Kerala govt flouts electoral codes giving tender to private company for social media marketing
The LDF government has invited yet another controversy by publishing an order assigning a private company to market the state government’s achievements on social media. The government had hurriedly released the notification on the same day that the Model Code of Conduct was established, but the authorities claim that the cabinet had made the decision a long time back.
According to the government, the Bengaluru-based company, which has relevant experience at the national level, would assist the Information and Public Relations Department and C-DIT. The company would market the governmental achievements of social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, for Rs 1.53 Crore. However, the opposition has claimed that such a decision is against the principles of MCC.
Firstly, regardless of when it was issued, the government cannot engage in such marketing after the Model Code of Conduct has begun, as it would go against the electoral policies. Secondly, political observers opine that while it is the state government’s achievements, it would be credited to the ‘LDF’ government, which would earn the left alliance political brownie points in the upcoming Assembly elections. Since the alliance is mentioned, at the cost of the public exchequer, then the whole process is violative of the code of conduct.
On the other hand, regardless of the impracticality of the government decision, there have been no reported changes in the matter. Meanwhile, social activists have come aboard the matter and questioned the government how it has the financial backup to advertise itself but doesn’t have enough to pay salary arrears.
The doctors of Trivandrum Medical College will organise protests on March 3, due to non-payment of salary arrears, which includes Allowance Reform (NPA, PCA), and also for not settling issues like entry cadre, career advancement promotions. The protest will be led by the Kerala Government Medical College Teachers’ Association (KGMCTA). “It is highly objectionable that salaries and allowances of doctors who worked tirelessly during the Covid-19 pandemic are not paid in full,” said the KGMCTA.