Finance minister Arun Jaitley set aside in his budget for the next fiscal about Rs261 crore for travel expenses, salary and allowances of Union ministers — an allocation that overshot by 73% in the current financial year.
In the previous budget, the government allocated a little more than Rs274 crore for the ministers and former prime ministers. But revised figures show above Rs455 crore was spent during the period.
Besides pay and travel expenses, the allocation includes funds for maintenance of aircraft for VVIPs.
Jaitley also made a more than 10-fold hike in the budgetary allocation for the National Security Council secretariat .
The increase — from Rs33.17 crore last year to Rs333.58 crore in the next fiscal — indicated an enhanced role for the National Security Council (NSC), which is part of the three-tier structure for a national security management system.
The NSC, headed by the Prime Minister, is the apex body and the national security adviser is its secretary.
The group is responsible for policy-making and for follow up action in matters of national security.
On the other hand, the advisory board consists of senior retired officials and experts in internal and external security.
The office of the principal scientific adviser will also get a substantial budget hike.
Jaitley announced Rs34.83 crore this year, much more than his previous budget’s Rs4.60 crore. Revised figures show that it spent Rs5.19 crore in 2016-17.