Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns 70 on September 17, 2020. The entire nation is gearing up to celebrate the birthday in a massive fashion.
When we talk about birthday the first thing that comes to our mind, apart from the celebration is gifts. Sekonda watch, Mont Blanc pen, and carved sculpture – these are some of the many gifts received by the Prime Minister, so far.
Are you aware of the fact that ministers and officials have to deposit all the gifts received by them at Toshakhana, the official repository of the External Affairs Ministry? Yes! Any gifts valued less than Rs 5,000 is allowed to be kept by the recipient but for the ones above Rs 5,000, the additional amount has to be paid. There are thousands of gifts languishing in the treasury as the officials are yet to figure out what to do with them and proposals to auction those gifts didn’t work out. Well, that’s a different story.
Among the numerous gifts Modi received during his foreign trips, he took home a wristwatch manufactured by British company Sekonda entered as Sekonda ‘House of Commons’ wristwatch worth Rs 3,500 and one decorative porcelain worth Rs 1,000. In the past, Modi took home two dinner sets and a carpet valued at Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively, after paying the excess amounts.
Officials at the Toshakhana claims that ministers rarely take home expensive gifts. In March 2017, a Mount Blanc ball point pen worth Rs 25,000 and a Chaplet Malachite Stone (containing 38 beads) worth Rs 2,000 were deposited at the Toshakhana. In February 2017, gifts deposited by the Prime Minister at the repository are a model of Sha’bi House Emirati National House valued at Rs 4,500, a decorative sculpture worth Rs 2,000 and a gold-plated memorabilia with no commercial value.
In June 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte gifted him a bicycle. A picture shared by Modi on his Twitter shows him sitting on the bicycle and Rutte standing beside him. During the meeting, Modi and Rutte discussed on global issues like climate change and counter-terrorism. Rutte praised India for its commitment to renewable energy and to the Paris climate agreement. Soon after his return from the tour, Modi tweeted, ‘Thank you @MinPres @markrutte for the bicycle.’
In December 2015, during Russia visit was gifted a page from Mahatma Gandhi’s diary containing his handwritten notes by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian President also gifted him a 18th-century sword from Bengal.
In October 2014, during a visit to America, the then US President Barack Obama gifted Narendra Modi a ‘rare book’ on the Parliament of World’s Religions of 1893 which also had a paper of Swami Vivekananda. Modi shared the picture of the book on Twitter and wrote, “President @BarackObama presented to me a very valuable gift that I will cherish forever.”