The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has framed a new print media advertisement policy for Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) with the objective to promote transparency and accountability in issuing advertisements in print media. The policy focuses on streamlining release of government advertisements in order to promote equity and fairness among various categories of newspapers/periodicals.
The key highlights of the policy are as follows:
Promoting transparency & accountability
For the first time the policy introduces a new marking system for newspapers to incentivize publications that have better professional standing and get their circulation verified by ABC/ RNI. This will also ensure transparency and accountability in the release of advertisements by DAVP. The marking system is based on six objective criterions with different marks allotted to each criterion. These include: circulation certified by ABC/RNI (25 marks), EPF subscription for employees (20 marks), number of pages (20 marks), subscription to wire services of UNI/PTI/Hindustan Samachar (15 marks), own printing press (10 marks), annual subscription payment to PCI (10 marks). Advertisements shall be released by DAVP to newspapers based on marks obtained by each newspaper.
The policy framework includes circulation verification procedure for empanelment of newspapers/journals with DAVP. The procedure involves certification by RNI/ABC, if circulation exceeds 45,000 copies per publishing day, for circulation up to 45,000 copies per publishing day certificate from Cost/Chartered Accountant/ Statutory Auditor Certificate/ ABC is mandated. The policy states that RNI circulation certificate shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of issue and in case of ABC, the current certificate shall be used for circulation certificate. It is stated in the policy that DG DAVP reserves the right to have figures of circulation checked through RNI or its representative.
The policy also stipulates the empanelment procedure for multi-editions of a newspaper. It states that, as per the PRB Act whenever copies of one edition of a newspaper are printed from more than one centre, and if the content of newspaper is different, they would be treated as different editions. Each edition of a newspaper is required to have a separate RNI registration number and RNI shall treat each edition as separate entity while verifying the circulation. However, the policy guidelines mention that if a newspaper, for sake of convenience, is printing its copies of an edition in more than one printing press without adding any additional content, DAVP may take the circulations of such printing centres into consideration for giving rate of that edition.
For payment and adjustment of bills, the policy framework mandates that DAVP will release payment of advertisement bills in the name of newspaper/company account directly through ECS or NEFT. Also, it is mentioned that newspapers will publish DAVP advertisement only on receipt of the relevant ‘Release Order’ by DAVP. All ‘Release Orders’ issued can be accessed electronically at DAVP website.
Incentivizing all categories of newspapers
The policy stipulates that the rate structure for payment against advertisements released by DAVP will be as per recommendations of the ‘Rate Structure Committee’. The policy framework provides a premium for prominent placing of ads in newspapers and journals whose circulation is certified by ABC/RNI. DAVP would pay a premium of 50% above DAVP rates for colour/black & white for front page, 20% premium for third page, 10% premium for fifth page and 30% premium for back page to only those newspapers whose circulation is certified by ABC/RNI.
The policy also incentivizes big category newspapers which are willing to publish advertisements of educational institutions at DAVP rates by giving additional business of 50% in volume terms, as compared to those which are not willing to accept such terms.
The policy has classified newspapers/journals into three categories namely- small (25,000 copies per publishing day), medium (25,001-75,000 copies per publishing day) and big (>75,000 copies per publishing day).
Ensuring equity and fairness in release of government advertisements
The new policy in pursuance with the broad social objectives of the government has structured the empanelment procedure to ensure fairness among various categories of newspapers/journals. The policy also mentions relaxation in empanelment procedure to provide special encouragement for regional language/dialects, small and medium newspapers, mass circulated newspapers (circulation >1 lakh), newspapers in North Eastern states, Jammu & Kashmir and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The policy emphasizes that DAVP shall make efforts to release more social messages and related advertisements which are not date specific to periodicals.
To promote equity based regional outreach, the policy emphasizes that the budget for all India release of advertisements shall be divided among states based on total circulation of newspapers in each state /language.
The policy mentions that PSUs and autonomous bodies may issue the advertisements directly at DAVP rates to newspapers empanelled with DAVP. However, they all have to follow the criterions laid down by DAVP for release of all classified and display advertisements in different categories of newspapers viz. small, medium & big.
Ensuring quick and timely payment by client ministries to DAVP
The policy directs all clients of DAVP to issue Letter of Authority/Cheque/DD/NEFT/RTGS up to 80 % of the actual expenditure in the previous year within the first month of the new financial year and clear all the remaining payments before February 28th of the financial year. Alternatively, the client ministries may provide 85% advance payments of the estimated expenditure of the advertisements.