Reacting to an RTI revelation that the Centre has spent over Rs 1,100 crore in advertisements featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposition parties on Tuesday said the government machinery is busy hiding its failures.
According to an RTI reply, the central government spent over Rs 1,100 crore between June 1, 2014 and August 31, 2016 on digital advertisements through community radio, digital cinema, internet, Doordarshan, SMS and others.
The amount spent does not include print advertisements, including newspapers, hoardings and posters.
Of the Rs 1,100 crore, the government spent over Rs 120 crore on advertisements in Doordarshan.
The information was provided by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in reply to an RTI application filed by activist Ramveer Singh.
"The entire government is sustaining on PR exercise. It's because the Modi government has failed its mandate half way through its tenure. So, it is exploiting the exchequer's money to hide their failures," CPM leader Mohammed Salim told IANS.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which was criticised after an RTI revelation in 2015 for spending Rs 526 crore on advertisements that year, also reacted to the BJP-led central government spending.
"This RTI is incomplete because it does not includes money spent on print advertisements. The actual amount must be much more than Rs 1,100 crore," Delhi Health Minister and Aam Aadmi Party MLA Satyendar Jain told IANS.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the Modi government has been squandering public exchequer's money on publicity and perception management.
"As far as achievement goes, the condition of the country in terms of economics has sunk, especially by the current move of the government to curb black money and create a cashless society. These have turned out to be self-serving goals," Vadakkan told IANS.
He added that it is unfortunate that the people of India are out on the streets waiting in queues for their own money, while it is the same government and its Prime Minister, who had promised Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts.
Earlier, an IANS story showed how BJP-led central government spent over Rs 36 crore on publicity and advertisements in connection with the one-day "Ek Nayi Subah" show in Delhi to mark two years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
This information was based on an RTI query filed by IANS.
The RTI reply received from the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, revealed that the amount spent by the Centre on publicity was about Rs 36.65 crore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government had organised a grand event at India Gate on May 29 to mark its two years in office.
The expenditure incurred on the advertisements in print media was Rs 35.59 crore while for the electronic media it was Rs 1.06 crore.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)