(03-12-2021) समाचारपत्रों-के-संपादक


A white touch to a refreshed green revolution
The Amul model, of a socio-economic enterprise, has immense potential to aid India’s crop-growing farmers
Arun Maira,[ former Member, Planning Commission and the author of ‘The Solutions Factory: A Consultant’s Problem-Solving Handbook’ ]

November 26, 2021 was celebrated in Anand, Gujarat as the 100th birth anniversary of Verghese Kurien, the leader of India’s ‘white revolution’, which increased the incomes and the wealth of millions of cattle-owning small farmers in India, many of them women. November 26, 2021 also marked one year from the day when thousands of crop-growing farmers, who have been the beneficiaries of the ‘green revolution’ which increased their incomes, began a non-violent protest to force the Indian government to withdraw the new laws it made to undo the policies of the green revolution. The Government’s new policies intended to double incomes of small farmers, which have been languishing while stock markets are soaring. The protesting farmers feared the new policies would enable corporations to make more profits and marginalise farmers further. The Government must now go back to the drawing board to find better ways to increase farmers’ incomes.

Revolutions, varied purposes

The contrast between the two revolutions provides valuable insights. Their purposes were different. The purpose of the green revolution was to increase the output of agriculture to prevent shortages of food. The purpose of the white revolution was to increase the incomes of small farmers in Gujarat, not the output of milk. The green revolution was largely a technocratic enterprise driven by science and the principles of efficiency. Whereas, the white revolution was a socio-economic enterprise driven by political leaders and principles of equity. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel had a vision of a cooperative movement of Gujarati farmers for increasing their incomes. Verghese Kurien recounts in his autobiography, I Too Had a Dream, how they enrolled him in their visionary enterprise and how he became a servant of the farmers for whose sake the enterprise was created, and amongst whom he lived.

Amul has become one of India’s most loved brands, and is respected internationally too for the quality of its products and the efficiency of its management. It has successfully competed with the world’s largest corporations and their well-established brands. The fledgling, farmer-owned, Indian enterprise the two Patels sponsored had many technological problems to solve. That is why they enrolled Kurien, who had studied engineering in the United States (on a Government of India scholarship). Kurien and his engineering compatriots in the organisation were compelled to develop solutions indigenously when Indian policy makers, influenced by foreign experts, said Indians could not make it.

Equity was key

Kurien’s accounts of the political battles he fought for ‘Make in India’, and of the ‘can-do’ spirit and innovation of Indian engineers, are inspiring. However, as he repeatedly emphasises, the enterprise achieved its outcome of empowering farmers because the governance of the enterprise to achieve equity was always kept in the foreground, with the efficiency of its production processes in the background as a means to the outcome.

The green revolution’s aim was to increase outputs by applying scientific breakthroughs with methods of management to obtain economies through scale. It required inputs, like chemical fertilizers, to be produced on scale and at low cost. Therefore, large fertilizer factories were set up for the green revolution. And large dams and irrigation systems were also required to feed water on a large scale. Monocropping on fields was necessary to apply all appropriate inputs — seeds, fertilizer, water, etc., on scale. Focus on only one or two crops at a time enabled their outputs to be increased by avoiding diversion of land use to other “non-essential” crops. Monocropping increased the efficiency in application of inputs. Thus, farms became like large, dedicated engineering factories designed to produce large volumes efficiently. Diversity in the products and processes of large factories creates complexity. Therefore, diversity is weeded out to keep the factories well-focused on the outputs they are designed for. Similarly, in large-scale farms and plantations, any plants other than those the farm is designed to produce on scale are weeds.

On productivity

In large, modern factories, workers are only a means for producing outputs. Workers are replaced by machines whenever possible to increase outputs more efficiently. Thus, ‘productivity’, when defined as output per worker, can be increased by eliminating workers. This may be an acceptable way to measure and increase productivity when the purpose of the enterprise is to increase profits of investors in the enterprise. It is a wrong approach to productivity when the purpose of the enterprise is to enable more workers to increase their incomes, which must be the aim of any policy to increase small farmers’ incomes.

The need for new solutions to increase farmers’ incomes has become imperative. Moreover, fundamental changes in economics and management sciences are necessary to reverse the degradation of the planet’s natural environment that has taken place with the application of modern technological solutions and management methods for the pursuit of economic growth. IRMA, or the Institute of Rural Management Anand, which Kurien had founded to develop a new breed of manager for increasing the well-being of farmers, convened a workshop to celebrate his 100th birth anniversary to discover what can be learned from the white revolution to regreen the green one. Leaders of on-the-ground movements, who are applying the principles of cooperative management in “natural (environmentally suitable) farming” around India, assembled to distil insights for better economic policies and better management methods to increase inclusion and improve environmental sustainability.

The guidelines

The first insight is: inclusion and equity in governance must be hardwired into the design of the enterprise. Increase in the incomes and wealth of the workers and small asset owners in the enterprise must be the purpose of the enterprise, rather than production of better returns for investors.

The second: the ‘social’ side of the enterprise is as important as its ‘business’ side. Therefore, new metrics of performance must be used, and many ‘non-corporate’ methods of management learned and applied to strengthen its social fabric.

The third: solutions must be ‘local systems’ solutions, rather than ‘global (or national) scale’ solutions. The resources in the local environment (including local workers) must be the principal resources of the enterprise. The enterprise must be embedded in the local community from whom it gets its environmental resources, and whose well-being it must nourish by its operations.

The fourth: science must be practical and useable by the people on the ground rather than a science developed by experts to convince other experts. Moreover, people on the ground are often better scientists from whom scientists in universities can learn useful science.

The fifth: sustainable transformations are brought about by a steady process of evolution, not by drastic revolution. Like strong drugs to treat specific ailments, large-scale transformations imposed from the top can have strong side-effects too. They slowly weaken the patient’s health, as the scientific managerial solutions of the green revolution have harmed the soil and water resources of northern India.

Large-scale farming using modern scientific methods was the approach in the Soviet Union to improve agricultural outputs, as it is in the United States, and it achieved equally spectacular results. However, it wiped out peasants in the Soviet Union and has swept off small farmers in the U.S. Kurien told Premier of the USSR Aleksey Kosygin who visited him in Anand that top-down ownership of enterprises, whether by the state (in the Soviet model), or by remote investors (in the capitalist model) was the wrong solution. The essence of democratic economic governance is that an enterprise must be of the people, for the people, and governed by the people too.



Should the state stop focusing on population control?
India has a large young population which needs access to contraception, not family planning
According to the recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR), which is the number of children a woman would have in the course of her life, is 2, a decrease from 2.2 in NFHS-4. Is this cause for cheer and should women be credited with stabilising the population? Poonam Muttreja and S. Irudaya Rajan discuss whether governments should stop focusing on population control, in a conversation moderated by Serena Josephine M. Edited excerpts:

Poonam Muttreja is the executive director of the Population Foundation of India & S. Irudaya Rajan is the chairman of the International Institute of Migration and Development; Poonam Muttreja is the executive director of the Population Foundation of India.

India launched its National Programme for Family Planning in 1952. What are the factors that have helped the country bring down its TFR?

Poonam Muttreja: Yes, it was good that India had an early start. But while India has the oldest family planning programme, it does not have the best or even an average programme. I’d first like to give credit to the women and their aspirations. The men have demonstrated that they are not responsible for family planning and rarely support women in family planning decisions. The decline is on expected lines. If you look at NFHS-4, women, on average, wanted 1.8 children. So, it’s just that we have a huge unmet need for family planning. It was 13% in NFHS-4. In NFHS-5, it has come down to close to 10% on average in many States. There are 16.4 million abortions every year, which I think is an under-estimate and a proxy for contraception. So, there is determination in India in spite of men not participating. Having said that, I do want to say that in the last five or six years, we’ve had new methods introduced, though we need to do a lot better on numbers and we need more temporary methods. Another reason for women having or desiring fewer children is education. It is the best contraceptive pill, and better education means women will have fewer children. There are many factors for the drop in TFR, but I’d like to give maximum credit to women. Also, fertility has come down across religious lines.

S. Irudaya Rajan: Though I agree that the programme was managed by women because the sterilisation rate among women is extremely high compared to that of men, the fertility decline is not the end of the story but the beginning of a new era. Most policymakers and journalists think that when you achieve a fertility rate of 2.1, the population policy is over. Unfortunately, the population policy is not just a fertility control policy. We have to educate our administrators and policymakers that population policy includes not just fertility but also mortality and migration. These are the three components of population growth. This is the beginning of the work that the government has to do in terms of child nutrition, child mortality and providing employment for the youth — what we call the demographic dividend. I don’t think it is time to celebrate the NFHS-5 results.

Many view this drop in TFR as a sign of population stabilisation. Is that really so?

IR: I don’t think it is a sign of population stability. Kerala, for instance, has almost the same replacement level of fertility for close to 30 years now. We have not stabilised; the population is still growing. Population momentum will set in right now and continue for perhaps a few years or a decade. Only then can we talk about population stabilisation. Basically, population momentum means that the population will continue to grow and it is not going to have a negative growth rate. Kerala still has a positive growth rate and we expect a negative growth rate may be after the 2031 to 2041 Census. It will take several decades for India to reach population stabilisation. This is the first point.

As I said earlier, this fertility decline is not going to end the story of India’s human development. Even as we discuss the low fertility rate, according to the data, 23% of women were married before 18 years. The percentage of women aged 15 to 19 years who were already mothers/pregnant at the time of survey was 6.8. However, adolescent fertility rate for women aged 15 to 19 years was 43. This is only the beginning of a new era in India’s population policy. It is very important for us to wait and do more work than what we have done so that we have healthy women, healthy children and a healthy society.

At this point in time, does India need a population control law or drastic measures such as the two-child norm proposed by Uttar Pradesh and Assam? Do you think the country should move away from coercive measures for population control, keeping in mind the lessons learned from China’s one-child policy that was scrapped a few years ago?

PM: If there’s anything in the news in the NFHS, it is that it’s taking the wind out of those who are saying India needs coercive population control measures. India needs to move away from not only the coercive measures it has, but shouldn’t even think about population control measures. Let me explain why. First, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other States that have achieved a TFR of 2 [have done so] without coercion. Second, we are going to have a balance in India as migrants from Bihar and U.P. are already moving to the southern parts. The country will balance its population even when we reach a minus growth rate. Let there be a secular decline, which is already happening. In fact, 70% of the population is going to be fuelled by population momentum as we have a very young population. We need to provide three or four things keeping them in mind. Our population policy needs to get more spacing methods, which are long lasting. A large percentage, if you look at people’s access to family planning, depends on where you live, what your wealth quintile is and what your age is. Younger girls have the least access to family planning services and so, there are high teenage pregnancies. We need to not only increase the age of marriage but keep girls in school and university for their own empowerment and growth. If we keep focusing on coercion, we will not focus on the right things. We are barely talking about ageing. Those who are talking about coercive policies in U.P. and Assam haven’t thought about investing in ageing and improving the health systems. If we use coercive methods and use the population to create greater disharmony, if we victimise or demonise one particular population, we should remember the Emergency and the impact that forced sterilisations had. The biggest lesson from that is that we shouldn’t be talking about population control or population in a coercive manner.

IR: We should not do politics with fertility. We should talk about the quality of family planning services, which is pathetic. Family planning programmes have been about following the women. They have the first child, then the second. In between they probably have one abortion as there was no method [of contraception]. And then sterilisation. We should change this and propagate temporary methods [of contraception] among men and women. We need innovations in family planning programmes.

What do you think of incentives and disincentives in family planning?

PM: There is no evidence to show that linking incentives and disincentives to family planning and social schemes work globally. In India, we invest so much money in incentives for sterilisation. That’s part of the problem why women are not able to have the number of children that they wish to have. They have more children than they wish to have and go through multiple abortions, which impacts their health. Abortion-related mortality is close to 8%.

IR: I am against providing incentives. I think people are addicted to the two-child family. We should think of new ideas of how to promote the quality of family planning services. Historically, if you look at India’s family planning programme, we started with the ‘cafeteria approach’ where you can ask what they have and choose. Now, you will be told there is only sterilisation and not many are promoting other methods. Many couples are using abortion as a contraceptive method. This indicates that we have failed to promote temporary methods.

The use of contraceptives has improved, as per the latest NFHS, but male sterilisation continues to be low. What are the implications of the continued thrust on women with regard to family planning?

PM: Once again, NFHS-5 proves that women are taking more responsibility and men are taking less. How do we change men? There are myths about adopting contraception. I don’t believe coercion is needed, but we need more communication on behavioural change. We have to change social norms, especially among the younger population, but we don’t even have sex education. Much of our population momentum is going to come from the young. We should recognise that the overuse of female sterilisation has been adversely impacting women’s health.

IR: We have to start educating women as well because some do not want their husbands to be sterilised. Family planning should be converted into family welfare. A family includes men and women. We should recognise this in our data collection. I think we have to do more research on women and men. We should convert that into a family affair. Probably then we will succeed.

So, if not population control, what should be the focus areas?

PM: I think there’s going to be the targeting of one minority community, which is the reason behind the population control push. As Professor Rajan said, we shouldn’t do politics in population. Given that India has a strong preference for sons and an aversion for daughters, our sex ratios will get more skewed. I don’t believe that on the whole, the population will decline faster. It will just distract us from all the good things that we are talking about doing such as expanding choice and social indicators like age at marriage.

IR: There are two important components. One, what we are celebrating is that in India people are living longer. Now, living longer is being celebrated because it gives you the human development index. But we are only adding years to the people, not a better quality of life for our senior citizens. Second, migration is going to play a major role in India. My estimate is that right now, 600 million people are internal migrants. But we don’t have any policy on migration. We should look at population policy beyond fertility. We should include mortality decline, quality of life in old age and create a migration policy.

What is the way ahead in terms of population control, family planning and in men taking greater responsibility in adopting sterilisation?

PM: The family planning budget is only 6% of the health budget. Within that, we spend 2.5% on temporary methods of contraception. The money spent on incentives is 60% of the budget. This can instead be used on bringing about behavioural change. We have to recognise that India is going to keep growing because of a young population. And they don’t need family planning, they need access to contraception.


बहु-आयामी गरीबी का हल भी बहु-आयामी खोजना होगा

कुछ राज्यों का अपना गौरवशाली इतिहास भी है, समृद्ध संस्कृति भी है और वर्तमान में ‘गुड गवर्नेंस भी’ लेकिन क्यों ये राज्य लोगों को गरीबी से उबार नहीं पाए। पहली बार नीति आयोग ने बहु-आयामी गरीबी सूचकांक जारी किया है। गरीबी तय करने के पूर्व के आर्थिक पैमाने को बदलते हुए वैश्विक स्तर पर यह सूचकांक बनाया गया। भारत ने पहली बार एनएचएफएस-4 की रिपोर्ट के आधार पर यह सूचकांक तैयार किया है। पता चला कि बिहार, यूपी और एमपी के कुछ जिलों में 64 से 75% तक लोग गरीब हैं जबकि केरल और तमिलनाडु के कई जिलों में शून्य से 0.9% तक। बड़े शहरों और सुदूर गांवों के बीच भी यह खाई बेहद बड़ी है। इसका कारण आबादी का घनत्व बताया जा रहा है। लेकिन सच यह है कि यूपी से केरल का आबादी-घनत्व ज्यादा है और एमपी का केरल के मुकाबले एक-तिहाई। प्रश्न यह है कि क्या शासन विकास-परक नहीं है या समाज विकास को आसानी से स्वीकारने में अच्छा नहीं है। अगर ऐसा है तो क्या नई सुधारात्मक सामाजिक संस्थाएं विकसित करनी होंगी जिन पर भरोसा चुनी गई सरकारों से अधिक हो और जिनकी बात या सलाह समाज माने? शराबबंदी कानून से कई वर्षों बाद भी बिहार में शराबखोरी नहीं बंद हुई क्योंकि समाज की आदत कानून के डर से नहीं बदलती। दलित-प्रताड़ना पर 70 साल से सख्त कानून भी कोई असर नहीं डाल सका। उत्तर भारत में खाद्यान्न को लेकर एमएसपी को कानूनी दर्जा देने की मांग हो रही हैं जबकि केरल में 16 किस्म की सब्जियों पर राज्य सरकार एमएसपी दे रही है। बहु-आयामी गरीबी का बहु-आयामी हल खोजना होगा।


मजबूत हों स्थानीय निकाय

भारतीय रिजर्व बैंक (आरबीआई) ने वित्तीय स्थिति पर अपनी वार्षिक रिपोर्ट जारी कर दी है। देश की राजनीतिक अर्थव्यवस्था पर नजर रखने वालों के लिए यह एक अहम संसाधन है क्योंकि राज्य सरकारों के बजट एकत्रित करने और उनका विश्लेषण करने में कठिनाई हो रही है।

सरकार के आम बजट के लिए महत्त्वपूर्ण राजकोषीय निहितार्थ वाली बात यह है कि राज्यों का सकल राजस्व घाटा सकल घरेलू उत्पाद (जीडीपी) के तीन फीसदी के स्तर को पार कर गया है जबकि वह राजकोषीय जवाबदेही विधान की दृष्टि से आवश्यक है। रिपोर्ट में कहा गया है कि महामारी के चलते राज्य सरकारों का संयुक्त राजस्व घाटा वर्ष 2018-19 के 0.1 फीसदी से बढ़कर 2020-21 में जीडीपी के दो फीसदी के बराबर हो गया। ऐसा तब हुआ जबकि महामारी के दौरान व्यय पर जबरदस्त रोक रही, खासतौर पर सेवाओं, विकास और कल्याण पर होने वाले व्यय के क्षेत्र में। राजस्व प्राप्तियां बजट अनुमान की तुलना में 2.7 फीसदी कम रहीं, जबकि राज्य सरकारों का समेकित सकल राजकोषीय घाटा 2020-21 में रिकॉर्ड स्तर तक बढ़ा। राज्य सरकारों की राजकोषीय स्थिति को लेकर चिंता तथा वस्तु एवं सेवा कर की क्षतिपूर्ति को लेकर उनकी असहमति को इस गंभीर राजकोषीय दबाव के आलोक में देखना होगा। आरबीआई ने आशा जताई है कि चालू वर्ष में केंद्र के मजबूत कर संग्रह तथा व्यापक टीकाकरण के बाद हालात सामान्य होने पर राज्यों को मध्यम अवधि में राजकोषीय सुदृढ़ीकरण के लिए विश्वसनीय राह तलाशनी होगी।

आरबीआई की रिपोर्ट में विशेष ध्यान स्थानीय निकायों की वित्तीय स्थिति पर था, खासतौर पर शहरी स्थानीय निकायों तथा नगर निकायों पर। महामारी के कारण भी यह ध्यान दिया जा रहा है क्योंकि महामारी की स्थिति में स्थानीय निकाय ही सीधी प्रतिक्रिया में सबसे आगे थे। संक्रमण की दो गंभीर लहरों से निपटने में सबसे प्रमुख भूमिका उनकी ही थी। इसके अतिरिक्त टीकाकरण को अंजाम देने में भी वही अग्रणी थे। रिपोर्ट लिखने वालों ने 141 नगर निकायों का सर्वेक्षण किया और 20 बड़े नगर निकायों के बजट का विश्लेषण किया। इसके नतीजे बहुत महत्त्वपूर्ण हैं और वे संकेत करते हैं कि तीसरे स्तर की सरकारों पर वैसा ही वित्तीय दबाव है जैसा कि केंद्र और राज्य सरकारों पर। ऐसा इसलिए भी है क्योंकि स्थानीय निकायों को घाटे से बचना होता है और वे राज्य सरकार के विशिष्ट आदेश के बिना उधार भी नहीं ले सकते। 98 फीदी प्रतिभागियों ने कहा कि उन्हें वित्तीय दिक्कतों का सामना करना पड़ा। यानी उन्हें राजस्व की भारी हानि हुई। ध्यान रहे कि कोविड की दूसरी लहर ने राजस्व पर पहली लहर से अधिक असर डाला। करीब एक तिहाई नगरपालिकाओं ने कहा कि उनका राजस्व आधे से कम हो गया है। आरबीआई का अनुमान है कि करीब एक तिहाई नगर निकाय वित्तीय दृष्टि से बहुत मुश्किल हालात में हैं। इसका न केवल विकास और लोक कल्याण बल्कि महामारी से निपटने की क्षमता पर भी असर होगा। रिपोर्ट में किया गया सांख्यिकीय विश्लेषण दिखाता है कि कोई शहरी इलाका वित्तीय दृष्टि से जितने तनाव में हो टीकाकरण में भी उतनी ही कठिनाई आती है।

नगरपालिकाओं को मदद मुहैया कराई गई। उनमें से 40 फीसदी से अधिक ने कहा कि राज्य सरकार की महामारी संबंधी मदद ने उन्हें व्यय पूरा करने में सहायता की। इसके बावजूद उनमें से कई को अपने भंडार का इस्तेमाल करना पड़ा। परंतु यह महामारी के बाद सुधार की स्थायी प्रणाली नहीं है और न ही इसकी मदद से गुणवत्तापूर्ण शहरीकरण किया जा सकता है। नगर निकायों के एक छोटे से हिस्से ने ही पूरक वित्तीय मदद के लिए बाजार का रुख किया। 200 से अधिक में से केवल पांच प्रतिभागियों ने महामारी के दौरान बॉन्ड जारी किए। संस्थागत सुधार जरूरी है। ऊपर की सरकारों से स्थानांतरण तेज और सहज होना चाहिए। इसके साथ ही भविष्य के वित्तीय क्षेत्र सुधारों में नगर निकाय बॉन्ड बाजार पर ध्यान देना चाहिए।


निगरानी का तंत्र

वक्त के साथ अभिव्यक्ति के माध्यमों और मंचों का विस्तार जिस रफ्तार से हुआ है, उसे एक तरह से सूचनाओं के प्रसार में लोकतंत्र के मजबूत होने तौर पर देखा गया। खासकर डिजिटल मीडिया अपने विशेष प्रभाव के साथ सामने आया। एक ओर इसके कई सकारात्मक पहलू उभरे, तो वहीं कई स्तरों पर जिस तरह की बातों का निर्बाध प्रचार-प्रसार हुआ और उनका जैसा असर देखा गया, उसमें इस बात की जरूरत महसूस की गई कि इन माध्यमों पर नजर रखना खुद इनके ही हित में होगा। पिछले काफी समय से इस संदर्भ में कुछ सवालों के समांतर डिजिटल मीडिया पर निगरानी के लिए एक तंत्र बनाने की बात भी उठती रही है। इसी के मद्देनजर संसद की एक समिति ने इस मसले पर सरकार को यह सुझाव दिया है कि वह सभी पक्षों के साथ परामर्श करके अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता को पूरी तरह से संरक्षित रखते हुए डिजिटल मीडिया पर निगरानी के लिए एक सशक्त प्रणाली तैयार करे। यह सुझाव इस परिप्रेक्ष्य में आया है कि डिजिटल मीडिया के अलग-अलग मंचों पर अगर कभी किसी संवेदनशील घटनाओं या मामलों की बेलगाम प्रस्तुति अवांछित असर के रूप में सामने आती है, तो उसे निगरानी के दायरे में लाने की जरूरत है। लेकिन यह ध्यान रखने की जरूरत होगी कि अगर सरकार इस सुझाव पर कोई नीतिगत फैसला लेती है, तो वह डिजिटल मीडिया पर निगरानी के बजाय नियंत्रण के रूप में तब्दील न हो।

सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी संबंधी स्थायी समिति की ‘मीडिया कवरेज में नैतिक मानक’ विषय पर लोकसभा में पेश रिपोर्ट में यह भी सिफारिश की गई है कि सूचना और प्रसारण मंत्रालय भारत में प्रेस के मानक को बनाए रखने और उसे बढ़ावा देने के लिए पीसीआइ यानी भारतीय प्रेस परिषद के जरिए सेंसर किए गए मामलों पर कार्रवाई करने के मकसद से ब्यूरो आफ आउटरीच ऐंड कम्युनिकेशन के लिए कोई समय सीमा निर्धारित करे। समिति ने इस बात पर क्षोभ जाहिर किया कि ऐसे कई मामलों में दोषी मीडिया संस्थान पीसीआइ की ओर से सेंसर किए जाने के बाद भी वही गलतियां दोहराते हैं। इसमें कोई संदेह नहीं कि समाचारों या सूचनाओं के प्रसार के माध्यमों के विस्तार ने लोकतंत्र और अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता को मजबूती दी है। लेकिन इसके समांतर किसी निगरानी तंत्र के न होने की वजह से इसमें कुछ अवांछित गतिविधियां भी अपने नकारात्मक असर के साथ सामने आई। खासकर सोशल मीडिया और डिजिटल मीडिया के मंचों पर अनेक घटनाओं या मामलों की प्रस्तुतियों ने जनता के एक बड़े वर्ग के बीच भ्रम की स्थिति पैदा की।

स्वाभाविक रूप से जब लोगों ने थोड़ा ठहर कर डिजिटल मीडिया के ऐसे रुख पर विचार किया, तो उनके भीतर इनके प्रति विश्वास में कमी आई। समिति ने भी इस पहलू पर चिंता जाहिर करते हुए कहा है कि यह गंभीर विचार का विषय है कि जो मीडिया कभी लोकतंत्र में नागरिकों के हाथों में सबसे भरोसेमंद हथियार था और जनता के न्यासी के रूप में कार्य करता रहा, वह धीरे-धीरे अपनी विश्वसनीयता और सत्यनिष्ठा खो रहा है; पेड न्यूज, फर्जी खबर, टीआरपी में हेराफेरी, मीडिया ट्रायल, सनसनी फैलाने, पक्षपात रिपोर्र्टिंग आदि ने इस पर सवालिया निशान लगाया है, जो लोकतंत्र के लिए अच्छा संकेत नहीं है। यह ध्यान रखने की जरूरत है कि मीडिया का प्रत्यक्ष और परोक्ष प्रभाव जिस रूप में सामने आया है, उसमें उसका कोई भी माध्यम जब तक जिम्मेदारी के साथ काम करता है, तभी तक लोकतंत्र सुरक्षित है।