Telangana govt spent around Rs 300 cr on advertisement and publicity in 4 years

An RTI reply revealed that the money was spent on publicity and advertisement from June 2014 to October 2018.
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Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is known for the amounts he spends - be it on his convoy, the palatial camp house or even pujas and other religious beliefs. In response to an RTI filed by Society for Safety of Public and Good Governance, it has been revealed that the KCR government spent around Rs 300 crore on publicity, from June 2014 to October 2018. This amount includes expenses on hoardings, posters, TV channels, radio, etc.

In the RTI response, the Telangana government has split the total expenses incurred into two heads - money spent on outdoor media agencies and money spent on television channels. The state spent around Rs 177 crore on outdoor media agencies and around Rs 120 crore on TV channels.

If one delves into the break-up of the expenses, there are several interesting points to be noted. Initially, in the year 2014-2015, the Telangana government spent very less compared to the following years. With each passing year, the expenses increased multifold. In the first year, the maximum expenditure was incurred on publicity of Telangana Formation Day and on the publicity of the swearing in ceremony of Chief Minister KCR. Bonalu and Bathukamma were also occasions on which the government spent money.

In 2014, when CM KCR was bestowed the Indian of the Year - Popular Choice Award by CNN-IBN, a substantial amount was spent on publicity. In 2015-16, a majority of the money was spent on Telangana Formation Day, Godavari Pushkaralu and Medaram Jathara. In 2017, huge amounts of money were spent on Haritha Haram, Krishna Pushkaralu, Bathukamma, etc.  Around Rs 8.5 crore was spent on publicity during Ivanka Trump’s visit to Hyderabad. This money was used to put up metro pillar boards, model bus shelter hoardings, flyover arches, etc. Across the four years, a sizable portion of the money was spent on publicising government development and welfare schemes and other flagship programmes.

Among the channels, the government spent around Rs 8 crore on T News in the last four years. It also spent huge amounts on other regional channels like V6 and TV 9. National channels such as CNBC TV18, CNN IBN, India Today, Times Now, NDTV have also been given money for publicity and advertisements.

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