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Modi's foreign trips cost taxpayers over Rs 2,000 crore since 2014: Govt

Modis foreign trips cost taxpayers over Rs 2,000 crore since 2014: Govt

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trips abroad have cost taxpayers over Rs 2,000 crore since 2014. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Thursday gave the Rajya Sabha the details of Modi's trips between June 15, 2014 and December 3, 2018.

Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam had asked Singh for the number and names of countries that Modi has visited since 2014, the names of ministers who accompanied him during the visits, the details of agreements signed, and the amount paid to Air India for his travel.

Singh's response detailed Modi's visits, the money spent on each trip, including the cost of maintenance on Air India One and setting up a secure hotline. A total of Rs 1,583.18 crore crore was spent on aircraft maintenance, Rs 429.28 crore on chartered flights, and Rs 9.12 crore on a secure hotline. The cost of a secure hotline from May 2017 to December 2018 has not been provided.

In June, Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that the government had spent Rs 1,484 crore since June 2014 for Modi's visits to 84 countries. The expenses were incurred between June 15, 2014, and June 10, 2018. Singh's reply on Thursday shows that Modi has made six trips since June 10 to December 3.

Since taking office as the prime minister, Modi has met global leaders including United States President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping multiple times.

Earlier this month, Modi had met Trump and Abe in the first trilateral meeting between the countries on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.

Modi had said the three nations are dedicated to democracy and discussed ways to promote global peace and stability.

Opposition parties have often criticised the prime minister for travelling so much. Modi has also faced flak for some of his travel, such as when he travelled to Japan in 2016 soon after the government announced demonetisation.

Earlier this year, during a visit to Rwanda, Modi gifted 200 dairy cows to support President Paul Kagame's initiative to reduce poverty, while in China he signed a memorandum of understanding to open a yoga college in Yunnan province.

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