The Maharashtra government has decided to appoint temporary public relation (PR) officers for 30 departments to inform citizens about its decisions and counter any misleading information in the media, drawing flak from the opposition.
A Government Resolution (GR) issued yesterday by the General Administration Department states that each appointee will be given an honorarium of Rs 25,000.
“The PR officers would be required to issue clarifications about any misleading information published in the media and give publicity to welfare schemes of the state government,” the GR said.
The post will be valid for two years or till the time this state cabinet exists.
However, opposition Congress and NCP have criticised the BJP alleging the move is a ‘desperate attempt’ by the government to project itself as ‘clean’ despite indulging in corruption and to retain power through ‘false propaganda’.
Brijesh Singh, chief of the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR), said the move is aimed at ensuring complete transparency and conveying the decisions of the administration to the people.
“The government is not into publicity and does not even need to. Outreach and public service messaging is the aim of the government. Whatever comes out of the government schemes is for the benefit of potential beneficiaries,” the senior IPS officer told PTI in reply to a query.
There were a large number of vacancies in the DGIPR, Singh said adding, “Currently, each publicity officer looks after 3-4 ministers and each minister holds multiple portfolios.”
“The government takes many decisions everyday in the interest of people, which need to be simplified and explained to the people in a lucid manner,” he added.
The leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde, however, termed it as wasteful expenditure.
“This is a desperate attempt of the government to project itself clean after indulging in corruption for three years. They want to retain power through false propaganda,” he said.
He also said that wasteful expenditure during an agrarian crisis in the state reflects that the government does not trust its own officials and needs private appointees to win elections, he said.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said it was ‘ridiculous and shameful’ that a huge amount of money was being spent when there were budgetary cuts of about 30 percent on government schemes.
“Money allocated for development works is being slashed and spent on publicity is ridiculous and shameful,” he said.
With PTI inputsBack to latest news