Friday, March 21, 2008

'The Hindu' article on the publicity spending of AP Govt...

This is the article in "The Hindu";

Andhra Pradesh

‘Spending on RTI publicity a pittance’

K. Venkateshwarlu

HYDERABAD: Along with National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Right to Information (RTI) Act is often billed as the flagship programme of the United Progressive Alliance Government that gave information-seeking weapon to the people.

But is the State Government doing enough to take RTI to people? Not much, going by the spending on publicizing the programme, according to the response given to an RTI applicant, D. Rakesh Kumar Reddy. He was curious to know the priority accorded to the highly public interest oriented RTI , the advertisement budget allocated and spent on it and compare the same with other Government programmes.

Expectedly, the amount spent on publicizing RTI was the least at Rs. 7.12 lakh ending October 2007. “In sharp contrast, programmes like rededication ceremony I am not sure to what and Mahilalaku Andaga, Neeti Kosamu Tapassu etc got the lion’s share,” he said.

But a resourceful Mr. Rakesh stumbled on much more interesting details. The Government’s eye- brow raising publicity splurge combining outdoor, electronic and print media has crossed Rs.100 crore mark or Rs. 108.96 crore by October 2007. And this is official and spending through not-so-official means like corporations could be much more. It also means RTI publicity got just a pittance (0.065 per cent of Rs. 108.96 crore) and confined to electronic media.

Mr. Rakesh says the Government took its own time to respond to his RTI application which he had filed on November 21, 2007. A reminder and almost after 75 days it responded but as the information was incomplete, he had to make two more rounds.

“As a citizen I am surprised at such massive spending of public money on publicity. Most of it is centered round Chief Minister and his image building like his tour to US for which Rs.7.60 lakh was spent,” he observed.
Use RTI!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Its now the SON's turn to Splurge!!!

On Dec 21st-2007, the entire city of Hyderabad was decorated on the occasion of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's Birthday. In a typical political publicity fare, all important public junctions were covered with banners, flags, boards, posters, billboards etc.
The message was loud, clear and also unanimous,

Now, when did we say that?? I am not sure if I said it though...

I was a little perturbed with all this publicity blitzkrieg and filed an RTI application with GHMC on 22nd Dec, 2007 wanting to know if the GHMC got its due payment. After almost 70 days of following up, they gave me the reply.
The reply says,

With reference to your letter cited, under RTI act, 2005 it is to inform that this office has not received any request from any individual or organization for permission for erection of arches, flags etc., on the occasion of birthday of Sri Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, This office has not accorded any permission in this regard.

Ask any kid in Hyderabad and he will tell you what happened those 2 days. Only the GHMC officials lost sight and could not find anything that was putup without their permission. The irony is one bill board was right infront of their office.

The fact of the matter is GHMC turned a blind eye to what was an ostentatious and vulgar display. Public property was brazenly used for about 2 days. We lost valuable public money to the political power mongers. What ought to have gone into GHMC's coffers is lost. That too, it is the son of the Chief Minister. Someone has to pay back. Not that he is the only one who does it. Every politician does it, but this is extreme and that too from the son of a 'responsible' Chief Minister who is supposed to set an example.

Who will pay back the lost public money? The father used public Money for publicity and personal glorification. The son on the other hand uses public property like his own. Both are ultimately doing the same thing, albeit a bit differently !!! The perfect COMBO..

Time to make them pay...

Use RTI!!!