CRAZY CONTROVERSY YOGA ‘BABA’

So, he does it again! Yes, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has again caught the eye of the nation and its media by his, relevant or irrelevant we will try to understand, comment and proposition on the economic reforms of our nation India. If we track down Baba’s previous instances of 5-6 years we will see that Baba has made such various, out of his domain, comments in his yoga gatherings. His ‘famous’ incident, where he ran away at midnight wearing female clothes when police raided on his public gathering which was against the corrupt government, got him the maximum media coverage. What is with Baba that whatever he does becomes headlines or to put in other words; controversies follow him everywhere or vice versa.

The recent proposition which Baba has made is on India’s taxation situation. Before proceeding any further, let us understand what Baba has in mind and what does it states-

The current taxation policy needs to be abolished and a new taxation system should be availed for the proper transaction of money, which will put an end or at least curb the black money situation.

The model –
On every receiving end a minimal of 2% would be deducted from the cash received via a bank transaction. For example, if we consider that person A receives a salary of rs100, then rs2 (2%) will be deducted from the cash received. This 2% will be the tax deducted from person A’s account, further person A need not pay any tax annually. The amount deducted will be distributed into four segments, for example if we consider the distribution of rs2; the central government will be receiving 70 paise, state government 60 paise, bank commission 35 paise and local body tax 35 paise.

Now let us take some facts into consideration; this model has not been implemented in any country except Brazil, which too closed down this model after an experimental failure. So, why Baba is forcing this and why does he wants this model to be made applicable on Indian citizens? So, here are a couple of concerns of Baba; first and foremost is the issue of curbing black money and secondly, collecting taxes properly from each section of the society who is capable enough of opening a bank account. Baba is, as always, very much concerned and is right but what probably lacks is, problem lies within the model itself if we introspect it minutely keeping the broader vision aside for a moment. For example, if a student stays far away from his/her parents and the parents send him/her money for his fees or rent or spending, a 2% would be deducted from his/her account even he/she is not earning anything. Consider another example, if a villager with very minimal wages of rs100 to rs200 deposits the money on a weekly basis, a sum of rs14 to rs28 respectively would be deducted from the villagers account, which will sum up to rs112 monthly. This is a good enough amount for the villagewala to put it to good use who prior to this wasn’t coming under the tax slabs.

What did the media do with this story? Well the media connected Baba to BJP and projected the news as one of the gimmick before 2014 lok sabha polls. But in this amidst of all this, I got some good two day 1 hour show on NDTV India by Ravish Kumar discussing on his show Prime Time and trying to get something out of it. Well the show was a bit noisy as all were trying to debate and prove their points and seemed less interested in listening, still the show highlighted the need of us being educated about our economic policies.

Coming back to Baba, he is completely out of his domain. He is a yoga expert and it is much appreciated that he is concerned about the nation’s future but shouldn’t he contribute via his yoga, in which he is best. He raises question, demands answers and like all other citizens protest if he doesn’t get the reply. But economic reform! Really? Baba this for sure is not your cup of tea and for your betterment I would request you to stick to your very own domain. I don’t deny the fact a measure needs to be taken to curb the black money and collect taxes but this model, which is rejected by every nation, why would an already in economic ‘not so stable’ India should imbibe this model? The model should be debated and should be welcomed by everyone for an open debate and understanding; at least this would help in economic literacy.

I want a few good open suggestions on this topic. It is good to understand economy and how it works and how any change affects us, the common man. Please pour in your opines on this topic, which surely is important for all of us to understand. And if you have any query you can write to me or ask any expert you know or even ask Baba Ramdev on this, I am sure he will clear your doubts!

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WHAT DOES THESE FIVE STATE ELECTIONS TELL US

The predictions of the five state elections resulted very obvious as majority of news media, ABP, Times, Zee, NDTV, IBN7-CNN etc, already came with the survey polls that BJP will be winning the next term. Madhya Pradesh (MP), Rajasthan and Chattisgarh are BJP’s main striking areas and after the vote counting on 8th December it was proved again. Rajasthan and MP were a thumping victory for BJP, defeating congress by a mile but Chattisgarh was a close counter, the tension went right down the wire and finally BJP came out victorious by bagging 49 out of 90 votes, gaining majority and forming government.

This certainly raises concern over the Congress’s performance, I would say, worst performance. The strategies at the center have certainly affected the state elections. Delhi is by far the best example. Whatever happened to the 15 year old Sheila government was the result of common man’s agitation against the government in power, UPA-2, which so far has been unable to fulfill the promises it made.

Now, the scenario of Delhi was considered as the semis before the 2014 lok sabha election. There is another wing of experts who support the other theory, according to them; the elections were in states which already has the high influence of BJP compared to the rest of the states. However nobody denies the fact that the result of these five states have proved that UPA-2 is at big loss prior to the 2014 lok sabha polls.

The center’s role on various issues like, 2G, Coal-gate, CWG (common wealth games), Robert Vadra property, has put them under the scanner of all- the opposition, the media and the citizens. The media has played its part by making us aware on such issues. So, what does all this tells us about the 2014 elections? There is certainly a wave of majority of people who are not content with the UPA-2 government. On the contrary, the UPA-2 government always seems t be complacent with its decisions.

This certainly is injurious thinking for the congress government. They don’t have much time left though, but if they can pull out something in these few months time hopefully they would be able to save their government. Orelse, it seems pretty clear that what happened to the four (MP, Rajasthan, Delhi & Chattisgarh) out of the five states, the rest will be followed soon on the national level.

5 states election
States were elections were held during December 2013.

Would really like positive feedback and suggestion or if you have any queries go ahead and put it in the comment box, I would try to revert as soon as possible. Just don’t make any comments supporting any political party; we are here to understand the mechanics of politics and media and not to crib about the good or the bad.

MAMO – NAMO

What is going to happen when the two giants of the opposite parties, Mr. Prime Minister & probably future Mr. Prime Minister, will meet and might be sharing the same stage. Will ‘we’ see any hand shakes? Any smiles? Any chit-chat? Or on the contrary they both will ignore each other, which for the media will certainly be nothing much.

So what if they say hi to each other and discuss about the lunch or dinner ahead, ‘we’ want stories to run, to fill the space for tonight’s debate. Will that be possible? Of course yes, because there are many who will derive their own conclusions and will say how that is going to impact the 2014 general elections.

 

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As audience, we have to come out of all this sensationalism and watch the news as NEWS. It is a content. A meeting doesn’t matters but what comes out of that as decision or conclusion matters. Will that affect my pocket? My decision making? My mindset? My future plans? Well, this should be the points of highlight. And, this can go endless.

Start watching content wisely and choose your subject smartly!

WHY ALWAYS MODI?

He caught the eyeballs of the whole nation, when, for the first time he became the chief minister of Gujarat on 7th October 2001. It was after his swornship that Gujarat faced the worst hit of riots in 2002. Many accused him as the main reason for those riots. It is because this that he is always in media. He may like it or not, but the media would never leave his trail. In media terms, Narendra Modi is a ‘Newsmaker’.

Media knows the value of Modi. The weightage attributed to Modi is very high as compared to any other politician in India. His speeches are so carefully heard by the media personnel and only one casual word from his mouth can make a big front page story or breaking news on any television news channel. The end product is a fabricated, scripted and media manufactured word. My intension in writing so much before actually coming to my point is that, I want to make my point clear that how media not just reports but manufactures news at times.

Recently Modi was in news for his comments, which he made in his interview with the Reuters news agency. Now, whether the comment was controversial or did the media made it look such? Well, both the possibilities cannot be denied. Now let examine through the point of view of the media.

2014 elections are near, and media is on top again, chasing sensationalism. Media did a simple thing, played the only part, where Modi uses the word ‘puppy’ and ‘Hindu nationalist’, of the interview again and again. So, without telling us the whole scenario it is only reporting that which can spark a party against party war and media can get a full loaded content for telecasting 24*7. This is very clear on how media is setting its agenda (agenda setting theory, refer my first blog for more details on this theory). It is not giving us the false side of the story but also not delivering the whole truth. This is how media should perform its social responsibility?

Now, the reporter from Reuters who interviewed Modi made a clear statement that the context in which modi said these lines were not at all controversial. He was just explaining a situation but the media projected it otherwise. Is media setting their agenda for the 2014 election? Is the media giving us what we want and not actually what is required by us? Is just taking bytes of various leaders from various parties on a particular topic and filling up content slot is media’s main motto?

There are a lot of questions which go unanswered. And we are a part of this dumbing down of news. It at times also depends on our peers, on what opinion we form. There is always someone, to whom we look for guidance or in our opinion forming. What if the person we are counting on is biased? Two Step flow theory; which states that whatever information we acquire, comes two us in two stages. First from the media to the opinion leader and then from the opinion leader to us. Hence, we listen to what the opinion leader says. Also knowledge theory plays a vital role here (for further information about this theory refer to my first post).

This is how the news media works sometimes. Yes we cannot do much about it but we can make ourselves aware of the media business and thus can help ourselves in forming right decisions.

Well as always, you are free to drop your comments and yes I will answer your queries for sure. Also if you want to know more on media and contemporary reporting, be my guest and go through my earlier posts.