Millennium Post

Twisting PM’s message on skills

Seldom we find an important message of the Indian Prime Minister relegated to an inside page in a national newspaper, as it was on Monday (TOI, Capital Edition, 9 June 2014). That too when he was ideating at a social event on a prime intellectual strategy for the country: he mentioned skills development.  

Topping it we find in the newspaper the mention of China in his speech sensationalised as a ‘Dragon’, giving the headline the tenor of creating a nationwide apprehension. In fact, creative energy has ended up here, after issuing a wrong message of the PM’s speech at the function. Disservice at mass communication in India, sadly, often turns to become a challenge to every prospective attempt to cure and prevent the nation’s problems. Caricaturist overtone in headlines may be good for sales in the stands, definitely it is not mature journalism. In a certain way, it is also an example of dangerously immature individualism of a newspaper for a nation where it originates. 

Mass communication needs to work in support of development, everywhere, because it addresses the interests of the largest of masses. The Prime Minister in this case did not give ‘mantra to take on Dragon.’ Instead he was only advising Indians to build up domestic strength to handle the competition with China in markets within and outside India. Strangely, the idea disseminated by the parts of the headline ‘to take on Dragon’ means to be an advice for Indians to be ready for a battle with China, which was not the intention of the prime minister in his speech at the book-release. Misjudging or misquoting is also an example of oversmart journalism. 

It is time India gets ready to examine the honesty of ends and means of Indian Press while reporting on serious matters in international relations and development. One can report being non-committal even without creating a flavour of irony. The journalists have to be more responsible than ridiculous. 
The Prime Minister’s stress to build intellectually-supported plans, especially through universities and academic researches, is a prudent approach followed by all advanced economies. In the two largest economies, the USA and China, universities are the think-tank that sustains good governance in both nations. Comparatively in India, governance is partisan and leader-induced supported or criticised by an imprudent Press, which turn out to be an obstacle to many good development plans, because section of the media have their partisan agenda to sustain. 

India needs skills development education. Indian press needs to accept this reality. Not the trainees alone, skills of training also are required to be induced onto the trainers. For a nation where poverty line seriously hovers on dangerous low levels of existence breaching new limits in every other fiscal year, putting a huge chunk of humanity in peril, job creation and subsequent employment are possible only by investment. Skills education at such grassroots levels as in interiors, tribals’ locales, poverty-stricken and naxalism-influenced zones, villages, tehsils, small towns, districts towns sustain that investment. 

Much like the Chinese pattern, these skills-training institutes should flood the length and breadth of the country, and that alone can give steady supplies of skilled-labour at manufacturing units (SMEs). Do we get Indian media houses creating enough national awareness about these fundamental needs? Of course the big ones of them would do, when only the USA or China or a European country would start venturing into India. Why are they so satirical when a different Indian government and well-meaning Indian entrepreneurs want to set up these facilities? 

It is again the talk of quality and its degrees. We need a quality press in India, which is capable of analysing, sift, evaluate and criticise news on merit and not in a partisan or narrow mindset. IPA
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