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I&B ministry to bring new national information & communication policy: Naidu

MUMBAI: Minister of Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu has said his ministry would be formulating a national information and communication policy to address the communication needs of the people, challenges and the paradigm shift taking place across the media space.

“We are preparing a draft. Once finalised, it will be communicated to all the states. We will be endorsing it at a national-state information ministers’ conference,” said Naidu while speaking at the state information ministers conference (SIMCON).

The proposed policy would be prepared in consultation with the states in the spirit of cooperative federalism and the principle of ‘Team India’, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi firmly believed in.

Venkaiah-Naidu1The 28th edition of SIMCON, organised after seven years, has the theme—‘Reform, Perform & Transform–A New Dimension of Communication’. Minister of State in the MIB Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, state information ministers, senior officials from the ministry and state governments were present on the occasion.

Elaborating on the proposed contours of the policy, Naidu said that the broad objectives should be to enhance access to information and communication infrastructure and new technologies, especially in rural areas; to promote national dialogue on development issues by all citizens and facilitate informed participation of people in setting development agenda and its execution; to rationalise multi-sectoral investments in information and communication hardware and software through their consolidation and appropriate integration in development plans and planning structures; to ensure timely, orderly and effective growth of information and communication institutions and professions through standards setting, capacity building and human resource development; broadly define the roles of different governments at various levels and other stakeholders; preserve national cultural identity and enhance the development of cultural and artistic capabilities and institutions, while enabling productive regional and international exchanges and support national and local development initiatives; and to improve the quality of life of the people, by facilitating systematic and effective use and coordination of communication and information strategies and outcomes.

He further stated that the initiation of such a policy would integrate development communication, development agendas linking planners, beneficiaries and implementers of development actions. It was the endeavour of the proposed policy to make people informed participants in the decision-making and development planning process. Such a communication approach also enabled policy makers to look at people as part of a solution. The challenge before such a policy was to analyse the ingredients of the communication environment including competencies and resources that are critical.

Highlighting the role of communication in behaviour change, Naidu referred to the Swachh Bharat Mission and the recent demonetisation initiative. Both were socio-economic transformations with long-term gain for the country. The minister also urged the states to do more effective campaigns under Swachh Bharat Mission.

The minister also announced that a cash component of Rs 1 crore would be given to the most film-friendly state. Currently, the award carries a medal (Rajat Kamal) and a certificate only. The minister said that the winning state might use the prize money in facilitating film-making in the state.

Regarding the agenda for discussion at the conference, Naidu said that the focus was on the enhancing the ease of doing business to promote India as a filming destination, pushing digitisation of TV sets, effective use of social media, taking full advantage of All India Radio, Doordarshan and the publications division.

Speaking earlier, MIB secretary Ajay Mittal gave an overview of the deliberations of the first day’s meeting, highlighting some of the key discussion points across sectors and suggestions received from the states. During the deliberations, the separate wings of the ministry, films, broadcasting, information and Prasar Bharti (AIR & DD) made presentations regarding the policy initiatives and issues for discussions and convergence with the states.

Prior to the inaugural session, the minister visited various stalls and multimedia exhibitions showcased by the media units of the ministry. The exhibition showcased the film industry’s contribution to independence and was organised to celebrate the 70th year of the country’s independence. The three themes covered include ‘Rise and Revolt: Cinema of Social Reform’, ‘Our Freedom Fighters: Through the Lens of Cinema’ and ‘Saluting Our Soldiers’