The Indian Information Services (IIS) has found support of the information and broadcasting ministry against the bid of certain ministries to outsource publicity work to private agencies.
The IIS officers working in the Press Information Bureau (PIB) are mandated to publicise
works of the Central government across India.
But, their performance has been questioned by some central government ministries, which hired public relations companies for publicity and outreach programmes.
Ministries such as environment and forest, human resources development and culture had sought the help of private companies for publicity of certain events, thus sending jitters among IIS officers.
The officers, on the other hand, complained that the senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers were not sharing information with them for dissemination.
They also claimed that access to information was being limited as some secretaries were not keen on taking publicity.
The officers have got backing of their cadre controlling ministry, I&B, whose secretary Uday Kumar Verma had written to all secretaries to help the IIS officers in disseminating government initiatives and policies.
"The designated officers are available on 24x7 basis to address all issues related to the media," he said, in his letter to the secretaries.
The secretary also outlined four key areas through which ministries can provide information to the PIB officers.
They are participation of PIB officers in all important meetings and deliberations in the ministry, briefing the PIB officers regularly about the ministries' work and achievements, share the brief for ministers for important occasions with PIB officers and the information put together for answering Parliamentary questions.
The I&B ministry believes that proper information flow to the PIB officers will help the government in projecting its achievements in the crucial election year, which had dipped in the wake of allegations of corruption against the UPA-2.
The secretary also pointed out that ability of the IIS officer to provide publicity to a ministry or a department depends on the level of "domain knowledge" and access to the secretary and senior officers.
The PIB has provided training to its officers to meet the aspirations of new media and is using technology for better information outflow.
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