New Delhi: Amid raging debate over Centre’s recent decisions to slash subsidy on LPG and diesel, surfacing of report that in 2011-12, a hefty Rs 678 crore has so far been spent on the foreign trips of UPA ministers is really shocking. It seems that the government has made up its mind to put a heavy burden on the shoulders of common man to check the widening fiscal deficit while exempting its minister from this drive.  

The ministers have splurged Rs 678 crore on their tours in 2011-12, which is more than twelve times spent during 2010-11. This figure is given by the Home Ministry in a reply of an RTI filed by Shubash Chandra Agarwal on July 3.

The tour expenditure of central ministers’ was Rs 56.16 crore in the fiscal year 2010-2011 which zoomed 12-fold to Rs 678.58 crore in 2011-2012. While the expected tour budget was just 46.95 crore, the amount for the year 2009-2010 was 160.70 crore but due to the general elections the expenditure was confined to 81.54 crores.

The RTI activist has demanded for a probe into the matter and also raised a voice to recover the money which was ‘useless expenditure’ from the ministers. He also raised a couple of questions in relation to the matter like do the ministers travelled for their personal work on government expenditure? Why not the ministers travel in economy class and adopt a normal lifestyle to relax the government treasure.

Earlier reports claimed that several Ministries used to work sitting in five-star hotels in the national capital. Reports also claimed that the cost incurred on the foreign tours of the President Pratibha Patil was whooping over Rs 200 crore.


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