New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on 3 October “leakages and administrative inadequacies” should be plugged for the success of National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) which is extended to the entire country.
“If implemented ‘honestly and sincerely’, the programme would increase the rural income and ‘certainly we will be able to soften very considerably the harsh edges of extreme poverty,“ Singh said addressing the Indian Language Newspapers Association (ILNA) here.
“But there are leakages and administrative inadequacies” and it was the duty of the media and civil society to highlight these weaknesses in order to implement the programme successfully, he said.
A large number of grassroot workers were keen on becoming active partners in the process of development and if these programmes were implemented ‘honestly and effectively’, they could change the face of rural India in the next four to five years, the Prime Minister said.
Observing in a democracy, the media has to also play a role of a watchdog, Singh said that the government benefits from the criticism and the corrective advice of the media.
“This is necessary in a democracy. However, criticism should not promote cynicism or negativism. It should encourage positive change and give hope to people. I welcome such criticism and I hope our media will continue to play a positive developmental role and strengthen our country and empower our people”, he said.
Seeking the cooperation of media to take the message of modernization, development, national integration and social justice to the people, Singh said the challenge before the media was to help take India forward by changing mindsets.
“Modernization is an attitude of the mind of the people. Modernization is not westernization. It is not a rejection of all the values that define our culture. Modernization should be viewed as a means of dealing with the world as it is changing,” the Prime Minister said.
Media could implant this idea firmly in the minds of the people so that as a nation it could be better equipped to deal with the winds of change, he said.
Noting that the newspaper industry witnessed an unprecedented growth, both in readership and viewership, he said it might be no exaggeration to suggest that “we are living through a golden era of India media”.
Rising literacy rates, growing political awareness and rising incomes, along with urbanisation, have contributed to this, he said.
However, the Prime Minister cautioned that the quantitative media growth has outpaced qualitative growth. “This is understandable partly because demand has been outstripping supply of well trained journalists,” he said.