Centre spent Rs1,500 cr on junkets over last 3 years

A whopping sum of over Rs1,500 crore was spent by various central government ministries on foreign travel during the last three years, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Of this, Rs5,09.91 crore was spent during 2014-15, Rs434.94 crore in 2013-14 and Rs593.09 crore during 2012-13, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to parliament.

Among the 62 ministries which spent the amount, the highest of Rs351.65 crore was spent by the ministry of personnel in the last fiscal, Rs289.92 crore in 2013-14 and Rs453.95 crore during 2012-13, he said.

The home ministry had spent Rs30.24 crore in 2014-15 and Rs14.13 crore during 2013-14. The civil aviation and tourism ministries spent Rs6.95 crore and Rs9.45 crore last fiscal on foreign travel, the minister said.

Singh said 15 officers were on foreign deputation last year. Of them, seven were from the ministry of external affairs, five from the department of economic affairs and one each from the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (which is now under foreign ministry), civil aviation ministry and department of commerce, he said.

As per the latest instructions issued by the department of expenditure, not more than four official visits abroad are allowed in a calendar year and such trips shall not exceed five working days. The size of the delegation has to be kept to the absolute minimum and participation of officials in international fairs, exhibitions, workshops and conferences shall be discouraged, it said.