The Centre on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that it spent Rs 1,698.89 crore on advertisements in the print and electronic media between 2018 and 2021.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur gave the figures while responding to a question from All India United Democratic Front MP Badruddin Ajmal.

Ajmal had asked for details of the amount spent on advertisements by the government and the purpose of advertising between 2018 and 2021. He also wanted to know the criteria news channels need to fulfill to get government advertisements.

“The primary objective of the government advertising is to create awareness of government policies and schemes among the intended beneficiaries including the population living in far-flung and remote areas, through print, electronic and outdoor media,” Thakur replied.

Thakur said that the website of the Bureau of Outreach and Communications has the criteria that news channels need to meet to get advertisements.

In July, Thakur had told Parliament that the government had slashed advertisement expenditure by reducing the size of non-communication advertisements like inviting tender or job vacancies, the Hindustan Times reported.