At a time when Maharashtra is facing one of the worst crisis in the form of a deadly Covid-19 pandemic, the cash-starved Maharashtra government has earmarked nearly Rs 6 crore for the handling of the social media accounts and to boost the image of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, reports Times of India.
According to the reports, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra on Wednesday promulgated an order for appointing an external agency to handle the social media accounts of Deputy Chief Minister of Ajit Pawar. The Maharashtra government has allocated Rs 5.98 crore for the publicity of Ajit Pawar through the roping of private PR agencies.
The approval from the Uddhav Thackeray government to use taxpayers money to boost the image of Ajit Pawar comes at a time when the Maharashtra Treasury is in bad shape in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19 in the state that has ravaged the state’s finances.
The order signed by the Undersecretary of the general administration RN Musale said that the external agency would handle Ajit Pawar’s Twitter handle and accounts on Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Instagram. The private agency will also handle the sound cloud, WhatsApp bulletin, Telegram channel and SMS.
DGIPR lacks expertise, external agency to hired for Ajit Pawar’s PR
According to the order issued by the Maharashtra government, the DGIPR lacks professional and technical competence to deal with social media, so it was felt that it would be appropriate if an external agency were hired for the purpose. The external agency will be appointed in consultation with the deputy chief minister’s secretariat and Directorate General of Information and Public Relations.
“It will be the responsibility of the external agency to ensure that key decisions and messages reach the people and that they are able to communicate with the DCM on his Twitter handle, Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Instagram, sound cloud, WhatsApp and Telegram channel,” the order issued by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government read.
The private PR agency will release decisions taken by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who holds the Finance and Planning Department into the public domain and the meetings held by him with other departments.
The administration has directed that the external agency be selected from a list of agencies that are already on the DGIPR’s panel. It will be the responsibility of the DGIPR to ensure that messages on social media are flawless, the order stated. According to the government notification, it will be the responsibility of the DGIPR to make sure that there is no duplication of information released by the chief minister’s office and Dy CM’s office.
Last year in July, amidst the deadly pandemic, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had appointed an external agency for handling its social media account.
Meanwhile, a senior bureaucrat has questioned the appointment of an external agency for the image makeover of Ajit Pawar. “We have a full-fledged DGIPR with a total staff of nearly 1,200 and an annual budget of Rs 150 crore. Then why do we need an external agency for the promotion of the deputy CM?” the bureaucrat asked.