According to information sourced through an RTI query, Madhya Pradesh state government spent around Rs 1.58 crore to arrange for Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s stay in Switzerland along with three of his top bureaucrats, reports Press Trust of India (PTI).
“Kamal Nath and Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary S R Mohanty, Principal Secretary to the chief minister Ashok Barnwal and DIPP Principal Secretary Mohammed Suleman participated in the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 in Davos, Switzerland held in January,” said the Right To Information (RTI) report.
The RTI application, filed by anti-corruption activist Ajay Dubey, notes that the necessary approval for expenditure of nearly Rs 1.58 crore on the trip was sought on 5 January.
Out of the total sanctioned expenditure, Rs 30 lakh was paid for air ticket and visa expenses for Davos, Rs 45 lakh for hotel (stay and meeting room), Rs 9.5 lakh on local conveyance, Rs two lakh for VIP lounge access at Zurich airport, Rs 50,000 on travel insurance and Rs 40 lakh on DIPP lounge participation charges and promotional material.
Additionally, Rs 1.5 lakh was granted as Dearness Allowance (DA) at the rate of USD 100 per day and Rs 15 lakh was for miscellaneous expenses.
“Totally Avoidable Expenditure”
“Such a huge expenditure of Rs 1.58 crore was totally avoidable especially when the state is trying hard to improve its accounts. There could have been a better use of the taxpayers' money,” said Dubey.
However, the state government said that if the Davos visit was not undertaken, then Madhya Pradesh “may lose opportunities of investment promotion to get investments in the state.”