Demoting India by Promoting Italy

published on October 12, 2010

I-T ad shows Italian planes as Indian

NEW DELHI: Government departments just won’t learn. This time, it is the turn of the Income Tax department to commit a public blunder as they celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

The department has been releasing half-page advertisements in national newspapers sho wing Saina Nehwal celebrating victory against the backdrop of a fighter formation. The nine-fighter formation is shown releasing tri-colour plumes. “Income tax: commitment for a secure India,” the caption next to Shera reads. At the bottom of the ad it says, “Enhancing India’s Glory — Creating A Success Story.”

For all the patriotism oozing out of the ad, the blunder is huge. The fighter formation, covering most of the advertisement and shown releasing tri-colour plumes, is not an Indian military formation. It is the Italian military’s aerobatics team. And the fighters are Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, not India’s HJT-16 Kiran Mark 2 aircraft.

Actually, the differences are very easy to tell for those who know these things. The Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team’s aircraft are painted overwhelmingly in red, and when they emit the tri-colour plumes, the saffron comes from the extreme right fighter/s. But in the advertisement, the saffron plumes are from the extreme left fighters, meaning the tri-colour is inverted. The Italian flag has three vertical pales of green, white and red, with green at the hoist side. Indian Navy too has an aerobatics team, but it is a four fighter formation.

The advertisement has been released by DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity), government’s official ad agency.

“Unfortunately, people are not much aware of aviation issues in this country. Probably, they don’t have good photographs. But this is unfair and a violation of IPR,” said Wing Commander R S Chauhan, a former IAF officer and an aviation photographer.

Actually, income tax is only following in the footsteps of other blundering government departments. In January, the women and child development ministry released a full-page advertisement to mark Girl Child Day, with the photograph of a former Pakistani air force chief accompanying that of PM Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In March, Indian Railways released an ad showing the wrong map route of Maharaja’s Express that was being flagged off from Kolkata that evening.

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