The Union Budget has proposed to more than halve the expenditure on ministers’ tours in 2016-17 to Rs 259 crore, from the Revised Estimate of Rs 567 crore during 2015-16.
The budgetary allocation in 2015-16 for this was Rs 269 crore.
The estimate for 2016-17 is almost equal to the actual spending on ministers’ tours during the last year of the former UPA government in 2013-14, at Rs 258.5 crore. During 2015-16, the first full year of this government, the Revised Estimate for ministers’ travel at Rs 567 crore was 80 per cent higher than the actual spending in 2014-15 at Rs 315 crore.
The expenditure includes provision for maintenance of aircraft for VVIP travel.
Spending on the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), part of the cabinet allocations provided under the ministry of home affairs, has been raised moderately by 11 per cent for 2016-17 at Rs 43.8 crore, compared with both the revised and budgetary estimate of Rs 39.4 crore during 2015-16. In 2015-16, expenses on the PMO rose only 8.2 per cent, compared with the actual spending of Rs 36.5 crore in 2014-15.
For hospitality and entertainment in 2016-17, the Budget has proposed a 10.4 per cent increase to Rs 4.35 crore, compared with Rs 3.9 crore in the Revised Estimate of 2015-16. The rise was much higher at 18.6 per cent in 2015-16 from the actual spending of Rs 3.3 crore in 2014-15. This expenditure is meant for foreign state guests, official entertainment at Rashtrapati Bhavan on behalf of the vice-president and prime minister, receptions on national days and ceremonies for presentation of credentials.
Proposed expenditure on the President is up 6.5 per cent for 2016-17 at Rs 52.6 crore, compared with the revised estimate of Rs 49.4 crore in 2015-16. The latter figure was 18.5 per cent higher than the actual spending of Rs 41.6 crore in 2014-15.
Expenditure on the President provides for his/her salary and allowances, besides establishment related expenses for the staff, secretariat and office. It also includes any spend on household establishment of the President on account of salaries of the staff and officers, office expenses as well as purchase and maintenance of vehicles.