The ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) and Planning Commission has virtually refused to adhere to the downsizing parameters recommended by the Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC) headed by KP Geethakrishnan.
Both the I&B ministry and working group for the 10th Plan are for strengthening the government’s information network in contrast to the ERC’s call for winding up of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) offices in cities other than the state capitals, as also for closing down the publications division of the ministry.
The I&B ministry has also found the ERC report calling for winding up of the publications division as not implementable.
According to I&B ministry, the publications division publishes books and journals on matters of national importance and the nation’s cultural heritage and reaches them to the readers at affordable prices. It publishes books in English, Hindi and different regional languages.
The working group did not find any rationale in the ERC recommendations and made a case for accelerating efforts for producing more language literature. It also underlined the need for adopting a professional approach to improve sales and enhance product quality.
In sharp contrast to the ERC views calling for scaling down of the information dissemination function of the administration, the working group stressed, “the role of the government needs to be more pro-active. Concrete efforts has to be taken so that it acts as a catalyst rather than a controller in implementation of programmes.”