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Delhi Pollution: Kejriwal govt spent more on image projection than pollution solution? Check the data

A Right to Information plea in April revealed that this year the Delhi government spent more than Rs 150 crore on advertisements in three months, while it allocated just Rs 124.8 crore to tackle air pollution in the same period.

Delhi Pollution Kejriwal govt spent more on image projection than pollution solution
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 15, 2021, 7:56 PM IST
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The Supreme Court on Monday lashed out at the Delhi government over the air pollution situation in the national capital. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and DY Chandrachud admonished the Arvind Kejriwal administration for giving lame excuses rather than concrete proposals to deal with the situation.

The bench warned the administration that laxity over the issue could prompt the court to hold an audit of the revenue that the government is earning and how much is being spent on popularity slogans. Following the court observation, Asianet News decided to conduct its own deep-dive into this aspect. And the revelations were quite shocking!

A Right to Information plea in April revealed that this year the Delhi government spent more than Rs 150 crore on advertisements in three months, while it allocated just Rs 124.8 crore to tackle air pollution in the same period. That is, on average, the government spent Rs 1.67 crore on its advertisements while only Rs 34 lakh were spent on tackling air pollution. 

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In 2020-21, the Kejriwal government had allocated a budget of a mere Rs 52 crore to deal with air pollution. The Kejriwal government spent a lot on its own advertisements during the second wave of Coronavirus. According to the RTI response, during the first wave of Coronavirus, between August 2020 to March 2021, Rs 244.7 crore was spent on government advertisements. And during the second wave, between April 2021 to August 2021, Rs 126.8 crore was spent on government advertisements. The Apex court had then reprimanded the Delhi government for spending money on advertisements instead of dealing with the Oxygen shortage in the national capital.

Here is a year-wise break-up of the spending on ads against pollution (Source: 2021 September RTI)

2015-2016: Rs 6.33 crore
2016-2017: Rs 7.11 crore
2017-2018: Rs 27.95 lakh
2018-2019: Rs 3.24 lakh
2019-2020: Rs 18.90 crore
2020-2021: Rs 23.80 crore

Here is a year-wise break-up of the spending on government advertisements (Source: 2021 September RTI)

2015-16: Rs 81.12 crore
2016-17: Rs 67.26 crore
2017-18: Rs 117.76 crore
2018-19: Rs 45.55 crore
2019-2020: Rs 199.99 crore
2020-2021: Rs 293.2 crore
 
There have been claims that in the last two years, the Kejriwal government spent over Rs 800 crore on its advertisement. Although the administration clarified in a 2020 RTI request that for three years, it kept aside Rs 590 crore for its ad campaigns, but spent only Rs 207 crores. This is 35 per cent of the total allocated amount. 

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