Mahara makes public info ministry’s plans

Kathmandu, June 5:

Minister for Information and Communication Krishna Bahadur Mahara today released the ministry’s short and long-term programmes and policies.

“The ministry will build Information Highways from the West to the East and the North to the South, taking the proposed reconstruction of the state into consideration, expanding telecommunication services and improving its capacities,” Mahara told a press conference here.

The ministry will make it possible for people in villages to be in touch with the rest of the world through video-conference, distance education, tele-medicine, e-governance, e-commerce, e-banking. “We want to turn our dream of ‘mobile phone set in each hand, Internet in each home’ into a reality,” he said.

The ministry will expand telephone services to 7,000 more VDCs that are still inaccessible. He further said that the ministry will see to it that Bills on the right to information and working journalists are passed.

While the ministry will make the government media more respectful, neutral, balanced and inclusive, voluntary retirement scheme will be brought in to make them of “right sizes,” he said. He added that the Gorkhapatra daily will have regional editions and pages on local languages will be added.

The state will soon form a central level Information and Communication Board to bring all government media under one network, he said, adding that a national prize for journalists, which will carry a purse of Rs 100,000, will be set up by this year. A fund will also be set up for children of war-hit journalists. “We will also draft a clear policy on foreign investment in the media,” he said.

What’s in the offing

• Information Highways

• Communication facilities in villages

• Expansion of telephone services to 7,000 more VDCs

• Passage of Bills on information and working journalists

• Govt media to be made more neutral, balanced and inclusive

• Voluntary retirement scheme in govt media

• Gorkhapatra to have regional editions with pages on local languages

• Information and Communication Board to be set up

• National journalist award from this year

• Fund to be set up for kids of war-hit scribes

• Clear policy on foreign investment in media