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Guest Column: Agenda for the new I&B Ministry

12-November-2014
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 Guest Column: Agenda for the new I&B Ministry

It’s quite apparent that Mr. Modi has decided not to talk to media much. That’s why he has chosen the best and the most eloquent in his cabinet to become the official spokesperson of his Government, i.e Mr. Arun Jaitley. He is sharp, articulate and equally comfortable in both English and Hindi. If he wasn’t enough, he has Mr. Credible Rajyavardhan Rathore in company as his MOS. But how will Mr. Jaitley shape up the agenda of the I&B Ministry in the near future? Let’s hazard some guesses.

1.    Must make sure the current PM doesn’t go the same way as his predecessor. Finally, we want our PM to speak to us and take a few questions directly.

2.   Ensure freedom of press at any cost, both theoretically and literally. There can be voices of dissent against the majority government and that’s fair.

3.  Focus on North East by beefing up infrastructure of institutions like Prasar Bharti, NFDC, RNI, etc. in that region.

4.  The media industry employs a lot of women at various levels. Ensure equal opportunity, safety and security of lakhs of women engaged in this industry.

5.  Ensure Prasar Bharati is at arm’s length from the I&B Ministry and also revamp DD so that it doesn’t become a default medium but a medium of choice. And PM’s exclusive bites to DD will help the cause.

6.  A firm policy towards the film industry is required which will help in

a.  Institutional funding to films

b.  Increase number of exhibition theatres

c.   Standardize and reduce entertainment tax to encourage investment in infrastructure

d.  Work on reducing piracy

e.  Modernise FTII, SRFTI to better training infrastructure and methods

7.  The PRB Act of 1867 should be really looked into and modernized to contemporary needs. It’s archaic.

8.  Meet deadlines of Phase IV of cable TV digitization process and stay on course with future deadlines. Also be fair with policy guidelines for the third round of auctions for FM radio. This is the best chance for the radio industry to persuade the new I&B Minister to allow news on FM.

The author is President and Publisher, Chitralekha Group and also the President of Association of Indian Magazines (AIM).

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