At a unique workshop for top bureaucrats here aimed at streamlining the government's communication strategy, he cautioned ministers against getting into a "shell", thereby wasting opportunities to effectively disseminate information about programmes and policies of the government.

Jaitley's message to the civil servants was clear – their job was not propaganda. There is a difference between propaganda and information, he said, adding "Your job is not propaganda, you are not trained for propaganda. The discipline of a civil servant is not to indulge in propaganda. In my field we can do it, you can't. Therefore your real job is that government-centric information has to be put out."

Jaitley, a senior minister who also holds Finance portfolio, advised bureaucrats to be careful, saying even contrarian views should be expressed as part of an honest decision-making process of the government.

"So therefore the use of language, the restraint we exercise in that. Even when there is a contrarian view, it should not be bombshell creating view. It should be a logical possible view," the Minister said.

He said while it is difficult to expect civil servants to become the "face", officers could still provide huge information that would interest large number of people.
While there may be a government set-up, ultimately it is the political leadership that has to lead from the front, he said. "If there are programmes of the ministry, if there are decisions of the ministry, they have to be the best communicators. If some of them get into the shell, then they are wasting an opportunity with no cost and its an opportunity which is to a great advantage," Jaitley said.

"So everybody has to be nudged, persuaded to really become the face," he said told the gathering that included Joint Secretaries from various ministries, private secretaries to ministers and Press Information Bureau (PIB) officials.

"Everybody amongst the ministerial team may not be to the same level familiar with the art of dealing with the media. Slowly everybody has to be nudged, because we live through the media, we communicate through the media," he added.

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