Interesting if true: 172 ads over 80 pages costs…

Rajiv Gandhi‘s 2011 birth anniversary: 108 ads across 48 pages in 12 newspapers surveyed by sans serif.

Indira Gandhi‘s 2011 birth anniversary: 64 ads across 32 pages in the same 12 newspapers.

Now, the Union information minister of information and broadcasting has put a figure to the advertising blitz: Rs 7 crore in all; Rs 4.79 crore on Rajiv’s and Rs 2.46 crore on Indira’s.

The I&B ministry’s computation, which obviously includes other non-Delhi and non-English papers, does not take into account the death anniversaries of the two, or the birth and death anniversaries of Jawaharlal Nehru. In all, 393 pages of advertising were published on the six anniversaries, on the pages of 12 newspapers this year.

Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

Image: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: Nehru birthday: 58 ads amounting to 26¼ pages

Nehru death anniversary: 24 ads over 11 pages

Rajiv birthday: 108 ads across 48 pages

Rajiv death anniversary: 69 ads, 41 pages in 12 papers

Indira Gandhi birthday: 64 ads, 32 pages

Times, Express groups get most anniversary ads

6 pages for Ambedkar; 393 pages for The Family


  1. All this is fine, but what about massive advertising campaigns by some of the state governments? The Hindu
    [Chennai edition] the other day carried four pages of advertising, on its news pages, sponsored by the Rajasthan government listing its ‘achievements’. What is interesting about this ad is that the whole text is in Hindi! What purpose does it serve, releasing a Hindi language ad to an English language newspaper? There are also instances of ads in English released to Indian language newspapers. This is usually done by government departments/organisations.

  2. Isn’t this another form of Mayawati’s statues?

    1. Sam

      And akin to Narendra Modi’s decision to spend 1200+ crore on a statue of the original iron man of india ….

      FYI: For those who don’t know how much newspapers depend on government ads –

      The DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) annual report (2010-11) states that they alone released 12,522 newspapers ads. Here’s some excerpt from the report that emphasises how much they do for the newspaper industry:

      “The [advertising] eligibility criteria has been reduced to 18 months from 36 months.”

      “To provide special encouragements to newspapers in languages like Bodo, Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Mizo, Nepali, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Urdu and tribal languages / dialects and newspapers published in J&K, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and North Eastern States [advertising] eligibility is reduced to 6 months.”

      “Out of the total value of advertisements released by DAVP 15% goes to small newspapers, 35% to medium newspapers and 50% goes to big category of newspapers.”

      (You can find the annual report on the DAVP website).

      Most indians speak more than one language.
      * Ads aren’t released just for the sake of the ads, but for influencing the newspaper too.

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