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Positive India story needs to be conveyed: I&B secretary

New Delhi, Sep 8, 2013 (IANS)

With elections eight months away and the economy in disarray, the information and broadcasting ministry has launched a two-pronged "positive India story" to inform the rural populace about the government's welfare schemes and also restore investor confidence.

"I feel there is a lot of positivity happening which doesn't get projected. Unfortunately, what message are we conveying to people abroad.. Investments are made on the basis of sentiments; We have positive things happening like the food security bill, the land acquisition bill, the pension fund bill, we need to convey this to people," Bimal Julka, Secretary (Information and Broadcasting), told IANS in an interview.

The United Progressive Alliance government launched its second phase of Glimpses of India Story on Aug 14, detailing its nine years of governance and the various populist steps it has taken.

Julka said besides popularizing the schemes on social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the ministry is also planning to launch a Bharat Nirman portal on Monday to enable the public post questions on the schemes and get answers. There will be a dedicated team, headed by a joint secretary, to constantly monitor the portal and take questions, with animation and games thrown in to make the portal more attractive.

With the large rural populace mostly ignorant about the various schemes, the ministry's song, dance and drama units have been fanning out to remote villages to popularize the welfare measures. "We are giving a big thrust to publicity, trying to activate the media units so that they hold meetings and project the government programmes.. The publicity units go to the villages, and present dramas, songs in their dialect," said Julka, who assumed office on July 1.

He said the All India Radio serial "Jamunia" on women empowerment, launched July 26, has fetched a very good response. "It talks of how the girl child gets educated, stands on her feet and earns a living. The reach of these programmes in rural areas needs to be publicized," said Julka.

"Not that positive things are not happening... Unfortunately somehow due to TRPs or whatever issues, the media gets mired in negativity and they project negativity... Now you see, the rupee is strengthening, economy is bouncing back. So gradually things do happen, so such things should be projected, not only in India but also globally," Julka told IANS.

To increase the reach of Doordarshan and All India Radio in the border areas, the ministry is to soon set up high-power transmitters soon in these areas, he said.

He said the ministry is talking to public broadcaster Prasar Bharti, under which Doordarshan and AIR function, to involve local talent in the creation of programmes.
"We want to augment our programmes on Doordarshan and AIR by involving local talent.

Local participation in programmes is very essential. Like when building a road or tank in a village if you involve the local panchayat, the participation improves..So content wise, have told Prasar Bharti we want to involve local participation," he said, adding that the local youth could be hired on contractual basis to devise programmes, which would provide employment and also generate the content that people like.

On the ambitious digitization process of the cable television network in India, Julka said the process is set to be completed by December 2014. The ministry would soon be seeking feedback from consumers on the quality of reception after the installation of set-top boxes. Once the entire digitisation process is completed, the profits would start kicking in for the cable owners and channels and the rates for consumers would come down, Julka said.


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