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Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • During the run up to the general elections to Lok Sabha of 2004, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government put out advertisements with the tag line ‘India Shining.’ 

  • The campaign led to a controversy over the use of public money. 

  • Reports state that an estimated ₹150 crore was spent for this campaign, arguably one of the biggest government-sponsored advertisement campaigns until then

  • Over the past two decades, this trend has caught up with both Central and State governments spending a lot on advertisements before elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.

Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising

  • The Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) is a three-member body set up by the Government of India.

  • Established2016, based on directions from the Supreme Court in 2015.

  • Purpose: Regulate the content of advertisements issued by central and state governments across all media platforms.

    • Address complaints from the public regarding violation of Supreme Court guidelines for government advertising.

    • Take suo motu (on its own initiative) action on any advertisement violating the guidelines.

    • Recommend corrective measures.

    • Government advertisements should focus on the government's constitutional and legal duties, as well as citizen rights and entitlements.

  • Maintain political neutrality and avoid promoting a specific political party or leader.

  • Not be used to patronize particular media houses.

  • Some states have their own committees to regulate government advertising content, while others have consented to CCRGA oversight.

  • There have been instances of disagreement about CCRGA's jurisdiction, such as the Delhi government challenging its authority in 2020.

Supreme Court Guidelines on govt. Advertisements

  • The Indrajit Gupta Committee (1998) and the Law Commission report (1999) advocated state funding of elections. 

  • This means that the government will contribute money to political parties or candidates for them to contest elections

  • The feasibility and mechanism for implementing this measure is doubtful in the present context. 

  • It requires consensus among all the political parties and discipline in following the norms of such state funding.

  • Nevertheless, the issue of the burgeoning cost of elections can be sidestepped only at our own peril. 

  • The CMS pegs the likely expenditure during the 2024 general elections at ₹1 lakh crore

  • In this regard, certain practicable steps for creating a level playing field and ensuring free and fair elections can be implemented if there is political will. 

  • These are based on the report, ‘Proposed Electoral Reforms’, submitted by the Election Commission of India in 2016. 

  • First, government advertisements should be banned six months prior to any general election

  • Second, the law must be amended to state that a party’s ‘financial assistance’ to its candidate should also be within the limits of election expenditure prescribed for a candidate. 

  • Third, there should be a ceiling on expenditure by parties

  • This may be kept at not more than the expenditure ceiling limit provided for a candidate multiplied by the number of candidates of the party contesting the election

  • Finally, additional judges can be appointed in High Courts for speedy disposal of election-related cases that would act as a deterrent against the violation of norms

  • These reforms would require bipartisan political support to be effected. 

  • However, unless they are implemented, the massive expenses of election spectacles will be borne by us, ‘We the people’.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising UPSC NOTE
Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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