Delhi Government on Wednesday welcomed the decision of Comptroller and Auditor General to “specially” audit its Publicity Department and the Public Works Department (PWD), but said the CAG should also audit advertisements expenditure of the Centre and other states.
In a letter to the CAG, Shashi Kant Sharma, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the CAG audit will nail the “lies” being spread by vested interests about the amount spent by the Delhi government on advertisements during the entire financial year 2015-16.
The development comes in wake of a communication from the CAG to the Delhi government, a government official said. Sisodia also urged the Central auditor to audit books of all its departments.
“Various kinds of misinformation are being spread about our government’s advertisement expenses. It is an outrageous lie which has been repeatedly stated that this expenditure is around Rs 500 crore, which in reality is not more than Rs 75 crore for the entire year, which I am sure will come out in your audit,” Sisodia said in his letter.
The advertisement spending of the Aam Aadmi Party government, since its return to power in Delhi last year, has raised eyebrows with the political opponents questioning the expenditure amount besides the decision of the AAP government to advertise in other states at the expense of public money.
In the letter, the Deputy CM also said that he was disappointed to know that the CAG was only auditing the advertisement expenses of the Delhi Government alone, adding that it is being portrayed as if Delhi was the only government which was placing advertisements in media platforms outside the state.
“CAG is not auditing the advertisement expenses of either the Central Government or any other state government,” Sisodia wrote.
Underlining the reported advertisement expenditure of the Centre, Sisodia said that advertisements were placed in all national dailies in addition to TV and Radio campaigns and it ran for more than a week celebrating PM Narendra Modi’s two years in office.
The Governments of Telangana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc, carried massive publicity campaign across all states in India, Sisodia added.
“Therefore, advertisement expense of all governments is being debated nationally for last few years and thus was dealt by no less than the Supreme Court.
“I would be extremely grateful if you can direct the Principal Accountant Generals of other States which have much larger publicity budgets than the government of Delhi to carry out a comprehensive audit of the government about expense of their respective states,” he further said.