Speech of Hon'ble Chief Minister,
Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal delivered in the North Zone Conference on Importance
of Public Relations and Media in Governance organized by Public Relations
Society of India (PRSI) Shimla Chapter at Peterhoff, Shimla on 12 July, 2008.
It is indeed a matter of pleasure for me to
be with you on the occasion of two-day Northern Region Conference on 'Importance
of Public Relations and Media in Good Governance' organized by the Public
Relations Society of India, Shimla Chapter.
At the very outset, I extend my heartfelt
felicitation to all the members of Public Relations Society of India on its
Golden Jubilee and wish them all success in their endeavours. Fifty years is
not a small period for the existence of any Organization. Credit for it goes
to those who have steered it from time to time during all these years.
I also congratulate the team of Shimla Chapter of
PRSI for organizing this Conference in Shimla, thereby giving an opportunity to
PR professionals and practitioners to come to Shimla and deliberate on the
subject which is timely and important as Governance concern to all of us. Shimla
has its glorious past. It remained ' Summer Capital of the Colonial India. It
also remained Centre for the leaders of freedom movement to chalk out strategies
for the freedom of the Country. The Shimla-Pak Agreement was also signed here.
Today, it is not only capital of Himachal Pradesh but is also known as queen of
the hills all over the World. I welcome you all here on behalf of the people of
the State especially those who have covered long distance to participate in this
The theme of the Conference is timely and important
as effective Governance in the democratic set up is must to deliver the goods.
The term Governance and Good Governance are buzz words and increasingly being
used in developmental term now-a-days. Governance describes the process of
decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented or not
implemented. Public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public
resources. Good Governance accomplishes this in a manner essentially free of
abuse and corruption and with due regard for the rule of law. Thus, Good
Governance defines an ideal, which is difficult to achieve in totality. However,
to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards
this ideal. As I understand, Good Governance covers participation, rule of law,
transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation, equality, inclusiveness,
effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.
Friends, there is a far greater focus on Governance
at grass root level. Since Independence, numerous governments have made efforts
to bring about rapid and sustainable development and socio-economic
transformation in rural India with an integrated approach towards improving the
quality of life of rural poor and ensuring effective people's participation. Any
strategy for rural development must involve the people themselves and their
institutions. The need for revitalizing Panchayati Raj institutions has
therefore, been recognized as an instrument for participatory planning and
implementation of various development programmes at grass root level.
We all know, Media has played an important role in
freedom movement and there after, also in the Nation's building. Even today,
Media is playing a lead role in the process of making this society-a
knowledgeable. The role of media to reach the masses for any Government or
Organization is all the more important but today media is unfortunately
preoccupied with political issues whereas the Nation's need is developmental
politics. The need of the hour is that Media should take up various missions
such as developed India, Promoting an enlighten society ensuring that all
reporting is analysed, evaluated and researched prior to publication.
In today’s World, with unprecedented improvement in
the field of science and technology, Media has become almost as necessary as
food and clothing. Media's role in strengthening the fabric of our society,
transcending the barriers of religion, language, caste and sex is all the more
Information media has become an indispensable part
of modern democracies. Communication Media is important socializing agent. The
press, radio and television are among the most important of the opinion moulding
and opinion reflecting agencies. Thus the role of Media in Good Governance is
all the more significant. My submission is that Media should disseminate the
information in right perspective and give proper feed back so it helps in
responsive and good governance.
In the same manner, the role of public relations is
equally important in this competitive world. The prime responsibility of Public
Relations can be seen as interpreting the Organization to the public and vice
versa. But public relations, from merely creating a favourable climate, has now
attained the status of specialized profession of Communication Management. It is
a sustained and deliberate exercise with the primary objective to enable and
enhance Corporate Communication. The problem today is that relationship building
is not enough. For a relationship to be meaningful, it has to be founded on
mutual trust and understanding. Moreover, “relationship building" as a term and
as a concept, falls short when the situational dynamic is one of acrimony,
miscommunication and conflict.
The 21st century management mindset goes
by many names such as Corporate-Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable
development. The concept of Governance is as old as human civilization. As I
have stated earlier, " Governance " means the process of decision making and the
process by which decision are implemented or not implemented. Governance can be
used in several context such as corporate governance, international governance,
national governance and local governance. Good governance is about achieving
desired results in the right way. People's faith in democracy rests upon the
confidence of the common man in the capacity, credibility and effectiveness of
the system of governance. The greater the access of the citizens to information,
the greater the responsiveness of the Governance to community needs.
Without freedom of expression and media freedom,
democracy can not prevail and development remains unattainable. Independent,
free and pluralist media have a crucial role to play in the good governance of
democratic society ensuring transparency and acceptability promoting
participation and the rule of law and contributing to the fight against social
un-equalities and evils. Not only free and independent media act as a guardian
of human rights and watchdog against abuses by authority but also provide
citizens with the information they require to exercise their democratic rights.
The media also disseminate information that is crucial for the life and
development of communities. Right to Information is a major step towards
ensuring a participatory developmental process in the Country. For the law to be
truly effective, it will need the active participation of the community at
large, including non-government organizations (NGO's) and the press.
One of the important elements of the effective
governance is transparency. Transparency is not only required in government but
also in industrial and other enterprises. It is in that context, that the word
Corporate Governance has assumed significance. We must understand the Corporate
Management and Corporate Governance. Corporate Management refers to the use of
human resources and time to get best possible results in terms of profit, market
capitalization by an enterprises. On the other hand, Corporate Governance refers
to the moral framework, the value framework and ethical framework under which
business enterprises take decisions.
There is a close relation between the concept of
transparency, governance and public relations. Transparency is a part of
governance and public relations is an exercise in effective and proper
communication. 'Swaraj' can be attained by educating the masses to a sense of
their capacity to regulate and control authority. The role of Public Relations
and Communications in it, is paramount. The Public Relations practitioners and
professionals need to stand committed in empowering people through the tree flow
of ideas and by access to information and knowledge and communication
technologies. PR practitioner can make fundamental difference by facilitating
the emergence of collective leadership in their own organization.
I have been told that one session in this Conference
has been devoted for Corporate Social Responsibility. This is really appreciable
as the Corporate Social Responsibility is must in the interest of public
interest. Globalization and development of new market economy in the last decade
or so have brought the global multinationals and investment houses to India for
competing in domestic and international market.
There is profound interest in India and its
potential for investments with a view to maximizing profits in all sectors,
while profit and maximizing investment returns remain the central goal of all
Corporate endeavours world wide, there is a need to fundamentally re-examine it
in the light of the important role played by multinationals in the world
economy. The role of multinationals and Corporates in India and elsewhere should
not be differentiated as far as Corporate Social Responsibility is concerned.
While there could be a margin of appreciation for the argument that such
practices have to evolve over time in the domestic corporate sector, the
fundamental notion that Corporates ought to conduct their business practices in
a socially responsible manner can not be questioned.
There are three important dimensions of Corporate
Social Responsibility that need to be understood. One, responsible conduct of
Corporates vis-a-vis their employers good workplace environment and sound human
resource policies. Second, is Ethics in business and Corporate governance. There
is a need to ensure that Ethics and Corporate Governance become an essential
part of Corporate culture. The third and probably the least developed aspect of
Corporate Social Responsibility is the contribution of Corporates to the Society
in which they operate. Corporates, hence should make conscious efforts to become
socially responsible, recognizing that the role and functions they perform
inevitably have an impact on Society. Since they have assumed a greater role in
the present era of liberalization, it is not possible for them to shy away from
assuming different types of responsibilities of public interests. I hope all
these issues will be discussed in this Conference and you being a great
communicator, the message will percolate every nook and corner of the Country.
We in Himachal Pradesh have taken a decision in
principal to involve the Public and Private Sectors in harnessing the immense
hydel, tourism and industrial potential available in the State. State has
identified hydel potential of about 22000 MW, out of which nearly 7000 MW have
been harnessed so far. Govt. intends to harness the remaining potential speedily
in the larger interest of the development of the State and also energy
requirements of the country.
There is vast scope for tourism development as
nature has bestowed beauty and grandeur on it. State has varied type of climate,
peaceful and pollution free environment. We are also giving priority for setting
up of pollution free, eco- friendly and employment oriented industries in the
State. We would like the Corporates to come here and invest in these sectors.
Himachal Pradesh has some added advantages which entrepreneurs do not find
elsewhere. These include low cost and abundant supply of electricity, peaceful
and dust free environment.
With these few words, I once again congratulate the
PRSI, Shimla Chapter to organize this Conference and wish it a success.