Department Of Management Studies | IIT Delhi

Media Conclave

The latest of this series at the DMS auditorium.

At the grassroots of our economy, right at the bottom of the pyramid, many schemes fail to elicit the sort of response that the planners and strategists sitting in their offices in New Delhi envision. Despite the initial enthusiasm and widespread support, these schemes slowly fade from the public's mind, never having being actually understood by the populace. For all to grow, it is necessary for all to be aware of what opportunities are around them. The sheer penetration the media has in the country is unparalleled. What role does the Media have to play in taking growth to the people? When does government proposed schemes stop just being buzzwords and become understandable concepts to the people, especially those who are the true targets of said schemes? To answer these questions, we invited eminent panelists to throw some light and enlighten us with their invaluable insights on: "Is awareness the missing link to inclusive growth?"

The panelists are:

Ananys Dasgupta

Senior Anchor

Jawhar Sircar

Prasar Bharti

Madhu Kishwar

Director of Indian Studies

Sreemoyee Kundu

Author and Leading columnist
Leading columnist

Ms. Dasgupta, session chair, started the discussion by posing the question to the panelists on the definition of inclusive growth.

Ms. Kishwar opined that it is not just the lack of awareness that is the missing link but the deliberate distortion of priorities on the part of media. She made pressing remarks on the amount of TV time that unorganized labour, that forms almost 92% of the workforce, gets by the media. The issues of price rise and its link to farmer’s fate is rarely highlighted by the news channels. The link that is shown to the viewers doesn’t get registered rationally. She attacked the media stating that irrelevant issues get the limelight whereas the pressing issues remain looked over by the journalists. To become a leading engine of growth the unorganized sector needs to grow and this can be achieved when they understand the schemes and the rational link between their fate and the national issues at hand. She gave solid examples of how the people of Punjab post partition made their living and grew into millionaires by growing organically. The government must provide such an enabling environment for the unorganized sectors. She urged the government to let people earn dignified livelihoods and stop the interventions.

Mr. Sircar spoke about the perceptions that people should have to grow. He advised the media to open their blindfolds when analyzing a situation and give a holistic view to the people. He spoke about how RTI brought in transparency among the cross movement between legislative, executive and judiciary and how the press has a symbiotic relation with all three. It is only when the above four pillars failed to live up that social media emerged.

Ms. Kundu opined that inclusive growth is not just about growing in terms of economy but in terms of society as well. Social media gave power to the masses to report issues that they care about and to which the media turns a blind eye or doesn’t find huge TRP generator. She raised many pertinent issues about women’s safety and the role of media in addressing them. She encouraged the people to exercise the platform and power of social media to raise their voices and report matters to the press. Ms. Kishwar echoed the views of Ms. Kundu of how social media is acting as a corrector and balancing force and giving voice to the voiceless. It holds an instant mirror even to the big stars of mainstream media which has started to hold people accountable. Mr. Sircar cited how the congregation on Raisina Hill was a result of effective social media use.

Ms. Dagupta raised points on the role of Prasar Bharti or AIR in spreading awareness about the schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojna. The information gap has bridged largely in the past few years and with the reach of internet to remote parts the gap will bridge further that will help the people to know about the basics of the schemes, the intended beneficiaries and their role and actions in the scheme.

The audience raised questions on the role of media to take inputs from the common people on reporting issues, the inhibition of the people on spending money to take benefit of a scheme and many others. The entire session was very interactive and the audience got a slightly deeper view on the role of media in spreading awareness to ensure inclusive growth.