When “tolerant” NDTV could not tolerate IMF MD’s appreciation of Modi government’s policies

In March, 2015 Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF visited Lady Sri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi to deliver a lecture on the economic prospects in India. Amongst avid listeners were students from various colleges of University of Delhi. Because it was an event of great significance, I reached the venue almost, half an hour before the time, with my batchmates from Department of Commerce, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College (Day).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. Along with World Bank and World Trade Organisation, IMF is the most far- reaching organisation in promoting free trade in the world. It has played a significant role in Indian Economic History; it was one of the biggest proponents of unrestrictive international trade in India when General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was lackadaisical agreement on merchandise trade. These multilateral organisations and forums have far-fetching economic, cultural, and political impact in a country. A student from Commerce, Economics, and International Business and Relations will take into cognizance the momentousness of these organisations.

The talk that extended over an hour was something like a panegyric on financial and economic administration in India. It included lauding phrases on the economic administration of the government. It wasn’t a banal lecture; it was the head of a global financial institution commenting on the Indian Economy. However, that lecture delivered by Christine Lagarde is lost somewhere down the bundles of records. Of course, I will give my explanation to disappearance of the lecture; but it is very important to highlight key points from the lecture. The following points from Lagarde’s lecture are extracted from the official website of International Monetary Fund:

  1.  IMF included, sees India today. A rich and complex culture and a vibrant society, India is more than just India, it is more than the sum of its parts, intimately connected with the world. It has become a leader in information technology, sciences, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, you name it, with many home-grown experts working in multiple companies around the world.
  2. The Gitanjali poem by Rabindranath Tagore embodies where India is: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls…”
  3. This is a special moment for India. Just as many countries around the world are grappling with low growth, India has been marching in the opposite direction. This year already, India’s growth rate is expected to exceed that of China, and by 2030, it is will overtake China as the most populous country in the world.
  4. In this cloudy global horizon, India is a bright spot. Recent policy reforms and improved business confidence have provided a booster shot to economic activity. Using India’s new GDP series, the IMF expects growth to pick up to 7.2 percent this fiscal year and accelerate further to 7.5 percent next year, making India the fastest growing large economy in the world.
  5. By 2019, the economy will be more than double in size compared to 2009. When adjusting for differences in purchase prices between economies, India’s GDP will exceed that of Japan and Germany combined.
  6. The recently approved Budget is a step in the right direction and contains several promising elements.
  7. Under the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana, financial services have been extended to more than 125 million previously unbanked individuals—an impressive achievement in such a short span of time! And India also expanded basic insurance coverage so people’s lives become more secure.
  8. I look at you and I recognize the massive potential of India’s huge pool of youth. I would also like to acknowledge the many talented Indian staff at the Fund and the contribution they have made over the years.
  9. There is an old Indian proverb that says: “Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.” Today, the elements are all aligned to make India a global powerhouse. This is India’s moment. Seize it. Chak De India!

Although, the lecture also included IMFs reading into the monetary and fiscal policy issues, women empowerment, fiscal inclusion, and Balance of Payment metrics of India, it was most emphatically defined by its cheering of the governance in India. Despite its preponderance amongst issues at that time, the Christine Lagarde was taken up by no one in the mainstream media. NDTV (New Delhi Television) covered the event. Because the clear endorsement of “Modinomics” (a form of economics pursued in Republic of India under PM Modi), NDTV irresponsibly buried the lecture.

After my Under-graduation, I joined Delhi School of Economics to pursue Post Graduation in International Marketing. The same school is also the alma-matter of Pranoy Roy who founded NDTV network. Pranoy Roy was, also, the moderator of the Lagarde session at LSR. The event was in bits-and-parts covered by NDTV. There was a small interjection by a girl who echoed the pseudo-liberals when she asked Christine Lagarde about the Hindus hijacking in India’s economic growth. It was an insignificant part in the lecture; but Christine Lagarde was left in a state of dismay and amusement because of the intensity of the questions. Burying everything else, those few seconds were highlighted by those in media; some even went on to applaud the boldness of that girl.

How tolerant is that ?

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