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Polls won but Modi govt won’t stop pushing its rural schemes, now plans to raise the pitch

Through the campaign, the Modi govt is not only looking to unify its schemes under one umbrella, but also to clear misconceptions among the ‘target audience’.

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New Delhi: Taking its rural emphasis a step further, the Narendra Modi government plans to launch a “high decibel multimedia campaign” to sell its rural welfare schemes and draw the attention of the “target audience”.

The push to publicise its key rural programmes on an extensive scale indicates how this domain continues to remain crucial to the political and electoral ambitions of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the recent Lok Sabha polls riding on, among other things, a slew of pro-poor programmes.

“With the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) reaching out to almost 70 per cent of the population in India, an integrated high decibel multi-media campaign, which nudges the behaviours and addresses the barriers of the target audience, is the need of the hour,” the rural development ministry said in an official communication to invite technical and financial bids for the campaign, which was issued on 17 June.

Bids for the campaign have to be submitted by 8 July.

The ministry, with a current budgetary allocation of  Rs 1,19,000 crore, is the nodal agency of some of the most important central government schemes — from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen), the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).

The plan

The ministry says its “strategy over the years has been to formulate 360 degree media campaigns to create targeted awareness regarding the flagship programmes of MoRD (entitlements, procedures to access them, success stories etc.) among beneficiaries as well as maintain a favourable disposition among opinion leaders”.

But given the reach of its schemes and the importance of publicising them, it now wants to launch an integrated multimedia campaign on a bigger scale.

A key objective is to “create a visual identity for the ministry through mnemonics, characters etc. which would make the audience relate to its programmes”, increasing recall value.

Not just that, the government wants to ensure its rural schemes “stand out” among any potential competition.

“Along with a strong visual identity, a powerful and catchy campaign thought and tagline for MoRD would make its efforts stand out among the plethora of campaigns fighting to gain attention of our target audience,” the ministry’s communication stated.

Besides unifying all its schemes under one broad umbrella through the campaign, it also wants to “tackle the barriers and misconceptions about various MoRD schemes among the target audience”.

Also read: Modi govt wants to give jobs first and then develop skills through MGNREGA

The significance

The focus on drawing attention to rural schemes goes beyond just a ministerial exercise and fits into the Modi-led BJP’s larger political narrative.

After coming to power in 2014, the BJP was taunted as a pro-rich, pro-industry party, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi even giving it the tag of being a “suit boot ki sarkar” (a government for the rich). The BJP, however, soon changed track, and recast its image as a pro-rural, pro-poor government — especially with schemes like PMAY(G), Ujjwala and the push for women self-help groups in villages.

Its rural accent seems to have gone a long way in helping it secure a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha polls. Over the next five years, the Modi government is expected to continue focusing its energy on a slew of programmes directed at the rural voter.

Also read: Govt still can’t manage MGNREGA promises, even with ‘highest ever’ fund allocation


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  1. India’s rural poor need all the support they can get. However, this is a bottomless sink for the fisc. Amidst a sluggish economy and falling tax buoyancy, budgetary allocations should be made with care. There have been reports of delayed payments on Nrega sites for want of funds. After allowing for improvements that fifty years are bound to bring out, all this is no different from Mrs Gandhi’s approach to the economy. It has not worked anywhere in the world to lift large numbers of people, sustainably, out of poverty.

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