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

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”