Congrats, your taxes have helped buy 265 ads

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: After the advertising blitzkrieg to mark Rajiv Gandhi‘s birth and death anniversaries, and the death anniversary of his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru earlier this year, Union ministries and Congress-led State governments and departments have once again splurged heavily to mark Indira Gandhi‘s death anniversary today.

In the 12 newspapers surveyed, there are 64 advertisements of various sizes, amounting to approximately 31½ published pages to mark the assassination of the former prime minister on this day, 27 years ago.

In contrast, Vallabhbhai Patel, the late Union home minister, whose birth anniverary too falls on October 31, gets 9 advertisements in the same 12 newspapers, amounting to 3 published pages. While there are multiple advertisements for Indira Gandhi, no paper has more than one ad for Patel.

The breakup of the Indira Gandhi ads are as under:

Hindustan Times: 22-page main issue; 9 Indira Gandhi ads amounting to 4¼ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 30-page issue; 13 ads amounting to 6¼ broadsheet pages

Indian Express: 22-page issue; 9 ads amounting to 4 broadsheet pages

Mail Today (compact): 36-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 2¾ compact pages

The Hindu: 24-page issue; 8 ads amounting to 4 broadsheet pages

The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 7 ads amounting to 3¼ broadsheet pages

The Statesman: 16-page issue; 4 ads amounting to 2 broadsheet pages

The Telegraph: 22-page issue; 5 ads amounting to 2½ broadsheet pages


The Economic Times: 26-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1½ pages

Business Standard: 14-page issue; 2 ads amouning to 1 page

Financial Express: 20-page issue; 1 ad amounting to half a page

Mint (Berliner): 24-page issue; 0 ads

This computation is only for 12 English newspapers; many other English papers have been left, as indeed has the entire language media which are more numerous than the English ones, several times over.

Among the 13 advertisers wishing the dear departed leader are the ministries of information and broadcasting, commerce and industry, steel, women and child development, health and family welfare, human resources development, development of north east region, and social justice and empowerment.

The state governments advertising their love are those of Rajasthan, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. Besides, most newspapers carry an advertisement inserted by the Congress party.

All told, so far, this year, tax payers money have been spent in buying 265 advertisements amounting to 132 published pages in the 12 newspapers.

Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

Also read: Rajiv Gandhi death anniversary: 69 ads over 41 pages in 12 newspapers

Jawaharlal Nehru death anniversary: 24 ads over 11 pages

Rajiv Gandhi birthday: 108 ads across 48 pages

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12 Responses to “Congrats, your taxes have helped buy 265 ads”

  1. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    A million thanks to Churmuri for raising this issue again. This is almost like NREGA for newspapers. It is shocking that our govt. is pouring public money into the pockets of these newspapers, which are already flush with cash.

    It seems as if our benevolent government has started a NREGA (employment & profit guarantee scheme) for top players in the Indian media. That is why we see so many useless ads by government departments in all our newspapers.

    Public money is being used to sustain the profitability of the media. Even if these newspapers publish rubbish, and they don’t earn anything, they can still make a living through govt. ads. Why should top journalists and newspaper owners who are already quite rich be beneficiaries of some kind of NREGA scheme that guarantees govt. ads.

    The newspapers will never talk about the issue of govt. ads, because the money goes into their pocket. Indian socialism only caters to the rich and the powerful. The newspapers are able to corner a huge chunk of govt. money because they are already very rich and powerful.

  2. kickdacorrupt Says:

    see relevant articles here:

  3. Shree Kar Says:

    How about filing a public interest petition to ban such ads using public money?

  4. vaidya Says:

    This is like festival season for the papers.
    A death anniversary followed in 2 weeks by 2 birth anniversaries.

  5. Brahmanyan Says:

    Interesting indeed. I wonder, in what way these advertisements help the aam admi ? Why no newspaper or NGO has questioned this wasteful expenditure?

  6. div Says:

    sometimes churumuri does throw surprises by showing bipartisanship.

    The way I remember Indira Gandhi–who brought India to the verge of dictatorship, who brought dynastic politics into congress. No amount of congress brainwash can change me.

    By the way I am not a BJP supporter.

  7. div Says:

    oh yeah, and wasn’t she the one who said “garibi hatao”, now her grandson is saying the same!!

  8. Gaampa Says:

    I can assure you that no news paper will cover the PIL, if ever filed

  9. vindy_p Says:

    thank god, birth and death occurs only once ( for normal ppl atleast)!!!

  10. Jay Says:

    This money could have fed the staving and malnourished children of our nation!!
    Such a shame.. !!

  11. Dwiref Vora Says:

    its our bad luck that we got jawahar instead of sardar patel.

  12. Faldo Says:

    The other post has Justice Katju talking about media transgressions and possible ways to regulate them. The ruling establishment often uses the threat of withdrawing government advertisements to get errant media players in line. I wonder what the Justice has to say about government agencies crossing the line and losing all sense of proportion in favoring a particular leader or party in their advertisements.

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