The government has chosen four agencies to work with social media influencers for content about government schemes and campaigns, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
However, no money has been spent on the empanelment process so far, said the minister, without naming the four agencies.
The remarks came in response to a question by Congress MP Manish Tewari on whether the government has collaborated or intended to collaborate with influencers, and the amount that was spent on empanelment of such marketing agencies or influencers. The ministry of electronics and information technology had floated a tender in March for “empanelment for selection of Influencer Marketing Agencies for empanelment with MyGov”.
“Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY) has informed that MyGov has in March 2023, undertaken a process for empanelment of influencer marketing agencies with an objective of enabling wider dissemination and enhance citizen engagement in respect of information related to various schemes/campaigns/initiatives of Government of India. Based on response to the bid, MyGov has empanelled four agencies. No amount has been spent under the said empanelment process till date,” Thakur said.
Last month, YouTuber Ranveer Allahbadia, better known by his internet moniker BeerBiceps, began interviewing BJP ministers on his YouTube channel. Allahbadia later told Newslaundry that he had not bid for the March 7 tender, and received no payments from the government for the series.
Newslaundry had reported that the CEO of a company he founded was part of an interaction that union minister Piyush Goyal had with “over 50 top-performing YouTubers on various issues like popularising handicrafts, benefits of millets and consumer awareness”.