The finance ministry has placed 40 percent of the publicity budget of 12 ministries or departments with the Central Bureau of Communication under the ministry of information and broadcasting, the government has told the Lok Sabha.
This comes two weeks after the Congress alleged that 40 percent of the publicity funds have been reallotted while undermining the sanctity of Parliament to fund the BJP’s poll campaign.
On Wednesday, in response to a question by Congress MP Manish Tewari, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said, “Ministry of Finance, vide its office memorandum dated May 19, 2023, has placed 40 percent of budget allocation for 2023-24 of 12 ministries/department/organisations under the ‘object head No. 26: Advertising and publicity’ with Central Bureau of Communication (CBC) under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
“The funds placed with CBC will be utilised for targeted and efficient messaging of government’s schemes in a cost effective manner and through theme based media campaign in consultation with respective ministries/departments.”
Parliament votes Budgets for all Departments and Ministries of the Government of India. Each programme/scheme has a distinct Budget Head.
Now on May 19, 2023 in an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Finance has ordered that 40% of the funds voted by Parliament for 'Advertisingâ¦ pic.twitter.com/YusTFtx52R
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had earlier said that the ministry’s decision undermined the sanctity of Parliament’s vote for budgets of all departments. “Each programme/scheme has a distinct budget head,” he said. The former minister said that Parliament had approved a Rs 200 crore budget for CBC for 2023-’24 but this will now increase to over Rs 750 crore.
“Clearly this CBC (along with Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate] will be the spearhead of the Modi government’s election campaign for 2024…The CBC is a ‘super czar’ dancing to the tune of the ‘PM urf Prachar Mantri’. But this propaganda machine didn’t have enough funds.”