The Delhi Government’s spending on advertisements increased by 4,273% over 10 financial years ending with 2021-2022, according to Right to Information (RTI) replies by the Directorate of Information and Publicity.
The government’s advertising agency, Shabdarth, provided the data in response to a query by Bihar-based RTI activist Kanhaiya Kumar.
According to the May 19 reply, the spending under two budgetary heads — “other charges” (advt. charges booked under this head in addition to some miscellaneous expenditure) and “advertisement and publicity” — totalled to ₹488.97 crore in 2021-2022, with March alone accounting for ₹125.15 crore. Being the end of the financial year, March tends to see the highest spending every year. In 2012-2013, the government spent ₹11.18 crore, according to another RTI reply by the government to Mr. Kumar in 2021.
From 2015, when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power, the ad spending has increased in four financial years compared to the respective previous FYs and decreased twice — from ₹81.23 crore in 2015-2016 to ₹67.25 crore 2016-2017 and from ₹117.76 crore in 2017-2018 to ₹45.54 crore in 2018-2019. In the two COVID-19 pandemic years, the ad expenditure was ₹199.99 crore in 2019-2020 and ₹293.20 crore in 2020-2021, according to the reply.
“There has been more than 4,200% increase from the ad spend in 2012-2013, when the Congress-ruled Delhi Government under Sheila Dikshit spent ₹11.18 crore on advertisements. This increase in expenditure on ads was during the time when the country was going through the pandemic,” Mr. Kumar said.
Facing criticism from Home Minister Amit Shah for its government’s spending on advertisements, the AAP had on December 25, 2021 hit out at the BJP for the ad campaigns of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“As far as advertisement costs are concerned, Mr. Amit Shah should go around Delhi once and see how every nook and corner of Delhi has been hijacked by Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Yogi Adityanath… There are 850 hoardings of Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Yogi Adityanath in Delhi and in its stark contrast Delhi Government has only put up 108 hoardings. Delhi Government spends barely 70 crore rupees on advertisements compared to Mr. Yogi Adityanath’s splurge of 2,000 crore rupees annually,” an official AAP statement had said.