If the photoshopped image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspecting flood hit Chennai from an aircraft was an embarrassment, then the fact that the I&B Ministry needs to finalise a Standard Operating Procedure to warn officials against such blunders only adds to it.

The PIB which had to express regret after being caught in the act by alert social media users, worked up an unconvincing defence that they had simply “used the technique of merging two pictures”.

This is exactly why the proposed SOP clearly states, “no join up and merging of two images will be done on Prime Minister/VVIP/Minister coverage.”

But investigations found that the practice of merging images has been around for a decade and pictures of former PMs have been subjected to similar treatment in the past, and the PIB would have gotten way with it again, if only the social media hadn’t spoiled the party, as reported by The Indian Express.

While images of Prime Minister’s events are meant to be released to the press only after the PMO approves it, the ministry said that due to pressure to release pictures in real time on social media, the PMO might not be able to pay attention on clearing photographs.

Here’s why the SOP came across as the need of the hour

Meanwhile another proposed SOP mentions that, “Photo Division will never issue soft copies of the PM’s coverage to anyone. Only hard copies are to be issued under pricing scheme to individuals for personal file records only with the restriction of publication with the prior permission of the PMO.”