Madhya Pradesh Govt Spent ₹1.58 Crore On CM Kamal Nath’s Visit To Switzerland, Reveals RTI
According to the information revealed through an RTI query, the government of Madhya Pradesh spent around ₹1.58 crore for making arrangements for the stay of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, along with three of his top bureaucrats in Switzerland in January.
As per the RTI report, “Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chief Secretary SR Mohanty, Principal Secretary to the CM Ashok Barnwal, and Principal Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion of the state government, Mohammed Suleman participated in the World Economic Forum, 2019 summit in Davos, Switzerland held from January 21 to 25.”
The financial sanction of ₹1.58 crore accorded for their visit covered ₹30 lakh for the air ticket and visa expenses for Davos, ₹45 lakh for hotel, ₹9.5 lakh on local conveyance, ₹2 lakh for VIP lounge access at the Zurich airport, ₹50,000 on travel insurance and ₹40 lakh on DIPP lounge participation charges and promotional material. Also, ₹1.5 lakh was granted as Dearness Allowance (DA) at the rate of $100 per day and ₹15 lakh was for miscellaneous expenses, as reported by Swarajya.
The RTI documents state that the delegation of Madhya Pradesh government took part in the world economic forum to co-brand the state along with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India.
Madhya Pradesh government defined the purpose of their visit as, the members of the delegation in collaboration with ‘Invest India’ will interact with academia, policy makers, potential investors, and numerous other people to highlight Madhya Pradesh as an extremely potential investment place in central India. They aimed to draw their attention and get them attracted to make investments in different sectors in the state.
On December 20, Mohammed Suleman had also written to the Indian embassy in Switzerland requesting their support in booking hotels – one executive suite for the Chief Minister and three premium rooms for the principal secretaries and chief secretary. He also asked them for two cars including one luxury car for the CM for local transport during the visit, reports The Quint.
The delegation members also paid for the businessmen from renowned corporates who visited Singapore.
The RTI application which was filed by Ajay Dubey, an anti-corruption activist noted that the approval for the expenditure of around ₹1.58 crore for the Switzerland trip was sought on January 5. According to Dubey, “Such a huge expenditure of ₹1.58 crore was completely avoidable especially when the state is trying hard to improve its accounts. There could have been a better use of the taxpayers’ money.”
However, the state government said that if the visit was not undertaken then Madhya Pradesh would have lost the opportunities of investment promotion to get investments in the state.