An RTI reply has revealed that the Centre’s Narendra Modi government blew up a whopping Rs 127.89 crore on print and electronic media advertisements for two anniversary celebrations.
The money splashed to big up the government’s so-called achievements could have employed 20,000 people for nearly a year with a monthly salary of Rs 6,000 each.
According to the RTI reply filed by an Ahmedabad-based activist, the cost of advertising Prime Minister Modi’s first year anniversary celebration in print was Rs 26.35 crore. The same cost for TV/audio visual and new media advertisements was Rs 25.98 crore.
Modi’s first year in office was billed as Saal Ek Shruaat Anek (Many beginnings in just one year).
Ad expenditure on the celebration of completion of Modi’s second year in office was Rs 23.28 crore. While the same cost for the print during the second anniversary celebration was Rs 35.59 crore.
Ad expenditure on the celebration of completion of 2nd year on FM and All India Radio was Rs 16.70 crore.
Analysts say that such extraordinary indulgences by an elected government are bound to evoke angry reactions in a country grappling with a high rate of unemployment.
According to a report published earlier this year, India’s rural unemployment rate stood at 7.15% and the Urban rate stood at 9.62%. The overall rate of unemployment in the country stood at 7.97%.
While Modi government splashed hundreds of crores just to advertise its anniversary celebrations, the same government generated just 49 days of employment in 2015-16 under the MGNREGA scheme. This was against the 100 days guaranteed in the rural employment Act,
Reacting to the RTI reply, the activist, who chose to be anonymous, told jantakareporter.com, “This is my second request to our PM. Please reduce advertisement expense instead focus on working for the people of India. What will PM achieve after spending so much amount in advertisement without any direct benefit to citizens of India?”