The current Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu made 77 official trips in the 10 months since he took charge which is more than what the former Vice President Shri. Hamid Ansari made in 5 years during his 2nd tenure (between 2012 & 2017).
Like the President of India, the Vice-President is not directly elected by people. He is elected by the Members of Parliament (both Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha). He also plays the role of ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
When the parliament is not in session, the Vice President is usually invited as a chief guest to various events across the country like Inaugurations, Science Conference, Convocation and various other government or private events. We analysed the data available on the website of the Vice President of India to understand where all did he travel within India and why. If the Vice President visits two states in a single visit, it is counted as two trips, one each to the respective state.
Website has the complete information
The website of the vice-president of India has complete information about the official trips along with the nature of the visit, period of visit and the number of accompanying entourage under the RTI section. Data is available only from March 2012. Hence, we could analyse data only for Shri. Hamid Ansari’s 2nd term (from August 2012 to August 2017) and the first 10 months of Shri Venkaiah Naidu (from August 2017 to May 2018). We found this practice of proactive disclosure worth emulating by all other constitutional functionaries like the Chief Ministers, Governors etc.
Why analyse trips?
There is no doubt that the presence of a high constitutional functionary like the Vice President in an event like a convocation inspires students and on other occasions brings much needed visibility for the event. But the frequent trips have their own set of issues like traffic jams and diversion of routes in the visiting city, cost of delegation, security arrangements etc. Though the government has decided to do away with beacons on vehicles that were seen as a symbol of VIP culture, the VIP culture is still prevalent in other forms like traffic stoppages, other protocol related issues. The Police manual has detailed information on procedure to be followed during a VIP movement including stoppage of traffic etc.
Venkaiah Naidu made more trips than Hamid Ansari in just 10 months
Shri Hamid Ansari, served his 2nd term as the Vice President from August 2012 to August 2017 (i.e. 60 months). During this period, he made 74 domestic trips, whereas the current vice-president Shri Venkaiah Naidu has already made 77 domestic trips in just 10 months after taking charge (from August 2017 to May 2018). The average number of trips made per month by Shri Venkaiah Naidu is 4 times more than the average number of trips made per month by Shri Hamid Ansari.
Frequent Visits to a few States
Data clearly shows that both of them have visited a few states more than the others and few states were not even visited. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been the most visited states for Shri Hamid Ansari whereas Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been most visited states for Shri Venkaiah Naidu (36% of the trips to AP & Telangana).
Shri Hamid Ansari has visited 21 States/UTs during his 2nd term of 5 years in office. In comparision, Shri Venkaiah Naidu has already visited 24 States/UTs in just 10 months.
Number of Officials in the Delegation
In each of these trips, the Vice President is accompanied by an official delegation consisting members from the Vice President’s secretariat, from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, medical officers, officials of the Press Information Bureau, Security officials and officials from the respective region. Average size of the delegation for Shri Hamid Ansari is 24 per trip while it is 21 in the case of Shri Venkaiah Naidu.
What is the nature of these visits?
Nature of Visits are classified as Awards Functions, Chief Guest, Conference, Convocation, Festival, Functions, Inauguration Function, Interactive Session and Multiple events (when he attended multiple events in a single trip).
In almost 1/4th of his trips, Shri Venkaiah Naidu attended multiple events. In the case of Shri Hamid Ansari, this happened in 1/6th of his trips. Majority of the trips in the case of both were inauguration functions. Convocations were also a reason for substantial number of trips in case of both.