The Narendra Modi-led government has devised an overhaul of its advertising policy, whereby approximately 80 per cent of its newspaper advertising space will be given to dailies printed in Indian languages, keeping the remaining 20 per cent for English newspapers. This has been proposed in the Print Media Advertisement Policy of the Government of India.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said, "The above norms are indicative and should be adhered to in the overall media strategy of the Ministries/Departments to ensure maximum coverage at optimum cost."
However, a window of "deviation" is kept open for government ministries, but they have to give a "detailed justification" for the same.
The I&B Ministry has articulated the policy through which 15 per cent of its newspaper advertising space can be given to smaller newspapers, 35 per cent to medium dailies and the rest 50 per cent to bigger newspapers. This, the ministry says, will ensure "balance".
The policy also defined which are the small, medium and big publications. Publications with a circulation of up to 25,000 copies per publishing day are considered "small". Publications with circulation between 25,001 and 75,000 copies per publishing day are considered "medium", while publications with circulation of above 75,000 copies per publishing day are considered "big".
Great considerations took place to give reprieve and level-playing field to the under-represented languages like Bodo, Dogri and Garhwali, among others.
While a publication "must be uninterruptedly and regularly under publication for a period of not less than 36 months" for it to be eligible to be considered for empanelment, it may be relaxed to six months for under-represented languages like Bodo, Dogri, Garhwali, Kashmiri, Khasi, Konkani and Maithili, among others.
Sources said this was driven by the government's desire to give adequate representation and a level playing field to regional and tribal language publications in a world of cut-throat competition.
Newspapers and periodicals published from the border areas like Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, among others, will also enjoy this benefit, the policy said.
In another significant move, the policy makes the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC), which was set up on December 8, 2017 by integrating different departments, very powerful.
"The BOC would maintain a list of approved publications for release of advertisements by empanelling acceptable publications. The BOC would empanel only such publications which are found suitable for issuing advertisements of the Government of India," the ministry asserted.
The policy guideline also makes it clear that "government advertisements are not intended to be financial assistance to the publications". The BOC is the nodal organisation for paid outreach campaigns through print media, electronic media, outdoor media, social media, websites etc. on behalf of client Ministries or Departments and organisations of the Government of India.