Maha Govt relaxes curb on publicity, ad expenses for COVID-19 awareness

Ahead of possible second COVID-19 wave in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra, the state government has relaxed cut imposed on expenditure on the publicity and advertisement to create awareness on the pandemic and safety measures.

Earlier, the state government had earmarked Rs 170 crore for 2020-21 for the same but as per May 4 notification, the government had imposed 67 percent cut in planned expenditure allowing only 33 percent expenses on publicity and advertisement. This was done in the wake of soaring revenue shortfall because of lockdown and economic downturn.

However, the government as a special case has relaxed 33 percent condition and thereby given approval for 50 percent expenditure. The government will now spend Rs 85 crore on publicity and advertisement to run a mass awareness campaign across Maharashtra. General administration department desk officer VM Nandekar on Thursday issued notification in this regard.

As reported by Free Press Journal, the state government in its May 4 notification had asked all departments to make its planning based on the availability of only 33 percent of funds of the planned expenditure. The priority should be given to implement central sponsored schemes, salaries, pension and honorarium. The departments were asked to take approval of the state finance department if it has to cut expenditure on the Central government scheme.

Further, the departments were told to review implementation of various schemes, defer or cancel a few considering the financial constraints. They should not undertake any new scheme or new head of expenditure till further orders.

The state government’s move to relax curbs on expenditure comes days after the Public Health Department had predicted a second wave of coronavirus pandemic and asked the district administration and municipal commissioners to further step up efforts to combat the virus.

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