The Shiv Sena-led-Maharashtra government has spent a whopping ₹155 crores on publicity between December 11, 2019, to March 12, 2021, revealed an RTI (Right to Information ) response to activist Anil Galgali.
As per reports, the Maharastra government had been spending ₹9.6 crores each month on publicity campaigns. About ₹5.99 crores have been spent by the Maha Viks Agahadi on social media during the 16-month period. The government had splurged ₹20.31 crores in 2019 and ₹104.55 crores in 2020. Other publicity campaigns included on Women’s Day (₹5.96 crores), National Health Mission (₹19.92 crores), Special publicity campaign (₹22.65), and Padam Department (₹9.99 crores).
Until March 12, 2021, 12 Departments of the Maharashtra government had spent around ₹29.79 crores. The public Health Department, Jal Jeevan Mission, State Health Education had spent ₹3.15 crore, ₹1.88 crores, and ₹15.94 crores respectively. Jal Jeevan Mission had spent an additional ₹45 lacs for publicity on social media. Similarly, the Women and Child Development department had splurged ₹2.45 crore for publicity, out of which ₹20 lacs was spent on social media.
RTI activist demands more information from Uddhav Thackeray
Reportedly, the Maharashtra government had spent ₹48 out of ₹50 lacs on social media for the Minorities Department. Besides, additional expenditure on publicity campaigns included social media (₹1.15 cores), Maharashtra Urban Development Mission (₹1.15 crores), Disaster Management Department (₹9.42 crores), Shivbhojan (₹20.65 lacs). The information was only revealed when activist Anil Galgali filed an RTI with the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations.
Anil Galgali contended that the expenditure on publicity could be higher than what had been presented by the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations. He pointed out that the expenditure made in the name of social media was questionable. Besides, the expenditure has shown for ‘creatives’ has raised several doubts in the mind of the RTI activist. Galgali has now urged the Uddhav Thackeray government to disclose the information of expenditure incurred for publicity campaigns at Departmental levels.
BJP questions wastage of public money, demands probe
While speaking about the matter, BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis inquired, “We are receiving information that the state government of Maharashtra is spending Rs 246 crores on publicity. We demand proper investigations in the matter. In our tenure, we spent only Rs 26 crores on publicity. Here the government has already spent Rs 246 crores on publicity. What work have they done to spend so much on publicity?”