A week after the official Facebook page of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) put up pictures of alcoholic beverage along with photos of NDRF rescue efforts in Bengal during cyclone Amphan, the entire media unit was shunted out on Friday.
The MHA media wing saw a complete revamp after almost all officers handling the unit were moved out. DG Vasudha Gupta, MHA spokesperson, will now look after PIB (Press Information Bureau) Fact Check unit, while Director General of BOC (Bureau of Communication) in DAVP (Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity), Nitin Wakankar, will be the new spokesperson. Wakankar has earlier served as spokesperson of CBI and of Ministry of Defence.
Deputy Director in MHA, Virat Majboor, has been moved to All India Radio and Shelat Harit Ketan has been shifted to DPD.
Praveen Kavi, Deputy Director at PIB, has also made a comeback to the MHA. Kavi had earlier worked with the MHA media wing under the leadership of A Bharat Bhushan Babu, who crossed over to handle media in South block's ministry of defence after handing over charge to Vasudha Gupta when Union Home Minister Amit Shah took over.
The new media team at North block also includes ADG Rajkumarm who had been working with PBSC, Kathmandu. Amandeep Yadav, assistant director at AIR, will also be part of the Home Ministry media unit.
The overhaul of the media unit at MHA comes amid indications that Shah was unhappy with repeated lapses.
On May 7, the Facebook page of MHA left the ministry red faced when personal pictures of alcohol bottles were posted along with NDRF rescue efforts in Bengal. MHA officials said it was an inadvertent mistake and the social media page handler had apologised.
Then came the handling of the publicity material of Home Ministry's achievements. On completion of one year of the Narendra Modi government, media reports highlighted that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was not listed an achievement by the government. The promotional literature of the ministry issued later did include CAA but the Home Minister and the Prime Minister's office reportedly did not take the negative reportage on the CAA issue kindly.
There were also murmurs of discontent in the journalist fraternity over MHA labeling news reports fake and calling out journalists on Twitter for alleged misreporting rather than following the usual process of issuing rejoinder.