Now that we know for sure how much A.Raja, our erstwhile not-so-honourable Union Cabinet Minister for Communications and Information Technology, got to take home as bribe off the 2G spectrum allocation, it is time for some number crunching. OK, well, so it alleged that Raja took home approx Rs.3000 Crore and this is only an approximation. With numbers of these magnitude, does it really matter?
During my teens, once me and my friend in Malaysia, we discussed prices of stuff in each other’s country. It got confusing, so we used the cost of a bottle of coke as a currency. You know, like, an hour of Internet would cost me 3 bottles of coke here. It was a horrible way of understanding economics but it gave me a good enough idea of things. It can be overwhelming, with all those numbers that give identity to scandals. To get an idea of the magnitude, we need already set benchmarks. It makes more sense to us when we see things relative to one another.
So here is something I worked on with my morning tea. It could be the most unimaginative post ever, coming from me, but I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves:
1. If I do not pay my tax, I take home a salary that would be 0.0001333% of what Raja got as bribe.
2. India’s Gross Domestic Product, as per 2010, was Rs. 64350000000000. Raja got 0.04662% of that as a bribe. Of course, my take home salary, I will reinstate, was 0.0001333% of Raja’s 0.04662%. I did not even bother compare my salary to India’s GDP.
3. Raja’s bribe is approximately 46.875% of the cost of Bangalore Metro Phase I. Going by proportion, assuming only half of Banaglore’s Metro Phase I is up and running, would Raja piggy-back us to where we want, to make up for the other half?
4. Raja’s bribe is almost 41.40% of what a single unit of a Su-30 MKI costs. In the time of War, can we depend on Raja to cause the amount of destruction 2.5 (OK, 2) Sukhoi 30s can cause to the enemy?
5. OK, I should not venture into the Tata connection to all this, but I can’t resist, so here goes: According to Forbes, Ratan Tata’s salary for 2010 was Rs.13,059,000.00. Impressed? It all looks minuscule, when you will hear that Ratan Tata would have to work 2297 years and 2 months (approx) to earn what Raja got as bribe (allegedly, approximately, blah, blah, do-we-care), going by his current salary.
6. You might (or not) know about Admiral Gorshkov. No, not the man (Sergey Gorshkov) but the Soviet Aircraft Carrier India is buying from Russia. They will rename it to Vikramaditya and soon it will be the pride of Indian Navy. Because our Raja is a rich man now, we can compare him to this deal too. Raja’s bribe is 28.98% of what we are paying for the ship.
7. Here’s one more and this might interest Mamta Didi: Indian Railways, one of the world’s largest employers, reported a net income of Rs. 951 crore for 2009-10. That was 31.7% of what Raja earned, allegedly of course, in the same time.
8. Here’s more and this should really make sense if the last 7 haven’t. The average salary of an IPL player (for a year) is Rs.172800000. With Rs.30000000000 in his wallet, our Raja can do wonders at IPL. He can have 173.6 IPL players on his payroll for a year! He could float what, 11 teams with 15 players each. We can’t call them Raja XI because they aren’t XI. According to Romans, we need to call them Raja’s CLXXIII. Or rather, if Raja has any business sense, he could float a parallel league – He could call it, well, RPL (No prizes for guessing what the initials stand for).
(thanks D, for the idea!)
I hope things are more clear. Meanwhile, keep in mind that these figures, Raja’s bribe to say the least of it, are approximate figures.