Amid Covid-19 crisis, senior bureaucrat Amit Khare returns to helm I&B ministry
Senior IAS officer Amit Khare on Monday took charge as the secretary of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry, a vital move, as the government is increasingly focussing on adopting the right communication strategy as the country prepares to move into the next phase in the battle against coronavirus.
This is the second time that the Jharkhand-cadre 1985-batch IAS officer will work at the helm of the I&B ministry. He had occupied the position before being made Secretary (School Education) in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). At present, Khare also holds charge as Secretary (Higher Education) in the HRD ministry.
On Monday, Khare took charge of the ministry in the afternoon and met all the key officers.
The return of the veteran officer to the I&B ministry, which decides the Union government’s communication outreach, is important as the government has been trying to spread awareness about the tough decisions it has been forced to take following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been at the forefront of this information outreach as he has repeatedly made television addresses and held interactions to communicate the government’s perspective on the situation.
On Sunday, in his Mann Ki Baat address, PM Modi had once again focussed on coronavirus and warned against any complacency.
With the government focussing on hotspots and devising different strategies for different districts depending upon their situation, the I&B ministry is also working to tweak its strategy to localized needs, which considering the diversity is a challenge.
Another challenge that the ministry has been facing is the unending stream of fake news and untruths that have swamped social media sites.
The appointment of Khare also comes at a time when the media, be it newspapers, broadcasters or the cinema industry have all been hit hard. Representatives of these sectors have repeatedly approached the government about the adverse impact their advertisement revenues as well as circulation mechanisms have suffered.
In an order on Sunday, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the prime minister made several key changes including bringing Khare into the I&B ministry in place of Ravi Mittal, who has been made secretary sports. CBSE chairperson Anita Karwal has been made School Education secretary in the HRD ministry, a charge Khare held.