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Special Content

Volume-52, 24-30 March, 2018


Bureau of Outreach Communication: An Important Step Towards Meeting the Communication Needs of The Country

Narendra Kumar Sinha

 Our Prime Minister believes in the mantra of “Reform, Perform and Transform”, in bringing about good governance in the country. The vision is about transforming existing institutions into strong ones, capable of performing and delivering its mandate, thereby taking government to doorsteps of citizens. It is along the lines of this vision; Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has taken the reformative step of transforming its media units into modern day institutions. First important step in this transformation exercise is the integration of three media units of Ministry of I&B into one structure called as Bureau of Outreach Communication. This integration effort has been supplemented with simultaneous decentralization of administrative structure of the Ministry, by posting officers of various levels for manning the new positions created. A strong online system for designing the optimised media outreach, giving maximum value for money for a campaign focussed on target population has been developed to aid this transformation process. The online system takes into account cost of reaching per person, impact of communication strategy and strategy for inculcating behavioural change in target population.

BOC comprises three erstwhile media units of Ministry of I&B, viz namely Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP), Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP) and Song & Drama Division(S&DD), all involved in interpersonal communication. The integration has brought down the number of offices from 36 Regional Units and 251 Field Units (all working in silos) into 24 Regional and 148 Field Units, working in unison across the country, leading to better and rational human resource utilization. The Regional Units will henceforth be known as Regional Outreach Bureau (ROB) and the field Units as Field Outreach Bureau (FOB). BOC will be headed by a Director General level officer from the Indian Information Service and assisted by Additional Director General in every Regional Outreach Bureau. The DG (BOC) will also be assisted in his functions by DGs in the zones.

From now on, communication strategies will no longer be Delhi Centric, but will be in the Regions where such information has to be disseminated. This integrated structure will create synergy between various wings of Government and will help in preparing integrated communication strategy to ensure mass reach and informed citizenry. This will  also ensure that our engagement will now not be limited to the capital but reach every district in every State. This reformative step will ensure that campaigns will be prepared in the language, form and as per the requirements of the region, and to connect with the local population.

The online system of integrated Media campaign relies heavily on the inputs provided by client Ministries regarding their target audience and the information about reach and readership/viewership. The system impartially suggests the media mix for carrying out the desired campaign for the intended beneficiary. The online system would later graduate into an automated system of payment to news/TV agencies carrying advertisements, thereby reducing backlogs and ensuring timely payments.

The topic of Bureau of Outreach Communication was discussed in the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in its meeting on 13th  March 2018.  In its previous meetings, the members had pointed out the need to have an integrated communication approach, especially to deliver information about Government activities to rural hinterlands of India. These suggestions have been incorporated while BOC was formulated.  The concept of Bureau of Outreach Communication and its Regional Outreach Bureaus were well appreciated by the members (Members of Parliament) of the Consultative Committee for Ministry of I&B, in its meeting held on 13th March 2018. The members also congratulated the proactive approach of the Ministry in reforming its media units, thereby enabling it to cater to the needs of the present generation and in keeping with the times.

The BOC is a much needed administrative reform, so as to ensure credible, consistent and clear communication across media platforms, providing a 360 degree approach. This integrated approach will enable the Ministry to address the different target audiences and their communication needs, thereby taking government to the door steps of the citizens. It is an important step towards modernizing and effectively utilizing the resources under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to meet the communication needs of the country.

 (The Author is  Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India)