The Aam Aadmi Party government is spending Rs. 16 lakh a day on advertising in the print media, a reply to an RTI inquiry has revealed.
The reply says over the last 91 days, the Delhi government has spent Rs. 14.45 crore on advertising – excluding broadcast. The list of publications which have received money from the Delhi government includes three Malayali and one Kannada newspaper — popular in Kerala and Karnataka.
The government says the advertisements were aimed at spreading awareness about public policies. In a reply to Lok Sabha, AAP admitted to spending around Rs. 5 crore for publicising the two rounds of the odd-even scheme, implemented for 15 days each in January and April.
The RTI was filed by advocate Aman Panwar of the Congress party, which had been criticised for spending Rs. 23 crore in 2010 during the Commonwealth Games under the Sheila Dikshit government.
The AAP government has spent Rs. 80 crore in its first year in power. Last year, it was criticised for allocating Rs. 500 crore for advertisements in the state budget.
This year, the Congress filed a case in court, alleging that a chunk of the advertising money was spent on media blitz as the AAP completed its first year in power.
The petition had alleged that a large number of the advertisements were published or broadcast in towns and cities across India. “These outstation ads are of no use to the Delhi taxpayers or for the residents of towns and cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru etc,” the petition had said.
Meanwhile, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken slammed the AAP government and said,”On one hand we don’t have money to pay to ‘safai karmacharis’ for salaries. On one hand we don’t have money to pay for pensions. On the other hand, they are spending more than the previous year on their self-publicity.”