Sunday, May 17, 2015

MUDRA Bank - media coverage



The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

One of the consulting editors of the Indian Today group (whom I also call as the sermoniser-in-chief) suddenly bestowed upon us this piece of gyan yesterday:
In all the noise of news, @PMOIndia Mudra bank initiative deserves a mention. Let's hope it helps 'fund the unfunded'. Good move.
The Prime Minister launched the MUDRA scheme yesterday. The modalities of this scheme was announced in this year’s Union budget. The Consulting Editor anchors a show at 9pm, every day, for a full one hour. Here is the link for the program from last night Please watch his headlines for the first two minutes. ZERO mention of the launch yesterday. Even some news related to Shoba De was headlined, but the initiative that “deserves” a mention could not find place on *his* show. He sent the above tweet a few minutes after  his show got over. So when he sermonised to us that this initiative “deserves” a mention, where exactly did he mean?
It took several articles by the likes of Gurumurthy, R. Vaidyanathan, in various publications, for us to understand the concept of MUDRA and how it will immensely benefit the small entrepreneurs in the country (Samples 1 , 23) . Or this easy to understand graphic. We learnt nothing by watching the 9pm show run by this consulting editor!
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Last month, there was this sudden found love for farmers. A barrage of tweets and a 9 pm show was conducted on this too.
Hope to focus on a bigger issue tonight on News Today at 9: rising farm suicides. Wish we would 'outrage' about that.

And while 'national' media obsess with AAP, more farmer suicides being reported. Time to reset at 9 pm today?
In one of the tweets, he even asked Narendra Modi to answer some specifics on why the farmer is suffering 67 years after Independence.

@narendramodi should tell farmer why 67 years after indep, we don't have proper crop insurance scheme. Failing crop biggest concern for now
During yesterday’s launch, the Prime Minister announced some key changes in the compensation packages for the farmer. The country has been hit by unseasonal rains this year. Many senior members of the Union Cabinet have travelled to different parts of the country to directly interact with the farmers. The Prime Minister also mentioned this in his speech yesterday, and highlighted that the existing systems are not robust enough to help the farmer during these conditions. However, the sermoniser-in-chief did not find any of these to be “headlines” worthy (leave being discussion worthy).
Below image is today’s banner headline of the largest circulated Telugu newspaper, Eenadu. Their banner headline is the new compensation package announced by the Prime Minister. The related text also deals with the launch of the MUDRA initiative.
1

I pasted the snapshot to show the wide gap between how the regional media covers policy related issues versus the noise that the English TV channels churn, day in and day out. Nearly 1 crore people in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are now aware of this important announcement by the Prime Minister. No serious debate on any policy on any prime time show. I would like to recall what Dr. Prannoy Roy said during the 2009 election campaign.
2
Sudhir: What do you think the media has learned from this election?”. 
Dr Prannoy Roy: Interesting question, Sudhir. I think the media has learnt or should have learnt not to sensationalise small events.. serious issues like hunger or unemployment do not come into focus because these are hard to sensationalise. But tiny events like shoe throwing or a bollywood candidate are blown up beyond proportion. So media needs to learn to focus on real issues during campaigning.
The grim reality is that Delhi’s media just does not like bread and butter issues. It would be better if they accept this, and spare us their episodic sanctimony.

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