New Delhi: If you’re among the cash-starved people queuing up outside banks and ATMs, chances are that you’ve also spotted the billboards and hoardings that read “Kar-chori se ladai mein, mera paisa surakshit hai” (In the fight against tax evasion, my money is safe). The billboards carry the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with details on the deadline to submit the scrapped currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 denominations.
These billboards are part of the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Rs10 crore advertising campaign to promote its demonetisation drive.
The advertising plan also includes print media ads and radio commercials that started on the FM stations earlier this week.
According to a person aware of the government’s ad budget for the campaign, the sum being spent on demonetisation awareness is pretty low compared to the expenditure onother government schemes.
The person requested anonymity as he’s not authorised to speak with the media.
The government has spent in excess of Rs100 crore on its Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ad camapaign this year, according to the person cited above. Another campaign that had an ambitious advertising budget was the government’s income disclosure scheme.
In 2014, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India mission, was launched by Modi on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October, and cost 23.5% of the total advertising budget of Rs170 crore allocated to the ministry of information and broadcasting.
Spending on the promotion of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has increased over the years as the government releases more ads, including television commercials, to promote sanitation and end open defecation.
Last year, the government splurged in excess of Rs55 crore on advertising—first to celebrate the completion of its first year in office and then to promote International Day of Yoga—a pet project of the prime minister.
With an expenditure of Rs10 crore on creating awareness around demonetisation, the central idea of the campaign is to quell the fear in the minds of the people on their wealth. The ads carry taglines such as “Don’t panic, your money is safe”. On 8 November, the government scrapped notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes in a crackdown on black money and fake currency notes.