In what may come as a surprise to many, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence on multiple social media platforms has not cost the exchequer a single rupee since May 2014. This startling information has come to the fore in a reply by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to an RTI application filed by AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Sources said the reply from the PMO categorically states that no social media campaign has been run on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google accounts maintained by the Prime Minister’s Office.
PMO sources have revealed that the official mobile app of the Prime Minister’s Office “PMO India” was designed by students in a contest conducted by MyGov and Google. The reply to Sisodia’s RTI states, “There was no cost except the prize money in developing the App.” Even this prize money has been paid by Google. Prime Minister Modi, in his speeches and interactions both in India and abroad, has often referred to the “Narendra Modi App,” as a simple way of connecting with him and learning about the work being done by him.
The response to Sisodia’s RTI application shows that the ‘Narendra Modi App’ is neither developed nor maintained by the PMO or the Government of India. It does, however, add, that “citizens are using it to connect and interact with the Prime Minister,” in addition to the websites www.pmindia.gov.in and www.mygov.in . A look at the developer page of the Narendra Modi App shows that the BJP’s IT Cell has developed the same and is maintaining it.
Recently, a senior All India Radio official had revealed that the Prime Minister was unhappy to see advertisements being released for the initial few episodes of his monthly radio address – ‘Mann Ki Baat’. The official went on to state that ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has now become a programme where All India Radio spends almost nothing and earns a lot. In 2015-16, the programme generated a gross advertising revenue of Rs. 4.78 crores, the official told a leading English daily.