New Delhi: The Union environment ministry is often accused of only being a clearance ministry. To dispel this notion, perhaps, the ministry has now decided to hire a public relation firm to manage its image.
The PR firm will be expected to spread awareness about the ministry’s responsibility towards the environment, the importance of addressing environment-related issues and the impact that the current environment crisis has already had on people’s lives and livelihoods.
Inviting bids for work, the ministry has specified that the agency would have “to effectively propagate and publicize its messages and initiatives" to regional, national and international media. The bids were invited last week and the last day for submitting them is 24 April. The contract would be for a period of one year.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was created in 1985. But it was rechristened in 2014 when Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government took over and added Climate Change to its portfolio, making it the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
MoEFCC’s mandate primarily includes overseeing implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. It is responsible for the survival and sustenance of India’s countless, varied range of natural resources like lakes and rivers, biodiversity, forests, animals and wildlife. Prevention and abatement of pollution and climate change too come within its scope of work.
As per the bid document, the agency will have to depute three people at MoEFCC’s premises in Delhi—an English content person for communication in urban cities, a Hindi content person for the Hindi speaking belt and a media coordinator-cum-social media expert who will be in charge of news, dissemination and media coordination.
The selected agency will be expected to produce and circulate a monthly newsletter to inform the media, citizen’s groups and other target communities about the latest developments. Besides, there will be a “separate newsletter for schools" for dissemination of the initiatives of the ministry. Workshops/training programmes to familiarise teachers with key issue related to environment will also be organised.
The chosen firm will also be responsible for arranging press briefings, one-to-one meets and press conferences. Until now, this work was being handled by the officials of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) which functions under the ministry of information and broadcasting.
Since the NDA government took over in May 2014, the use of social media by the government to propagate its work has gained huge importance. Keeping up with that policy, the selected firm would also be responsible for the social media engagement of the ministry.
It would be expected to inter-link all the social media profiles of MoEFCC and promote ministry’s events on the online platform, leveraging the news points in newsgroups, blogs, social networks and online medium.
“This will help Netizens to flow through the various social media platforms of the embassy which will further help track and increase regular followers (including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc)," the bid document said.
It said that blogger engagement will be a useful medium to create visibility about the key initiatives/developments of the ministry and blog writers will be identified (with maximum reach and with the right kind of following) for interactions with ministry officials.