Intro: An interactive forum ‘bharatniti.in’ has been launched to spread information on various public policy matters and initiate discussions and debates on aspects related to various public policies from time to time.
An online portal for discussing public policy matters was launched in New Delhi on March 18 by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communication & Information Technology in the presence of Shri Muralidhar Rao, BJP National General Secretary; Shri A Suryaprakash, Chairman Prasar Bharati and Shri Baldev Bhai Sharma, Chairman National Book Trust (NBT).
Those whose views were rejected by people in General Elections are getting “maximum exposure” in editorial space in newspapers, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, while speaking at the web launch function. He also said that the government fully supports free exchange of ideas on the new media though it should not be misused.
|WHAT IS BHARAT NITI?
An interactive forum consisting of online and offline platforms to spread information on various public policy matters and initiate discussions and debates on aspects related to various public policies from time to time.
Will focus mainly on areas of economics, foreign affairs, governance, education, religion, culture among other issues, basically any and every policy that has a direct impact on today’s India.
Leaders, academics, scientists, senior journalists, activists among others will come together on this platform to offer their expertise in strengthening the objective.
“Despite that, what is often the comment in newspapers? I am not talking about reporting, I am talking of editorial space. And this I say with full sense of responsibility that those who have been rejected, those whose views people did not appreciate today are having the maximum exposure. I respect their right to write… (But) why the alternative view is not coming?”, he added.
ACTIVITIES OF BHARAT NITI
The minister emphasised that the counterview must be presented before the people so that there is an healthy discussion. “Today it is very important that the counterview must come so that there is a proper debate before the people of the country. Our critics’ view is welcome but the other view should also come,” he added. The minister said the government is a supporter of Freedom of Expression as well as that of the freedom of press.
The minister further said that some people were attempting to teach the so-called secularism to the government but the country is secular because of its values.
“We are being taught lessons in liberalism and that this country is secular. This country is secular not because it is written in the Constitution or Preamble. It is secular because it is in the heritage, culture and thought of this country,” Prasad said.
The minister said that there is a need to focus on key economic issues and to develop manufacturing capability and employment rather than a politics of sops that has gone for long. He said the government has launched ‘Make in India’ initiative keeping this in mind. His ministry is now coming up with a policy to promote BPO industry in smaller towns, Prasad added.
Speaking at the event, BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao said that Indian democracy is successful and second to none in the entire world. “If someone says that the American democracy is better, I am not willing to believe it,” he said.
“Some days back, US President Barack Obama had said something about tolerance here and some people felt as if it was a sermon to the government. Some newspapers had even written it. But when he went back, there were incidents which led to a discussion there is a greater need for tolerance in America,” he added.
Rao said many people point towards the role of money and liquor in elections but the maturity of the people is reflected that whenever there is a need, they have effected change.
Speaking about social media, he said that in his view, it will compliment the print media by amplifying it and can play a key role in the process of policy-making.
A Surya Prakash, Chairman Prasar Bharati emphasised on the importance of social media saying it had become an interface between the people and the government. He said governments need to know how to channelise this energy or else it will lose out on an opportunity and attract criticism. He further said that, there will be a need to have officials who specialise in social media in government departments.
Chairman of NBT and former Editor of Panchajanya Baldev Bhai Sharma said, policies of a country should be made with public participation and lauded the Narendra Modi-led government for doing so. During several decades in the past, he said the system took precedence and people were left behind. But now, there is faith that the role of people would get importance and the system would work according to their wishes, he emphasised. He further added that social media has an important role to play, but at times it is used to spread wrong message and it is important that it is utilised for constructive roles.
The portal is run under the leadership of a group of veterans including R Balashankar, former Editor of Organiser; Hemant Goswami, social activist and former CEO of Oriya daily Samaja; KG Suresh, senior fellow and Editor, Vivekananda International Foundation; Shivaji Sarkar, senior journalist; Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM); Arun Anand, former Editor, IANS and Anoop Kaippallil, National Coordinator, Bharat Niti.