New Delhi: The directorate of advertising and visual publicity (DAVP) spent Rs1,285.77 crore on advertising and publicity in the year ended 31 March, up 8.2% from the previous year, the government said on Thursday.

DAVP is the nodal agency of the central government for advertising on behalf of various ministries, departments, public sector firms and autonomous organizations funded by the government.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said that the government had spent Rs1,188.85 crore in 2015-16 and Rs998.34 crore in the previous year on advertising and publicity.

Spending on print media fell from to Rs468.53 crore from Rs508.22 crore in 2015-16. Audio-visual advertising (including TV, radio and digital) accounted for almost half of the total at Rs609.14 crore.

The government’s expenditure on publicity has been on the rise and is expected to see a further increase. “Government spend on advertising will see a substantial increase over the next few years due to the general elections in 2019. Government would want to advertise more and more about its schemes and initiatives," said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia.

Bhasin added that initiatives such as demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) fuelled advertising in 2016-17. “The advertising industry has been growing at the rate of 13% and I believe that government advertising will increase at the same rate, if not more," he said.

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