The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far splurged a whooping ₹4,343.26 crore only for advertisements and publicity through different media, it has been revealed under RTI, said an activist on Monday.
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.
The RTI response stated 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.
The replies provided by Financial Advisor, BOC, Tapan Sutradhar on the expenses incurred since June 2014, were a revelation on the massive spends, but owing to an all-round criticism of the government, there was a small reduction—₹307.26 crore— in 2017, said Galgali.
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.
According to 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 catapulted 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.