PMO cleared Girl Child Day ad; printed one had PAF chief

PMO cleared Girl Child Day ad; printed one had PAF chief

The PMO had approved the publication of photograph of the prime minister along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister of Women Child Development Krishna Tirath, draft of which was sent by the ministry, but the next day the nation was shocked to find photograph of former PAF Chief Tanvir Ahmed along with them.

Replying to an RTI application the PMO has said, "The Ministry of Women and Child Development had taken the clearance from the PMO for including PM's photograph in an advertisement for National Girl Child Day on 24th January 2010. However, the format and copy of the advertisement submitted was different compared to the advertisement that was published on 24th January in 'The Times of India'."

The reply from PMO, however, did not throw light on how the mix-up has happened as it merely said the ministry had initiated an internal inquiry into the whole incident of publication of the advertisement which gave rise to "a controversy on account of inclusion of a picture of an unnamed decorated soldier which was not appropriate."

The PMO in a reply to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal said according to a departmental order issued by then media advisor to prime minister Sanjay Baru, all official advertisements bearing the photograph of the prime minister have to be cleared by the PMO.

The Women and Child Development Ministry in a separate reply to Agrawal had earlier said it has not sought any approval from the PMO before publishing photographs of former Pakistan Air Force Chief with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an advertisement issued by it.

According to file notings provided by the PMO, when the Ministry sought clearance for the advertisement, one of the official at the PMO had written -- "Since June 2009, MWCD has sought permission of this office for the use of PM's photograph 16 times and 16 such advertisements have been published by the Ministry with photographs of the PM."

"On an average, one advertisement has come every 15 days. This fact may be kindly kept in mind while giving 'No objection' to the present proposal," he wrote on the file. The PMO had come out with an apology a day after the advertisement with the photograph of the former Pakistan Air Chief along with the prime minister and Congress appeared in newspapers on January 24 -- the National Girl Child Day.

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