Rashtrapathi Bhavan spent 5 lakhs on phone bill for the month of MayJuly 20, 2015 17:56
Jogeshwari resident Mansoor Darvesh filed an RTI query in June seeking details about the upkeep of India's biggest and most prominent house. The reply revealed astonishing information on the expenses incurred by the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
The 'allowances' in the last three financial years have increased from Rs. 30.96 crore in 2012-13, to Rs. 41.96 crore in 2014-15, a jump of almost 33 per cent. Expenditure on President's Secretariat under Major Head-2012, Appropriation-Staff, Household and Allowances of the President for the financial years 2012-2013, 2013-14 and 2014-15 is Rs. 30.96 crore, Rs. 38.70 crore and Rs. 41.96 crores respectively'.
A total of 754 people are employed at the President's Secretariat. Nine private secretaries, 27 drivers, 64 safaiwalas and eight telephone operators work at the Bhawan. In May, Rs. 1.52 crore was spent on salaries. In the same month, the telephone bill totaled Rs. 5.06 lakh, while in April and March, the amount touched Rs. 5.06 lakh and 4.25 lakh respectively.
Regarding a query on funds spent on VVIP guests that the presidential palace routinely receives, the reply said, "No separate account is maintained. The expenditure in this regard is incurred from the annual budget allotted to the household section of the secretariat."
Darvesh said, "Being an Indian citizen, I have the right to know the amount of funds spent on the upkeep of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The amount spent increases every year. This list doesn't cover all expenses, though, but I am sure the total will cross Rs. 100 crore."
Former President Pratibha Patil has spent Rs. 205 crore on foreign travel and according to reports, this has surpassed the record of all predecessors. She is believed to have gone on 12 foreign tours and visited 22 countries.
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam, on the other hand, on being appointed President, called up Dr Verghese Kurien, founder of Amul and asked, "Now that I have become the President of India, the government is going to look after me till I am living, so what can I do with my savings and salary?"