The cost of the Nehru-Gandhi name

A lot of controversy has recently erupted over the cost of Sardar Patel statue built by PM Modi. The argument being India and its people could have used the 3000 crore spent on the statue elsewhere. As is common in political debates, political rivals led the argument.

On the face of it the argument seems rational that why spend 3000 crore on honoring a leader when we can do some social service instead. Socialism does always seem rational to the simple minded. But that’s a debate for another time.

So looking across the political spectrum at the national rivals to the BJP, the Congress party and its head the Nehru-Gandhi family lineage, I asked myself have they spent anything on honoring these great leaders of India?

The first thing that struck me was the overwhelming number of places, institutions and schemes etc that have been named in honor of them. So what, you’ll retort, naming doesn’t cost anything. It’s just a name. Well not entirely.

The Delhi metro recently started selling naming rights to its stations. There are about 229 stations in Delhi metro and the first lot was auctioned for approximately 2 crore based on open source information. Let us keep that as baseline and estimate what is the naming rights cost of the Nehru-Gandhi name.

So what all is named after them? Based on open source non-exhaustive search these are the ones I’ve been able to find divided in 3 categories.

  1. Central Government Schemes – 12
  • State Government Schemes – 52
  • Universities/Education Institutes – 98
  • Hospitals/Medical Institutions – 39
  • Peaks and Geographical Landmarks – 4
  • Airports/ Ports/Aviation Academies – 5
  • Institutions / Chairs / Festivals – 37
  • Roads/Buildings/places – 74
  1. Awards – 51
  • Scholarship / Fellowship – 15
  • Sports/Tournaments/Trophies – 28
  1. Stadium and Sports Complex – 19

4. National Parks/ Sanctuaries/ Museums – 15

So coming to the first category, they consist of government schemes, hospitals and airports for which naming rights cannot be given to private companies. So let’s leave them be.

The second category consists of sport trophies, awards etc in many fields. The total number of such schemes comes to 94. Now keeping in mind our sports and film crazy populace and national imprint, what will be a reasonable amount. Hitting Professor Google again led to some interesting facts, in Australia a small regional award ceremony for social services was giving naming rights for 369,500 dollars or 2 crore approximately. Now there are 2 factors, our awards etc being on a national scale should fetch much more higher remunerations but countered with the fact maybe being a developed country, Australia will be more expensive. So let’s keep at 2 crore per award/trophy for now being a very conservative estimate. That comes to 188 crore per year.

Now coming to the final category of bonanza stadiums and sport complexes. Worldwide these naming rights are going for huge amounts of 6 – 20 million dollars (42 – 140 crore) per year. One thing we have learned from IPL is that we don’t lag behind in any way when it comes to sports. Keeping our figures at the lower limit even now for conservative estimates we shall take 40 crore per year. So we get 360 crore per year for 19 stadiums. Keeping ballpark of 10 crore for national parks, sanctuaries and museums, we get 150 crore per year.

All in all it comes to approximately 700 crore per year, which keeping in mind the number of years since independence comes to around 500,000 crore at current market prices at the most conservative estimates in my humble estimate. Personally I feel it may go up to 2 lac crore but anyway.

500,000 crore!!

That’s what the answer to the title is.

I may be wrong, I am after all just extrapolating data. In fact I am sure I am wrong, the only question is whether it is still even more or less than my estimate.

Again 500,000 crore.

3,000 crore seems paltry now, doesn’t it?

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