Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smt. Ambika Soni Inaugurates First Regional Conference of Media Units in North East at Guwahati.

Communication Roadmap for the North-East Region on the Anvil.
Focus to be on Infrastructure Upgradation, Innovative Programming and Content Development to Address Cultural and Linguistic Needs.

Smt. Ambika Soni, Minister for Information & Broadcasting today inaugurated the 1st Regional Conference of Media Units in the North-East at Guwahati. Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Soni said, all efforts would be made to innovate communication tools and processes in order to address the communication needs of the North-Eastern region. For this purpose, the initiatives of the Ministry would aim to empower the people with quality information, while at the same time looking into issues related to infrastructure upgradation for Media Units, manpower requirements for enhancing information dissemination , programming and content creation for effective outreach.

Elaborating further, the Minister said, the initiative of convening the 1st Regional Conference provided a platform for comprehensive discussions on outlining the future communication roadmap for the region and facilitated a face-to-face interaction with the key Principals of the State Governments.
Such interactions also served as a guiding tool in designing the outreach programmes in the Media Units during the 12th Plan. This platform also provided an opportunity to State Governments to understand the working of the Media Units in the context of the recent policy initiatives undertaken by the Ministry for the region namely digitalisation, funds for software development, increasing the bouquet of channels under DTH services under DD Direct Plus from 57 to 97 in Phase-I , policy support for small and medium newspapers in local regional languages. The Minister specifically mentioned that media units such as Directorate of Field Publicity and Song & Drama Division would be strengthened from both the infrastructure and human resource perspective so that the awareness of Government's schemes could reach the far flung areas of the country.

In her deliberations, Smt. Soni assured the participating States that issues regarding uplinking/downlinking and quality of transmission would be addressed by the recent initiatives of the Ministry pertaining to digitalization. It was also mentioned that through the Phase-III policy of FM radio, an attempt was being made to invite the participation of private players in the segment. Incentives were being provided to facilitate the partnership of private stakeholders. Regarding the Exhibition put up by DAVP on Bharat Nirman at Kalashetra, Guwahati, Smt. Soni said, that similar exhibitions would be displayed in other North-Eastern States in due course.
This would enable the region to understand the development initiatives of the Government related to flagship schemes. The exhibition displays in local languages would enable the community to relate to key initiatives.

The Conference discussed in detail the initiatives undertaken by the Media Units for the region. For Doordarshan, the initiatives highlighted included its efforts to promote Free to Air DTH Service of 'DD Direct Plus' by distributing 25,000DTH receiver systems through the nodal officers appointed by the state government, upgrading the satellite earth stations at Kohima, Imphal, Itanagar, Agartala and Gangtok to 2+1 systems, shift from D-9 cameras and edit suites to tapeless technology, enhanced budgetary support for in-house production thereby providing opportunity for local participation and projecting local culture. Rs.25 crores has been allocated to Doordarshan for the year 2010-11.

The Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity outlined the initiatives taken to effectively implement the special provisions in policies for relaxation in empanelment of newspapers in North-East. Currently, 2.4% of total newspapers empanelled by DAVP are from the North -East. The region got 19.3% of the total insertions given by the Directorate. It also highlighted the measures taken to implement special provisions for empanelment of TV channels in the region.

The Directorate of Field Publicity highlighted the publicity work carried out in the remote and inaccessible areas not reached by other media. The grass-root level communication programmes in the insurgency affected areas, border areas, char island population, tribal and dominated villages was shared with the state representatives. The proposals for revitalizing the Directorate after the withdrawal of the ERC, with specific focus on the North Eastern States.

Song & Drama Division, informed the representatives of different States about the major initiatives taken by the Department in increasing the empanelment of private performing groups and artists from each State. The Department expects to double the number of such agents of public outreach in next few months. Special emphasis is being given to all those areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland where there had been nil representation.

Press Information Bureau outlined the initiatives being taken in the North-East in the context of Public Information Campaigns being conducted to highlight the flagship programmes of the Government. It stated that events such as the Editors' Conference on Social and Infrastructural issues held in Guwahati on 12th & 13th July, 2010 was an attempt to sensitize the media on key initiatives being undertaken in the region.

Summing up the discussions, Secretary(I&B), Shri Raghu Menon stated that the Community Radio as an outreach tool would be strengthened in the 12th Plan. For the North-Eastern Region, the Ministry would consider the proposal of providing Seed Capital for initiating such effective outreach tools during the next Plan period. He also stated that the Ministry would address the concern of States by interacting more frequently and addressing concerns in a time-bound manner.

(PIB Press Release)

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