MINISTRIES and departments in the Union government have been asked to track the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by continuously updating a dashboard, ‘PM Speech Tracker’. They were recently provided training on various aspects of the dashboard’s functioning and updation procedures.
When contacted, an official aware of the development said the exercise was aimed at training officials to gauge the impact of the speeches made by the PM. “The idea is to track the impact of the speeches on social media and other media platforms and also to see the narrative developed on the speeches besides amplifying the messaging,” said the official who did not want to be named.
NITI Aayog, the government think tank, had on December 15, 2021, organized an online training program for several ministries to discuss the procedure of updating the dashboard/ tracker, and other aspects of its functioning, it is learned.
The training program followed an email titled ‘Online training program on PM Speech Tracker’ sent on December 13 by the Niti Aayog to secretaries of the ministries of Home Affairs, Road Transport and Highways, Aviation, Agriculture, Commerce, Tourism and the Chairman, Railway Board, among others.
“I have been directed to inform you that an ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAMME ON PM SPEECH TRACKER’ for line ministries is scheduled on 15th of December 2021, 3 pm to 4 PM. Therefore, it is requested that the ministry may please nominate the concerned officer(s) to attend/ participate in this online training program being organized by NITI Aayog,” the email reviewed by The Indian Expresssaid.
In response to an RTI filed by the newspaper, the Niti Aayog said the training program was conducted in coordination with the NIC division to understand the functioning of the dashboard. “Online Training Program on ‘PM Speech Tracker’ was conducted by NIC, NITI Aayog on 15.12.2022 at 3.00 PM. The concerned line ministries participated in the online training programme. During the training, the participants were informed about the dashboard/ tracker and various aspects of its functioning and procedure of updation by concerned line ministries,” the Niti Aayog said in its reply. No minutes were prepared, it said.
The Niti Aayog’s Development Monitoring & Evaluation Office maintains several other dashboards that track parameters that go into the making of India’s Sustainable Development Goals index, and other global indices such as Economic Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, World Press Freedom , Human Development, Global Innovation, Global Climate Risk and Global Inequality Index, among others.
The Central government has been working on a strategy to overhaul its media and public outreach over the past two years, with a Group of Ministers (GoM) comprising nine Union ministers recommending focus areas to address criticism and spread positive messaging wider.
A report prepared by this GoM on ‘government communication’ in 2020, said a “research unit shall also be set up to collate all information in proper formats for easy and timely retrieval. An integrated dashboard should also be developed.”
The unit would track and collate news in different media – print, electronic, online, and social. “It would generate reports and analysis on various trending news items,” it had said. Every ministry was also required to identify two major public outreach programs in a year along with one day of pre-event publicity and one day of post-event coverage. “This way, for around 300 days in a year, there will be coverage of one or the other government program. It was also agreed to establish a new communication wing for effectively disseminating information & taking feedback,” the report said.