Srinagar: Minister for Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Information, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Tuesday visited the Media Complex here to take first hand appraisal of the functioning of the Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) and also review the progress of work on the auditorium and conference hall being constructed in the Complex.
During his visit, the Minister took first-hand appraisal of ongoing work on the construction of the Auditorium and inspected various sections of the Department and also interacted with the staff, an official spokesperson said this evening.
The Minister said that DIPR is a touch-point between the government and the public, therefore it needs to gear-up its men and machinery to effectively highlight the developmental and welfare initiatives undertaken by the present Government.
The Minister appreciated the work on the state-of-art auditorium and the conference hall being constructed at the Media Complex.
The auditorium designed to meet the requirement of the conference and seminars, comprises 221 seats, media room, green room, library, and cafeteria.
He called for expediting remaining works on the Media Complex so that it can be made functional at the earliest. He said the Department needs to keep pace with modern day challenges for effective and prompt information dissemination. He also stressed for professionalizing DIPR to re-orient it with fast-changing media scenario in the State.
Zulfkar also stressed on better human resource management and underlined the need for further augmentation of the Department by way of professional manpower and infrastructure upgradation in the Department.
Meanwhile, in a significant move towards ensuring transparency in advertisement distribution and release of payments, the Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) today uploaded, on its official website, the details of the payment made to individual newspapers and periodicals on account of advertisement bills during the financial year 2016-17. The details of the payment are available on the link http://www.jkdirinf.in/Upload/cf5f3a55-1abf-4ad9-98af-096f29c95893_Statement%20showing%20the%20newspaper.pdf.
Pertinently, the office bearers of the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) during their meeting with the Director Information & Public Relations, Dr Arun Manhas here earlier this month, had also demanded that the details of the payment made by DIPR to the newspapers should be uploaded on the official website of the Department for the information of the concerned editors.
It is in place to mention that the DIPR has released a payment of Rs 32.05 crore during the fiscal 2016-17 to the newspapers and periodicals on account of advertisements issued under the budget head. In addition, the Department has, during this period, also released advertisements of the PSUs and autonomous bodies valuing around Rs 5 crore to the newspapers and the periodicals under the non-budget head.
While the payment of the advertisements of the government departments issued under the budget head is made by the DIPR, the payment of the advertisements issued through DIPR under the non-budget head is made by the concerned PSUs and autonomous bodies to the newspapers directly after verification of the bills by the respective Joint Directors of Information.
In a major fiscal push, the Department, during the last year, cleared all the previous liabilities of the newspapers on account of the advertisements which had accumulated to the tune of Rs 11 crore over a period of time.
With the clearance of all the past liabilities, the Department has now started making regular payment of advertisement bills and all such bills have been cleared for payment by the respective Joint Directors up to March 2017.
Besides, the Department has also made a payment of around Rs 13 lakh to various news agencies including PTI, UNI and four local news agencies last year as monthly subscription charges.
According to Director Information, Dr Arun Manhas, the Department will be henceforth uploading the details of the payment made to the individual publications on quarterly basis to ensure maximum transparency in the distribution of advertisements and release of payments.
Pertinently, 368 newspapers and periodicals, including 201 in Jammu and 167 in Kashmir, are presently empanelled with the Department of Information for release of official advertisements.