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Make In India Campaign: A PR Exercise

By Qazi Shibli

15 February, 2016

The negative or positive is just a notion; it is the stakeholders who choose what is suitably worthy for them and what not. They are the vital decision makers in a state,at least in theory and the constitutional bibles of modern Democratic Halls. The state uses it’s suspiciously manufactured or funded or defenceless enterprises to influence the public opinion.

The media is an enterprise with a few men to rule it and influence the public opinion and notion it in a harmless “productive” conduct. The “rape” of a doctor makes a hue and cry, an entire nation roars on the streets, the same people dastardly rest in their bedrooms expressing anguish and anger watching the news of the same happening with a girl from a remote area who comes from a different class of people, on the elite media. “Save Tigers” campaign garnered a colossal support, farmers committing suicide is often concealed. Sometimes substantial truth which may lead to critics against fanatic traditionalism are concealed, the facts may also evoke anger and lead to an outstretched public outrage or an enlightened public opinion.

The people in power however are the master funders to the media enterprisesin the form of advertisements. The elite capitalist hierarchy tries to maintain its hegemony over the other “middle class and the poor class” of the society to shape the progressive society or the society towards “progress”. The progress though exaggerates the fissures between classes of rich and poor.

One of the reasons for the proliferation of Business lobbyists is all too clear: it pays to invest in influence. British Petroleum helped liberal democrat MEP Chris Davies draft climate-change legislation that secured a nine billion euro subsidy from European taxpayers, covering the entire cost of new technology to convert from “dirty” coal-fired power stations, saving energy firms from having to pay for it themselves. The Industry later gave Davies an award. Davies was at least candid about the process he conducted to prepare the new European laws, justifying his actions by using a famous quotation often miss-attributed to Otto von Bismarck. “The Public should never be allowed to see new things: how sausages are made and how laws are made”

An Insight into “Make in India”

Around 500 of India’s industrial elites gathered in Delhi to hear the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, formally launch a new national campaign called “Make in India” with a lion as the logo. “The campaign is designed to both attract foreign investment and to help spur the country’s local manufacturing sector to become a key engine for economic growth and future employment. Twenty-five priority industrial sectors have been identified as ripe for expansion - from automobiles to thermal power, and from construction to biotechnology. With 800 million of India’s population aged under 35, there’s lots of reasons for India’s politicians and industrialists to hope this focused new approach will indeed unleash “young people’s energy, enthusiasm and enterprise” as alleged by the popular Government.

“Big Picture, Small Deeds”

The link between public relations and the political sphere is very diverse but the term political public relations is rarely used. The two have been two firmly entangled concepts since the beginning of recorded history.

For evidence from the times prehistoric, the relationship is discovered at Aristotle and his schools of rhetoric thoughts that taught the art of persuasive communication.

The two words have a lot in common. Not least is the fact that both PR practitioners and politicians are frequently criticised by people and neither the fact both start with the alphabet “P”. But on a note serious, public relations plays a key role in politics and government policy by influencing public opinion to support a certain candidate by spreading a propaganda or an alleged “social campaign”

Foxconn was one of the first companies from China to have announced that they would become a part of “Make in India” – Mr Modi’s dream of transforming India into an industrial hub akin to China. One of the core companies that Foxconn is in touch with is the Adani Group owned by Gautam Adani, Mr Modi’s prime election sponsor. Is Foxconn’s business model in China is to exploit workers till they get suicidal, what would be their business model in India? Especially, if they wish to make more profit than they already do in China? Foxconn according to a survey in china has “1,736 employees at 12 plants in nine cities and found they worked an average of 83.2 hours of overtime a month - more than twice the maximum of 36 hours allowed under Chinese law”, the Shanghai-based China Business News reported on Friday

The Vision of our visionary leader, Mr. Modi happens to be a copied idea from the neighbouring China. The answer to the above posed questionis obvious of which companies from all over the world come to India and are given Indian labour on a platter. “Here take them and suck the blood out of them”

Onthe 2nd day of September in 2015, 150 million workers participated in an all India strike. In a country, where unions are still wide-spread, even if not as effective as they used to be about 2 decades back, how does one create labour conditions as exploitative as that of China?

The Rajasthan Lab of Dilution of Labour In Nov, 2014, got a nod from President Mukherjee to multiple amendments in labour laws passed by the Rajasthan assembly. I’m enlisting the twoof them here.

– No Government green signal is obligatory for companies engaging upto 300, for laying off or closing down units, before the number was 100.

– 30% of fullworker membership is required to form workers union, previous number was 15%.

The first one makes hire-and-fire easy, the second one makes formation of unions extremely tougher thus weakening labour laws greatly. Rajasthan Model was step one. Now the plan is to propagate this model to other states, starting with BJP states. However, the going hasn’t been easy. TheCentral Govt is trying to pass its own sleuth of amendments in labour law.

The government's 'Make in India' bogey expected to boost production and export appears to be a deceptive , visibly their real agenda is to allow multinationals in small and medium industries with a call to come and make profit in India, resulting in de-industrialisation of India. The Indian economy has been facing crisis in the past two decades ‘due to implementation’ of neo liberal policies at the dictates of IMF and World Bank. These financial strategies have shown hostile sway on unemployment problem, it and result in a capitalist structure with the accumulation of treasure in the hands of a limited at the cost of the denial and dilapidation of the poor. The campaign allegedly aims to boost India’s manufacturing sector is calling for foreign investors and companies to manufacture in India. In a similar PR campaign, “The Government of India has spent Rs 94 crore only on radio, Print and Television ads to promote the ‘CLEAN-INDIA campaign’. These activities may glitter beneficial, but they all share one common characteristic throughout the globe, No accountability to the stakeholders.

Worrisome Truth

It’s worth placing the progress of the Indian economy in a global context. Using International Monetary Fund data, India is now growing at 7.46 percent. In 2014, the World Bank assessed that the Indian economy had become the world’s third largest in purchasing power parity terms. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that in real terms, the Indian economy—today the eighth largest by this measure—would become the world’s third largest by 2030.

In a “democratic” setup, the accord between the citizen and the Government is never clear. You can never spend an entire life obeying orders and laws, paying taxes, without once being asked whether you wish to sign the accord or stay out of it. The Elected Government insists to be informed on your birth and intimated about your death. And at no point does it seek your consent or a continual feedback about its working or your life which democratic setup provides space for, at least in theory.

The ground situation remains alien to this development, so does the vast chunk of populace, others love to go with the notions. ”One in 3 of the world’s poor live in India” where 80% of the population reside in rural villages, far from the new found wealth, alien to campaigns, alien to the inoculated module of education, struggling to make bread, that remains in the hands of the high caste minority. In fact it was found in a recent survey that one Indian state is actually poorer than it was in 2006. India has a higher rate of malnutrition than the whole of Sub Saharan Africa and 42% of India’s children suffer restricted mental and physical development through poor nutrition.

Almost 43% of India’s geographical area is agricultural land, About 600 milion Indians, or roughly half the population, depend upon growing crops or rearing animals to survive. However, the sector is being least attended to and is fading at a drastic level. India launched its first big liberalising reforms in 1991, setting off a new spurt of growth, one area of the country’s economy remains hardly touched: Agriculture. The Prime minister, Narendra Modi, launched a 24-hour state-run TV channel for farmers in May, but has fostered no public debate about how to improve India’s dreadfully backward agriculture. This does matter. Many farming practices, along with India’s agricultural markets, infrastructure, insurance and rules on leasing land, have barely changed in decades. Reform is long overdue. Contributing just 13.7% to Indian GDP, agriculture has grown by around 3% a year in recent years, far slower than the rest of the economy. National Crime Records Bureau, NCRB claims “46 farmers commit suicide every day in India”

The Industrialists admit that their instant objectives are purely to raise the profits manifold and manufacturing too. Numerous constructors build extravagant villas and million-dollar holiday households. Does it sound nous in a nation with a deficit of over six million urban homes in the low and mid-level housing sector? Though cars like BMW and Audi begin manufacturing operations in India, Indian car manufacturers themselves only endorse luxurious models. Shouldn't a zero-carbon car or solar bus be part of the Make in India campaign in cities with dangerous pollution levels? The campaign's promotion of the tourism industry similarly overlooks the structure of Indian domestic travel and seeks large scale high-end hospitality. When 60 million Indians are on the move annually, wouldn't a restructuring of domestic hotel and travel facilities make more sense?

An official statement reads: "The initiative has already touched over 2.1 billion global impressions on social media and reached an overall fan base of over 3 million on its Facebook page."

I seeked the internet aid locating some experts view backdrops of the program, however there seem be none, none of the stake holders looking into the crystallised negligence of the things that might need more attention, but are given less importance as they are not a tool to PR, anymore and the rural population has been hammered to notions and prejudices. The elite public opinion, wealthy philanthropists, the wealthy media men, the predisposed intelligentsia comments not that campaigns like such have done nothing in the past but transferred the power into the hands of a few capitalists and their grasp in matters of Public importance. There is a negative consequence to this state dominated mode of thinking. The chess game requires two sides, white and Black. The process of simplifying and overstating our own needs known as calculating our interests, requires a reciprocal technique to be applied to those on the other side of the chess board. If there is to be an “Us”, there must be a “them” also.

Qazi Shibli is Founder Member of Rights Group



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