During Narendra Modi’s recent sortie into God’s Own Country, the media scrum didn’t fail to catch the prime minister’s high-pitched rhetoric on transparency. However, here’s the ‘Breaking News’ you didn’t hear—Modi’s numerous trips abroad are turning out to be a prime example of non-transparency. Despite numerous applications and appeals filed by citizens across the country under the Right to Information (RTI), there is little or no information forthcoming on the expenses incurred during the pradhan sevak’s 29 international visits.
RTI soldiers have tried to get this information from the prime minister’s office and also the ministry of external affairs. They have sent missives to Indian diplomatic missions across the world too. However, they have hit a dead end time after time. This, despite the fact that the RTI Act of 2012 explicitly states “information regarding the nature, place and period of foreign and domestic tours of the prime minister are already disclosed on the PMO’s website. Public authorities may proactively disclose the details of foreign and domestic official tours undertaken by the minister(s)”.