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AAP's media spend is four times that of previous government: RTI reply

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements -- four times more than the previous government's expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress' average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the or other ministers. The highlights included inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on "smart gaon", and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government's spending on advertisements increased by about 300 per cent compared to the government.

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the government and periods, has increased by about 17 per cent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 per cent.

A 2017 General (CAG) report found that the government had spent 86 per cent of the total budget for its campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016.

The pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The order was based on a report by the in Government (CCRGA).

The regulatory authority asked the government to assess the expenditure in issuing "those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the is mentioned" and other factors.

The government approached the and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government said he has "no comments" to offer on the increase in expenditure.

said: "They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly".

and Delhi Assembly of Opposition termed the government's spending on advertisements as "irrational". "Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical," Gupta told IANS.

(can be contacted at nikhil.b@ians.in)

--IANS

nikhil/sar/sac/hs

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 13:38 IST
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