New Delhi: The AAP government's decision to spend a whopping Rs 526 crore for information and publicity in the current financial year on Thursday drew sharp rebuke from the Opposition parties which said spending public money on "self publicity" amounted to corruption.
The government, however, strongly defended the allocation arguing that a separate head has been created for publicity and advertisement for the first time and that the figure may be less than the amount spent in previous years by various departments.
"For the first time, the government has created a separate fund for all the expenses made by each department for information and publicity. The move is to bring transparency and every single penny will be accounted for," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
He said, earlier, every department had the discretion to spend on information and publicity and there was no consolidated fund for it.
BJP and Congress came down hard on AAP government for allocating such a "huge" sum for advertisement, saying it is also a kind of corruption.
"They (Delhi Government) have set aside Rs 526 crore just for information and publicity which was just Rs 24 crore last year. They have cut allocation for various infrastructure projects. Is it not a form of corruption by spending more money on self publicity?" DPCC chief Ajay Maken said.
BJP's Vijender Gupta also slammed AAP government's decision to earmark over Rs 500 crore for advertisement and publicity.
Former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan also criticised government's move.