In response to questions raised by various MPs, the government has shared some interesting information in the Parliament. Here is a roundup of such information.
Indian Embassies spent Rs 8.88 crore on PM Modi’s foreign visits
There has been a lot of discussion about the expenses incurred on the Prime Minister’s foreign visits. While full information on the expenses incurred on the PM’s foreign visits is not yet available, government shared the details of expenses incurred by various Indian Embassies abroad during the visits of the PM. As per the data shared, Indian Embassies abroad spent a total of Rs 8.88 crore till date. Bulk of the expenses (Rs 6.37 crore) was on Event Management. Only 30 odd lakh rupees each was spent on Advertisement & Travel. In terms of actual expenditure, Rs 2.17 crore was spent on PM’s France visit in April 2015 and Rs 1.78 crore on PM’s visit to USA in September 2014.
Number of Indian Students studying in the UK down 39% in 4 years
USA & UK are two of the most preferred destinations for Indian students. As per the information shared by the government, the number of Indian students studying in the UK has come down to 18320 in 2014-15 compared to 29900 in 2011-12. This is a decrease of almost 39% in 4 years. During the same time, the number of Indian students studying in the USA has gone up by over 30%. The government believes that the change in post-study work visa rules and the difficulties faced by Indian students to find jobs with salaries that would qualify them to remain in the UK after completing their studies, are the reasons for this decrease. The Indian government has taken this up with the government of UK and has urged them to explore options to refine the post-study work visa scheme.
112 of the 162 companies under the radar of the SFIO are from West Bengal
The Saradha scam in West Bengal turned everybody’s attention to companies running chit funds and ponzi schemes. In response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the government said that various Chit Fund companies are regulated by the Chit Funds Act, 1982 that is implemented by the State Governments. The state governments register entities running Chit Funds and regulate their affairs and proceed against violators including by companies running chit funds without such registrations. The government also mentioned that the affairs of 162 companies have been investigated into by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in the last 3 years. These companies have been found to be involved in Chit fund/ MLM/ Ponzi activities. Of these, investigation has been completed in 97 companies and instructions have been issued to SFIO to file prosecution in respect of investigation of 64 companies. More than 2/3rd of these companies are from West Bengal.
Electronic Banking transactions have almost doubled in 3 years
Electronic banking has become the preferred mode of banking for internet savvy customers. This is also substantiated by the rise in the number of electronic banking transactions. As per the data shared by the government, the electronic banking transactions have increased volume-wise, from 3708.52 million in 2013-14 to 7045.30 million in 2015-16. Similarly, value-wise transactions have risen from 878000.13 billion in 2013-14 to 1002334.10 billion in 2015-16. Transactions through m-wallet have increased volume-wise from 107.51 million in 2013-14 to 603.99 million in 2015-16. Value-wise, transaction through m-wallet has increased from 29.05 billion in 2013-14 to 205.84 billion in 2015-16. In the wake of such increased electronic activity, the RBI has issued detailed security & risk mitigation measures for electronic transactions.