All central government schemes may soon have ‘PM’ or the names of nationalist leaders prefixed to them and films highlighting the achievements of Narendra Modi dispensation shown “mandatorily” before screening of movies in every theatre.
These are among a set of recommendations by the Group of Ministers set up to suggest ways for increased visibility of central government schemes and achievements in states and districts.
The internal note circulated at a meeting of the GoM chaired by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has also recommended creating animation clips of various achievements of the government highlighting the “difference between the past and present” in a “humorous way”. It has suggested roping in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for execution.
The GoM has suggested producing a film every two weeks to highlight the government’s achievements which will be played out before every film in every theatre “mandatorily”, for which again it has recommended taking I and B Ministry’s help.
Against the backdrop of allegations that state governments often take the credit for central schemes, the GoM has recommended that the inauguration of central schemes should be done in presence of Union ministers and MPs so the role of Centre is highlighted.
It has also recommended enhancing the authority of MPs by giving them constitutional authority to carry out checks on execution of the schemes and build in a system of penalties enforceable by central government whenever there is lack of efficiency in execution of a scheme. If the recommendations are implemented, the monitoring committees in districts for the schemes will be headed by MPs. Currently these are headed by District Magistrates or Superintendents of Police.
As per the note, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is amending the rules to allow MPs to head the committees.
Keen to augment its presence in the media, the GoM has recommended that every minister should give a minimum of two interviews every week to the National Broadcasters--Doordarshan and All India Radio--, besides a particular news agency.
“Each achievement must be released to media to create three to four different news items at different period of time such as at the stage of planning and conceptualization of the project, modification of the proposed project based on people feedback or expert advice, project launch or scheme execution and impact assessment (positive stories with real characters),” said the note circulated at a recent GOM meeting.
The GoM has also underlined the importance of the concept of “exclusive news” in media houses and suggested that such information should be “selectively given out to a few journalists” as “making them exclusive stories will ensure better coverage”.
Maintaining that bland presentation of statistics does not get into print, the GoM suggested the news should be given from the point of view of the end users so it reflects how does the project or the ministry’s work impacts or changes the life of an ordinary person.
The GoM also highlighted the importance of exploiting alternative publicity mediums like advertisements, field publicity and installation art.
Noting that each ministry spends money on advertisement usually directed towards print media and TV, the GoM has recommended that two other mediums which have a greater impact--radio and field publicity-- involving inter personal communication must also be considered.
The focus on radio is understandable as Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addresses a programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on AIR once every month.
Also, achievements and schemes should be highlighted through installation art along highways, streets, post offices, government offices, trains (inside and outside), platforms, airports, bus stands and even in the sky (via balloons), the note says.
It said the Ministry of I and B has a department that specializes in field publicity through “nukkad natak (street plays), songs in villager panchyats and towns. The GoM has suggested that these teams should be involved more in taking to people the achievements of the government.
BJP’s Good Governance Department is also separately planning a series of publications titled ‘The Difference that We Made’, highlighting the value addition that BJP ministers under the leadership of the Prime Minister have made.