Having decided that the media units attached to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry will not be shut, the government has begun to act on the revamp strategy for these units. To begin with, the government has decided to issue an advertisement policy for the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP), which was among the media units recommended for closure by the Geethakrishnan Committee on expenditure reforms.
Significantly, it is for the first time that a formal advertisement policy guideline will be issued for empanelment of newspapers with DAVP.
Till now, DAVP had no clear-cut guidelines on advertising, and was operating on a somewhat ad-hoc basis. Now that the government has made a decision to go against the Geethakrishnan Committee and revamp the I&B media units rather than shut them down, the DAVP advertisement policy is being seen as the first step in that direction.
According to an I&B official, one of the most outstanding aspects about the DAVP advertisement policy is the setting up of a Panel Advisory Committee (PAC) for considering applications of newspapers/journals to be empanelled for government ads.
The PAC will be headed by the Director-General, DAVP, and will include Additional Principal Information Officer in the Press Information Bureau; Press Registrar, Registrar of Indian Newspapers; and Joint/Deputy Secretary in the I&B Ministry dealing with the print media. The committee will also have representatives of big, medium and small newspapers.
In another significant development, it has been decided that empanelment of certain newspapers/journals would be done on a priority basis. The categories to get priority include small and medium newspapers/journals, specialised scientific and technical journals, language newspapers, newspapers/journals published in backward and remote areas.
Circulation of newspapers/journals is yet another relevant area that this policy has touched upon. It says that a newspaper/journal should have a minimum paid circulation of not less than 2,000 copies for being considered eligible for empanelment. However, in the case of scientific journals, newspapers/journals in Sanskrit and those published from backward areas can still be empanelled with DAVP for a circulation figure of just 500 copies per publishing day.