Ranjona Banerji: Imaginary green shoots everywhere

30 Oct,2020

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Whatever happens or doesn’t happen in the Bihar Assembly elections, the Modi government is on a massive PR exercise. And the target is the “economy” and then some fairy tale stuff that only “pliable” journalists would believe. To The Economic Times on October 29, PM Narendra Modi said that India can still become a $5 trillion economy in 2024.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/we-should-assess-our- coronavirus-fight-against-the-metric-of-how-many-lives-we-are-able-to-save-pm-narendra- modi/articleshow/78922895.cms

 

And then, lo and behold, on the same day, The Print paraphrases the honourable PM and repeats the same fantasy fiction all over again.

https://theprint.in/economy/india-can-still-become-a-5-tn-economy-by-2024-pm-modi-shows-hope-despite-covid-setback/533044/?amp&__twitter_impression=true

 

Ignore this fabulous cross-journal cooperation and sharing policy to spread the word of the PM far and wide for now. The PR kitty is large and generous and far more expansive than the actual prospects for the Indian economy and indeed, the immediate Indian economy itself.

Just get this into your dim brain: PM Modi “believes” that India could well become a $5 trillion economy by the time of the next general election.

You may also believe that Betelgeuse may go supernova tomorrow or that an asteroid will crash into earth day after. Or that sitting naked in the mudsinging “Go Corona Go” will vanquish the virus. There is no limit to the human capacity for belief.

But The Economic Times also tells us this: that India’s fiscal deficit is at ₹9.1lakh crore halfway through the year, exceeding its target by 15 per cent:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/indias-april-september-fiscal- deficit-at-rs-9-1-lakh-crore/articleshow/78932740.cms?utm_source=twitter_pwa&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialsharebuttons&from=mdr

And the same newspaper, among several news sources, additionally informs us that the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in between some nonsensical gardening-agricultural jargon waffle, tells India that India’s GDP growth will be negative or near zero this fiscal year. As the IMF had saidmjuch to huge outrage from the Modi Gobarmint and its supporters, paid and otherwise.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/indias-gdp-growth-will-be-negative-or-near-zero-this-fiscal-year-fm-nirmala-sitharaman/videoshow/78898836.cms

But obviously, there is “hope”. You know, there is always hope. I keep hoping that I’ll get my IT returns despite any movement in that direction and overarching despair with the general economic situation. Well.

But there is no hope at all that Indian channels that pretend to be about news will ever escape from the stupid bigotry that is ingrained in them.

In case you missed it, the BJP is now on one more distraction spree and the pliable media has rushed to report for duty. Manipulating Sushant Singh Rajput’s death may not have worked the magic they hoped for in the Bihar elections. The economy has only mythical “green shoots”. Covid-19 has not ended and so on. The fallback option to polarise voters and increase your vote share is obviously Pakistan. And back to Pulwama and Balakot and a scene from Pakistan’s Parliament.

As shown by a number of Indian channels, Pakistani Parliamentarians started shouting “Modi Modi”. Apparently, this “chant” proved that Pakistan was terrified of Modi.

AltNews to the rescue and obviously, the truth is the exact opposite of what these channels claim:

https://www.altnews.in/were-modi-modi-slogans-raised-in-pakistan-parliament-india-tv-tv9-bharatvarsh-misreport/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=newpost

But you know that they don’t care as long as the damage has been done and enough bigoted idiots have fallen for this nonsense as Bihar gets ready for the next two phases of voting.

**

It’s not that nothing’s happening in India or that there’s nothing to report. There is, for instance, the terrible fact that India’s “online” schooling during lockdown has been a disaster for rural India.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-20-of-rural-school-children-had-no-textbooks-due-to-covid-19-impact-finds-aser-survey/article32966299.ece

Or the very frightening admission by the Government of India that it knows nothing about the Aarogya Setu app that it launched and forced many to download to track the spread of #Covid19. And then further transgressions of all sorts and a despicable clarification.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/exclusive-govt-fails-to-implement-its-own-data-protection-safeguards-under-aarogya-setu-protocol

 

These stories however require actual work and nothing is paid out of the massive PR budget when you carry them. Possibly, quite the opposite.

Hence, imaginary green shoots everywhere, growing out of the heads of prime ministers and those who pretend to interview him.

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. Her views here are personal

 

 

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