Amid the latest flashpoint between the AAP government and the Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s Office over planned expenditure on advertisements, it has emerged that L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena had red-flagged the government’s spending on ads three months ago as well, reported The Indian Express.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday told News18India in an interview that the Centre had “stopped” this year’s Budget, leading to war of words between the AAP government, L-G office and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Kejriwal also wrote to PM Modi in a letter on Tuesday morning requesting him “not to stop Delhi Budget”.
In a note sent by the Saxena to the Chief Secretary, it said, “Being the constitutional head of government of NCT, I deem it appropriate to observe with concern that the expenditure on account of advertisements/ publicity by the Govt of NCT of Delhi has increased from Rs 15 crore to Rs 568 crore, a jump of 3,787% approx in 9 years.”
The period referred to here is between 2012-13 and 2021-22.
The L-G also highlighted ad spending on one project in particular — the Pusa bio-decomposer, saying this was a “classic example of wasteful expenditure,”, adding this was in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court. He wrote while the project cost was 41.62 lakh, ad expenditure on it stood at Rs 16.94 crore, about “40 times higher than the project cost”.
He also directed the Chief Secretary to implement the Supreme Court-appointed Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) rules and asked for the “recovery of Rs 97 crore within 15 days… from AAP towards the cost of advertisements that were not in conformity with the order of the apex court, failing which all consequential legal action including attachment of properties of the party shall be taken in a time bound manner”.