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NE accorded special thrust: Soni

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 12 � The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni today said that as part of the Ministry�s efforts to bridge the information gap and reach out to the remote areas, the North-East has been accorded special thrust.

�The challenges are diverse in the North-East� the need is to have more programmes with local content in local languages, and which are viewer-friendly,� Soni said while addressing the inaugural session of the All India Editors� Conference on Social and Infrastructure Issues.

Asserting that Guwahati would be a hub of information and broadcasting activities, Soni said that a national-level mass communication institute was on the offing for Mizoram while �Nagaland and Mizoram have also evinced keen interest in having an institute each on either film technology or mass communication.�

The Minister said that the UPA Government was committed to augmenting the nation�s social infrastructure in an unprecedented manner, for which matching allocations were being made.

�The schemes are good, the initiatives are plenty, and there is a design to reach out to each citizen. But somehow the information is not available to the people, and hence the need for covering the gap,� she said.

Urging the media to play a key role in disseminating information and reaching out to the masses, Soni added in the same breath that there was also a need for self- and co-regulation for the media for checking the undesirable trends such as the paid news syndrome.

Soni revealed that the 59 channels under the I&B Ministry were being increased to 200 in a phased manner.

Earlier, the Minister inaugurated the Bharat Nirman photo exhibition at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. The exhibition highlights the success of the Bharat Nirman programme in building rural infrastructure across the country.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, in his address at the Editors� Conference, emphasized on showcasing the changing face of the State and the North-East in terms of development and peace.

�Development of the social sector including rural development, education, health, etc., has been our topmost priority, and we can say that a change is gradually emerging in the overall scenario,� he said.

The Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Corporate Affairs, Salman Khursid also addressed the gathering. He said that 13 minority-dominated districts of Assam had been chosen among a total of 90 in the country under a special development project.

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