New Delhi: In a curious flip-flop, the government today first denied news reports of a move to appoint a brand ambassador for its flagship “Digital India” programme only to confirm late evening that four brand ambassadors had indeed been nominated for a one year period.
It all started with news reports saying self-styled ethical hacker Ankit Fadia had been appointed the brand ambassador for Digital India. Fadia, in fact, posted a photograph of a certificate issued by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology on Facebook. The certificate stated that the “Government of India is pleased to appoint” him as the “Brand Ambassador to the Digital India programme for a period of one year to propagate the products and applications being launched under the programme”. The certificate was issued on July 1 and was signed by the then IT Secretary Ram Sewak Sharma.
At 9.01 am today, the Press Information Bureau (PIB)–the publicity and public relations arm of the government–put out a denial on the matter. “There were certain news reports that there is a move to appoint a brand ambassador for ‘Digital India’ programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported,” the terse press release issued by the Communication and Information Technology ministry said.
The release, however, soon vanished from the PIB portal. Even the link to the release which was tweeted by the PIB stopped showing the contents of the denial that had been issued in the morning.
When contacted, government officials said that there was some “technical problem” with the release that had been put out in the morning and that’s why it had been withdrawn and that a new clarification would soon be made.
It was in the evening ( at 6 p.m) that the PIB came out with a fresh clarification. “Recently, in the last few days reports have indicated that a Digital India Brand Ambassador has been appointed. As part of the Digital India week (July 1-7, 2015) following four Brand Ambassadors were nominated for a period of one year to propagate the product and applications being launched by the department under Digital India Programme,” the PIB release stated.
It also named All India IIT-JEE–Advanced Toppers Satwat Jagwani and Krati Tiwari, “Author & Ethical Hacker”Ankit Fadia and “Computer Scientist/ Author of 6th Sense” from Samsung, USA Pranav Mistry as those appointed as Brand Ambassadors. “Thereafter, no other person has been appointed as Brand Ambassador for Digital India. The services of these Brand Ambassadors will be used, as and when required for generating mass awareness for the programme,” the release further said.
Sources said that the flip-flop could have happened because of a communication gap between the ministry and the PIB or because of a lack of clarity on the matter. Nevertheless, it did end up creating an embarrassment for the government–which received a lot of flak on the social media through the day–, they admitted.
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