Foreign trips for NDA Ministers less than half of UPA’s, reveals RTI reply

Year after swearing-in, half of Cabinet yet to travel abroad, show documents; one-third of visits by Sushma, V K Singh.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi | Updated: July 18, 2015 2:15 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi Foriegn trips, NDA Ministers foreign trips, NDA Ministers official foreign trips, Modi’s Cabinet, Modi’s Cabinet foreign trips, NDA government, UPA ministers, UPA ministers foreign trips, Sushma Swaraj, V K Singh, Indian express Interestingly, at least 45 proposals of NDA ministers to travel abroad, which were cleared by the MEA, were either not cleared by the PMO or were withdrawn by ministers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 13 official foreign trips, including visits to the US, China and Russia, have made headline news but official records show that the rest of his Cabinet has had little opportunity to travel abroad.

At least 32 ministers, or half of Modi’s Cabinet, have not travelled abroad since the NDA government came to power on May 26, 2014, according to information provided to The Indian Express under the RTI Act by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Of the 114 official trips made by the rest, till May 6, 2015, 36 — or nearly one-third — were by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Minister of State V K Singh, records show.

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While the MEA under the previous UPA government issued 265 clearances for Union ministers to travel abroad from May 26, 2013 to May 6, 2014, only 123 clearances were granted by the ministry in the same period after the NDA came to power.

Interestingly, at least 45 proposals of NDA ministers to travel abroad, which were cleared by the MEA, were either not cleared by the PMO or were withdrawn by ministers, or were not even forwarded to the PM’s office, which is the final authority on this issue.

The records show that while the MEA cleared 123 proposals for official foreign trips of 30 Union ministers, only 78 were cleared by the PMO — these numbers do not include the trips undertaken by Swaraj and Singh.

proposalAmong the proposals cleared by the MEA but missing from the list of clearances issued by the PMO were those of Union ministers Anant Geete, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad, and ministers of state Piyush Goyal and Rajiv Pratap Rudy to visit Hanover to attend a trade fair in April.

Other such proposals included a trip to London by Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, and others to Canada and South Korea by MoS Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

According to records, a proposal by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to visit the US from April 12-20, 2015, was cleared by the MEA. But PMO data shows the duration of the trip was cut to six days, from April 14-19.

One of Naidu’s proposals — to visit Berlin from May 19-20, 2015 — was shot down at the MEA level itself.

The reluctance to travel abroad appears to include personal trips too, records show.

Over the last year, 10 ministers undertook one private trip each: Union ministers Jaitley, Geete, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Maneka Gandhi and Najma Heptulla, and ministers of state Y S Chowdary, Babul Supriyo, Manoj Sinha, G M Siddeshwara and Rao Inderjit Singh.

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  1. V
    Vai
    Jul 18, 2015 at 9:32 am
    Why no media house has shown PM Modi's msg on Eid to all Muslim??
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      TIHAEwale
      Jul 18, 2015 at 11:26 am
      First, while this is in stark contrast to the austerity Modi often speaks of, secondly, if one breaks down the expense of the visit, which was to last four hours and 35 minutes, the per-minute expense was to be Rs 6.18 lakh and the per-second averaging Rs 10,333. With heavy rains ruining Modi's programme on June 28, the organizers this time had done their homework well and six special 'German Hanger' like marquees were erected for the public rally at Dereka grounds. These gigantic marquees were both fire and water proof and are estimated to have cost Rs 9 crore. Three air-conditioned mobile toilets were requisitioned from New Delhi for use of Modi and his entourage. The organizers, on condition, of anonymity told IANS that air-conditioners totalling 100 tonnes were in place at Dereka, keeping in mind the humid and sultry weather. Ten special generators to provide 125 KVA electricity were also installed, adding a major expense to the budget. While the VVIP's were to be provided AC's to give them respite from the humid conditions, 100 coolers and 2,000 fans were in place for the public. These generators, along with ten 6 KVA and two 5 KVA gensets would have produced 1.4 MW of electricity that, in ordinary conditions, could have powered more than 1,000 households, an official mused. This apart, over Rs.4 crore rupees has been sent on boarding, lodging, transport and other expenses of the the prime minister's security and SPG detail. A Wi-Fi enabled mini-PMO was also raised behind the hanger in which Modi was to be present during the launch of the developmental projects. Fifteen LED screens that would have telecast the prime minister's address live to almost 20,000 people amd a high- quality sound system at the rally venue also burnt a in the common man's pocket.
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        TIHAEwale
        Jul 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm
        Nothing surprising the caliber of cabinet with likes of Venkiah, Nitin, Uma, Sadhvi, Smriti what they will discuss with their counterparts. Also NaMo being sure that aisa mauka phir na milegaa wants to finish the globe before 2019
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        1. V
          Vikrant
          Jul 18, 2015 at 11:03 am
          Islamic Express moderates pro government comments. All chelas of she h zada keep quiet on the monthly vacation to undisclosed foreign location of their italian master with undisclosed people. Who sponsors these trips
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            Vikrant
            Jul 18, 2015 at 11:05 am
            We all know the competency of the ministers of UPA. After all they managed to loot lakhs of crores of tax payers money to build the empire of italian mafia across the world. No wonder they were rewarded with small vacations for their duty
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              Anand Prakash
              Jul 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm
              The PM Narendra Modi makes up for his ministers trips abroad!
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                Dhwaraswamy Somasekharan
                Jul 18, 2015 at 8:30 am
                At least this PM's visit is to strengthen bi-lateral ties and develop Indian economy and not to stash black money ! the result of his various visits will come in few years time and by overnight, as UPA or other oppositions think and demand !
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                  ashutosh Arora
                  Jul 18, 2015 at 9:56 am
                  NAMO kisi ko bahar jane hi nahi deta .... Khud jo ghumta rahta hai ... his foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is more of sitting MP....
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                    ashutosh Arora
                    Jul 18, 2015 at 10:00 am
                    site seeing ... that he couldn't do after Gujarat riots ... and distribution funds to Bhutan, Bangladesh, Mona ... what has come out of all these visits ..
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