In four years, Modi govt spent over ₹4,300 crore on publicity, RTI shows
The RTI also showed that compared to previous years, there were a drop of over ₹300 crore in expenditure on publicity by the Narendra Modi-led government in 2017-18 fiscal year.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far spent ₹4,343.26 crore on advertisements and publicity through different media, according to a RTI, an activist said on Monday.
Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought details from the Centre’s Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) on all expenditure on advertisement and publicity in all media since the present government assumed office.
The replies provided by Financial Advisor, BOC, Tapan Sutradhar on the expenses incurred since June 2014, were a revelation on the massive expenditure, but owing to all-round criticism of the government, there was a small reduction -- almost ₹308 crore -- in 2017, said Galgali.
As per the replies, from June 2014 to March 2015, the government spent ₹424.85 crore in print publicity, ₹448.97 crore on electronic media and ₹79.72 crore on outdoor publicity, totalling to ₹953.54 crore.
In the next fiscal 2015-16, the spending increased substantially for all media. These included, ₹510.69 crore on print media, ₹541.99 crore on electronic media and ₹118.43 crore on outdoor publicity, or a total of ₹1,171.11 crore.
In 2016-17, the expenditure incurred on print medium dropped (yet higher than the first year June 2014-March 2015), to ₹463.38 crore, but for the electronic medium it increased over the previous year to ₹613.78 crore, and rose to ₹185.99 crore on outdoor publicity, totalling to ₹1,263.15 crore.
The next year, April 2017-March 2018, there was a sharp drop in spending on electronic media over the previous year to ₹475.13 crore and a significant drop in outdoor publicity expenses to ₹147.10 crore.
The RTI replies also said that between April-December 2017 (nine-month period), the government spent ₹333.23 crore on the print medium alone, with the total figure of last fiscal (April 2017-March 2018) coming to ₹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 ₹307.69 crore,” Galgali told IANS.
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 ₹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.