dipr assam
Representative image. Source: DIPR, Assam, website

The BJP-led government in Assam has distributed 200 Samsung Galaxy Tablets among the scribes but the government neither has any policy for it nor a set criteria for selecting the beneficiaries.

Reply to a query under Right to Information (RTI) has seemingly left the Assam government, particularly the information and public relations department (I & PR) held by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal embarrassed.

The I&PR department had distributed 200 Samsung Galaxy tablet among journalists in Assam in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal, and the department has no knowledge about the criteria for distribution of tablets.

The reply to the RTI query further made it clear that the government has no information under which policy the tablets were distributed to the journalists and there is no information on who prepared the list of 200 journalists who availed the tablets.

“Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal often harps on the BJP’s pet slogan: Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. But the hollowness of this claim of inclusivity is glaring even in the State’s information and public relations department.

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“It discriminates journalists on the basis of their reportage and this had been evident in the recent distribution of Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7,” Rajib Kumar, who filed the RTI application, said.

“The department left out from its largesse several senior accredited journalists, who are perceived as anti-establishment and don’t toe the government’s line. The government did not even divulge, even after an RTI application was filed by me, what was the yardstick it applied to select the beneficiaries,” said Kumar.

“Here, I would like to keep the record straight. I am not hankering for that tab. But the question here is of the government’s policy and how it tries to create division among journalists through such discrimination,” he said.

The distribution of the tablets started from April 2018 and continued till September 2019.

The data provided by the government showed that 200 journalists have received the Tablets on different dates.

But it is interesting to know that the I & PR department is not aware of the particular policy under which the Tablets are distributed and are ignorant about the criteria under which journalists are selected.

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