Maharashtra government’s publicity wing, the DGIPR, has empanelled advertising agencies to help publicise the state government’s schemes and policies. According to a Government Resolution issued by the state government on October 12, the agencies would develop and upload on various social media platforms, creative content or adapt the already available creative.
“The content include, but are not limited to banners, videos, info graphics, graphics, cartoons, animation,” the GR stated. The GR added that the agencies would upload posts on social media platforms, post blogs and articles related to the government’s campaign, curate topics on related hashtags on digital platforms.
Meanwhile, a clarification issued by the government stated that the government has not hired any private advertising firm for publicity of its policies and schemes. “Maharashtra Government has not hired any private advertising firm for publicity of its policies and schemes. It is a routine exercise of empanelment of agencies since last so many years,” an official statement said.
“No work has been allocated to any of the agencies till now and when DGIPR budget is not more than Rs 50 crore, its absurd how allegations are made for provision of Rs 300 crore. This entire procedure is no way related to social media. “Such empanelment has happened during earlier regime too. This is age old practice to empanel various agencies for various type of works. As per the Hon Supreme Court order it is mandatory to have one centralised system to release all the advertisements,” it said.
“After this order by Hon Supreme Court the Maharashtra Government issued one GR making it mandatory to all its ministries, departments, divisions, corporations to issue advertisements only through DGIPR,” the statement said. “As the two-year tenure of previous empanelment is about to expire, procedure has been undertaken for appointment of new agencies. The said GR is just of a new empaneled agencies. Not a single work has been allocated to any of them and there is no separate status given to them,” the government said in the statement.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had yesterday said the government is misusing peoples money to counter its detractors. “Earlier the same work was done by the DGIPR. By appointing event management companies, the government is misusing peoples money to answer those who speak against it,” said Pawar, a former chief minister.
“The government has realised that the social media which helped them win elections has now turned against it,” Pawar added. State Congress chief Ashok Chavan termed it a “wasteful expenditure”. “On one hand the government is levying exorbitant surcharge on fuel in the name of farmers, but farmers are under severe stress as the government claims it has no money for granting loan waiver. How can it spend such a huge amount on publicity?” he asked.