Hafta 295: Farm bills, state of the media, and the NCB’s drug probe
This week on NL Hafta, the usual team of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Raman Kirpal and Anand Vardhan are joined by Newslaundry’s Jayashree Arunachalam and author Chetan Bhagat.
The discussion starts off with the economic slowdown in India. Chetan says, “India attempted one of the strictest lockdowns. It’s expected that we will also have the biggest contraction.” He points out that fiscal measures are needed to distribute wealth while also liberalising the economy for businesses with moves that are more than just media headlines. It needs to be globally noticeable, he adds.
The panel moves on to discussing the current state of the media in India, given the ongoing “SSR frenzy”. The Indian audience’s obsession with entertainment, even while watching the news, is what Chetan believes is driving the media to focus on sensationalism. On the media in Tamil Nadu, Jayashree believes it’s an “outlier” compared to Delhi media, and Anand makes the same point with regional media outlets, print or otherwise. In both Tamil Nadu and Bihar, the media has been focusing on local issues and news. The Sushant Singh Rajput case is just a headline, not a subject of obsession.
The conversation shifts to the farm bills, which are a bone of contention for the governing BJP and the Opposition. Manisha says the bills were passed without much debate, based only on a voice vote. In this context, Abhinandan describes how a contract farming policy was enacted in Mexico: “What ended up happening in Mexico was that it was not the produce for the sake of food that determined the contracts, but how the market responded. This destroyed the Mexico farming communities.”
Chetan, for the most part, agrees with the intention of the bills of giving more options to farmers, but cites his “three core issues” regarding the bills’ execution, the power imbalance, and conflict of interest.
This and more, only on this week’s Hafta. Tune in!
07:28 - How media is covering issues in India
25:30 - Covid and India's economic recovery
28:58 - Fight between TV journalists
34:20 - Subscriber letters and the panel's views on India's education system
49:55 - The passing of the farm bills and how they will affects farmers
01:10:23 - Bollywood and drugs
01:31:44 - Subscriber letters
01:53:11 - Recommendations
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