The BJP and the Congress criticised the AAP government for allocating over Rs 520 crore for information and publicity, which could have been used for carrying out development work in the city.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken on Thursday alleged that the city government was spending the money on self-glorification.
“They have set aside Rs 526 crore just for information and publicity and last year only Rs 24 crore was spent for the same. They have cut the budget from various other development works and they are spending the money on their own party workers.” Maken said.
HT was the first to report that over Rs 520 crore has been allocated in the Delhi budget to be spent on information and publicity.
According to Maken, on the one hand the government says that it does not have money, on the other hand, it is spending what is available on publicity. “Using this amount, the government could have purchased 1,000 DTC buses, constructed a hundred schools, but it has shown us its set of priorities,” Maken said.
Leader of opposition Vijender Gupta said that government had increased the budget by 2,200%, which violates the Supreme Court order.
“The AAP government wants to present its leader Kejriwal as a masiha (saviour). Bypassing the SC order, Kejriwal has been presented as a demi God in recent TV ads wherein his name has been taken 13 times,” said Gupta.
As compared to the funds allocated for information and publicity, Rs 338 crore has been earmarked for SC/ST/EWS welfare, Rs 208 crore for labour and employment and Rs 400 crore for development of slum katras.
Delhi BJP has submitted a memorandum requesting the Lt. Governor to look into the issue.
AAP claims outlay is for transparency
Meanwhile, AAP government reacted to HT’s report that it was for the first time the Delhi government had created a consolidated fund of Rs 526 crore for information and publicity.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the move was aimed at greater transparency and to ensure the government was aware how the money was being spent.
“It is for the first time that transparency has been introduced for expenditure on information and publicity. It is also for the first time that Delhi government has voluntarily decided to subject its expenditure on awareness campaign and information and publicity to audit,” said Sisodia.He further said that during the previous government’s tenure departments were individually spending under various heads. "Now, a consolidated head has been created and you will notice at the end of the financial year that expenditure would be substantially less," said Sisodia.