The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre has spent Rs 911.17 crore on advertisements across print, television and internet media platforms from 2019 till June this year.

The data was provided by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur in response to a question raised by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Singh had sought details about the number of newspapers, TV channels and web portals that have carried advertisements for the Central government and the total funds spent on such ads since 2019.

The Central Bureau of Communication under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had given all the government advertisements to be carried in the media, Thakur responded.

According to the data, the government spent Rs 199.76 crore on advertisements on TV channels from 2019 till June this year. Of this, Rs 98.69 crore was given to 270 channels between 2019 and 2020. From 2020 to 2021, the government gave Rs 69.81 crore to 318 channels. In the 2021 to 2022 period, Rs 29.30 crore was spent on 265 channels. In the current financial year, Rs 1.96 crore has been spent on ads on 99 channels.

Expenditure on print advertisements was much higher at Rs 690.83 crore since 2019, the data showed.

From 2019 till 2020, the BJP government gave Rs 295.05 crore for ads in 5,326 newspapers. The following financial year, Rs 197.49 crore was spent on advertisements in 5,210 newspapers. The government spent Rs 179.04 crore on ads in 6,224 newspapers from 2021 till 2022, and Rs 19.25 crore in the current financial year.

According to the figures, the government has spent funds amounting to Rs 20.58 crore on ads in web portals since 2019, Thakur said. Fifty-four websites were given Rs 9.35 crore for ads in 2019, 72 websites got Rs 7.43 crore in 2020, 18 sites were given Rs 1.83 crore in 2021, and 30 portals got Rs 1.97 crore in the current financial year.

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

In July 2021, Thakur had told Parliament that the government had cut advertisement expenditure by reducing the size of non-communication advertisements such as inviting tenders or job vacancies.

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