Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore is a sharp shooter, rarely mincing words when it comes to putting across government’s point of view on key issues. Accessible and suave, Rathore is helping run the government’s publicity arm with precision. In an interview with Pratul Sharma, the former Olympian takes clean shots.
Indian armed forces went for a hot pursuit of militants who targeted the army. What is the message?
Every nation has a right to defend itself. Our prestige and self respect was at stake for large number of years. The fact that the government took a bold action is actually being welcomed by everyone. Our intentions are very clear. We are a peace loving country. We belive in friendship with all. Development for all. But we also have a zero tolerance for terrorism and want others to have it too.
Government has completed one year. How has your ministry been functioning differently from the UPA ?
The fact is over a year ago, irrespective of what the policy, irrespective of the quality of the policy, people did not know about it. You ask anyone if they knew about any policy of the government. Answer would be 'No'. If they don’t know the policy how would they draw its benefits. We disseminate information in the best possible format so that it reaches the last man. We have done a good job as compared to the previous years. We had certain mediums of communications, but we have been able to revive the old ones like radio, and energised it.
The Department of field publicity, adapt to new technologies. In social media our presence is far higher. We have Youtube channel, held talkathons, independent channels for the ministers. We have a scheme of revitalising the community radio. IN FM phase III, news would be available on private FM channels FM. News has improved on Doordarshan. We call it 360 degree medium approach. We have gone Digital . You will see us on cricketing websites. When you watch Youtube, you would see our advertisements. Our jingles plays there, before you watch anything.
The government recently reconstituted censor board. But it has been mired in controversies since then
It’s individual egos, nothing to do with the Board as such. The decisions of the board are taken according to the procedures. It has to be run by consensus. There are too many checks and balances for one person to hijack it. We are also going for online clearances.
Many of the film makers have been talking about curbs on creative freedom by the censor board.
We are very clear about it. It is a certification board. Its job is to certify films. Its up to the people what they are going to watch. Also the freedom of speech comes with a caveat. People who heard of (Article) 19 (1) should also read 19 (2). But we believe that as much freedom as possible be given to the film makers. The people should be deciding it. We are certainly not the moral police.
How do you see the system of self regulation by private TV channels?
It is working. But it needs to improve. They run scroll on the screens. We are asking them to be more proactive. It can improved further.
What is government doing for improving Prasar Bharati?
Changes are happening according to the technological advancements. It is maintaining a pace with. New technology and less manpower to run it, TV or radio station they are adapting to it. They have 38,000 employees, there are issues. We are running multi lingual stations. It has a different mandate. Whatever revamp they doing they doing within.
There have always been questions over Prasar Bharati’s autonomy. How do you view it?
We don’t get involved with the decision making. When it’s related to fiancés they come to us. A new Prasar Bharati board is about to be announced. It will be fine.
There are number of projects that have been pending in the ministry for years. Is something happening in those areas?
Great amount of work is being done. We want them to be effective. For Centre for Excellence in Gaming, we have spoken to some of the countries broad. The faculty should come from somewhere else, we would provide the infrastructure. We have to set high standards. So centres can be set up everywhere.
For Film heritage mission, the work has already started in Mumbai.
For turning IIMC into a university, we would first appoint a new DG. Then the process can go on further.