Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is set to appoint private advertising agencies to promote his announcements and the government’s policies and schemes on social media. The move comes at a time when spending curbs have been imposed on all government departments and agencies, with the state’s cash position remaining stressed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
According to a government resolution issued by Thackeray-led General Administration department, the agencies will use audio-visual content, develop creatives and come up with campaigns to promote the government’s image and policies. A major thrust will be on the social media.
The Thackeray-led department has justified the move saying that outsourcing the social media work to private agencies was the sole option available after the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) argued that it lacks the technical expertise and trained manpower necessary to do the job effectively.
“The use and importance of social media has increased further during the pandemic. In order to ensure that government’s decisions and policies reach the poor and citizens are able to directly get in touch with the Chief Minister’s Office, the CMO’s presence on various social media platforms is going to be enhanced,” an official said. “The agencies will ensure that the CMO’s decisions and government’s policies are conveyed effectively to the masses,” the official added.
Incidentally, whilst in Opposition, both the Congress and the NCP, now constituents of the Thackeray-led coalition, had vocally opposed a similar move by the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government, terming it as “wasteful expenditure.”
In March 2020, the department had empanelled two dozen advertising agencies. It has now asked the DGIPR to shortlist agencies for the CMO and other departments from these empanelled agencies through a tender. The CMO has plans to use social media marketing and remarketing techniques to push content on various platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Sound cloud and WhatsApp, among others.