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The flawed odd-even formula of AAP

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New Delhi: While a faction of media purportedly backed by the AAP claimed the odd-even formula in the capital to be a huge success, the ground reality was something different.

What the system did was reduce the traffic. But it created a mad rush in the public transports.

Here are five ground realities about the odd-even formula.

Publicity stunt: Who does not like to be in the news? Arvind Kejriwal is no different. He tried to strike an emotional chord with the people of Delhi by bringing the children to the forefront. These children urged the public to follow the rule.

However, students mostly from premier schools were used to spread the awareness. What about the students from schools run by the government? They travel by public buses and faced a lot of problems due to the extra rush. No videos of their reactions were shown in the news channels.

Political agenda: With some top leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party  getting involved into corruption, it was obvious that the Delhi government needed something to channelize the people’s attention towards another sector.

Implementing the odd-even scheme in winter indicates that it was just to earn a good name and nothing to with curbing the pollution.

People harassment: What the odd-even formula did was to fill the exchequer of the Delhi government. Being the national capital, a lot of vehicles enter the city everyday. Vehicles of other states had to pay fines to enter Delhi if they did not follow the odd-even rules. Moreover, the way the government portrayed those who broke the rules was ridiculous. Those who had to break the odd-even rule to drive the vehicles were made scapegoat criminals.

No proper transport infrastructure: Kejriwal and his ministers did assure that there would be no dearth of public transport during the period. But ‘aam aadmi’ did suffer. Buses remained overcrowded. It was indeed a surprise that there was no stampede at Rajiv Chowk or Kashmere Gate metro stations.

People did suffer due to mad rush at public transports. Auto-wallahs fleeced the passengers and the government took no action.

Affected livelihood: The odd-even scheme left drivers of travels agencies jobless. They work on a ‘no work no pay’ basis and with the cars not plying, the drivers had no other sources of livelihood.

Did Mr Kejriwal think of these issues? The countrymen want answers.

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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).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

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)