There are several things that could have been done with the amount of money spent on advertisements, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government found it more important to spend that amount on its publicity.
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government spent ₹4,880 crore on publicity and advertising over a span of four years, starting from April 2014 till July 2018.
The year-wise expenditure of the central government is as follows:
2014-15: ₹979.78 crore
2015-16: ₹1160.16 crore
2016-17: ₹1264.26 crore
2017-18: ₹1313.57 crore
The information was provided to the Rajya Sabha by minister of state (Independent Charge) for information and broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore.
A lot of many more and much important things could have been with the same amount of money. Like, 45.7 million children could have been provided with midday meals for an entire year with this amount of money. Over 200 million workers could have got their one day’s wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS). Similarly, at least 10 more Mars missions could have been planned with the same amount of money. But, it was used by the BJP for publicising itself.
The amount spent by the BJP is double the amount spent by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. It spent ₹2,048 crore between March 2011 and March 2014.
Out of the total money spent, ₹292.17 crore were spent in advertising four public schemes in three years–Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme) for crop insurance, Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) for a nationwide cleanliness campaign, Smart City Mission and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Ideal Village Scheme for Members of Parliament) for urban and rural development.
The government could have used the same amount on other projects ranging from child nutrition to public health to sanitation, which would have turned out to be beneficial for the country as a whole.
It could have contributed the money towards the funds allocated for setting up of new All Indian Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), or towards the funds allocated for secondary level education mission or towards funds for repair and maintenance of national highways, and many other such projects. But alas, its own publicity was more important than any other pro-people scheme.
As per a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO which monitors political parties in India, the BJP emerged as one of the richest political parties in the world with a reported income of ₹1,034.27 crore for 2016-17. It, then, can obviously be termed as a very good year for the BJP, as its income shot up by a stupendous 81 percent compared to the year before.