Advisor Kumar calls for digitization of newspaper archives

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Reviews DIPR functioning

SRINAGAR: Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar reviewed the functioning of Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) at a meeting convened with the senior officers of the department, here Monday.
The meeting was attended by Secretary Information Sarmad Hafeez, Special Secretary Information Narinder Singh Bali, Joint Director Information (HQs) Saajid Yehaya Naqash, Joint Director Information Jammu, Naresh Kumar, Joint Director Information Kashmir, Mohammed Ashraf Hakak, Deputy Directors, Vidhushi Kapoor (KBI New Delhi), Rakesh Dubey and Atul Gupta and other senior officers of the department.
While reviewing the functioning of District Information Centres, the meeting was informed that these offices at the district headquarters are being looked after by the District Information Officers. The job assigned to them is to facilitate the Deputy Commissioner and other department heads at district level for publicizing the developmental schemes and other information to the public through media, the meeting was told.
The Advisor called for getting the District Information Officers ranked by respective Deputy Commissioner for their performance.
The working of Kashmir Bureau of Information (KBI) New Delhi was also discussed briefly. The Advisor sought details of the activities that are being carried out by this office and also asked for strengthening the office by having strong liaison with media houses and government departments in New Delhi. The issue of lack of proper accommodation at KBI New Delhi was also discussed and it was decided that the matter would be taken up with the Principal Resident Commissioner.
Regarding digitization of archival record including old publications which is lying with the department, it was given out that the process is underway and soon the records would be digitized for future reference. The Advisor sought note on activities being carried out by Research and Reference wing of the Department.
During the meeting, Secretary Information listed out various initiatives and achievements of the department. With regard to Capacity Building initiatives, the Advisor was told that that DIPR in collaboration with various institutions had organized training workshops for the media students of the state in different fields including Digital Film Making, Photography and Story Writing etc. Besides, various professionals working in the field of media were invited to hold training and interactive sessions with the media students.
Kumar while appreciating the efforts of DIPR for providing opportunities to the students/professionals in the sphere of capacity building asked for continuing the same kind of activities on regular basis.
The Advisor was informed about the details of Advertisement Budget provided for payment to the media against publication of government advertisements. It was informed that from Rs 22 crore in 2014-15 the advertisement budget has been increased to Rs 35 crore for the current fiscal and the Advertisement rates have been also increased by more than 50% by the government last year.
The issues including implementation of Journalists Welfare Scheme and Health Insurance Cover for journalists were also discussed in the meeting.
While getting informed about the ways of sharing information to the media, he asked the PR Wing to focus on dissemination of information through digital media.
Addressing the officers, K Vijay Kumar said that the department is mandated for doing very important tasks and it is required that all the wings of the department must be mobilized while adopting latest technologies to further improve its efficiency. He also asked the officers of DIPR to put forth their suggestions/inputs to further strengthen the department.
Issues including posting of officers at district offices and shortage of employees were raised in the meeting and discussed thoroughly.
It was informed that the DIPR is facing acute shortage of staff as around 320 posts are presently vacant which is hampering the smooth functioning especially at the cutting-edge level. The department has submitted a comprehensive re-organization proposal to the administrative department to fine-tune the human resource deployment at various levels in DIPR, the meeting was told. The Advisor assured full support of the government in strengthening DIPR and making it an effective interface between Government, media and people at large.