Almost three years into its term, the Narendra Modi government is embarking on a systematic publicity blitzkrieg, aimed at sensitising the electorate about its various welfare and development programmes and related accomplishments. Come Fridays, one of the central Cabinet ministers will hold a press conference to highlight achievements of his/her ministry, pertaining to a particular project/scheme.
The government has also asked all departments to bring forward the deadlines for flagship projects. In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office advised all departments to access projects and programmes and provide a roadmap up to March 2020. The plan is to finish a host of big projects before the 2019 general elections and ensure that the benefits reached the intended population on a large scale before the polls.
Though the initial plan was to start the weekly press briefings by ministers from Friday, April 14, the first of the series will be held on Saturday, April 15, by minister for social justice and empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot. The one-day delay is because Modi, along with some Cabinet ministers, was in Nagpur on Friday, launching the Bhim-Aadhaar app.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is upbeat after its good showings in the hustings: It formed governments in four of the five states where polls were held recently including the politically paramount Uttar Pradesh. The planned massive campaign is part of a plan to prepare for the general election of 2019.
Though the decision for the series of press conferences has been finalised for six weeks as of now, it is expected to continue for a year or till further orders. The next press conference under the series is expected to be held by Venkaiah Naidu, minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation, and information and broadcasting, who will highlight the achievements in urban housing and housing for all programmes.
Other in the series include transport minister Nitin Gadkari, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, fertilisers minister Ananth Kumar and power minister Piyush Goyal, who have chosen their themes to be inland waterways, Ujjawala Yojana, Jan Aushadhi Yojana and Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, respectively, under their ministries.
Simultaneously, the government also plans to showcase some of its beneficiary-oriented success stories across the ministries and these are being collated by each ministry. According to a government official, who did not want to be named, the ministries are collating stories from the regional level so that the government can demonstrate the reach of its programmes.