Ad goof-up: Ministry did not take PMO’s approval

The ad carried photograph of former Pak air chief

danish

Danish Raza | February 26, 2010



The ministry of women and child development (WCD) did not take approval of the Prime Minister’s Office in using the photograph of the
prime minister in an advertisement which also carried the photograph of former Pakistani air chief Tanvir Ahmed.

This was revealed by the WCD in response of an RTI application filed by Delhi resident Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

The advertisement, released by the ministry, was published in national dailies on January 24, 2010, to mark the Girl Child Day. It also carried photographs of cricketer Virender Sehwag and sitar maestro Amjad Ali Khan, among others.

The ad had put the government in an embarrassing situation with the PMO regretting the incident and ordering an internal inquiry into the
goof-up.

However, WCD minster Krishna Tirath tried to downplay the matter saying that the message was more important than the image. “The
photograph is symbolic. The girl child should be protected, that is more important,' she had told the reporters then.

A day after publication of the advertisement, Agrawal filed an RTI application asking if it was compulsory for a the ministry to seek PMO's approval for publishing photograph of the prime minister in a government advertisement. “Yes”, was the reply given by M.R. Mohanty, Public Information Officer of the Ministry.

“No approval from the PMO was sought,” was the reply to Agrawal’s demand of a copy of approval from the PMO for the same advertisement.

To know the status of enquiry into the matter, the applicant also asked for a copy of the communication between the PMO and the
ministry. “They have denied this information,” said Agrawal. “It seems rather impossible that a blunder which resulted in PMO seeking apology
to the nation might not be taken by PMO with the ministry.”

Details including the name of the person or agency which designed the controversial advertisement and the action taken against the same were
also refused on the pretext that an enquiry was in progress.

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