Skip to main content

Ruling BJP "using" taxpayers' money to promote its chances of winning forthcoming assembly, Lok Sabha polls

By Sheshu Babu
'Beware of false knowledge: it is more dangerous than ignorance... Democracy is a device that insures that we shall be governed no better than we deserve' – George Bernard Shaw
Even before the official announcement of dates of elections in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, or elections to the Lok Sabha, campaigns, rallies and advertising have already started. Politicians are already beginning to woo voters. Parties have begun to promote fake news and disseminate false information with contrived statistical data to convince people. Huge money is being spent on advertisements.
The BJP seems to be in the forefront on spending money for advertisement and publicity. Aam Admi Party member Ashutosh questioned  BJP in 2014 itself on spending Rs 400 crore on advertisements. The party spent Rs. 2,000 crore over the last years three year anniversary advertisements, according to Sisodia. Sisodia also said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) can compare the AAP government’s advertisements to the BJP government’s to see if taxpayers’ money has been misused or not.
AAP was reacting to a CAG report, which accused the Delhi’s AAP government of spending a total of Rs 33.40 crore on releasing advertisements outside Delhi, violating advertisement guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. In 2015, the apex court issued guidelines to prevent ruling politicians from misusing taxpayers' money on advertisements.
According to a Right to Information (RTI) reply to activist Anil Galgali, the Central government has splurged Rs 4,343.26 on advertisement and publicity in media. Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) financial advisor Tapan Sutradhar in his replies gave figures of government spending on publicity, print publicity, electronic media publicity, outdoor publicity, etc.
Galgali said that after the criticism of opposition on government's squandering of scarce public resources, the government had to finally cut down spending. However, the spending is still higher this financial year when compared to its first year in office. The spending on publicity is high.
With the money spent on advertisements and publicity, the NDA government could have provided mid-day meals for 45.7 million children for a year. One day wages for 200 million workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme could have been disbursed. About six million latrines could have been constructed, or at least 10 Mars missions could have been undertaken.
The government spent Rs 4,480 crore ($753.99 million) on advertising its flagship schemes in the 52 months between April 2014 and July 2018, according to the information made available https://www.firstpost.com/india/rs-4800-cr-spent-by-bjp-government-on-ads-could-have-fed-46-million-children-midday-meals-for-a-year-built-6-million-toilets-4936701.html to the Rajya Sabha by Rajavardhan Rathore, minister of state for information and broadcasting. This amount is double the amount spent by its predecessor in 37 months.
According to “India Spend”, many welfare measures like financing secondary school education, building roads, electricity generation could have been with this money. There has been a rise of 34% in spending on publicity and advertisement from Rs 980 crore in 2014-15 to 1,134 crore in 2017-18. The trend may continue this year.
Spending enormous amounts on mere advertisements should be questioned. Publicising welfare schemes is necessary because people should know its provisions, but spending on just propaganda and achievements of the party is wasteful expenditure. Since peoples' funds are involved, they must question whether spending large amounts is essential for the government.
Taxpayers' money must be used judiciously, keeping in view the welfare of the people, and not promoting the chances of victory of the ruling party in the next elections. Civil rights groups and educated intellectuals should explain the importance of judicious spending of public money by the government.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry deceptively using geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.