143 Crores that was the amount spent by the UPA-II Government on the advertisements on birth and death anniversaries of our Founding Fathers and National Heros!!!
This money which has 7 zeros added to 143 amounts to $ 26 million and belongs to the honest and responsible taxpayers of India. The money is used to take out full page ads in the national newspapers and regional ones (which of course are pro UPA).
And the ads displayed often also show a pro-Congress bias with the exception of Bapu, our Father of the Nation. But that is not the reason why I am writing this article. Today when I opened the morning newspapers, there was an ad from Government of Maharashtra for inauguration of 1423 cement check dams titled "Turning Crisis into Opportunity..." The total cost of the completed phase one incidentally equalled to 143 crores. Same as the amount of ad spend by the Central Government!!!
Whole of India and Maharashtrians know of the terrible drought that has engulfed Maharashtra. The experts believe this is the worst drought to have hit Maharashtra in decades. Building the dams would assure that this kind of tragedy is not repeated. You may have already read about the mass suicides from the region of Vidarbha due to poverty. The main reason for poverty is scant rainfall and inadequate irrigation facilities.
My reasoning is simple, if the money spent on advertisements on our Founding Fathers and National Heros was spent on these kind of projects, the people of India would be far more happier and the tax payers, whose money is spent on the ads, wouldn't have a thing to complain.
The second thing I want to point out that the literacy rate of India is around 74 percent. Which means the 94 billion out of 125 billion Indians are literate. If they are literate then what is the need of informing them about any birthdays or anniversaries. And for the 31 billion illiterates, the advertisements are of no use as they can neither read nor understand the advertisements.
I know there are purists out there who argue that we should remember our National Heros but I would argue that spending the above money in some social cause with the name of the national hero would be a rather better way of creating a memorial for times eternal. This money can be used to develop the naxal prone area(which we all know is naxal prone due to lack of basic infrastructure and rights), or for educating the Indians under Right to Education Act, or for food security under the Food Security Act.
If nothing else can be done with the money, why not open a fund for the dead soldiers fighting for us on the borders or internally against terrorism or the CPRF Jawans who are killed by naxals. I am sure the 143 crores will be sufficient for supporting the families of all the valiant martyrs killed in the past few years, protecting our country.
And this is just the national ad spend incurred by the Central Government, the state governments have their own agenda on ad spend. Mayawati Behen used to come up with two page ads in Mumbai leading newspapers advertising her proud achievements. I often wondered how advertising in Mumbai about the progress (or elephants statues) in Uttar Pradesh would benefit her or her Government. Akhilesh seems to have followed her footsteps by giving out ads of his laptops to UP students scheme, printed in Mumbai. Again the gist of the advertisement is not understood, if he is giving out laptops to the students, its a welcome and a progressive move, but advertising the same in Mumbai, is a Mumbaikar eligible for the laptops? No! So, why place these ads in Mumbai newspapers. I am at loss to understand the logic!!!
Maybe the Governments have their own logic but I am sure Bapu must be crawling in his grave on such wasteful expenditure.
As explained above, these are my opinions, you may differ but do post in your comments on the infructuous expenditure by our beloved and elected Governments.