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Advertisement policy initiatives by Municipal Corporation of Delhi
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 10:04 (IST)


• In a Public Interest Litigation being Writ Petition (Civil) No. 13029/85 titled MC Mehta Vs Union of India etc, The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India vide order dated 20/11/1997 inter alia, directed that:
“ The civic authorities including DDA, the railways, the police and transport authorities, are directed to identify and remove all hoardings which are on roadsides and which are hazardous and a disturbance to safe traffic movement in addition, steps be taken to put up road/traffic signs which facilitate free flow of traffic”.

• On 16/04/2001 in Civil appeal no 2803 of 2001, titled ‘P.Narayana Bhat Vs State of Tamil Nadu and ors’, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India Held as under
“That the authorities concerned are empowered either to refuse or grant license/ renewal or to remove the existing hoardings only if the same is hazardous and is disturbance to safe traffic movement which, in turn, should adversely affect free and safe flow of traffic, unless these impediments are present in hoardings, merely because the said hoardings are visible to traffic, cannot be ground for either refusing the grant/ renewal of license”.

Legal Provisions

  • Advertisement to public view is governed by the provisions of Sections 142 to 146 of The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act of 1957. As per the provisions of the Act, prior permission of the Commissioner, MCD is needed to display advertisements to public view
  • Whenever any advertisement is displayed in contravention of section 143 of the DMC act , the same is actionable, as per provision of sections 146 and 461 of the DMC act;
  • 146. Power of Commissioner in case of contravention;
  • 461. Punishment for certain offences.

Examples of Outdoor Advertising

• Billboards
• Unipoles, Bipole or Multiples
• Kiosks on electric poles
• Bus Shelters
• Utilities like Toilets, Dustbins
• Vehicular Display
• flyovers Protection Screens
• Iron grills on Central and side verge of road
• Wall Posters
• Banners
• Landscape and street furniture

Latest Directions of the Apex Court and formulation of Outdoor Advertisement Policy

• The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 16565/2006 titled ‘Court on its motion Vs. Union of India and others’ vide order dated 26.03.2007, directed removal of all hoardings on the main roads within one month, while the Hon’ble Supreme Court had directed removal of only those hoardings which are hazardous and disturbance to safe traffic movement.

• Operation of the order of high court was stayed by Supreme Court in an SLP filed by MCD.

• In the case of M.C.Mehta Vs UOI & Ors, The Hon’ble Supreme Court directed MCD to submit advertisement policy for Delhi before EPCA (Bhoorey Lal Committee)

• A detailed advertising policy for the whole city of Delhi was drafted and submitted before the Committee of the MCD in the meeting held on 24th May, 2007

• The committee filed the policy with its recommendations in the Supreme Court which was approved by The Hon’ble Supreme Court on 12.10.07

Policy Guidelines

OOH- Classification

Advertising Devices have been divided into the 4 categories:-

Category 1: Large format outdoor advertising devices
Devices attached to buildings or overhead transport infrastructure. These may be within a MCD-controlled road or adjacent to, but visible from, a MCD-controlled road.

  • Billboards
  • Unipoles
  • Wall mounted panels at malls, Cineplex etc
  • Railway Overhead Bridges
  • Signs on overhead bridges

Category 2 :Surface mounted devices
Outdoor advertising devices attached to public amenities/ utilities/ properties
  • Devices mounted on service oriented facility
  • Devices mounted on road side kiosks
  • Devices mounted on information kiosks/ facilities
  • Devices mounted on public assistance facility
  • Devices mounted on street furniture
  • Flyover & metro Pylons
  • Pole kiosks
  • Air borne devices
  • Fleet advertising
  • Banners and informal advertising

Category 3 Devices attached to transport infrastructure & Landscape
Road transport
  • Bus shelters

  • Tree guards and tree grilles
  • Fences
  • Soft landscaping
  • Hard landscaping
  • Planters etc.
  • Parking sites

Category 4: Business and trade signs, community signs, road user signs and small miscellaneous signs.
Devices on-premises,
  • Awnings
  • Business identification signs
  • Fascia and projected signs
Footway signs
Real estate signs
Roadside vendor signs
Welcome signs
Election signs
Utility service signs.


Bus Q Shelters
Bus Q Shelters
Bus Q Shelters

Delivery Vehicle Advertising
Service Vehicle Advertising
Radio Taxi advertising
Pole Kiosks
Pole Kiosks
Street Furniture (Benches)
Street Furniture (Benches)
Street Furniture (Booths)
LED Signages
LED Signages
Foot over bridges

Outdoor Advertising & Traffic Safety

Michigan study

• First serious research was the Michigan study, carried out in 1950s by Mc Monagle.

• 70-mile stretch of road was selected and catalogued for all visible road and roadside features. Road was then divided into 1000 ft sections with a marker planted by the side of the road.

• For 3 yrs local police logged the distance between any accident and one of these markers. McMonagle classified all the accidents in his database. This was correlated to number of accidents in a 1000 ft section and the number of various roadside features in that section.

• He discovered that road sections which contained intersections seemed to have more accidents than those that did not.

• McGonagall failed to discover a correlation between advertising signs on their own and accident rates.

Conclusion of McMonagle’s study has been supported by almost every subsequent study: Accidents are correlated with road complexity. Straight roads where traffic can flow easily are safer than congested roads with many intersections, taverns, and gas stations. Intersections in particular seemed to be associated with higher accident rates, especially when there were advertising signs close by.

New Jersey Garden State Parkway

• Ernest Blanche carried out the largest and most impressive study that did not find such a correlation in 1965, on the New Jersey Garden State Parkway.7 Blanche compiled a chart dividing up the Parkway into units of a tenth of a mile. All roadside features were then noted, such that each highway unit could be classified according to the number of roadside features it contained. Blanche then attempted to find correlations between accident rates from 1961, 1962 and 1963 and sections of road with high numbers of billboards.

• He failed to discover any correlations between Driver distraction, accident rates and the number of billboards, either by correlations of the ‘billboard’ sections of the road, or else by correlations of individual billboards with accidents.

• The key point is that the Garden State Parkway is a multi-lane motorway, with few intersections. Since the studies above found that intersections were particularly likely to be associated with advertising-related accidents, it seems unsurprising that no correlations were found.

The conclusion: The effect of billboards on accidents is, it seems, situation-specific; that is, the effect will be specific to the juxtaposition of features at any particular location.

The Ady Study

• Ronald Ady in 1967.4 conducted ‘before and after’ study, in which nine advertising signs were selected for their potential for distraction (that is, they were large, illuminated, and information-rich (i.e. containing some complex message). Accident rates were collated for the year before and after the signs were erected; however, as Ady classified the data by month.

• He discovered that only three of the signs had adequate police accident data for the study. An equivalent area of road on the same highway was used as a control. Ady discovered that two signs showed no effect (in terms of raised accident rates after the sign was erected). One sign, however, did show an effect at the 5% significance level. Ady pointed out that the distracting sign was positioned at the corner of a sharp bend, and that it was the most conspicuous sign (it was lit by bright white lights, later removed at the insistence of the police, worried by the rising accident rate).
Ady concluded that whereas it was not necessarily the case that all advertising billboards caused accidents, it was possible that some signs in some situations might cause accidents. After all, some signs are large, some are small, some are brightly lit, some are not: it would be counter-intuitive if all signs had the same impact on accident rates. Moreover, it also seems likely that the content of the sign plays a part in how ‘distracting’ it may be.

Tom Maritson- “Sign of the City”

• Tom Maritson in the report “Sign of the City” expresses the following

• Research indicates that the Billboards are a primary source of information for the traveling public

• Effective, accessible and efficient, billboards are important signs of the economic vitality.
• Comprehensive world wide research confirms a lack of connection between traffic accidents and billboards

• The Highway Beautification Act was never intended to completely ban billboards. It was a control measure, and the committee on Public Works emphatically states that outdoor advertising is a legitimate business.

Minnesota Department of Transportation does not consider billboards a safety hazard if properly spaced/ lighted in zoned commercial/ industrial areas

Impact of OOH

Impact of OOH- Economical

• India is the tenth largest economy in the world. The advertising expenditure or budget adds a little less than 10% of world market.

• Recent estimates indicate that total budget for advertising range between Rs10,000 to 15,000 Crores.

• The share of TV advertisement is around 41%, Print is 48%, Outdoor is 6%, Radio is 3% and rest is approximately 2%.

• Outdoor is the third largest means of mass communication, It's a preferred choice of Small and Medium scale Industry to advertise about their product

• Moreover outdoor advertising have this unique advantage of being highly effective and target orient device of mass communication.

• The campaigns can be designed for a nation wide advertisement campaign to very limited target area.

Impact of OOH - Economical


• In year 2005 the budget for outdoor industry was within range of Rs800-900 Crores, for the year 2006 it witnessed a growth of 10% and the total budget was touching Rs1000 Crores.

• being very conservative Delhi accounts for approximately 20% of these budgets. The Delhi and NCR budget forms close to Rs200 Crores.

• Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) collects taxes as per relevant provisions of section 142 and 143 of the DMC Act .

In year 2002-03, MCD collected Rs11.3 Crores. In 2003-04 this figure increased to Rs12.1 Crores, it saw a growth to Rs18.7 Crores in year 2004-05. For year 2005-06 figure crossed over a collection of Rs 35.8 Crores.

• The current potential of the market is to participate with a revenue share of over Rs80-100 Crores, which can be further increased to the tune of Rs300 Crores within a couple of years.

• The figures when compared with other means of Revenue generation by MCD, Outdoor advertising is currently the Fourth highest

Behind revenue collected from House tax, Parking and Toll Tax.

• MCD is currently working on various innovations and is trying to make Outdoor more organized and hazard free.

• Revenue from Organized Outdoor Advertising would surely be the second highest, behind revenue collected for House Tax in next couple of years.

• This revenue share is very essential for MCD to provide better facilities to the citizens of Delhi

Impact of OOH- Social

• Outdoor medium is widely used for promoting various social awareness programmes targeted to a wide range of audience.

• OOH assures the permanence of the message to be displayed its effectiveness in comparison to television or print media is manifold.

• Various programmes on Health and Aids awareness, Pulse Polio, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Cancer, etc are effectively communicated through use of outdoor advertising.

• Programmes on Women and Child welfare
• Informing laws as, against Child Labor, Bonded labor, Sex Determination Test etc.

• Bringing social awareness amongst people against Dowry, Child Marriage, Alcohol, Bird flu, Tobacco and related product.

• Various government policies, schemes and messages are advertised through OOH.

Impact of OOH- Traffic

• The outdoor advertising industry aims to serve the public by attracting their attention, then providing information.

• However this can sometimes direct motorists' attention away from their driving task, hence become a traffic hazard if not properly planned.

• The Hon'ble Supreme Court Of India ordered removal of all hazardous hoardings which are on roadside and are a disturbance to safe road traffic movement.

• There are limited number of studies relating to the relationship between advertisements and accidents. Prior to Supreme Court judgment there had been no study reported in India.

• Developed countries namely USA, UK and Australia have conducted these studies.

• These studies have mentioned that there is no evidence that advertisements present traffic safety problems at intersections, controlled by signals. They however have recommended that there should be some guidelines for the positioning, size, illumination and content.

Impact of OOH- Environmental

• OOH impacts on the amenity of the area in which it is located through its effect on the appearance of the building, structure or place where it is displayed.

• Advertisement can be visually attractive and have a positive effect on the surrounding area

• Other advertisements can be inappropriately designed and located and detract from an area’s visual character.

• OOH provides a window into socio-cultural and political characteristics of a place

• All this allows it to distinguish one city or town from another.

• Hence critical to Organize and Manage OOH to create a sense of harmony and unity between the city elements or it may display a sense of anarchy in sporadic, disconnected or overwhelming ways.

Cluttered Environment


• The crudeness or refined and sensitive manner in which a advertising is presented provides an impression and understanding of the society.

• This is further qualified by choice of materials and design sensitivity to environment.

• In the advanced cities of the world outdoor forms a layer that provides colour and shape to city form.

• Examples of this include The Times Square and the 5th Avenue commercial districts in New York. Piccadilly in London, Ginja in Japan are the brightest examples of exhibiting the roadside display to a great extent.

• Their impacts have added another dimension in the visual fabric of city. With proper planning and design, they bring changes in the city life and contribute to the visual richness and diversity.

OOH in Delhi

Following activities in Outdoor advertisement are taken as Negative advertisements:

– Nudity

– Propagating violence

– Racial advertisements or advertisements propagating caste, community or ethnic differences

– Advertisement of drugs, alcohol, cigarette or tobacco items

– Advertisements propagating exploitation of women or child

– Advertisement having sexual overtone

– Advertisement depicting cruelty to animals

– Advertisement depicting any Nation or Institution in poor light

– Advertisement casting aspersion of any brand or person

– Advertisement banned by the Advertisement Council of India or by law

– Advertisement glorifying violence, Destructive device and explosives depicting items

– Lottery tickets, sweepstakes entries and slot machines related advertisements

– Offensive material

– Any psychedelic, laser or moving displays;

– Advertisement of Weapons and related items (such as firearms, firearm parts and magazines, ammunition etc.)

Negative Advertisements
Negative Advertisements
Negative Advertisements
Negative Advertisements
Cruelty to animals
Glorification of violence
Offensive and degradation of women

Negative Advertisements
Negative Advertisements
Promotion of Alcohols are not permitted
Negative Advertisements
For social cause, Cigarette advertisements are banned

Placement & Permission Guidelines

Placement Criteria
The criteria to giving permission for outdoor advertising shall be assessed on:

• Safety and Efficiency Criteria

Site selection
  • lateral placement
  • longitudinal (driver distraction control) placement
Physical characteristics of Advertising Devices
  • Size and shape
  • Colour
  • Illumination and luminance
  • Movement and rotation
  • Advertising Device content
Permission criteria

• Development Criteria
The location of the device shall not obstruct any future development plan for the city

• Supporting Structures
Power Connection
  • Electrical power
  • Power from renewable energy resources

• Advertising Management Plans
Co-ordination between various government sister concerns for consistent and uniform design and application of policies

• Visual Amenity
The devices must gel into the surrounding visual environment and must not overpower it

• Conservation Areas
The devices shall not come under any conservation areas

General Guidelines

Safety and Efficiency Criteria
The permission criteria for the display of Advertising Devices within the boundaries of MCD-controlled roads are intended to ensure that a high level of safety for road users is maintained traffic efficiency is assured.

• An Advertising Device may be considered a traffic hazard if it interferes with road safety or traffic efficiency
• If it interferes with the effectiveness of a traffic control device (eg. traffic light, stop or give way sign).
• It distracts a driver at a critical time (eg. making a decision at an intersection).
• It obscures a driver's view of a road hazard (eg. at corners or bends in the road).
• It gives instructions to traffic to "stop", "halt“ etc.
• It imitates a traffic control device
• It is a dangerous obstruction to road or other infrastructure, traffic, pedestrians, cyclists or other road users
• It is in an area where there are several signs and the cumulative effect of those signs may be potentially hazardous
• The traffic hazard potential of an Advertising Device varies depending on its size, location, luminance and background. The hazard generally diminishes the further the device is away from the road.
• Frequent changes to advertising content are more likely to distract a driver than a business sign within which content that does not change
• Easily recognized and well-known symbols are less likely than words to distract

To maintain safety and traffic efficiency for road users, the following two main areas should be controlled for proposed Advertising Devices:

1) Site selection -which is comprised of:

  • the lateral placement of Advertising Devices (which influences the hazard potential for an errant vehicle and the effectiveness of official traffic signs)
  • the longitudinal (driver distraction control) placement of Advertising Devices relative to designated traffic situations and official traffic signs, road features and other Advertising Devices (which influences sight distances and driver distraction).

2) Physical characteristics of Advertising Devices -including shape, illumination, colour and font size (which can influence the extent of driver distraction or confusion).

Clear Zones
Typical situations where additional driver attention and decision making are required include:
• high speed diverging, merging or weaving at an intersection such as at a "Y" intersection or large high-speed roundabouts

Typical situations where additional driver attention and decision making are required include:
• in the vicinity of intersections where through lanes merge and where vehicles are required to merge at higher speeds

Location of sign
• The sign in the restricted area should not be allowed as it may become a traffic hazard. The traffic merging at Y- end can have a negative impact due to sign

• No Unipoles or any advertising signage shall be allowed in any traffic island

Round about
• No Unipoles or any advertising signage shall be allowed in any round about less than 100m Dia.

Medians and carriage ways
• No advertising, Unipoles etc be allowed in road dividers or medians. The sign shall not come over the carriage way

Carriage ways
• No advertising, Unipoles etc be allowed in road dividers or medians. The sign shall not come over the carriage way

Location of sign
– in such a form as will obscure or hinder interpretation of any sign, signal or other device erected for traffic control by the Public Authorities

– the advertisements should not imitate or resemble, in colour or shape, the standard legal traffic signs, or employ such words as "STOP" in the same manner as used on traffic signs

– on boards, placards, cloth banners or sheets hung across a road as they distract the attention of the driver and are, therefore, hazardous

– in such form as will obstruct the path of pedestrians and hinder their visibility at crossings

– within right-of-way of the road

– when these will affect local amenity.

Music & sound not permitted
Cutouts beyond permitted size not permitted
Cutouts within permitted size permitted
Merging of two close located devices to become one not permitted

Pedestrian footpath
• No signage shall be allowed on pedestrian pathway.
• Temporary signs shall not be displayed on footpath or corridor
• The minimum clear height of any OOH sign to be 7ft from ground

Guidelines on Illumination

• Advertising Devices within and outside the boundaries of, but visible from, MCD- controlled roads shall not contain flashing red, blue or amber point light sources
• disability glare can cause a large increase in motorist response times to stimuli.
• All lighting associated with the Advertising Device shall be directed solely on the Advertising Device and its immediate surrounds.
• External illumination sources shall be shielded to ensure that external 'spot' light sources are not directed at approaching motorists.
• Illumination of advertising device is to be concealed or be integral part of it
• Up lighting of the device shall not be allowed, any external lighting is to be downward pointing and focused directly on the sign to prevent or minimize the escape of light beyond sign.
• Any light source shall be shielded so that glare does not extend beyond the sign
• The average maintained luminance shall be reduced to 0.5 candela or all together shut, after 2300 hours (11PM) and sunrise. This shall be accomplished by automatic timing devices.
• Non-static illuminated Advertising Devices (flashing lights) are not permitted within the boundaries of MCD-controlled roads.
• Controls are imposed upon non-static illuminated Advertising Devices to limit their distractive potential. These controls are based upon evidence that shows the momentary luminosity shortly after the commencement of a flash of light, or the repetitive switching on and off of a light, results in an increase in its perceived brilliance.

Illuminated advertisements of the following description are objectionable from the angle of traffic safety' and should not be allowed:

• advertisements which contain, include or are illuminated by any flashing, intermittent or moving light or lights except those giving public service information such as time, temperature, weather or date

• illuminated advertisements of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or impair vision of the driver or pedestrians, or which otherwise interfere with any operations of driving.

• illuminated advertisements of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or impair vision of the driver or pedestrians, or which otherwise interfere with any operations of driving.

• advertisements illuminated in such a way as to obscure or diminish effectiveness of any official traffic sign, device or signal.

• The light shall fall directly on signage
• The light shall be a down lighter.

• The light shall fall directly on signage

• There shall not be glare caused to traffic coming from either directions

• The light shall be a down lighter.

Renewable energy source

• To promote conservation of electricity, the illumination at all outdoor advertising devices shall draw power from alternate renewable resources like Solar power.

• This would help save lot of electricity for general public.

• To encourage and procure new technology the advertisers and licensee shall be given a rebate or special incentives as decided by MCD commissioner

• This would also help in reducing the advertiser cost for paying for consumption of electrical power from Discoms.

• No generator running on diesel/ petrol/kerosene or any bio fuel, causing noise, air or water pollution would be allowed for providing power for illumination of any outdoor advertising device

1/3rd Rebate in license fees for use of Renewable Energy Sources for Illuminating Advertisement Devices

Models of Advertisement Devices Under New Policy

Public toilets
Pole kiosks
Garbage Dumps
Bus Q Shelters
Street furniture


It is believed that only 2.6% of total signage area covered in city, generates revenue for government.

• At per present scenario, 4 major deficiencies exist related to revenue related to OOH in the city:
– The relationship between the provision of amenities and services in the city and the OOH is at best tenuous. Currently city is not able to derive benefits from what is currently raised from advertisements.
– Most signage that exist in city, violate rules and regulations and do not contribute to the city’s revenue.
– Revenue collection is at dismal due to flouting of regulations by OOH media owners.
– Method to establish revenue rates needs up-gradation and transparency. Floor rates currently are established on ad hoc basis.

In order to increase revenue share in city, following significant strategies can be adopted:

– Increase of revenue collection by bringing more signage types into the category.
– Increase the surface area of legal advertising domain
– Increase rate of revenue collection

• Over 5 million sq mtrs area for advertisement will be added through new advertising surfaces like, airborne devices, commercial vehicles, Trade and Business advertising on premises, Advertising oasis development in commercial and institutional areas, in commercial areas etc to generate revenue.

• Fee to be levied on commercial signage visible to public

• It will be levied on a sliding scale on an annual charge per sq mtr area of the sign.
• Under no circumstances will the payment of the fee allow a legal status for any illegal sign.
• The owner on whose property the sign is located will be responsible for depositing the fee charge.

• The fee is applicable for:
– All commercial advertising signs
– All trade and business signs

Sister organisations
Revenues from other government agencies shall be formalized and it is estimated that this revenue sharing arrangement will yield at least 25 percent of the revenues generated to the MCD coffers.

• The current revenue sharing arrangement with other sister government agencies is as follows

– Revenue sharing arrangement with DTC is based on equal sharing of 50-50 percent, revenue from advertising displayed on Bus shelters and Time keeping booths.

– Revenue sharing with Indian Railways is based on 25% revenue for MCD and 75% revenue share for Indian Railway.

• For all new opportunities with other government organization/s, corporations, etc (ITPO, DTDC, DDA, etc) it was recommended as per the MCD resolution number 520, dated 20.12.2004, that there should be uniform rates for MCD’s revenue share as under:

– 50% in respect of advertisements on structures/ utilities of other departments located on MCD/ public land.

– 25% in respect of advertisement displayed within the other organization own premises, but visible from public road/ places.

Operational Guidelines

Ten steps

Ten concrete measures necessary to implement the document in letter and spirit are listed as under :


1. Adoption of policy by MCD the recommendation and guidelines as contained in the document after due deliberation and their conversion into final codes for all forms of outdoor elements within the city (to be reviewed every five years)

2. Removal of illegal graphics / signages in the city in a phases manner after providing of an interim period as decided by MCD commissioner for conformance to new graphic codes – post adoption.


3. Prototype making of Public Amenities/ Facility/ Utility / Structures based on detailed working drawings
4. Undertaking of detailed location feasibility survey for various outdoor advertising devices

5. Putting into place, in consultation with appropriate Civic Agencies, a comprehensive policy on permissions, licensing and tariff system for services employed such as electricity, water, sewage, telephone connections etc. as required for various Amenity / Structures.

Communication / Partnerships

6. Adoption of a definitive procedure for timely and clear communication of guidelines, codes, execution / revenue implications to individual citizens.

7. Sensitizing parallel sister Organizations (NDMC, DTC, PWD, Railways, DMRC, Delhi Police, etc to the adopted codes and entering into practical and uniform partnership in one form or the other through print, electronic media etc.

Operations / Enforcement

8. Existing Advertising Department of the MCD’s to be upgraded with man power and resources

9. Constitution of a Body as the nodal policy making and Advisor Body including councilors to the MCD on all forms of outdoor advertising and issues connected with the Outdoor advertising of Delhi with rotatory tenured membership of eminent professionals from the field.

10. Setting up of a coordination committee with other civic agencies like NDMC, Railways, DMRC etc to effectively regulate and maintain the sanctity of the set policy guidelines

Immediate Projects under Implementation

Display of advertisement through:-

• Radio Taxis/Commercial Vehicles

G2C Kiosks for E-Sewa

• Installation of Information Kiosks

• Setting up of ‘Teh-Bazari’ Road-side Kiosks