Mumbai: The central government has so far splurged Rs 4,343.26 crore only for advertisements and publicity through different media, an RTI reply revealed.
- Modi government has spent Rs 4,343.26 crore on advertisements so far: RTI
- Data provided by centre's Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC)
- Details were sought by Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali
Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought details from the centre's Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) on all spend on advertisement and publicity in all media since the present government assumed office.
As per the replies provided by Financial Advisor, BOC, Tapan Sutradhar, the government spent Rs 953.54 crore on publicity - Rs 424.85 crore in print publicity, Rs 448.97 crore on electronic media and Rs 79.72 crore on outdoor publicity - during June 2014 to March 2015.
In the next fiscal 2015-16, the spending increased substantially for all media. These included, Rs 510.69 crore on print media, Rs 541.99 crore on electronic media and Rs 118.43 crore on outdoor publicity, or a total of Rs 1,171.11 crore, reported news agency IANS.
The government earmarked Rs 1,263.15 crore for the 2016-17 period. During the period, expenditure on print saw a marginal dip with Rs 463.38 crore allocated for the 2016-17 period, the report revealed, adding that the fund for electronic medium saw an increase over the previous year to Rs 613.78 crore. Rs 185.99 crore was set aside for outdoor publicity.
The next year, April 2017-March 2018, there was a sharp drop in spending on electronic media over the previous year to Rs 475.13 crore and a significant drop in outdoor publicity expenses to Rs 147.10 crore.
The RTI replies also said that between April-December 2017 (nine-month period), the government spent Rs 333.23 crore on the print medium alone, with the total figure of last fiscal (April 2017-March 2018) coming to Rs 955.46 crore.
"A detailed analysis proves that after stringent criticism it attracted, especially from the opposition and on social media, over squandering of scarce public resources, the government finally cut down on its publicity expenditure this year by Rs 307.69 crore," Mr Galgali said.
However, he pointed out that the total spending of last financial year is still significantly higher than the present government's first year in office when it spent Rs 953.54 crore in just nine months in office.
He added that although it is okay for the government to spend on publicity wherever genuinely required, in case of excess expenses, reins must be tightened and the authorities must publicise all such expenditure on its websites.
(With inputs from IANS)