Ambika Soni in the race to win IMPACT Person of the Year

Digitisation in the four metros, pushing FM phase III, revival of Prasar Bharti during her tenure…the list of Soni’s relentless work is long

by Shobhana Nair
Published - Nov 30, 2012 7:11 PM Updated: Nov 30, 2012 7:11 PM
Ambika Soni in the race to win IMPACT Person of the Year

It’s that time of the year when we, at IMPACT, break our heads to analyse the maximum impact created by a media, marketing or advertising personality. Of the six final nominees this year, the one who has been chosen for her relentless work in the media and entertainment domain is ex-Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni. It was only due to Soni’s resilience and staunch beliefs that the four metros could witness the digital dawn. It will not be wrong to credit Soni for pushing the agenda for digitisation of television in India, and finally making it official, with definite deadlines. She managed to fight pressures from different lobbies to safeguard progressive content on television since taking charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in May, 2009.

If television received Soni’s attention; radio too wasn’t far behind as Soni did her best to speed up FM phase III policies to benefit all the shareholders of the sector. Print media too found tremendous support under the I&B Minister’s leadership even during the economic slowdown. These actions only went on to prove Soni’s commitment to ensure that different segments of the media were on equal platform to create a robust industry.

Immediately after taking over the office, the new minister had clearly drawn out areas which required her immediate attention ranging from the coverage of widely anticipated Commonwealth Games, content code for news broadcasters and resolving all the issues that the print and the electronic media had.  Soni also focussed on cinema where she revived NFDC by pumping huge amounts of moolah at a time when it was almost defunct.

And let’s not forget that it was during Soni’s tenure that Prasar Bharati announced a plan of revival with a budget of Rs 140 crore to be spent on production and acquiring fresh software of programmes. It is estimated that due to all the revamp plans, Prasar Bharati is set to increase its fresh content resulting in a boost in annual revenues.

Soni made her political debut in the year 1975 as President of the Indian Youth Congress and was elected to the Rajya Sabha in the subsequent year. She has held several senior positions in the Congress Party. And she’s followed her party’s policy of connecting to the ‘aam aadmi’ religiously.

Soni became Union Cabinet Minister for Tourism and Culture during 2006 and 2009.  It was during her term that the world saw the ‘Incredible India’ campaign leading 12 percent – 14 per cent growth in foreign tourism. Not just that, she made sure that the Red Fort be awarded the World Heritage Site status. Not surprisingly, Soni prefers to call herself a ‘political activist’.

The other nominees competing for the coveted Impact Person of the Year 2012 are Man Jit Singh, CEO, Multi Screen Media (MSM); Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises; Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Jagran Prakashan; Vikram Sakhuja, CEO Designate, Maxus Worldwide; and Vineet Jain, MD, BCCL. The much-awaited award ceremony will be held on December 18.

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