Foreign Junkets at taxpayers cost!
Foreign junkets are a disease that seems to afflict everybody in government, including those who are otherwise honest. They may not accept bribes, but think nothing about spending organisational money on frequent foreign trips — they include regulators, stock exchanges, bankers and central bankers.
What makes the trips lucrative for the government officials is a fat $500 per diem, plus first class travel and 5 star hotels which both generate enough of miles and loyalty credits to pay for a few foreign trips for the family. In addition, they liberally use our embassies abroad to provide them transport and to host events at which they can puff themselves up. All this is paid for us the taxpayers. Most of us now pay over 33% in direct taxes and over 12% in service charges on almost everything.
The media is nicely incorporated into the junketing. Journalists are invited in large numbers on foreign trips of the Prime Minister and Union Ministers; the governmentâ€™s gatekeepers ensure that troublesome reports that ask inconvenient questions are kept out of these junkets. Some media houses do pay to send reporters on these official trips, but the payment is a fraction of the actual cost, perks and goodies that are handed out and government still has a say in who is invited. This nicely suppresses the criticism of extravagant expenditure.
Only RTI activists are willing and able to maintain the distance and objectivity to get