Telangana is one of 29 separate states in the nation of India, but it is a new one, formed only mid-2014. It’s not hard to imagine just how much work needs doing and setting up for a government and its people in such a situation.
Recently, government leaders and PR officers (PROs) came together in a conference to learn from each other and hear encouragement and direction. They heard from T. Harish Rao, the Minister for Irrigation and Legislative Affairs, who suggested that part of the budget for as many as 26 state benefit plans should be considered for public relations constituencies so information can get to the people quickly and effectively. Since one of those projects is about irrigation and getting water to each household in India, he implemented PROs early and has seen success.
He said, “The government had launched 26 welfare schemes spending Rs. 36,000 crore and the PROs have a vital and responsible role in the reconstruction of Telangana.” He also said, “As there is a profound transformation in the media landscape and given the impact of IT&C [Information Technology and Communications] in the recent past, PR must be strengthened. We will strengthen the PR setup as we have strengthened the IT&C department.” He further suggested the PROs gain knowledge and skills in social media and supports setting up PR constituencies by using a small portion of the funds allocated for these projects to accomplish this outcome.
Those comments were backed up by Dr. C.V. Narasimha Reddy, Former Director of I&PR and Editor of Public Relations Voice, he remarked that ‘flow of information’ is necessary for successfully implementing the projects as well as strengthening the state.
The advisor to the Government on Media Affairs, Dr. K.V. Ramana Chary, backed the others and called for the improvement of skills and keeping up with technology. He also expressed the need to get feedback and use that to evaluate each project and where improvements can be made.
Reddy praised the PRSI’s constant efforts in pushing for PROs to make the process easier and praising their work of the last 18 months since the State of Telangana became a reality as being “a communication wonder.” Others noted how the breadth and width of PR has changed and that multitasking is a key factor to ongoing success.
Ramachandra Murthy, a journalist who chaired the event, reminded the government to make sure transparency remains a central part of all the welfare projects while mentioning the irrigation projects in particular.