The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has released details of the expenses incurred on chartered flights used by Narendra Modi during his official trips abroad. The prime minister has visited 44 countries till November, 2016, many of which were bilateral trips. He has travelled the United States four times and toured twice the countries of Japan, Nepal, Singapore, France, China, Uzbekistan, Russia and Afghanistan. He has covered all continents except Antarctica making thorough efforts to boost trade relationships with countries.
The expenses on the foreign tours of PM Modi are met out of the budget head – “Cabinet Ministers — Maintenance of PM’s aircraft — Other charges” under Demand no, 47. While he used chartered flights on most trips, visits to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh were done aboard the Boeing Business Jets (BBJs) of the Indian Air Force for which the bills are not available online.
The maximum expenses incurred were on the chartered flights PM Modi took to visit France, Germany and Canada – over Rs 31 crore. The trip lasted nine days from April 9 -17, 2015. His bilateral trips are planned in such a way that he can tour as many neighbouring countries as possible when he travels to a region. So his central Asia tour included visits to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the span of nine days. Similarly, the PM’s African tour came in July 2016 when he travelled to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, all of which have excellent relations with India.
The prime minister has visited all his SAARC neighbours as well. He has travelled to Nepal twice, once as a state visit and the other to attend the SAARC summit. He has even touched down in Pakistan once in December, 2015 while he was en route home from Afghanistan. His visit to Lahore coincided with the birthday of Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The disclosures of the expenditure details on the chartered flights were released last year too in a bid to make the PMO transparent. Additionally, details of assets of the prime minister and his cabinet ministers are also available on PMO’s website. The expenses on the PM’s domestic trips are borne out of the budget of the Ministry of Defence.
Expenses incurred on chartered flights of some of PM’s foreign trips (Full list available on PMO):
Bhutan – June 2014 – Rs 2.45 crore
Brazil – July 2014 – Rs 20.35 crore
Myanmar, Australia and Fiji – November 2014 – Rs 22.58 crore
China, Mongolia and South Korea – April 2015 – Rs 15.15 crore
Ireland and USA – September 2015 – Rs 18.46 crore
Belgium, USA and Saudi Arabia – April 2016 – Rs 15.85 crore
Vietnam and China – September 2016 – Rs 9.53 crore