“Aghast” at the Delhi government’s Directorate of Information & Publicity (DIP) saying it cannot arrange a Facebook Live event for him, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has asked the chief secretary to “initiate proceedings for dereliction of duty” against the DIP head or to “replace him”. In a letter to chief secretary M M Kutty on Monday, Sisodia said DIP chief Jayadev Sarangi’s “non-performance” was a “clear case of dereliction of duty” and directed Kutty to either “initiate proceedings for dereliction of duty against him” or “replace him” with an officer who can perform these jobs or ensure the tasks are completed.
Sisodia wrote that “the job of the DIP is to publish information to establish continuous communication between the public and the government” — a task that needs to be “handled very professionally and creatively” and “delivered in time to have the desired impact”. But Sarangi, Sisodia said, “has not been able to deliver the works assigned”. When contacted, Sarangi told The Indian Express he was “not aware of the letter” and that the “DIP would work as instructed”. He refused to comment on the allegation of “non-performance” and “dereliction of duty”.
Sisodia’s main grouse is the DIP citing inability to arrange a Facebook Live event so he can interact with traders about their demands ahead of the GST council meeting on June 11. The DIP had cited lack of “specialisation” and said that an “open tender” is required for the event. In his letter to the CS, Sisodia wrote, “I was aghast to read that. Why do you need open tender for FB Live? You only need an internet connection and a camera (even a phone camera would do). You do not need to spend a single penny. This means that this officer neither knows what FB Live is nor has a desire to learn. It is really shameful that the DIP of the capital does not know what FB Live is.”
Moreover, the government had on May 31 asked the DIP to “present a 360 degree plan” to publicise the government’s “historic” increase of minimum wages. Sisodia said despite emphasising on the “need to aggressively reach out to people, there was “no response” from the DIP. Finally, the government had also directed the DIP, on May 30, to “put up hoardings across Delhi and place ads in radio” to publicise that “government schools have performed very well”. But, Sisodia wrote that after almost a week, “(Sarangi) has neither put up hoardings nor done FM ads”.
In his letter to Kutty, Sisodia has assigned new directions, and in each case given the chief secretary the task of coordinating with the departments responsible for the same. He asked the CS to “ensure adequate publicity of the FB Live event on all platforms, including all social media,” ahead of the next GST council meeting on June 11. Secondly, the CS has also been asked to coordinate with the DIP and the labour department for “a presentation of a 360 degree plan for publicity of minimum wage hike” at noon on June 6. Finally, the CS has been asked to coordinate with DIP and the education department to “ensure that hoardings on Class XII results are immediately put up” and to ensure that radio and TV ads start running from June 6.