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Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 12, 2013
With next general election barely a year away, the UPA government is on an overdrive to reach out to the aam aadmi.

Walking the extra mile, finance minister P Chidambaram will participate in an All India Radio live show to answer direct questions over telephone from people on his latest budget proposals and related issues. He is also likely to speak on two key issues-the timely service and grievance redressal bill and the anti-rape ordinance.

The planning commission, meanwhile, is gearing up for a Google Hangout session on the 12th five year plan.  Road minister CP Joshi will also join this social media tool to connect with commuters to get their views on how to improve road safety.

Chidambaram had already explored Google Hangout for a chat show on his budget proposals.

Sources in the government added that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh had prodded the government managers for a more aggressive campaign on the UPA's initiatives.

The government will also hold a national conference of newspaper and TV editors on March 23 and 24 here to interact with the media on issues related to economy and infrastructure. Social sector initiatives will also be discussed at length.

A special team of senior ministers has been formed to tour several cities and explain current issues.