The BJP-led Government in Maharashtra has decided to scale down its first anniversary celebrations on October 31 in view of criticism from several quarters over unnecessary expenditure at a time when parts of the state are reeling under severe drought.
The government had first thought of launching a large- scale publicity campaign to highlight its achievements over the last one year, but it has now toned downed the plan, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Wednesday.
"We had initially decided to conduct a large-scale communication campaign to tell the people what the Government has done for them in the past one year. But, after severe media criticism (over wasteful expenditure), we have decided to tone down our plan," Mungantiwar said.
Guardian Ministers of districts have been asked to communicate with the people directly without expecting involvement of the Government, he said. "For instance, in my district (Chandrapur), I have decided to collect 365 bottles of blood on October 31 as a means to show the people the Government stands by them and ready to help them. Other Ministers, too, will hold programmes according to their choice," Mungantiwar said.
The expenditure on publicity will be from the annual outlay and no independent provision has been made for the same by the Government, the BJP Minister said.
"The Congress-NCP Government spent Rs 850 crore on publicity in its five-year term (2009-14). There is nothing wrong in making people aware of our schemes. In fact, we are doing it without spending any additional amount," he claimed.
The first BJP-led Government in Maharashtra, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, took charge on October 31, 2014. The Shiv Sena later joined the Government. The Fadnavis Government recently faced criticism when it came to light that a sum of Rs 8 lakh was sanctioned from Chief Minister's Relief Fund for a dance troupe's visit to Thailand.
The fund release triggered criticism in the media and the Opposition parties hit out at the government over its 'wrong priorities' at a time when parts of the State are reeling under severe drought.