INDIA: Modi's soap to vie with 'K' serials

Modi wants to serve his propaganda through the electronics and cable media

The Times of India
Thursday, December 4, 2003

GANDHINAGAR: This may seem to be out of sync with a chief minister who has claimed in several Cabinet meetings that he cares little about how he is projected by the media.

Modi wants to serve his propaganda through the electronics and cable media.
But then, it can be his way of communicating to the people directly because he feels the mainstream media is not giving him his due.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is on the verge of launching his latest hi-tech venture — the Gujarat State Multimedia Resource Technowing or 'G-Smart', a term coined by Modi himself.

To be part of the CM’s office, an entire floor in Sachivalaya’s Block No 2 is being readied for, what an official note calls, the inter-departmental media resource centre. Modi is scheduled to go around the centre on Thursday.

Sources close to the CM say Modi wants G-Smart to serve as his propaganda engine to disseminate information through the electronic and cable media.

About 400 cable TV operators in the state, including 40 in Ahmedabad, will be involved in this process, says a top source. A cable operators’ meeting will be called in December-end to enlist their support.
The cable operators are being told to propagate the CM’s developmental initiatives by showing a one-hour CD over their network thrice a week. G-Smart will provide CDs on different aspects, which Modi loves to call 'Panchamrut' — 'Urja Shakti', 'Jal Shakti', 'Jan Shakti', 'Gyan Shakti' and 'Raksha Shakti'. The operators will be put on the job from January onwards and will have to give the CM full publicity during the high-profile NRI-packed kite festival from January 12 to 14.

Officials say, on the condition of anonymity, that the financial part of the deal with cable operators is yet to be worked out, though they feel many operators would be willing to play these CDs for free "in the public interest." The Gujarat State Wide Area Network (G-Swan), used for video-conferencing with districts, will now be used for G-Smart.

CDs will be prepared by the G-Smart office — where a special room has been reserved for Modi — from where the CM can have video-conferences with district officials and give interviews on-line through the powerful transmission network which has a capacity of more than 4 megabytes per second (mbps).

"It will have the clarity that one sees on TV," says a top official. To be called 'Gujarat Information Video Streaming Network,' it will start providing the CM’s clips to the e-media.

Top CMO officials involved in the project say G-smart will be a unique initiative in India. "We will be doing the final testing on Friday," says Dhiren Avasia, who was recently appointed to the newly created post of director, electronics media, by the Modi government .

Officials say G-Smart has been equipped with some of the most modern video equipment from Japan. A wide range of video clips collected from Doordarshan and other sources are presently being used to prepare the CDs.