Amith Prabhu: The year flew by and we have a brand new government

26 May,2014

By Amith Prabhu

 

Fifty columns in 52 weeks is an interesting milestone for India’s only weekly column on Public Relations. I am glad I could be its steward and I hope I have been able to make a tiny difference to those of you who read this religiously every Monday. When Pradyuman Maheshwari (Editor-in-Chief of MxMIndia) invited me to write this column last April, I was sceptical about having enough to write on and took couple of months to agree.

 

In the past one year, we have seen a lot happen in the Indian Public Relations community – a dedicated international award, an annual gathering of the fraternity and a number of high profile people and account movements. The year ahead seems to be as exciting as we have just seen the world’s largest event just conclude. Today all eyes are on New Delhi as a new government takes charge and this government gets Public Relations right from the word Go.

 

Three things that stand out are the way the swearing-in has been pegged with an invitation and its acceptance by heads of state of neighbouring countries. Then the entire one week after the result has been managed fairly well in terms of keeping citizens in the loop on the PM-designates actions. The positive press that has been generated for a man who until recently was persona non grata to some is immense.

 

In the midst of this, the Twitter controversy generated by the outgoing PMO was the last in a series of PR gaffes committed by the former communications advisor. The entire episode could have been avoided or handled better. It is unfortunate that PR handlers of the nation’s highest office are not aware of the basics of relationship management.

 

Then there is the Congress party which throws away every opportunity to mend its ways and create goodwill. Starting with Rahul missing the farewell dinner to the Prime Minister on the eve of the election result, to not taking drastic steps of stepping down after the election debacle to bring in radical reform, to winking at someone during the concession speech.

 

Missing the communications bandwagon is not an option anymore and the Congress can only reinvent itself by building block by block on the bedrock of transparency, accountability and crystal clear communications. On the other hand, BJP with a strong mandate to govern should bring in a new ray of hope based on the expectations it has set in running a fair and feisty government. On the first anniversary of this column, my three wishes from the government in the sphere of communications are as follows:

 

To have a weekly address by the Prime Minister’s office and once a month, that address may be made by the Prime Minister himself. To ensure there is a quarterly report card of achievements and plans for the next three months are shared as well in the form of a power point. Lastly, to make sure freedom of speech is respected and right to freedom of every individual is protected.

 

If you have other suggestions for the PMO and the Congress party to work their Public Relations programmes better, feel free to mention them in the comments here. Thanks again for the support over the past 12 months. Hope to hear from you on topics you will like for me to focus on in the forthcoming columns.

 

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