Rs 9.58 cr released for payment of advertisement bills: Shahid

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 6: In tune with the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s commitment with the representatives of various Editors’ Forums, the Directorate of Information today released Rs 9.58 crore to the Joint Director Information Kashmir and Jammu for payment of advertisement bills of the newspapers and periodicals including clearance of previous liabilities.
With the fresh releases, the cumulative funds released by the Directorate of Information during the current fiscal on account of advertisement budget have touched Rs 26.41crore.
“We are expecting additional funds to the tune of Rs 2.52 crore from the Finance Department under advertisement budget for this fiscal to enable us clear both the past liabilities and the current year’s bills so that the Department can enter the next financial year with zero liability,” Director Information, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said.
He said the department is already in the process of putting in place a plan of action for the next fiscal to ensure release of payment on account of advertisement bills to the newspapers and periodicals on monthly basis. “As the Government has already released 50% of allotted budget for the financial year 2017-18, it should enable the department to make payments to newspapers/ periodicals regularly in the next fiscal,” he said.
Pertinently, the liabilities on account of official advertisements had piled up since 2012 and accumulated to the tune of around Rs 12 crore due to various reasons, including discrepant advertisement distribution which was non-commensurate with the available resources.
“We had a series of meetings with the Editors’ bodies recently, where the need for rationalising advertisement distribution by the Information Department was repeatedly stressed so that all the empanelled newspapers and periodicals get their due share of advertisements on merits of each publication in a judicious and transparent manner,” said Dr Shahid who recently took a detailed review meeting in this regard in the office of Joint Director Information Kashmir.
He said the department has already asked all the empanelled newspapers and periodicals to provide updated details including latest circulation figures for updating the records and facilitating their classification as per the guidelines laid down in the Advertisement Policy-2016. He said the information is being collected to set defined criteria for classification of newspapers/ periodicals for allocation of advertisements.
The Department has an annual advertisement budget of around Rs 30 crore which is expected to go up to Rs 45 crore during the next fiscal, following a sizeable 50% hike in the advertisement rates for newspapers and periodicals announced by the Chief Minister on the floor of the house during the Budget Session of the State Legislature.

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