Indian media is well known for sensationalizing issues. To get more eyeballs, media organizations exaggerate everything and publish sensational headlines. Another trait symbolic to Indian media is comparing every issue with events in western countries, without examining the uniqueness of the issue. For example, on the recent IL&FS crisis, media started calling it mini-Lehman movement of the country, comparing it to Lehman brothers crisis of United States in 2008-09. However, a closer scrutiny of the case by the journalists would have helped them understand that the IL&FS crisis is unique in its nature and very different from Lehman brothers crisis. But as we know, closer scrutiny and deep analysis is not the forte of Indian media while sensationalism is.
A few days back, The New Indian Express, a Chennai based English daily published an article with headline ‘NDA government’s flagship Mudra scheme has 14 lakh defaulters’. The article was based on an RTI which was filed to get the details of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna (PMMY), a scheme that aims at providing easy, small loans to entrepreneurs. So far, around 13.47 crore account holders have been sanctioned loans under Mudra amounting to 6.37 lakh crore. Now out of these 13.47 crore people, a mere 13.85 lakh have defaulted and the amount of default is only 11,000 crore. The number of people defaulted is almost 1 percent of total people given loans and defaulted amount is less than 2 percent of total loans. But to sensationalize the issue, media picked up a catchy headline without any context. The people in the opposition and left-liberal establishment in the media picked up the story and started comparing it with the NPA mess created during UPA era.
As NPAs on Mudra rise ?”The BJP and its cadre are distributing money to the wrong people. There is big corruption going on and it’s like a major scam. Ninety per cent of the money has been given to the wrong people and this was bound to happen.” https://t.co/EeCG0AqQSw
— Meera Sanyal (@meerasanyal) October 29, 2018
Meera Sanyal, a National Executive Member of Aam Aadmi Party tried to score political points out of it. “The BJP and its cadre are distributing money to the wrong people. There is big corruption going on and it’s like a major scam. Ninety per cent of the money has been given to the wrong people and this was bound to happen,” she tweeted. Meera Sanyal is former CEO & chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India, as a well educated banker she must had understood that small fraction of total loans turning in NPA is not a major issue, but she intentionally tried to reap political benefits out of it.
The fact remains that majority of the beneficiaries of MUDRA loans were in rural areas and 90 percent of the loans were below 50,000 rupees. Basically there are three categories of MUDRA loans- Shishu (up to Rs 50,000), Kishore (Rs 50,000-Rs 5 lakh) and Tarun (Rs 5 lakh-Rs 10 lakh). Out of the total 13.47 crore people who got loans under MUDRA scheme, 12.23 crore were in Shishu category, 1.04 crore were under Kishore category and 19 lakh under Tarun category. Therefore majority of the loans given ,were very small and concentrated in rural areas, benefiting the poor.
There are also people who are trying to compare the small NPA under MUDRA scheme to the huge NPA mess created during UPA era. As per the liberal cabal, drawing comparisons between NPAs in the UPA era, which were to the tune of 10 lakh cr with the 11,000 crore of the Mudra scheme is fair. Exaggeration and distortion of facts to defame a particular regime has become the hallmark of opposition and their cronies in the media. The rise of digital media has given common people a chance to counter the narrative spread by left-liberal media establishment. Unlike in UPA, people are now free to choose between the right and the wrong narrative, something that spells doom for the dynasty.