By the end of over four and a half year, Indian taxpayers like you and myself paid the billion dollar bill for the foreign travel and advertisement costs of during the tenure of PM Narendra Modi.
Modi’s 84 trips around the world during a time-period of a little over four-and-half-years costed roughly $280 million, which is Rs 2000 crores covering up just the travel expenses. This money was spent directly from the government exchequer and was used to provide for each foreign trip including the cost of maintenance on Air India One and setting up a secure hotline for the globe-trotting prime minister. And another enormous $920 million, that’s Rs 6590 crores were spent on government’s glitz advertising to promote all the flagship projects and achievements launched by the spendy regime.
Known for his hectic and almost punishing pace of foreign trips to meet international leaders in the “interest of the country”, Modi has been often spotted bear-hugging leaders all around the one. However, the most number of rendezvous happened with US President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Abe Shinzo, meant to boost India’s influence on global level by flocking up with global political leaders. While there are trips like those formal and informal summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping following the Doklam raw – were seen as fruitful diplomatic successes.
Those that build up controversies were the one to Japan right after demonetisation, when the entire India was struggling with moneyless days and the head minister was traveling abroad, on the tax money. The trip to Rwanda when the vegetarian and bovine worshipper PM gifted 200 cows to the villagers of the African nation, who are known for being beef-eaters and were most likely to slaughter the Indian cows eventually, sparked criticism among the gau rakshaks. But beyond controversies, the billion dollar bill on the shoulders of millions of ordinary taxpayers for travel and advertisements is surprisingly prodigal for a chaiwala turned PM.