There was a time when a government scheme could be launched simply by handing over a giant cheque to a grateful-looking recipient. Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed all that. In 2016, for example, when he launched the Ujjwala Yojana in eastern Uttar Pradesh, which targeted handing out 80 million free LPG connections by 2020, he picked his media opportunities with care. The picture of him handing over a cardboard gas cylinder to a burkha-clad woman four years ago is still circulated as proof of his commitment towards the social upliftment of women, Muslims and the poor. His drive to promote the Bharatiya Janata Party’s various social measures is alive to this day. Three months ago, at a beach in Tamil Nadu’s Mamallapuram, Modi went plogging. On Twitter, three million people tuned in to watch him pick up discarded soda bottles.
While critics may argue that Modi indulges in such the atrics to divert attention from the loopholes and unrealistic goals of the schemes, the fact is that by seizing media attention, he also generates public awareness. Being informed about government schemes is the first step to availing them.
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February 03, 2020