Remembering Arun Jaitley’s contribution as I&B Minister

As Information & Broadcasting Minister, Jaitley led key initiatives including FM auctions, revising guidelines for print and online ads, and establishing the much needed Film Facilitation Office

by Ruhail Amin
Published - Aug 26, 2019 8:48 AM Updated: Aug 26, 2019 9:13 AM
ArunJaitley

The sudden demise of veteran politician Arun Jaitley has left everyone in shock. After all, last year this time, Jaitley was spearheading two ministries and now he is no more.

Apart from helming ministries such as Finance and Defence, Jaitley was also the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) between 2014 to 2016.
During his time as I&B Minister, Jaitley set in motion some key initiatives which had a far-reaching and positive impact on the overall industry. Some of these initiatives included: FM auctions (phase 3), setting in motion the new business policy for publications, revised guidelines for print and online ads and establishing the much needed Film Facilitation Office.

While releasing the new policy on print and online advertising, Jaitley had stated that the policy focuses on streamlining the release of Government advertisements and to also promote equity and fairness among various categories of newspapers/periodicals. This assumed significance came at a time when nearly 1000 crore rupees were being spent every year on government advertisements.

Jaitley never favoured the shrillness that we witness across private news channels. In fact, he ensured that Doordarshan never had “TRP centric shrillness”.

In one of his press briefings as I&B Minister, while commenting on the so-called ‘rat-race’ involving TRPs and Prasar Bharati’s stand on it, Jaitley had said, "The shrillness of the private news channels actually gives to the print media an opportunity to strike back. Because the volume of news is getting lost. That I have created this news today and therefore must build it over the next three days, that's the policy of a private channel. So conventional news, in which there will be forty news items....so why can't Prasar Bharati news channels go in and look for that space?”

The introduction of the Film Facilitation Centre was another landmark decision by Jaitley. It addressed the long-standing demand for single-window clearance. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, set up the FFO in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India. The services rendered by the FFO have now been extended to Indian filmmakers as well. It acts as a single-window facilitation and clearance mechanism that eases filming in India, as well as endeavoring to create a film-friendly ecosystem and promoting the country as a filming destination.

Jaitley was known to be one of the most media-friendly politicians and looking at the number of obituaries written by journalists, it is clear that Jaitley enjoyed immense goodwill for being the media-savvy politician that he was. In the words of one of the journalist’s, Jaitley’s death marks the end of an era of a reporter’s politician.

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