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Zia Haq, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 27, 2013
The government plans to set up a strategic think tank, state-administered and state-financed, to help it communicate effectively with an Indian middle-class increasingly turning edgy.

The Union cabinet is expected to take up the proposal for a communication think tank, moved by the information and broadcasting ministry. The move is in line with government steps to better connect with the public, sections of which are teetering on the brink of frustration and frequently protesting.

All government activities, for instance, are now being shared on "social media" sites to engage the youth.

The proposal comes in the wake of huge public demonstrations in major cities, including the Capital, on a host of issues - from corruption to price rise to sexual assaults.

As uprisings elsewhere by citizens have uprooted governments, India, one of the world's freest democracies, wants to take a timely step to assuage growing public angst.

The think-tank is proposed to be set up at Delhi's Indian Institute of Mass Communication. Countries, such as the United States, fund think tanks to help advocate public policy, especially in matters of security.

A key concern of the government is the economic agenda and harsh decisions to cut social spending, including fuel subsidies, for largely the urban population, who are used to state benefits and want things cheap.

"Not being able to convince people about policies can have larger consequences," an official said, requesting anonymity.