Initiatives such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan may have been awash with publicity, but PM Narendra Modi wants a stronger media outreach and isn’t entirely happy that some ministries rarely grab headlines.
The prime minister’s office recently flagged some of these issues, an official said, prompting the information and broadcasting ministry to review steps to ratchet up its media strategy. The ministry now plans to form a crack media team from its pool of information officers of the Press Information Bureau — the government’s publicity machinery. All officers will be provided with smartphones and will soon receive training from professional communication specialists on handling new technologies.
A technology-driven publicity blitzkrieg had swept the BJP to power six months ago. Now Modi, the government’s communicator-in-chief, wants a similar campaign around all government initiatives. “The perception from the PMO is that there is inadequate coverage of some government initiatives,” an official said.
The PMO listed three flagship programmes being spearheaded by the PM — Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Make in India and Jan Dhan Yojana— for wider publicity.
Information ministry, secretary Bimal Julka, this week met some key public information officers in the Press Inform-ation Bureau.
The review found that ministries, such as health, commerce and rural development, continued to be low key. Information officers felt these ministries failed to make their presence felt because ministers heading them were unenthusiastic about meeting journalists.
“Their view was that some of these ministers, who were earlier friendly with the media, have now clamped up. Though news related to these ministries are covered, such coverage was routine and not minister-driven,” a source said.