New Delhi: The finance ministry has been launching a series of advertising campaigns to extol the virtues of the move and what is touted as a resultant cashless economy.
The first of the mandates for the campaign was given to O&M and Crayons Advertising; also the BJP’s chosen agencies for the ongoing UP poll campaign. “We, in fact, did the first campaign which assured people that deposits up to Rs 2.5 lakh were safe from investigation,” said Ranjan Bargotra, president of Crayons. That was the only campaign the agency did on this issue, he added.
The prime minister on 8th November announced the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in what was termed as a bid to weed out black money and counterfeit currency. The implementation of the move has been widely criticized for creating a cash crunch in the country, hitting businesses, damping purchase power and likely slowing down the economy. The government’s knee-jerk corollary measures and subsequent rollbacks too have been panned.
Another initial one was done by O&M. Executive chairman Piyush Pandey confirmed the mandate. “These were done on hoardings primarily in the form of testimonials by the common man/woman. Each message ended with the punchline: ‘Mera paisa surakshit hai’(my money is safe),” said a second senior executive at the agency. The campaign was meant to allay initial fears of the people that all their cash savings have come to naught.
As the focus gradually shifted towards a cashless economy, the following brief was floated: “cash is out, digital is in. Cashless transactions are simple, safe and need of the hour”. The most recent mandate to promote cashless transactions has been awarded to Span Communications, a Delhi-based media agency, which specialises in government contracts.
“The pan-India multimedia campaign started with a campaign on cyber security awareness. It has been followed with a campaign on demonetization and a cashless economy, which is currently being executed … the initiatives have been supported by Indian Banks’ Association and the ministry of finance,” the agency’s chief, Naresh Khetrapal said.
The agency has been roped in to handle the ministry’s upcoming campaigns on financial inclusion, Mudra Yojana, Standup India and other social security schemes over next one year. This campaign is being supported by the Small Industries Development Bank of India. Mudra Bank is a new institution being set up by the government for the development and refinancing activities relating to micro units. Standup India is a scheme that facilitates bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1crore to at least one scheduled caste and scheduled tribe borrower and at least one woman per bank branch to set up a greenfield enterprise.