennis during a visit to M.J. College in Jalgaon on Saturday.

President Pratibha Patil's foreign visits have cost the public exchequer Rs. 205 crore, surpassing the record of all her predecessors.

Since assuming office as the country's first woman President in July 2007, Ms. Patil has undertaken 12 trips covering 22 countries across four continents. She has four more months to go in her five-year tenure and a trip to South Africa is said to be on the anvil.

A series of RTI applications has revealed that Air India incurred over Rs. 169 crore on use of chartered aircraft, always a Boeing 747-400, on the foreign visits by Ms. Patil, mostly accompanied by family members. A visit to Bhutan was covered by a smaller jet.

A further sum of nearly Rs. 36 crore has been incurred by the External Affairs Ministry on accommodation, local travel, daily allowance and “miscellaneous” expenses, according to its information.

The RTI applications were filed over three years during which the authorities concerned showed great reluctance to reveal information.

The Defence Ministry, which pays Air India for use of chartered aircraft by the President, fended off RTI queries and provided little information.

The airline has billed the Defence Ministry for over Rs. 169 crore for aircraft used by Ms. Patil. Of this, it has paid nearly Rs. 153 crore.

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Why spare only Rs 2 per person, we all could spare Rs. 20 and go hungry if only the President's office and her governors become independent with the CAG, CRPF, CBI, Vigilance, State Police force and Lokpal structure coming under them and hold the elected representatives accountable for their functioning and bring them to book for lack there of as determined by due process under the equally independent judiciary.

Even if it is acceptable that the appointment of the president and governors are made by elected representatives, there should be a YES/No system of direct approval from the people of India for shortlisting a panel of eminent non partisan persons with proven credentials befitting the office of the governor, president and the upper house members -

The president, governors and Rajya Sabha members can then be chosen by elected representatives of the lower house from this panel approved directly by the people of India. Only this can ensure that non partisan positions remain so.

from:  r n iyegar
Posted on: Apr 30, 2012 at 06:19 IST

There should be provision in law to recuperate such money from
President of India since he/she is just nominal head of the state. It
does not make sense to spend tax payer's hard earned money on someone
who cannot make simple decision to hang Afzal Guru for five years and
does not have any decision making power and more so the ability. In
fact, we do not need the position of President itself. Our parliament
can easily pass such a law to remove the job position from the
constitution.
What hope today's young generation like me can have from my own
countrymen when I read such depressing news on every front? Her
speeches on independence day fail to
inspire. The earlier she resigns or retires, better
for us.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 23:41 IST

This much money could have created 10000 homes in Dharavi slums in
Mumbai. I don't know when i will see that day when this country will
start spending on core issues with transparency than on ceremonial
issues with no transparency, i am a 25 year old indian scientist, i
don't think this will happen in my life time.

from:  parikshit parasher
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 22:42 IST

Being a seasoned politician, she understand the agony of Indian mass,
especially condition of farmers from Maharshtra. But her priorities
are well defined since day one when she insisted upon Indian embassies
to remove her photo on the eve of Independence day as the photo was
not liked by her.It is high time that practice of charter flight by
President & PM shall be dispensed off. They shall behave like a
citizen of India. Apartheid practice makes them untouchable creature. It will Now she need a palace on superannuation. Move was shell after
media protest. All legislator behaves like king and demand lavish
gadgets. Mera desh mahhan.

from:  Brijesh Barthwal
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 21:49 IST

As i read in one of the above comment which said exactly to the point
that its high time we abolish the post of President and Governors. I don't know whats the use of having President and Governors in our
country and we are spending thousands of crore rupees for their lavish
lifestyle when so many children are deprived of getting the rightful
education ,millions are jobless, millions don't even get the
sufficient food for themselves and their family. All this thing really
saddens me and am sure it saddens millions of other people as well
whose hard earned money in the form of tax is being wasted on
politicians futile foreign trips. We are in a desperate need of some
revolution to abolish all such tenures in India where money is
thoroughly being wasted.

from:  Ankit Trivedi
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 21:12 IST

President of India, represents our nation abroad.

Presidential trips are an absolute necessity, to project India to the rest of the world.

President is also a human being and unless she has committed some financial
irregularities, we shouldn't worry too much about the expenses.

President of India didn't spend as much as the leaders of other nations

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 19:52 IST

Simply horrible! A country where more than 40% of the people are below poverty line, country where 50% of children cannot afford education, still many villages where there is no electricity, no access to drinking water, country where crime & corruption are rampant, we as country and certainly the head of the state Ms. President should be ashamed to put 200+ crores down the drain! Madam President, we are not US or UK or China to afford this kind of wastage. As a tax paying individual I would like to ask what is the output of these trips??? Zilch! isnt it? Our parlamentarians, are you listening, could you pls enact bills which would suggest or limit President's (and their families) expenditure to a certain amount.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 19:37 IST

The Indian government/president should show the outcome of these
travels. She is wasting tax payers money. Our infrastructure is very
very poor. This money could have been used to educate the children,
improve the infrastructure, alleviate the poverty, defence research etc.
The congress government is utter waste government.

from:  Palanisamy
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 19:35 IST

Such an expenditure can be undertaken only by an Indian President and it
is shameful for her.

from:  supriya chowdhury
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 11:40 IST

I feel really frustrated when ever I come across such news and can't do anything about it.. President of India wasting so much at the cost of tax payers money. .. or let us take what the great Montek saab who mindlessly defends Rs 32 a day limit for fixing poverty line. Look at the disparities. If things are so affordable that you can live on Rs32 I wonder why the president spent so much on her trips.

from:  Unfortunately an Indian
Posted on: Apr 13, 2012 at 02:54 IST

This people are fit for reading of
notes written by others,even they
don't know what they are reading

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 23:10 IST

This people are fit for reading of
notes written by others,even they
don't know what they are reading

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 23:08 IST

is it possible to let us know the details that these trips are for nation welfare or just for their family vacation? if it is for nation welfare then it is fine but still questionable for including family members in the trip.... if it is for vacation, then we have to question it out......... because it is all of our tax money...

from:  Selvakumar
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 19:01 IST

This is a disgrace. Never heard any news about presidents trips to countries abroad to talk something. Then how come she managed to spend that much money and why are family members involved in such trips ? These are somethings which have to be questioned and looked into. unfortunately, no one can question the president. Please take into account the billions of tax payers money and more that 50% of population which is in poverty.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 18:01 IST

@Phanikiran - Yes the president may have explored new frontiers, but why take the whole family with her? A family excursion at nation's expense?

from:  DR
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 16:52 IST

it would be more useful if THE HINDU can publish the new frontiers explored by the president in the past four years , so that we can relate the visits to some new developments . i personally don't like mud slinging on haste . The article in its present form is highly suggestive of a misdeed, which may or may not be the case. one should understand that a foreign visit is usually part of a long term strategy that may not show immediate results.

from:  Phanikiran
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012 at 11:27 IST

India is one of the poor country. So many poor kids could have been educated with that kind of money.What was the achievement by spending Rs.205 Cr.

from:  Mukhtar Damudi
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 21:05 IST

She is the figurative head of the country! Cant expect her to fly economy and live in a lodge.

from:  Andrew Jacob
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 19:59 IST

This is the spending of 9 crores of BPL citizens in a day of our country. If not Corruption-Crime, then what is this?

from:  Tarakanta Nayak
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 17:16 IST

One side the Government wants to withdraw subsidy on Kerosone. A PDS card hold of BPL gets only three litres of kerosene per month. Now, the President expenses for foreign travel a record 205 crores. What has she achieved for India from these foreign tours. Let the government publish the achievements from her foreign tours. This is waste of money.

from:  MU SHANKAR
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 16:39 IST

Not blame our presidential position, It is the one actually representing 120 crore people not Sachin Tendulkar. How much of our money is wasting in elections to select the corrupt politicians and how much we are spending for them at Thihar Jail. and compared to our population it is very small amount. Aren't we able to spend Rs 2 each for our president

from:  AM
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 16:33 IST

The power of RTI - "..the foreign visits by Ms. Patil, mostly accompanied by family members". Else how would this have come in the open !! President may travel to as many places as she wants for official work - but why is it that she was mostly accompanied by her family relatives. Such corruption is present everywhere in India, from President to the lower level people in power - eg : an Govt-Official/IPS/DM etc calling up an 'agent' to arrange for a taxi (free) for his family members visiting a particular city [and most people accept it as IF it is their right !! no one seems to think of it as corruption - on however low on economic scale it may be]. Agents are compensated later through grants for favorable (govt) business. But again - thanks to RTI that this was exposed !!

from:  Vikrant
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 14:47 IST

A disgrace to the nation! Who said With great power comes great responsibility !?! She and her family has decided to make the most of presidency..just like every other politician. Wonder what she is doing in all these foreign trips and wonder what these 'miscellaneous'expenses are..

from:  DR
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 13:46 IST

Still many children are not getting proper meal and education,that much poverty is in India but this president spent lot of money only for her foreign trips.She should think about the poor people who are how much suffering their in routine life without wearing good dresses,treatment,education,ex....

from:  Suresh Babu Maldives Maafushi
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 13:44 IST

We can simply afford this amount because she is the first 'Woman President' of our poor country! and also we try to re-elect her in forth coming presidential election to continue her service to our nation.

from:  A.SESHAGIRI
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 12:33 IST

Who said India is a poor country?!

from:  Jayanta Dutt
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 12:22 IST

While the trips are official, one must know what are the benefits, the nation has accrued as a result of such trips.And is it acceptable that the government foots the bill for people accompanying her.While manmohan singh government professes austerity it seems to be only in letter and not in spirit.

from:  krishnan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 12:10 IST

Why only President our MP s cabinet ministers and PM all are rubber stamp cases.See how a railway minister was removed after presenting the budget

from:  ramakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 12:00 IST

Yes, Indian constitution doesn't provide much powers to President. It has to be determined what were the causes of these travels. I never knew i was sparing a part of my income as tax for such trips. Save India.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:59 IST

In a country like india where more than 80% of the population lives on a daily wages of Rs.20 per day and where the BPL status is around Rs.22 in rural and Rs.28 in urban, does these kind of luxurious life is necessary to our Politicians.

from:  ratheesh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:49 IST

Yeah i agree with sanjay..The president should highlight the benefits of those visits to the nation.Mere traveling and spending billions of hard earned public money has no meaning

from:  wasim
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:45 IST

WOW..!!! India is improving,Rs.205 crore,covering 22 countries across 4 continents with her family around must be a great time for our president in her late ages.Please remember those are our hard earned Money.

from:  ratheesh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:29 IST

As long as the President is being a 'Rubber stamp' in India, It's a waste of money.

from:  Abhilash Thomas
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:18 IST

Will somebody present a cost-benefit analysis of Presidential trips,given that President of India does not have much powers in our constitutional scheme of things? Since trips of her excellency are far more than former presidents, atleast the tangible agreements signed should be put in public domain.

from:  sanjay
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 10:15 IST

TT, Good for flexibility and overall health. Let us provide this game to most of our schools and colleges.

from:  Anil
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 09:56 IST

Time has come to abolish the post of President and Governors. We cannot sustain the expenditure. Any how these president and Governors are only a cosmetic element for the country, hence nothing is lost by abolishing!! In same line, Upper house in parliament and in state assembly can be abolished. This will save thousands of crores to country.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 08:26 IST

I wonder how many of these trips were actually needed and what was the need for 'family members'on these so called official trips. Ms Patil you are a strain to the public exchequer. Please remember this is all hard earned Indian tax payer money. Why this reluctance to reveal your travel expenses? Are you also corrupt like your promoter, the Indian National Congress? This is a shame for transparency and accountability.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 08:21 IST
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