The Prime Minister’s Office has said that it does not maintain expense records of the prime minister’s domestic trips, PTI reported on Thursday.
Replying to a Right to Information plea by activist Anil Galgali, Praveen Kumar, Under Secretary in the PMO and Central Public Information Officer, said that information about the prime minister’s domestic visits do not come under the purview of any one authority as there are different organisers for the various trips.
Galgali had sought details about international and domestic visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers since 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power.
Kumar in his reply said that details cannot be provided on the prime minister’s election campaign tours as these are not categorised as official visits and the PMO does not spend money on them. According to election laws, state machinery cannot be used for campaigning purposes.
With regard to expenses on foreign trips, Kumar said Galgali can find the information on the prime minister’s official website. On details of the Union ministers’ visits, the PMO sent Galgali’s query to Ministry of Home Affairs.
The prime minister’s website says that his domestic visits are paid for by the Ministry of Defence. On foreign visits, the website lists out 49 trips since June 2014 and the expenses incurred on chartered flights for each.
According to a News18 analysis of the prime minister’s travel information between May 2014 and March this year, Modi had made 328 domestic trips.
In February, Scroll.in had analysed Modi’s domestic visits from January 2019. It found that he had made 27 trips in 42 days, covering 18 states and union territories. “On many trips, he combined official work with campaign meetings of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” the report said.
Scroll.in emailed questions to the PMO on how expenses for trips that combine official and non-official work are divided between the government and the party, but received no response.