India Spent Over Rs 4,000 Crore on Beautification for G20 Summit in New Delhi

The Union government refuted claims of overspending on the G20 summit after Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi shared a copy of the expenditure heads.

New Delhi: The Union government has spent over Rs 4,110 crore on beautification of the New Delhi area for the G20 summit that was held in the capital on September 9-10.

The two-day summit held under India’s presidency saw the Narendra Modi government successfully pulling off a consensus over the New Delhi Declaration.

However, opposition parties have trained guns at the Union government over its spending on the summit, particularly on the beautification of the capital where the summit was held.

On September 4, Union minister of state for external affairs and culture Meenakshi Lekhi shared on X (formerly Twitter) a copy of the expenditure heads including the breakdown of the government’s expenses on the beautification work done.

The document was titled ‘Expenditure for City Improvement in the area primarily will be used for G20 delegates’.

 According to this document, the Union government spent a total of Rs 4,110.75 crores.

This included various expenses undertaken under the head ‘Street Furniture at Missing Points’ by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Ministry of Road Surface Transport, Public Works Department (PWD), MES/MEA, Forest Department, Delhi Police and the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).

The following expenses were incurred, according to the document, in this one category alone:

  1. NDMC: About Rs 60 cr
  2. DDA: About Rs 18 cr
  3. Ministry of Road Surface Transport: About Rs 26 crore
  4. PWD: About Rs 45 cr
  5. MCD: About Rs 5 cr
  6. MES/MEA: About Rs 0.75 cr
  7. Forest Department: About Rs 16 cr
  8. Delhi Police: About Rs 340 cr
  9. ITPO: About Rs 3,600 cr

The documented tweeted by Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi. Photo: X/@M_Lekhi

While the document included other heads – horticulture improvement, road marking curb stone reflectors and signages, micro surfacing/blacktopping of carriageway, maintenance of street lights and fixing missing lights, installing sculptures and palade lighting, painting of public places, footpath maintenance, clearing encroachment, painting and washing of foot over bridges/flyovers, G20 branding – the expenses in the document were only provided for one head.

In her post, Lekhi was responding to Delhi PWD minister Atishi’s claim that while the Delhi government had asked for Rs 927 crores, the Union did not provide a penny.

Lekhi claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was lying and said: “It was the Central Govt that allocated ₹700 crore for the construction, repair, maintenance & beautification of roads in the capital. These central funds were used by PWD & MCD for the makeover. 

PWD and MCD comes under the AAP government in power in Delhi.

“The work done by these agencies that they’re quoting today was undertaken through the funds of the Central Govt. So it’s evident that unless paid by the Centre, Delhi govt won’t work. So, work is paid for and done by Centre, table is attached for all to see,” Lekhi said.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India the Union government had allocated Rs 990 crore to the Ministry of External Affairs for the G20 summit in the Union Budget.

However, after opposition parties accused the Modi government of overspending by three-times, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s press information bureau fact check unit said in a post on X that these claims are misleading.

Responding to a tweet by All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saket Gokhale that said the government had spent 300% more than the budget, the PIB said that this claim is “misleading” but did not mention how it was so.

“The quoted expenditure is majorly towards permanent asset creation by ITPO & other infrastructure development which is not limited to hosting G20 Summit alone,” the PIB fact check unit said.

A look at the spending by other countries that have hosted G20 summits in the past shows that India’s expenditure of over Rs 4,110 crore, as claimed by Lekhi, stands more than other host states.

According to local media reports, Indonesia spent 674 billion Indonesian Rupaiya (roughly Rs 364.4 crore) on the G20 summit in Bali in 2022.

According to a fact sheet by the University of Toronto, the cost of G20 summits before that include: $112 million during the 2018 G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina; €72.2 million during the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany; the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou included costs of around $24 billion, however Chinese authorities have not revealed the exact cost of the summit, the fact sheet said.