Thursday, January 16, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal vs Narendra Modi: The magic of media propaganda


Why are we not hearing anything about what Narendra Modi has done?
·     Anti-corruption helpline: Kejriwal said he will launch a helpline to report officials who demand bribe. Media went gaga over it. Gujarat has such a helpline (24x7) since June 2013: 1800 233 44444. The government publicized it well through TV, print ads, short films and Navaratri stalls. Just like Kejriwal, the government had encouraged people to trap officials who demand bribes - there were 8 successful traps within 3 months of launching. But the coverage received in the national media is negligible.
·    People’s involvement: Some days back, someone made a post here saying that AAP should create a website to seek ideas from people. Guess what. Gujarat has this since years: Share ideas with Government. People can post ideas and comment on ideas posted by others. Gujarat also has ‘Swagat, the Chief Minister’s Online Grievance Redressal System since long time back. You can also contact any state department for any other purpose online. With Aapnu Taluko Vibrant Taluko (ATVT), every taluka can prepare its own development plan (much like Kejriwal’s idea of constituency-specific issues except that this has been in-place before AAP was born).
·    Surprise visits: Modi has been doing these since he became CM (example). But the national media is more obsessed with talking about why his blog post concerning the riots is not genuine.
·     VAT simplification: This is on every newspaper’s front page. Good to see that the traders of Delhi can now have something that the traders of Gujarat have since 2011. It’s so funny to see #ApingAAP trending on Twitter when Gujarat has done all these things before AAP.
·     Water: Unlike other states of India (except probably Rajasthan), Gujarat is a drought-prone state - 70% of its fresh water resources are located in 30% of its area. In 2012, the state received only 72% of the average annual rainfall (some areas like Saurashtra received only 56%). Despite all this, Gujarat is now a water-surplus state. The Government created a water supply grid, which now supplies 1340 million litres of water to Saurashtra and Kutch. The annual use of water tankers has reduced from 5000 to 500. According to the Central government norms, each village should get 50 litres per capita per day (LPCD) of water, while each city should get 140 LPCD. For Gujarat, these figures are 100 LPCD and 150 LPCD respectively. 76% of the houses have tap-water connections (All-India average: 34%). The river inter-linking idea of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is being implemented in Gujarat.
·     Electricity: AAP had promised that it would fight corruption in the discoms to reduce electricity prices, but it reduced the tariffs through subsidy. In stark contrast, Modi scrapped the 25% relief offered to domestic consumers. Only the BPL families are granted relief from the tarriff hikes, unlike Kejriwal’s freebies which are available even to the upper class. Plus, the farmers are offered subsidy in a bid to increase the agricultural output. Apart from the massive solar power infrastructure and the new Wind Energy Policy, Modi cleared the Mithivirdi nuclear power plant despite protests from ‘activists’ who do not understand that nuclear energy is clean and the new-generation reactors are safe. Kejriwal and Bhushan on the other hand have joined the misguided leftists to oppose the Kudankulam plant.
·     Aam Aadmi: Kejriwal was born in an elite family (his father is an engineering graduate from BITS Pilani - a big thing in the 1960s). Modi is the son of a chaiwala, and himself sold tea on railway platforms in his childhood. He doesn’t talk about his Sudra caste, though it is the fastest way to attract a large number of OBC votes. He follows a simple lifestyle. But media has managed to project him as a person obsessed with extravagant lifestyle by focusing on his hobby of collecting designer fountain pens or his elaborate security (which he needs given that he is #1 on the list of terrorists).
Of course, there are other well-known points such per capita income increase (Rs.19,823 in 2001 to Rs.75,115 in 2011), revenue deficit in 2001 to revenue surplus now, One Day Governance (covers 173 public services), 108 Emergency services, BRTS, reduction in school dropout rate (just 2% now) etc. But our great media focuses only on the negatives. A good example - Gujarat was among the most malnourished states in India before Modi - the malnutrition rate dropped from 70.69% to 38.77% - the fastest and the largest imrpovement in entire India. How did our media report this achievement? They didn’t. Instead we had these headlines:
·    When will Modi address malnutrition in Gujarat?
·    ‘Gujarat malnutrition rate worse than Somalia’
·    Every third child in Gujarat is underweight, says CAG
At the time of Gujarat elections, the main issue discussed on TV channels was “Have Muslims forgiven Modi yet?” The media did not focus on Gujarat’s 2012 manifesto, which includes highly discussable points such as
·    teaching of foreign languages (Chinese and Japanese) in schools
·    ultra-low-cost generic drugs and diagnostic services and health cards for farming animals
·    50 lakh low-cost pucca houses in next 5 years including 7.5 lakh 2-room houses for slum-dwellers costing Rs. 50,000 each (so far 22 lakh low-cost houses have been built since 2002)
·      filling of Saurashstra dams with excess Narmada water (SAUNI yojana),
·      further replacement of gas cylinders with piped cooking gas (Gujarat already provides piped cooking gas to 350 villages and some cities, which saves Rs.600 crore of subsidy money)
·       Rooftop solar power scheme
·       Action plan for climate change
·       Focus on making Gandhi Nagar a solar-energy driven city and a carbon neutral city.
·       Wifi facilities at public places
·       New portal for job placements to help young people find a job
·       Promotion of marine biotechnology especially seaweed cultivation
The media doesn’t want to talk about positive points and ideas in Modi’s words - instead they are hell bent on cherry-picking to paint Modi’s image as someone who does nothing except making personal attacks against the Gandhi family.

1 comment: said...

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