NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar is "philosphically" and "ideologically" in favour of doing away with the ministry as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plank of "less government, more governance."
Javadekar was asked whether India needed an I&B Ministry when many major democracies do not have such a ministry.
"I think you are giving a good line for us. But ultimately, when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that more governance and less government, so you are actually contributing to the idea of less government and more governance. That's our focus, but to achieve that end you have to follow a process.
"But I would like that government becomes less and less and freedom and market forces and at the same time social justice is achieved," Javadekar replied.
He was speaking to Karan Thapar for Headline Today's programme 'Nothing but the Truth'. Thapar asked Javadekar if he meant that three of four years down the line, he would like to ensure that this (I&B) ministry ceases to exist.
"Philosphically or ideologically, I'll be willing to do that," he said and added that in the coming years words like 'government-run', 'government-controlled' or 'government intervention' will be heard less and less.
Thapar asked Javadekar whether Prime Minister Modi was also philosophically and ideologically in agreement with his line of thinking.
"Absolutely," Javadekar replied and added the Prime Minister always said less government and more governance.
In the past, former union minister Manish Tewari had also reportedly said the I&B ministry belonged to a past era.
Speaking further, Javadekar also suggested he was open to appointment of professional editors for Doordarshan and AIR.
The I&B minister said that as far as the public broadcaster is concerned, there are various models like the BBC and others available which would be studied. Javadekar
said he was not in favour of a model where the public broadcaster is accountable to the minister "only".
"Today, it is like this that as if it is a government fiefdom. I don't want to make this as a government fiefdom but really a competitive market channel," he said.
He was asked if he would appoint a professional editor of Doordarshan and All India Radio and provide that person full freedom. "This is a good suggestion for action and we'll seriously follow on it," he said.
To a question related to promotions and transfers of Prasar Bharati's News Services staff, Javadekar said he had not sought even a single transfer. He said that there would be no interference in the functioning of Prasar Bharati which is working independently.
Referring to a question related to Doordarshan's controversial editing of a Narendra Modi interview, Javadekar said the national broadcaster would be given complete freedom and can interview whoever they want.
On a question on FDI in media, Javadekar said he was open to discussion with stakeholders. He, however, added he shared the view that the news media is sensitive and allowing more FDI should be thought about very carefully.
Javadekar said he felt that private radio channels could be allowed news broadcasts though they could be asked to use AIR bulletins or news provided by credible news agencies.
Thapar asked Javadekar about petitions filed against the publication of certain books which he said had led to concerns in the mind of publishers, to which the minister said he was willing to listen to any such concerns.