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PM’s chartered flights cost ₹429 crore, just ₹64 crore less than his predecessor

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he emplanes for Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa from New Delhi on July 23, 2018.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he emplanes for Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa from New Delhi on July 23, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Modi clocked 48 foreign trips, 10 more than Manmohan Singh, says a reply filed by the External Affairs Ministry in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

With just a few months left of his tenure, Narendra Modi has clocked 48 foreign trips, 10 more than his predecessor Manmohan Singh and has raised a bill of ₹429.28 crore, just ₹64 crore less than his predecessor for hiring chartered flights, says a reply filed by the Ministry of External Affairs in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The Ministry also noted in its reply that bills for chartered flights for four tours totalling ₹19.32 crore have not been “settled due to paucity of funds” in this financial year. These include Mr. Modi's tours to Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany (in April), Russia (in May), Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (May 28 to June 2) and China (June).

The foreign tour expense figure for Mr. Modi could easily cross Dr. Singh’s. The Ministry said that three bills of his tours from May to November this year have not been received. These include tours to Nepal (May), Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (July) and the Maldives (November).

PM’s chartered flights cost ₹429 crore, just ₹64 crore less than his predecessor
 

The question was posed by Congress MP Sanjay Sinh, seeking details of expenditure on foreign tours and the list of persons who accompanied both Mr. Modi and Dr. Singh on these trips.

By the reply, the PMO owes ₹375.29 crore in respect of aircraft maintenance. During Mr. Modi’s tenure, the bill for PM’s aircraft maintenance exceeds by ₹731.58 crore that of his predecessor. Dr. Singh had recently said he was never a silent Prime Minister. In fact, he used to hold long briefings during his foreign tours with the contingent of Indian journalists accompanying him.

By the reply, Mr. Modi took only a very small group of journalists. During his first year in office, he used to take reporters from news agencies such as the Press Trust of India, Asian News International and United News of India. From 2016, only photojournalists from these agencies were allowed on board. And from 2017, even the photojournalists from PTI were dropped.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:51:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pms-chartered-flights-cost-429-crore/article25853541.ece

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