The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the 45-year-old Manish Tewari, is treading where none of his predecessors have gone before. The latest showpiece of Tewari’s perestroika is the swanky National Media Centre at 7 Raisina Road, hailed as the new operational hub for both national and international press in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate it on August 24. It took 12 years for the project to take off after the foundation stone of the Rs 60 crore project was laid by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in December 2001. Work on the project started during former information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni’s stint in 2010, but picked up pace only under the youthful Tewari.
As the UPA’s trusted lieutenant who handles the media and conveys the government’s official position, he has been pushing projects that could change the way the administration uses its communication arms to engage with the people through various media as well as cleaning up broadcasting bodies, cracking down on cable operators and inventing new methods to publicise his government’s schemes.
The Media Centre is not the only project that figures in the government’s agenda to win the war of perception. Tewari, who took over as I&B minister in October 2010—his first ministerial assignment—has been driving initiatives to bring about glasnost in the ministry.
On Thursday, the union cabinet cleared his idea of setting up a new wing in the ministry that until now deals exclusively with print and electronic media. The new division will be called the New Media Wing, which would generate and manage content through social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter to deliver the government’s message.
The Sunday Standard