Outgoing Swaraj reminisces I&B tenure

NEW DELHI: Even as the new minister of state with independent charge, Ravi Shankar Prasad is slated to take charge at the I&B ministry tomorrow, the pink dailies got a pat on their back today from outgoing minister Sushma Swaraj when she said the inspiration to push the 'E' of ICE (information, communication and entertainment) came from business dailies that covered this sector extensively.

Swaraj, who takes over health and parliamentary affairs ministries, also said that in September 2000 , there was a question mark on the existence of the ministry, but as she leaves today she can say with pride the importance of the ministry has been tellingly conveyed to the critics.

In a farewell interaction with journalists on the media beat here today, Swaraj said the importance of the entertainment sector dawned on her from the formation of ICE (information, communication and entertainment) bureaus and ICE pages in business dailies about three years ago.

"I told myself, if ICE is all about information and communication, the `E' was missing and not being properly projected," she said, adding that it gives her "great satisfaction" that she has been able to give a fillip to this sector that is evident from the export earnings of the entertainment sector- from Rs 2000 million a few years ago, this year it has crossed the Rs 9000 million mark.

Asked what would be her advice or message to new minister Prasad, Swaraj jokingly said, "I have a very good rapport with him and I'll tell him directly if at all there is something that needs to be told. But that would not be done through the media and Press." 

Swaraj, looked back at her stints at Shastri Bhawan, which houses the I&B ministry amongst other ministries, said: "When I came to the I&B ministry, the Geethakrishnan panel (formed to recommend ways to downsize the government) had already suggested closing down units and axing about 5,000 jobs in the ministry. There was a question mark on the existence of the ministry and it was like getting something from the BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Restructuring)."

"But", she pointed out, "today it is satisfying to note that the I&B ministry's existence has been fully established and its image of being a propaganda ministry too has been dispelled. I thought of giving a new look to the (I&B) ministry and it has been successfully done, though some tasks have been left unfinished that the new minister would certainly take care of." 

Dwelling on some of the achievements of the I&B ministry during her tenure, Swaraj said that giving permission to TV channels to uplink from India, getting the entertainment sector industry status and getting the FDI in print medium issue sorted out were some of the issues that will have tremendous impact on the way the media and entertainment business is conducted in India.

"Earlier, except DD, no channel uplinked from India. Today, as many as 77 channels uplink from India," Swaraj said, pointing out that this has not only arrested outflow of foreign exchange, but also earned the government additional revenue. 

Prasar Bharati was another area which, Swaraj said, gives her satisfaction as "for the first time, the Prasar Bharati board is complete" (with an independent chairman and the likes of CEO and member finance in place). "Now nobody can accuse the government of trying to control Prasar Bharati," she added.

Meanwhile, in comments made ahead of his taking charge at Shastri Bhavan, Prasad has said he would like to have another look at the Geethakrishnan panel's recommendation on downsizing of the I&B ministry.

Swaraj had maintained that she has managed to save the ministry after rationalstion of the media units of the ministry and has finally made the finance ministry to see her point of view, which includes surrendering just 1000-odd posts in the ministry rather than 5000-odd as suggested by the Geethakrishnan report.

If Prasad decides to reverse Swaraj's decision in this matter, then it may turn out to be a major move.

Prasad is said to be close to deputy prime minister and home minister LK Advani.

Latest Reads
Maha Cartoon targets 65 per cent rural HSM via DD FreeDish, 2000 LCOs

Who can forget the Charlie Chaplin show which entertained the world audience of all ages. Maha Cartoon, the first free-to-air (FTA) Hindi cartoon channel targeted at the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), will be launched on India's largest DTH platform DD FreeDish on 1 November. The new Maha Cartoon...

Television TV Channels Kids
Vikram Chandra steps down; KVL Narayan Rao is new NDTV group CEO

The rumours that were making rounds of Vikram Chandra quitting NDTV have now been put to rest.

Television TV Channels People
Naagin helps Colors capture top position this week: BARC

Backed by Naagin Season 2, Colors was almost close to Star Plus to get the number one position, but, this week, Colors went few steps ahead and grabbed the leadership position and replaced Star Plus in week 42. Even in Urban GECs market, Colors toppled Star and took over the number one position.

Television TV Channels Viewership
SPN India to broadcast Barclays ATP World Tour finals

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) will exclusively broadcast the upcoming ATP events in the month of November. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters will be aired live on Sony ESPN channels and will be streamed live on SonyLIV app and website. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters in Paris will begin on 31 October.

Television TV Channels Sports
Hunt for Zee Business head continues

MUMBAI: Zee Business, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, has seen several transitions in its management this year. The channel was initially headed by Amish Devgan, who decided to move away after serving for 14 years. It was then led by Zee Media Corporation’s then CEO for content Samir Ahluwalia,who...

Television TV Channels People
'King' content will take over monopolistic media entities, says Arnab Goswami

NEW DELHI: The future of news lies in breaking away from the interdependence of politicians and the media on each other.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Animated 'Ramayana' a global Diwali gift on web, mobile

NEW DELHI: Thirty episodes of the animated series Ramayana will be available around the world on the nexGTv web and mobile platforms during Diwali.

Television TV Shows Animation
Sports Minister lauds b'casters, other stakeholders in promoting sports

NEW DELHI: India’s Sports Minister Vijay Goel said on Wednesday that digital media broadcasting will play a critical role in bringing about change in sports broadcasting in India but broadcasters must also focus on how sports as a product is delivered to audiences in rural areas so as to popularise...

Television TV Channels Sports
Know your karma on IBN7 with 'Karm Path'

In an attempt to give its viewers a refreshing start of the day, IBN7 is launching a new show titled Karm Path. Starting 27 October, the show will predict what the day holds. The show is a differentiator in its own genre as it connotes the supremacy of deeds over destiny.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories