The Government today formally announced bifurcation of advertisement distribution and information dissemination in the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) by ordering establishment of independent nodal offices for advertisement distribution in the Joint Directorate of Information Kashmir and Jammu.
“From 1st of September 2017, the advertisement distribution to the approved newspapers and periodicals and the release of payment thereof shall be the sole responsibility of the respective nodal offices which will function under the overall control of the Joint Directors of Information in Kashmir and Jammu divisions without any intervention from the Directorate of Information,” the Minister for Information, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Choudhary Zulfkar announced at a review meeting of the DIPR here today.
He said the new arrangement would be on the pattern of DAVP, and the Joint Directors of Information in Kashmir and Jammu divisions would be autonomously responsible for ensuring timely and judicious distribution of official advertisements in the print media as per the guidelines laid down in the Advertisement Policy-2016.
He said they will also independently deal with the financial matters including release of payments to the newspapers without any involvement of the Directorate of Information. He said over a period of time these new offices will be strengthened by way of manpower and infrastructure and rechristened as “State Advertisement Distribution Department” (SADD).
Pertinently, 467 newspapers and periodicals including 271 in Jammu and 196 in Kashmir division are presently empanelled with DIPR for release of government advertisements.
The DIPR released a payment of around Rs 31 crore to the newspapers and periodicals on account of advertisements during the fiscal 2016-17 while for the current financial year the advertisement budget is to the tune of Rs 30 crore.
The Minister said the decision to bifurcate advertisement distribution and information dissemination is a significant step towards decentralization of powers and to facilitate the Directorate of Information to exclusively use its energies and resources for effective information dissemination. He said there has to be a renewed focus on information dissemination through electronic and the new media in view of the fast-changing media scenario in and around the State.
“The newspaper owners and editors should henceforth directly approach the respective provincial Joint Directors of Information with the issues pertaining to advertisement distribution instead of visiting the Directorate of Information regarding such matters,” he said and added that move would go a long way in bringing up the DIPR as a professional organization on the pattern of Press Information Bureau (PIB) dealing exclusively with information dissemination about the government’s policies, developmental and welfare initiatives.
The Minister asked the Joint Director of Information Kashmir/Jammu divisions to clear the payments of the newspapers and periodicals on account of advertisement bills for the current fiscal before Eid-ul-Azha.
The Minister said that various initiatives have been of late taken for capacity building of DIPR including hiring of professionally and technically qualified human resource to bring it up as a specialized organization. He also approved empanelment of 25 more Stringers (Reporters) and 20 Stringers (Cameramen) in DIPR from amongst the professionally qualified youth in respective fields.
The meeting also had a threadbare discussion on the re-organization of the department to create more career progression opportunities for the employees. It was decided that a committee under the chairmanship of Secretary Information with Director Information, Joint Director Information (Headquarters), Joint Director Information Kashmir and Joint Director Information Jammu would formulate a comprehensive proposal regarding reorganization of the department.
Appreciating the DIPR for reviving the publications and successfully starting in-house production of the departmental programme, Aks-e-Parwaaz, the Minister said the Department should come out with a monthly periodical to make people aware of the policies, developmental and welfare initiatives launched by the Government. The Minister also appreciated the Joint Director Information Jammu and her staff for organizing a grand cultural event as a part of Independence Day celebrations.
Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali also emphasized the need for early constituting of State Media Advisory Council (SMAC) in the State. The aim of the Council is to raise the issues faced by the journalists in the State while discharging their professional duties. The formulation of council was recommended by the Press Council of India (PCI) Sub-Committee during its recent visit to Kashmir.
Reviewing the progress on construction of Auditorium at Media Complex Jammu, the meeting was informed that the Auditorium will be ready for inauguration by next month.
Secretary Information, M H Malik, Director Information, Muneer-ul-Islam, Additional Secretary, Information, R K Katoch, Joint Director Information (Headquarters) Abdul Majid Zargar, Joint Director Information Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmad Mir, Joint Director Information Jammu, Manisha Sareen and other officers of DIPR were present at the meeting.