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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP 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 Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP 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).

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

For instance, when the AAP 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.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

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 Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the 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 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

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

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

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

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

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

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

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

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

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)

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SIAM Urge Government to Hold Wider Consultations, Follow Practical Approach on Electric Vehicles

The ambition needs to be tempered with a practical approach

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SIAM, Government, Electric Vehicles
The automotive industry fully supports an ambitious aspiration of the NITI Aayog in bringing in electric mobility in the country as soon as possible. Pixabay

Cautioning the government over the draft electric vehicle (EV)policy, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Sunday said the government should adopt a practical approach towards adoption of EVs, without disrupting the automotive industry.

A steering committee headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has in a report laid out a roadmap for rollout of electric vehicles in a phased manner whereby it has proposed that all three-wheelers and two-wheelers below 150cc will need to go electric by 2023 and 2025, respectively.

“The automotive industry fully supports an ambitious aspiration of the NITI Aayog in bringing in electric mobility in the country as soon as possible. However, the ambition needs to be tempered with a practical approach and what is possible without needlessly disrupting the automotive industry,” a statement from SIAM quoted its President Rajan Wadhera as saying.

He observed that the industry is currently facing multiple challenges of “leapfrogging to BS-VI emission norms, complying with many new safety norms etc, in the shortest time-frame ever attempted in the world”.

SIAM, Government, Electric Vehicles
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Sunday said the government should adopt a practical approach towards adoption of EVs. Pixabay

The transition to BS-VI involves investments of the order of Rs 70,000-80,000 crore, he said, adding that the thought of banning sale of sub-150cc three-wheelers and two-wheelers by 2023 and 2025 respectively seems to be impractical as well as untimely.

Wadhera futher said: “None of the stakeholders in the country — industry, government nor the suppliers — have any meaningful experience of EVs to even contemplate a complete 100 per cent shift to 2/3 wheeler EVs by 2023/2025.”

In the current scenario, any policy to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles would lead to a policy induced disruption which could result in significant damage to the auto industry and spell a big blow to the overall ecosystem of the related medium, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), with its related impact on employment, he added.

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“What is required is a well laid out roadmap for an ambitious EV rollout over a practical timeframe along with an integrated plan for setting up the necessary infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country, in consultation with all stakeholders.” (IANS)