Government spending on publicity is nothing new. But in the last few years, the amount spent on publicity has increased multifold. In the last 11 years from 2004-05 to 2014-15, government spent more than 6000 crore rupees. In the last two years itself, more than 2000 crore rupees was spent, which is 1/3rd of the amount spent in the 11 years. The UPA in its second term spent more than twice the amount spent in its first term. The NDA in its first year itself spent close to 1000 crores on the publicity of all kinds.
The publicity blitzkrieg of a government just before any election is a well known fact. A lot of tax payer’s money is used to publicize government’s achievements, schemes and what not. Quite often, this is one area where the government spends much more than the allocated budget. And also, this is one area where austerity is a foreign word. As per data available with ‘The Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP)’, under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), the central government spent more than 6000 crore rupees on all kinds of publicity in 11 years from 2004-05 to 2014-15.
What is DAVP?
The Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) is the nodal agency that takes care of multi-media advertising and publicity for various Ministries and Departments of Government of India. Some Autonomous Bodies also route their advertisements through DAVP. This is under the MIB. DAVP majorly uses the following channels for communication
- Press Advertisements
- Outdoor Publicity – Display of hoardings, kiosks, bus panels, wall paintings, cinema slides, banners etc.
- Printed Publicity – Booklets, folders, posters, leaflets, calendars, diaries etc.
- Audio & Visual Publicity – Spots/Quickies, jingles, sponsored programmes, short films etc.
- Digital media publicity through Bulk SMS, website and other emerging Media.
What is the total amount spent on Publicity?
The Central Government spent more than 6000 crore rupees in 11 years from 2004-05 to 2014-15. This includes 10 years of the UPA rule and the first year of the Narendra Modi led NDA Government.
As can be seen from the graph, the amount spent on publicity during election years is substantially high compared to the earlier years. The amount spent from 2004-05 to 2007-08 (4 years) is equal to the amount spent in just two years (2008-09 & 2009-10). Same is the case with the other years. In fact, the amount spent in 2013-14 & 2014-15 is almost 1/3rd of the amount spent in these 11 years.
UPA Vs NDA
The UPA spent about an average of 504 crore rupees per year on publicity during its 10 year rule. The NDA in its first year spent 993 crore rupees. The average amount spent during UPA’s first term was 312 crore rupees per year. This amount more than doubled during their second term and it spent an average of 696 crore rupees per year.
What is this money spent on?
As expected, bulk of this amount is spent on print advertisements. Close to 55% of the total amount (3295 crore rupees) was spent on Print Media, 38% (2290 crore) on Audio Video while the rest of the 7% (448 crore) on Printed & Outdoor Publicity. Except in the last two years (2013-14 & 2014-15), majority of the amount was spent on Print Media. But in 2013-14 & 2014-15, majority amount was spent on Audio Video publicity.
While those at the helm of affairs always advocated for reducing government expenditure & practicing austerity, this seems to the only department that is exception to any such rule. More & more money is being spent on publicity by successive governments.