The Other Side of 2G Spectrum Scam

I am pretty sure 2G spectrum scam is well known to you if you are in India. If not I can safely assume that you were stuck up in a mission to Mars or something for the past year without ever communicating back home. The amount of money involved in this scam is quite baffling and so unrealistic. But reality should be faced someday and we have to accept these quoted numbers. In this post I shall try to form a rough estimate of the size of this scam.

The sources for all the numbers stated here are CAG, CBI, Finance Ministry of India, World Bank, Reserve Bank of India and the Census of India. So the reliability of them is of no question. If discrepencies occur, I kindly ask you to verify the numbers from these sources and inform me so that I can update the post. It should be noted that there are cases filed against the people involved and the bribes allegedly received by them is still unproven.

Let us start with what happened in 2008 when CAG unearthed the scam.

Loss to exchequer – Rs. 1.76 Lakh crore
Bribe taken by Mr. Raja – Rs. 3000 crore
Bribe taken by Mrs. Kanimozhi – Rs. 200 crore

This was by 2008. The rate of interest for Fixed Deposit in banks as stated by RBI in 2008 was 8.5% and so today their worth would be Rs. 2,28,838.4 crore.

The recent news about Mr. Maran’s involvement in the 2G case in 2007 brings up the following numbers.

The 2G circles alloted to Aircel was estimated to be Rs. 22,000 crore but was sold for Rs. 1, 399 crore resulting in a loss of Rs, 21,601 crore
The telephone lines used by Mr. Maran illegaly – Rs. 440 crore
Investment of Maxis in Sun Direct – Rs. 599 crore
With the same ROI of 8.5% and normalised to today, would be of worth Rs. 31379.04 crore

It can be argued that if the scam did not happen, the bribery amount would have not been involved. But I just want to add them up to the income of the government as this post is to just size up the money involved.

So totally the money involved so far is 2602,174,400,000 INR which is $58.21 billion or Rs. 2,60,000 crore (approx) or Rs. 2.6 trillion (approx).This is big money. To understand exactly how big this is, I tried to put it against a few numbers from the union budget of 2011 for India. Here they are

Total funds alloted for the entire infrastructure development for 2011 – 12 : Rs. 2,14, 000 crore

Food subsidies – Rs. 605 billion [This is for keeping the food prices affordable like onion prices]
Petroleum subsidies – Rs. 236.4 billion [This is supposed to keep the petrol and diesel prices affordable like Rs. 71 per litre of petrol]
Subsides to state run oil retailers – Rs. 200 billion
Fertilizer Subsidies – Rs. 500 billion
Total subsidies alloted in the union budget – Rs. 1.5414 trillion

Revenue from Customs – Rs. 1.52 trillion [This includes all those fancy super bikes and cars introduced recently in the Indian market]

Total money allotted for defence – Rs. 1.64 trillion
Education sector – Rs. 520.5 billion
Health sector – Rs. 267.6 billion
These three important sectors’ alloted funds come to a total of Rs. 2428.1 billion

Another interesting data that I got

The mimimum earning for a person per month to be classified as above poverty line
Set by World Bank – Rs. 1410
Set by Indian Government – Rs. 300 [No idea why this low]
Mimimum wage given by the Government of India to its lowest cadre of employee – Rs. 1250 [This figure itself is less than the standards set by the World Bank]

Quite interesting the numbers are, ain’t it?


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