Prime-time is dead!

Sad demise of Indian electronic media.

9 PM, Prime time at news channels was my window to India and World. After a day’s work, since 1984, when television first came to my home (Delhi Doordarshan) and 1991, when private cable networks invaded, the newsreader was a friend, philosopher, teacher and guide who will not only let me know what happened during the day but also an honest and unbiased opinion on its impact; which was debated with family, friends and relative the day after.

Something changed once Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi decided to contest for the post of Prime Minister of India. Suddenly we realised that majority of these news channels, their news anchors, owners and guests belongs to one fraternity, so called liberal, secular, centrist / leftist. Every channel was reeling out stuff after stuff with doomsday scenario, if this man is elected. First, we all believed. Than we started doubting when every action of this man was denounced even when our common sense was saying he is right on this. We wanted to know other side, which these channels were refusing to share; and then there came channels who started showing only other side of the story.

So, we did have 2 side of the story. But on different channels.

An action from government will have positive reviews / opinion on one set of channels having a set of guest panels and negative on another. We all started to know the affiliations of these channels and their anchors. I no longer trust any channel, any news anchor, and any guest; there is nothing called honest opinion.

9 PM is dead, long live Prime time.

I no longer watch 9 PM news. Check news apps to read relevant news (no opinion). It seems lot of my friends are doing the same; there is no debate in offices on topics discussed during last night prime time. It seems, people have not only lost interest in political debate but also non-political ones pertaining to economics, social and cultural. Why? because these channels end up giving political colours to all such debates. A rape victim is no longer a rape victim; but she is a religion, a caste, a state, a party, an ideology. So, if you happen to be on another side of caste, religion, state, part and ideology; victim no longer mater. And therefore no anger on the street; Media just lost the credibility to raise any issue.

It’s sad. Media did a wonderful job to mainstream issues which otherwise politicians and the government of the day would loved to put under the carpet. There will be no candle light march to show solidarity for Jessica Lal, which one news channel managed to get it into the conscious of so many people that it became an overnight people’s movement for justice. And she got the justice. Alas there will be no other Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, which got the mileage only because media was trusted till then. There will no more Nirbhaya. We have already seen that; no uprising for Vemulla or Nazib. Media tried and failed to even get the justice for their own journalist friend from Bangalore.

We lost one pillar of the democracy.

USA has seen the repercussion.

India has to get back its vibrant and free media. Old generation has to go. They have sold their soul and trust, both left & right. New generation has to join, who can freely and honestly present both side of coin.

We badly want our 9PM back.

 

Mr. Prime Minister, It’s your turn!

Voters are still waiting for promised Land.

26May2014, Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi takes oath as 14th Prime Minister of India. There was hope all around, even among people who were against his party brand of politics. And there were two principle reasons, his own track record as Chief Minister of Gujarat and second the poor show of the outgoing PM, Mr. Manmohan Singh in his second term. During 3 years of Mr Singh reign, India started losing its tag as one of the leading emerging economics. This was not only due to global slow-down but also on account of policy paralysis as government struggled against corruption charges and PM lost its mojo to internal party politicking with emergence of crown-prince.

For Indians, Modi was everything which Manmohan was not. Aggressive, Excellent public orator and strong leader with his own large constituency. And he connected well with mass, almost hypnotised them with promises of bright future aka Ache Din.

3 years and 3 months later, Mr Modi has to admit that voters stood by him.

Except for early Delhi and later Bihar / Punjab election loss, all section of society through pain and difficulties kept faith on him. This is a Country where governments are kicked out even if Onion prices goes up! They stood by him through Farmer’s suicide, pain of demonetisation, terrorist attack on our forces in Kashmir & Pathankot, Mob lynching in the name of cow slaughter, Vemula suicide, JNU fiasco, flood in Bihar, Chennai, Assam and draught in Maharashtra.

They were not on road, when petrol prices are deregulated, subsidies are withdrawn, and prices went up, trains got derailed, patients died in Hospitals, sisters got raped.

They didn’t listened to opposition or media, when your party orchestrated political coup in Assam, Goa, and Uttarakhand. Ignored their warning and supported demonetisation, GST; even surrendered LPG subsidies.

And why?

They believed your promise of Ache Din. They appreciated your zeal for Swatch India, Beti Bachao, and Beti Padhao. They dreamt with you for Digital India, Make in India and Start-up India.

Mr. Prime Minister, It’s your turn now.

It’s your turn to deliver your promises to people who kept the faith, walked the mile and lived the hope. They are waiting. Other than low inflation and gyrating Sensex, They are not feeling Ache Din.

• Promised 10 M jobs per year are now-where; in-fact FY15 and FY16 only 1.5 lakhs and 2.3 lakhs jobs were created (lowest since 2009).
• At-least macro numbers like GDP and PMI were promising in early days. All were hoping for double-digit growth but with 5.7% in Q1 FY18, even very optimistic will not go beyond 6.5 for year. Below graph trend shows this year is not very far-off from the worst 2 years of previous government.
• Make in India has only remained slogan. Private Investment still to take off. Public sectors banks are still struggling to get their house in order. PSUs are going no-where, neither disinvestment nor revival
• Digital India has meant IT companies are slowing down, telecom are just surviving and 4G speed is below 3G speed standard. And Cash is coming back.
• Start-up India is closing down for want of fund and no support from ecosystem. Government own research shows that there is no improvement in ease of business.
• Power is one bright spot. There is surplus power. But ask end consumer. The power-shortage is still at same level. This time blame is on Transmission, power infrastructure and state government but your promised 24×7 electricity is not reaching them.
• They are willing to wait bullet train. But what about trains, which are still running late, service is still as bad and accidents have only gone up.
• India is still as dirty as when Swatch India was started 3 years back.
• Betis are still hoping to be saved.

India Manufacturing PMI

india-gdp-growth-annual

To your credit, Mr Prime Minister; you did took some difficult & challenging decisions which will definitely benefit India in long-term. The list includes GST, bankruptcy law, strong action against bank loan defaulter, no large public corruption, strong foreign policy, continuation of congress policy on Aadhar / MNREGA etc. You were also lucky as Crude price has stabilised at lower level and global economy is getting back on track.

But after 3 years and 3 months gone and less than 2 years left, they are asking what’s there for us. What have they got for all the sweat. And they should we be so enthusiastic about your return in 2019. You may return as there is no opposition and once a while public could be bought to vote (Old Congress tricks – Loan waiver to farmers, Job / education quota, buying out opposition and so on).

You promised to be different. They believed You. They still believe you.

It’s your turn, Mr prime minister!