With the general elections on cards, Maharashtra government doubled its expenditure on advertising on various platforms, a Right to Information application has revealed.
Activist Jitendra Ghadge had sought to know the amount spent by the government’s Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) on publicity in magazines, televisions channels and newspapers from financial year 2015-16 to 2018-19.
As per the information, the DGIPR had spent ₹ 22.51 crore in fiscal 2017-18 on all three formats. The expenditure more than doubled to ₹47.40 crore in 2018-19. As per the break-up, ₹17.09 crore was spent on publicity in magazines, ₹9.56 crore on newspapers and ₹20.74 crore on television advertisements.
Mr. Ghadge said this is just the amount spent by the DGIPR and the expenses of other departments like the MMRDA are likely to push up the total figure.
“This is the time authorities need to regulate the advertising expenses made at the cost of taxpayers’ money. This will ensure that political parties do not take undue advantage of being in power in the election year and advertise their achievements with pictures of the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister,” he said.
Mr. Ghadge had sought identical information from the Central government on March 11, but no material was provided to him within the statutory 30 days.
In 2017-18, the State spent ₹8.56 crore, ₹3.66 crore and ₹10.29 crore on advertising for television, newspapers and magazines respectively.