New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is soon planning to bring out a new fortnightly magazine to highlight its flagship schemes, achievements and initiatives, ThePrint has learnt.
Top sources in the government said the periodical will be called New India Samachar, and will be published by the Bureau of Outreach Communication (BOC), a media unit under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. A printer will be selected by inviting open bids.
The plan is to publish the magazine in 13 languages including Hindi and English, and its editorial content is likely to be provided by the Press Information Bureau, the government’s official communication arm, sources in the I&B ministry said.
A senior ministry official said the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) has already completed the title verification process for the magazine. The RNI, which functions under the I&B ministry, is responsible for the registration of all newspapers and magazines in India.
“The plan was to bring out the first edition of the magazine by 1 June. However, it got delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic,” the source said, adding that the new deadline is yet to be finalised.
Content and distribution
According to sources, the magazine will primarily carry reports and articles summarising the different activities undertaken by the government.
“It would mainly cover three aspects, including various cabinet decisions and their impact on the masses; schemes, initiatives and other activities of ministries; and all Covid-19 related efforts and initiatives of the government,” the official said.
Ministry sources said that once publication starts, about four lakh copies of New India Samachar will be printed, which could be increased later.
A second ministry official privy to the development said discussions are on to ensure that the magazine gets the maximum reach. “It is being discussed that the magazine should be sent to the over 2.5 lakh panchayats across the country. There are also plans to send the magazine to lakhs of schools and colleges, by leveraging the available massive database of all educational institutions,” this official said.
Modi govt’s prior media initiatives
The Modi government has, time and again, made innovative use of the media to put out its word.
As reported by ThePrint earlier this year, the government is coming up with a book documenting the stories of thousands of refugees who fled to India after facing religious persecution in Muslim-majority neighbouring countries, in a bid to counter the “anti-Muslim” image in the backdrop of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
BJP spokespersons also interviewed its cabinet ministers over their work in handling the Covid-19 pandemic and the migrant workers crisis, and the government’s achievements in the first year of its second term.
As reported by ThePrint, the prime charter of one of the 11 empowered groups set up by the government was to ensure positive press and oversee all-round awareness campaigns on Covid-19, among other things.
Not the first govt magazine
This is not the first time the government of India is planning to bring out a magazine. The Publications Division — a unit under the I&B ministry — publishes multiple other magazines and journals.
This includes the monthly magazine Yojana, in 13 languages, which focuses on socio-economic issues. Kurukshetra, in English and Hindi, primarily covers rural development and issues related to agriculture. Civil services aspirants commonly refer to these magazines in their preparations.
Aajkal, in Hindi and Urdu, is a prestigious literary magazine, while Bal Bharati is a children’s magazine in Hindi. Employment News, in English, Hindi and Urdu, is a weekly which provides information on jobs in central government, including the public sector.