New Delhi: The Narendra Modi led NDA government has incurred a travel bill of Rs 317 crore in the year 2014-15, as per the revised budgetary estimates, an increase of about 59 crore over UPA-II's Rs 258 crore travel expenditure in 2013-14, but in sync with UPA's average spend on the head through its five year-term.
The bill includes travel expenditure of cabinet ministers, ministers of state and ex-PMs and maintenance of aircraft used by VVIPs: the ones used by Prime Minister, President and Vice President.
In his first year in office, PM Modi has travelled extensively and logged more flying miles than his cabinet colleagues.
The travel spend is unlikely to come down anytime soon as the 2015-16 budget has made a provision of Rs 269 crore.
However, the salary and allowance bills of the 65-member Modi's council of ministers have been almost the same as that of the 75-member UPA cabinet at Rs. 14 crores.
Although, the expenditure of the PMO has gone up to Rs 40 crore in 2014-15 compared to Rs 31 crore of UPA's last year in office.
UPA II, during its five year rule(2009-14), had spent almost Rs 1,500 crore on travel of its council of ministers and VVIPS.
Since the financial crisis of 2008-09, the central government has announced 10% mandatory cut on non-plan expenditure almost every year.
But this curb has primarily been restricted to first class travel by bureaucrats and a cut on foreign delegations of union council of ministers and for organising conferences in 5-star hotels.
Interestingly, the curb on first class travel by senior bureaucrats has been lifted every year in the second half of the fiscal.
As indicated by the budget documents, the travel bills of the council of ministers have consistently been going up every year, sometimes more than the rate of inflation. The regime change last year has not changed the pattern.