Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s frequent foreign visits have often been a talking point in the media, but records show that the same can’t be said for most of his cabinet ministers.
According to a report by the Indian Express, foreign trips by the NDA government’s ministers have been less than half of that of UPA. This data, provided by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under an RTI query, shows that as many as 32 ministers have not travelled abroad since the NDA government came to power more than a year back.
The report also compares the NDA’s travel plans with that of its predecessor stating that the MEA under the previous UPA government issued 265 clearances for Union ministers to travel abroad from 26 May 2013 to 6 May 2014, while only 123 clearances were granted by the ministry in the same time period after NDA came to power.
This information is consistent with another Indian Express report earlier this year which said that 21 proposals for foreign trips by 12 Union Ministers were cancelled after the NDA government took charge. Of these the PMO turned down nine directly. Modi is known to stress on austerity in the government’s working and these numbers reflect what he has been talking about.
However, an article by Factly suggests that about 27 of NDA’s Union ministers undertook at least one foreign visit. It also adds that a total of 60 countries were visited by at least one member of the Union Cabinet and together they spent about 393 days abroad.
Foreign travel has been a bone of contention between the Modi government and the opposition with Congress constantly attacking the PM for his insists In his first year in office, Modi visited as many as 18 nations and had drawn flak from many quarters. BJP chief Amit Shah had even hit back at Congress saying that former prime minister Manmohan Singh made same number of foreign trips as Modi.
“I want to say that Modiji has undertaken the same number of tours as former PM Manmohan Singh. The only difference is that people never came to know about his tours. When Modiji undertakes a trip abroad, thousands of Indians wait to welcome him and foreign nations are eager to do business with India,” Shah had said.
(With agency inputs)
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