Respected Chairman, Prof. Jaishri Jethwany and her fellow faculty from IIMC, all the participants of this workshop on PR skills and dear friends,
    I am very happy that the Department of Information & Public Relations alongwith the Indian Institute of Mass Communications have once again come together to conduct a Workshop in Public Relations for officers from the various departments of the state government. This workshop, I sincerely feel, is very timely and much-needed as the demand for trained and professional Public Relations personnel is ever-growing in today's world. I am especially grateful to Prof Jaishri and her fellow faculty from the IIMC, who have never failed to respond to our invitation to come and teach and share with us the changing new trends in PR and communications. I am sure that all the participants in this workshop will go back wiser and better equipped to tackle the myriad problems and sticky situations that perhaps come their way in their line of work, whether it concerns the media, the government or the public.
    As we all know, information technology is the fastest developing sector in the modern world. Given our country's sheer size, magnitude and diversity in race, culture and language itself poses huge challenges in dissemination of information and establishing connectivity. The impact of modern technology is perhaps lesser and slower in the northeast as compared to the rest of the country, or the world, but there is no mistaking the inroads it already has made amongst us. The time is not far when even we in Mizoram will create a greater demand and reliance on modern technology, and we who hold the reins of public relations in the state must be prepared for it. As far as we can help it, let us try and remain a step ahead of others by constantly acquainting ourselves with what is going on in the world, what are the social, political or economic developments taking place around us. So that, by the time the repercussions hit us, we are not only ready to handle it but also use it to our advantage.
    Gone are the days when a PR man was simply regarded as a "Yes-man" or somebody who merely danced to the master's tune. Today it seems a PR man is needed by everyone and every organisation. The world today is like a huge market - and to sell one's commodity, one needs to build up a consumer-friendly image. This is where the PR man steps in, for it is he who has to make sure that everything looks perfect, under any given circumstances, so that it gets a popular market. If I was to compare the PR man to an animal, I would say he should be like a chameleon - having the gift of changing colours best suited to the environments! Yes, among other things, a PR man is needed to smooth ruffled feathers, break deadlocks, mediate between the government and public, disseminate and at the same time hold back information when necessary, do damage control in times of crisis and controversy, publicise government policies while stemming the voices of protest or dissent. In order to do that he has to be, at the least, well-informed, in touch with the times, adjustable, adaptable, pro-active and indeed quick-witted. This is no child's play. Just as there are new emerging trends in every walk of life almost everyday the world over, the PR man needs to evolve in order to match the challenges.
    Public Relations is also closely associated with the media, which is the most powerful channel of information. As we all know, media can be very useful in educating and creating awareness among the people but if left totally uncontrolled, it can be like a monster unleashed to create havoc. In the current world scenario, where every home has a television, if not access to internet, it is very difficult to contain the impact of media. This has only made the job of  public relations even more difficult. We may be sitting back, happily thinking that we have done our jobs by giving media sufficient and reliable information but if media chooses to act irresponsibly and distort the very news that we have supplied, it can create a lot of problems. Here again it is public relations that comes to the rescue of somebody's spoilt image, an organisation's ruined reputation or the government's credibility. We must remember that the target of the media is the people; it feeds on the public and vice versa. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for a PR man to know the pulse of the people, to be in tandem with the current social and political thoughts, to be able to gauge what the people actually desire to know and hence, be able to reassure them that all is well. In short, you must be able to connect with the people.
    The rapid progress in information technology and telecommunication has made the world a small place. With a simple touch of a button, we can bring the world to our feet through the internet or our cellphones. With these two at our disposal, there is almost nothing that cannot be reached out to or sought information about in today's world. Censoring and editing are almost obsolete words now. When everything is happening so fast and furiously around us, the most adversely affected is the common man. In order to undo the damages that wrong or misleading information can wreak among the public, today's PR man must be tech-savvy. It is imperative for public relations personnel to keep up with the latest trends of information technology and communications, without which they will be handicapped to tackle the problems that may arise due to such easy and unchecked access to any information.
    The introduction of the Right to Information Act in 2005 was primarily to ensure transparency and accountability of the government towards the people. The huge popularity of the Act and the remarkable response it has received proves the people's desire to know the truth, because truth brings along with it, a sense of security. This is a marked shift from earlier times when people in our country simply digested what was doled out to them, without a question. Today, the right of the individual to be informed is highly respected all over the world. When the right to information has become almost default, it is required of the public relations personnel to have the true facts and figures at their fingertips. This means you have to be alert, inquisitive and ready to learn in order to obtain information as well as be open-minded and patient in order to provide reliable and factual information to the people to their satisfaction.
    Well, those were a few things that I thought I would share with you today at the closing of this workshop. I am sure you must have already been taught many new concepts and skills in order to improve your public relations abilities.  As I see it, Mizoram has a very bright future ahead. A high literacy percentage and exceptional progress in the field of education, which has been recognised not only at national but international levels also, are a promising start on the road to an all-round development. Whereas earlier it was thought that economic development was the crucial backbone of progress, modern  thinkers have stated that it is the human resources development through good education that ultimately brings enduring progress. If that is so, then we hope that Mizoram will soon be counted among the most developed states of India and I am sure that all of you who are here today, with your knowledge and skill, will work towards making the dream of making our state better and more prosperous come true.
    My congratulations once again to the Director, I&PR and the IIMC faculty members as well as all the participants for making this workshop a huge success and I hope there will be more to come.

    Thank you.