Communication Planning is an integral part of planning for sustained development. The
development of human society has largely been due to its ability to communicate information and ideas with each other and to use such information and ideas for progress. The Programmes being implemented by the Ministry aim at sustainable holistic development in the rural areas. The success of these Programmes is critically dependent on the participation of the people,
particularly target groups, in the implementation process. To enable people to participate in the
development process, it is necessary that people have adequate knowledge about the nature and
content of these Programmes. Information, Education and Communication, therefore, assumes added significance in the context of the Programmes of the Ministry.
The feedback received on the implementation of Rural Development Programmes in the field indicate that these Programmes are critically dependent on the awareness level about them, transparency in the implementation process at the field level, participation of the people in the development process and accountability. In this context the Ministry has , adopted a 4- Pronged strategy of creating Awareness about the Programmes, ensuring Transparency in the implementation, encouraging People’s Participation in the development process and promoting the concept of Social Audit for ensuring Accountability. All the four elements of the above strategy are complementary to each other and appropriate IEC activities are an essential part of actualizing this strategy.
Information, Education and Communication plays a pivotal role in creating awareness, mobilizing people and making development participatory through advocacy and by transferring knowledge , skills and techniques to the people. It is also critical for bringing about transparency in implementation of the Programmes at the field level and for promoting the concept of accountability and social audit.
Though for the past few years, particularly since 1994-95, the Ministry has been undertaking IEC activities, their impact in terms of creating awareness and participation of people in the development process was not found to be substantial. Therefore, an Advisory Committee on Media comprising eminent journalists and media persons under the chairmanship of Shri P. Murari, former Secretary (I&B) was constituted by the Ministry in August,1998, to review and assess the impact of various media and other activities and to advise the Ministry on appropriate IEC strategy.
The Committee in its report submitted in October,1999, observed that the IEC efforts of the
Ministry need to be stepped up with more intensity and that it is necessary to go beyond undertaking merely media activities.
In pursuance to the 4- pronged strategy adopted by the Ministry and in light of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Media, the IEC activities have been substantially enhanced during 2001-2002 particularly through print, radio and TV.
The IEC efforts aim at creating awareness and disseminating information on the Programmes of the Ministry primarily to the target groups in rural areas, to the opinion makers and also to the public at large. The IEC Division of the Ministry has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating appropriate IEC strategy in tune with the communication needs of the various Programmes. The IEC activities are to be undertaken through the available modes of communication in order to inform the people with messages and details on Rural Development