Contrary to popular belief endorsed by the media and opposition parties, the NDA government has not resorted to any extravagant expenditure on advertisements. According to a report on MyNation, UPA-2 government bought approximately 560 million sq cm in advertisement space in print media, from 2010 to 2014, whereas Modi government used approximately 460 million sq cm from 2014-2018
However, the NDA government paid Rs. 2,156.22 crores for 460 million sq cm compared to UPA’s Rs. 1,896.73 crore for 560 million sq cm as the prices of advertisements have increased.
A government official said, “If we were to put a value to the space that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government paid for, in term of the current rates, it works out to Rs. 2,558 crore.”
This data covers expenditures in print media only. The Bureau of Outreach and Communication presented to the parliament details of the amount spent by the government in electronic, print and other media advertisements. NDA government spent at least Rs 4,880 crore in advertisements.
Deccan Chronicle quoted a source close to the development, “Under the present NDA government, we have made a conscious effort to use advertisements as a tool for awareness creation and communication. We only print Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture and give details of schemes, their benefits and success stories”.
A BJP leader pointed out that the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi appeared in many advertisements released by the UPA, alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A misinformation campaign surrounding Narendra Modi’s fitness video was also debunked by an RTI reply that said that not a penny a spent on the video released on Yoga Day. In what seemed like a blatant fake news campaign fuelled by a suspicious website’s report that an amount of Rs 35 lakh was spent on the fitness video and it was picked up by many opposition leaders including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Arvind Kejriwal.
The government has maintained that it is imperative to reach out to the masses with the schemes made available by the government. Raising awareness in many fronts has led to greater participation of the masses, especially in the rural areas. One such example is the success of PM Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which can be attributed to widespread awareness campaigns and advertisements. Communicating policies and reforms to people as well highlighting achievements is an important and inseparable dimension of a successful government and determines the success of many government initiatives.
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