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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I&B admits: It does a daily chai pe charcha with ‘autonomous’ DD, AIR

Written by Archna Shukla | New Delhi | Posted: February 3, 2015 4:40 am | Updated: February 3, 2015 4:43 am

Every morning, directors general of Doordarshan and All India Radio as well as heads of all media units under the Information & Broadcasting Ministry have to attend a meeting with I&B Secretary Bimal Julka. He calls these discussions "chai pe charcha".
For the past seven months, Julka has been chairing the meetings. Despite Prasar Bharati being an autonomous body, a senior official said these morning meetings were obligatory.
Sources said the primary agenda of the daily meetings was to plan, design and implement strategies to promote the work done by the government.
Defending the meetings, Julka said, "The idea is to bring all government media units together and chart out plans for disseminating information about government programmes and promoting them. There is no interference in the functioning of DD or AIR."

The I&B Ministry has been mandated to improve the "working" of DD and AIR, he added. "The government has said it wants to make both DD and AIR the most watched channels in the country. Our intention in involving them in our daily charcha is limited to that."
Apart from the DGs of DD and AIR, the heads of Press Information Bureau and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity attend the meetings.
A senior official from one of the units who has been attending the meetings since they began claims, "we keep getting regular inputs from the prime minister's office on communication strategies on various fronts". According to him, the meetings were initiated after a directive "from the top".