Bharat Nirman to be showcased in three phases will cost exchequer Rs.172 crore

Into the twilight phase of its second dispensation, the UPA government has ploughed in a third instalment of Rs. 70 crore for an advertisement blitzkrieg that seeks to jog people’s memory about what India was like in 2004 and highlight the change that has become an “integral part of their life” since then.

With this, the showcasing of Bharat Nirman in three phases — beginning May 2013 — will cost the exchequer Rs.172 crore, but officials of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry underscore the point that this is just a bit higher than the Rs.150 crore the NDA government spent on its ‘India Shining’ campaign ahead of the 2004 elections.

Throw in inflation — that is being blamed on the UPA government’s poor management of the economy in the past five years — and the ad-spend on the two media blitzkriegs by the incumbent governments facing elections is round about the same.

Since the Congress had criticised ‘India Shining’ and used the urban-rural divide the blitz brought into sharp relief to its advantage, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been careful not to make the same mistake of “overstating” as the previous government did. Instead, the focus has been on showcasing “inclusive growth,” the UPA’s article of faith.

In the last phase — unveiled on January 16 — the flashback format has been used in the hope that people will appreciate how Bharat Nirman has improved the quality of life with infrastructure development and a rights-based approach instead of doles, while driving home the point that the government could not have done this alone without the participation of people in what Ministry officials dub “partnership ads.”

The new tagline, jan jan ko chua, jan jeevan badla, seeks to underline that Bharat Nirman touched every one and altered daily lives. And, the underlying theme that is brought out in the various 90-second-long advertisements created for the purpose is to show that it is the people who made the task of nation-building possible in every sphere.

Again, side-stepping the ‘India Shining’ pitfall of having one template for the entire country, the Bharat Nirman series is available not only in 14 major languages but care has been taken to rope in local cast and throw in local milieu for the visuals.

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