Regulation of the Day 211: The Color of Buildings

Officials in Calcutta, India, definitely have a favorite color: sky blue. The BBC reports that they are requiring many buildings throughout the city to be painted sky blue:

Government buildings, flyovers, roadside railings, and taxis should be painted a shade of light blue, a minister in the ruling Trinamul Congress government said.

Owners of private buildings will be also be requested to paint them in the same colour, the minister said.

Private building owners will be on the hook for their new look. Other cities in India and around the world have similar rules favoring certain colors. Seville, Spain, famously emphasizes yellow and ochre in its buildings. The city is famous for bullfighting, and the colors symbolize the sand and blood of the arena. In Calcutta, sky blue represents a new government slogan: “The sky is the limit.”

India has made massive progress in poverty reduction since it half-embraced markets in recent years, but there is still a ways to go. These painting regulations certainly aren’t fatal to that noble project. But they do require diverting resources from other, more productive sectors to pay for all that painting. So it will be a little bit longer before Calcutta reaches that sky. But until then, at least it will look nice.