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Auctions of gifts to PM Modi net ₹22.5 crore: RTI reply- Mrit News

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Out of the 5,925 objects that were up for grabs, almost 21% did not get successfully auctioned

Out of the 5,925 objects that were up for grabs, almost 21% did not get successfully auctioned

Three auctions of gifts given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised ₹22.5 crore in total for the Namami Gange Programme, according to a Right to Information (RTI) reply by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), which conducted the auctions in 2019 and 2021.

A total of 5,925 mementos gifted to Mr. Modi were put up for auction in three phases — January-February 2019, September-October 2019, and September-October 2021. These comprised of gifts given to Mr. Modi by Indians and not those received from foreign dignitaries.

The RTI reply on May 20 stated that 4,682 of the mementos were successfully auctioned, while 1,243, or 20.97% of the total, did not get auctioned off. The proportion of items that did not get successfully auctioned was 13% (240 out of 1,805 objects) in the first auction, 22% (612 out of 2,772) in the second, and 29% (391 out of 1,348) in the third, according to the NGMA’s reply.

However, the amount raised in the three auctions shot up from ₹3.1 crore and ₹3.6 crore in the first and second rounds, respectively, to ₹15.8 crore in the third round. The third auction, which was conducted online, included the equipment of Tokyo Olympics’ medal-winners that had been gifted to Mr. Modi, like the gloves used by boxer Lovlina Borgohain and the javelin used by Neeraj Chopra. The Olympians’ autographed equipment had the highest reserve prices of all objects auctioned so far.

“The entire sale proceeds received from the three auctions were donated to the project Namami Gange,” the RTI reply stated.

The reply also said the Culture Ministry had appointed the NGMA, New Delhi as the nodal agency to organise the e-auctions.

While the reply was sent on May 20, The Hindu had filed the RTI query on November 30, 2021 and then filed an appeal on February 14 this year when the information was not provided in the stipulated 30 days.

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