Now a days, In the world of media, the word VIP is very common in order to target Politicians and government. As stage one of removing red beckon is completed, Media is now searching for other sectors in order to make this VVIP Terminology alive.
RTI helped in that as activist found out that the Central government owes Rs 451.75 crore to Air India for VVIP flights carrying the president, vice president and the prime minister, as well as special missions.
This RTI filed by Lokesh Batra got reply from the government, as per the information provided by Union minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju, had written 31 letters between 2014 and 2017 to various ministries asking them to make timely payments.
According to RTI, it is revealed that Air India keeps three Boieng 747-400 aircraft for running chartered services for the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister during their visits abroad. These Flights are also being used for special evacuation like you have witnessed the same in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan Mission.
The Balance Bill remained at Rs 451.75 crore as on March 31, 2017 with some bills dating back to the year 2006. The details are as following:
1. Rs 47.37 crore was pending towards six abroad visits of the prime minister to the United States, African countries, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Thailand between November 9, 2016 and February 10, 2017.
2. Rs 206.19 crore towards 22 visits of the vice president between June, 2008 and March 18, 2017 are still pending.
3. Additional bills of Rs 145.63 crore towards the maintenance of Boeing 747-400 aircraft for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for the vice-president’s flights.
4. The ministry has yet to pay Rs 23.57 crore pending on account of 27 flights for foreign dignitaries.
5. Other bills are of Maintenance.
This RTI was posted when there was conflict arise with a Government claim that Air India had posted 105 crore profit but CAG disputed it by saying it is in loss of 321 crore.
This conflict is actually not a conflict. It is just a financial derailment. Ministries must pay their dues in time which will maintain the balance sheet. The Government claims the profit including these dues because sometime payment gets delayed.
When you examine the cost properly and gets into details then it will surely look justified but yes there is scope of improvement based on nature of visit and goals set for the tour is accomplished or not. India as country has to maintain its relation with World and So State Heads visit is necessary.
There might be criticism of the visit of Vice President because maximum share of dues comes with Vice President Visit. Out of 451 crore, over 300 crore is in the Share of Vice President and its pending since 8 years.
There should always be a proper audit of the visit and Yes CAG is doing it perfectly and it is ministries which are running in delays.