Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Naresh Chandra Committee on National Security tells Centre to use Media better

The need for the government to improve its use of the media, both print and electronic, to handle national security concerns has clearly been spelt out by the Naresh Chandra Committee on National Security, which has submitted its final report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.The 14-member task force, set up by the government a decade after the Kargil Review Committee to take forward national security reforms, has clearly added a new dimension to handling security challenges through the 'media'.
-The Asianage:
The urgency to focus on media relations gained critical importance after the 26/11 terror attacks. The task force says the ministries of home and defence need to reinvent their strategic communication wings by taking a leaf out of the PMO’s book. It recommends that a 'media-savvy bureaucrat' or a 'senior media professional from the private sector' (as in the PMO), in the rank of additional secretary and reporting directly to the home and defence secretaries and to the ministers directly where required, should head the strategic communication wings in both ministries. It adds that the Press Information Bureau needs a 'complete revamp' involving the attachment of information officers to 'leading and respected media houses' for month-long training modules to bring them 'up to date on the working professionalism and the psychology of the private media'.The National Security Council Secretariat is currently conducting interministerial consultations on the recommendations of the task force.

Media campaign to highlight govt steps Keeping in focus the succour, which the government has provided to 'aam aadmi' in the last eight years, the Centre is all set to launch a media blitzkrieg on Thursday.The effort is also aimed at dispelling the perception of policy paralysis by highlighting the positive impact of reforms on people at large.Revealing this, sources said, the campaign is to be carried out at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office PMO), which will be in six parts in the form of advertisements.

It will cover areas such as electricity, housing, phones, water, mobiles and TVs, they added. One of the promotional campaigns reads: “Nai aarthik neetiyon ne dikhaya kamaal, kamyabi se bharpur dashak bemisal (new economic reforms have shown splendid results, the last decade has been full of results).” Asserting that there exists 'feel good' in the country, the add blitzkrieg is set to highlight that over six crore electricity connections have been added.It will also refer to seven crore new bank accounts opened by common people, besides expanding computerisation and skill development.

This is going to be in tune with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday that the government was ensuring that benefits of reforms reach the people at grass roots level. For long the Manmohan Singh government has been accused of suffering from policy paralysis resulting in slowdown of economy.

Even a few international rating agencies have downgraded India’s economy, which has rung alarm bell. New finance minister P. Chidambram too has recently come out with a long policy statement enumerating various measures to arrest the slide. Therefore, sources said, the government’s campaign will also focus on the aspects relating to overall economy and play a significant role in correcting the perceptionbased allegations of policy paralysis.

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