The broadcasting system in the US is different than it is in a lot of nations, in that the vast majority of stations are owned by corporations, private companies or individuals attempting to make a profit, rather than non-commercial operations owned by the government or a non-profit institution. In India, the government hopes to profit in its own right by selling licenses for over 800 new commercial stations.
According to an AFP report, only 86 cities in India have commercial FM service at the moment. That number will exceed 300 when all of the new licenses India is making available are auctioned off and constructed.
The goal is to bring private FM service to an additional 227 cities, including every city in India with a population of 100K or more. To that end, 839 licenses are being auctioned.
In addition to benefitting the citizens who will get new radio service, the auction is expected to benefit the national treasury to the tune of about $400M, or about $25K less than half a million a pop.
RBR-TVBR observation: It is indeed refreshing to read about a place on this planet where commercial broadcasting is seen as an excellent medium to put on the public airwaves, rather than something that is eyed hungrily with other purposes in mind.