There seems to be a disparity in expenditure on advertisements for remembering national icons, with the government spending nearly triple the amount for “glorifying” Rajiv Gandhi in two months than what it did for Lal Bahadur Shastri in 10 years.
The Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity(DAVP) has spent nearly Rs 3 crore over a period of two months on advertisements to glorify late prime minister as against only Rs 87 lakh over a period of 10 years for Shastri.
This was revealed in an RTI reply by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), DAVP, Mattu J P Singh who refrained from disclosing expenditure incurred on the advertisement on other ex-prime ministers.
Ajay Marathe, a resident of Mumbai, had filed an RTI application with the ministry, seeking information pertaining to advertisements issued by the DAVP with photographs of Rajiv Gandhi and other former prime ministers.
“Between July to August 2009, the DAVP had issued eight advertisements worth Rs 2,97,70,498 glorifying Rajiv Gandhi. These advertisements also had pictures of the former prime minister,” Marathe said.
In contrast, only Rs 87,23,901 was spent on five advertisements between 2000-01 to 2009-2010 with photographs of late Lal Bahdur Shastri, he said.
“Both Rajiv Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri were former prime ministers of India. Both have contributed towards the welfare of the nation and Lal Bahadur Shastri played a leading role in India’s freedom struggle movement. Then why this disparity when remembering them,” he asked.
The CPIO, DAVP, also said that no advertisements were issued by the DAVP with photographs of ex-prime ministers other than that of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri.