Senior Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Sitanshu Ranjan Kar took charge as the 27th Principal Spokesperson of the Government of India and Director General of Press Information Bureau (PIB) in New Delhi.
The 1983-batch Odia officer succeeded Frank Noronha.
Here is everything you need to know about new PIB chief Sitanshu Ranjan Kar:
1. Born on 15 March 1959 in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, Sitanshu Ranjan Kar belongs to the 1983 batch of Indian Information Service (IIS).
2. He finished his schooling at the Christ Collegiate School, Cuttack and Capital High School, Bhubaneswar.
3. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar graduated in Arts from BJB College, Bhubaneswar and secured the First Rank in Political Science Honours in Utkal University.
He earned his post-graduate degree in Political Science and M. Phil in Chinese and Japanese Studies from Delhi University.
4. After attending the Foundation Course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie and Orientation Course at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, Sitanshu Ranjan Kar joined the News Services Division of All India Radio (AIR) for a short period before moving to Doordarshan News. He spent nearly 17 years in this medium and played a substantial role in its growth.
5. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar joined the Press Information Bureau in 2003. He anchored the publicity of several key Ministries such as Environment & Forests, Rural Development, Human Resource Development, Science & Technology, Atomic Energy and Space before joining the Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence (MoD) as the Principal Spokesperson in August 2005.
6. He was the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the 4th Military World Games (2007) held at Hyderabad and Mumbai, and successfully projected a positive image of the event world-wide. His efforts were commended by both the Organizing Committee as well as the MoD. He was tasked to ensure the smooth entry of MoD into the world of Social Media in 2015.
7. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar was also instrumental in publishing the much acclaimed coffee table book ‘Soldiering On’ to commemorate the Centenary of Sainik Samachar, the oldest defence journal of India. He is also the co-author of the book ‘ Grandeur of the Indian Republic Day Celebrations’, published earlier this year.
8. Kar has won several awards and Fellowships. In 1988, he became the first Indian to win the prestigious Visnews Fellowship of London in a world-wide competition and traveled through Europe and North America to experience the practices and technologies being used in the production of television news by leading broadcasters.
9. Two years later, he was chosen by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation of Germany to travel through East and West Europe to report on the political and economic changes sweeping the world at that point of history.
10. In 1991, he was invited by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, Kuala Lumpur to work as the Coordinator of Asia Vision for a period of three months.
11. In 1998, Sitanshu Ranjan Kar was selected by the Dutch government for a training programme at Radio Netherland Training Centre, Hilversum on Application of Digital Technology in News Organisations, the course theme being News Goes Digital.
12. A firm believer in the application of digital technology in content creation, his efforts brought a number of laurels to Doordarshan News- the most significant one being the FES Award for Best Television News Organization of Asia in 2000.
13. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar has been commended thrice by the Indian Defence Minister and decorated by the Army Chief with his Badge of Honour for outstanding contribution in Crisis Communication.
14. He has the distinction of being the longest serving spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence for over a decade at a stretch and worked closely with four Defence Ministers, 6 Defence Secretaries and 15 Service Chiefs.
15. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar is an avid photographer, teacher and writer.
16. His tenure as the new PIB chief is going to be a crucial one as the country will be witnessing a series of state elections leading to the General Elections next year.
17. Kar’s appointment also comes at a time when the social media is mired in controversy on the issue of Fake News and there is an intense debate for institutional mechanisms to ensure quality journalism.
18. He is the second Odia officer to serve in this post in the 80 year old history of the organization, the earlier one being Prof Umakant Mishra in 2008-09.
19. He was a Merit scholarship winner from 1971-1980 and University Grants Commission’s (UGC’s) Junior Research Fellow from 1980-1983.
20. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar has a keen interest in sports since his childhood. He represented Christ Collegiate School in Football and Badminton, captained the cricket team of Capital High School, Unit-3 which won the Bhubaneswar Championship in 1974.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.