The culture ministry on Tuesday informed Parliament that Rs 15.13 crore was raised from the auction of mementos and gifts presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last five years.
In an answer to a query in Rajya Sabha, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said that the money had been raised during three auctions -- February 18-20, 2015, January 27-April 1, 2019 and September 14-October 24, 2019.
Earlier, Over 2,700 gifts Prime Minister Narendra Modi received from across the country will go under the hammer from September 14 and the fund generated will be used for conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said on September 11.
Currently, on display at the National Gallery of Modern Arts here, a total of 2,772 gifts including headgears, shawls, portraits, swords gifted by different organisations and chief ministers to the PM will be up for the auction on an online portal designed by the National Informatics Centre.
"The gifts received by the PM in the last six months will be auctioned. This time the auction will be completely online (earlier an auction happened in January). I thank the PM for giving us this opportunity. The minimum reserve price for the items is Rs 200 while the highest is Rs 2.5 lakh," Patel said.
At a base price of Rs 2.5 lakh, a portrait of Modi done on silk and gifted by couturier and the owner of Seematti textiles Beena Kannan has been tagged as the most expensive item. The base or reserved price of the items has been fixed by experts. The minister said that the items up for auction which is being displayed at NGMA will be changed every 15 days.
In the January auction, over 1,800 gifts received by the prime minister were sold in a fortnight-long exercise and around 4,000 bidders participated. The funds generated went towards the Namami Gange, a central government project to clean the Ganga.
The proceeds from the upcoming auction will also go to the same project. A wooden replica of the BMW built by artisans was the most expensive memento to be sold at the e-auction, officials said, which fetched Rs 5 lakh. They, however, refused to reveal the total amount generated in the January auction.