With the assembly elections less than a year away, the Parkash Singh Badal government plans a media blitz to highlight its achievements, for which the public relations department budget has gone up from `45 crore to `156 crore.
The state budget was silent on the increase, as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was bashing Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government over its publicity expenditure.
The Punjab government is going to flood all print, broadcast, and online media with advertisement, and to sent 100 video vans to every constituency to screen publicity films there on the pattern of what the Nitish Kumar government did in Bihar. The van campaign will cost `50 crore.
“The department will also hire a resource person to go with each van,” said public relations minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia, adding: “The Akali-BJP government took a lot of good initiatives in the past nine years and we want people to be aware so that they can take benefit. We’ll tell farmers, for instance, how to collect the health insurance card.”
The PR department will also start collecting public feedback on every scheme.
“For flawless service to citizens, this kind of feedback is always required,” said Majithia. Public relations director Senu Duggal said 105 films highlighting development and policies were ready and the campaign would roll out next fortnight.
The video vans will also carry literature about works done in respective constituencies.
The deputy commissioners and district public relation officers will coordinate with the resource person to plan a route based on inputs from the local Akali-BJP legislator or ‘halqa in-charge’.
‘BUDGET HIKE BECAUSE OF MORE CHANNELS’
On the budget increase, Senu Duggal said it was because of more television channels and the revised cost of print advertisement. “Still our budget is three times lower than Haryana’s and four times smaller than Delhi’s,” the officer said.