The UPA government will have more cash to make Bharat Nirman---an ad campaign publicising its achievements during the past nine years---bigger and better ahead of next general elections.
A finance ministry panel okayed Rs. 630 crore for the 12th Five Year Plan for the campaign. Half of the money would be spent till March 2014. Around that time the model code of conduct would come into force, as the current Lok Sabha’s term expires on May 31, 2014. Earlier, an amount of Rs. 180 crore was expected to be spent on the campaign by February next year.
The ad blitz, written by Javed Akthar and filmed by Pradeep Sarkar, has drawn parallels with BJP's 'India Shining' campaign, but the party has resisted such comparisons. The party wants to change the public perception muddied by a series of corruption scandals, a slowing economy and rising inflation.
The department of advertising and visual publicity, I&B ministry’s nodal advertising agency for various ministries, will get the lion’s share of the money for creating campaigns at national, state and district levels.
The refurbished campaign will now gauge its impact on people and assist policy makers in making any mid-course correction to the schemes. The government is also expected to get a survey done on the campaign.
“The main theme of the campaign is dissemination of information about the government schemes with the help of four media units,” says the proposal put before the finance ministry’s committee.
The note says the publicity was aimed at ensuring the benefits of central government schemes reach the targeted people so that they actively participate in government programmes. To achieve this, feedback and suggestions will be sought from the beneficiaries about the government schemes besides improving coordination between the government and the media.
Funds have been allocated to the Press Information Bureau, which disseminates the information related to government policies and programmes to the media, to highlight the achievements of the UPA government at the block level.
The UPA recently launched its Direct Benefit Transfer for 25 schemes in a bid to reach the people directly without any state government intermediaries. The new financial package will also help the government to get more people embrace DBT, which is facing teething problems because of indifferent state governments.