Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the freebie culture has led to deteriorating financial health of many states.
Addressing the Indian Information Service (IIS) officers of 2018 and 2019 batches who came to call on him at his official residence here, Naidu cautioned against the populist measures to garner votes by various political parties.
“The government should definitely support the poor and needy but at the same time should prioritise health, education and infrastructure development,” he said.
The Vice President highlighted the role of communication in bridging the divide between the governments and citizens.
“In a democracy, people need to be empowered through timely information on government’s policies and initiatives in their mother tongues. On the other hand, governments also need to be apprised of people’s expectations and aspirations in an objective and timely manner,” Naidu said.
He emphasised the need for constant dialogue between the people and the governments for citizen centric and responsive governance. He said that policymaking and implementation should be a two way process with people’s participation at every stage.
Describing India as the largest Parliamentary democracy in the world, he said that the purpose of any reform process should be to make people’s life happy and prosperous.
“Therefore, the focus of all government policy measures should be on bringing lasting happiness to people’s lives and at the same time, underscored the need to bear with temporary pain for long term gain,” he said.
Mentioning that “the ICT revolution and spread of the internet have fundamentally changed the way we consume news, he cautioned that this ‘ease of information’ comes with its associated risks”.
“Misinformation, disinformation and fake news have emerged as new challenges which need to be promptly tackled by the government communicators round the clock,” he said.
The Vice President also cautioned against the misuse of social media by certain anti-social elements and called for curbing such tendencies at the earliest.
Drawing attention to the growing trend of ‘instant journalism’ triggered by the emergence of Internet and social media expansion, Naidu expressed concerns about the erosion of journalistic norms and ethos due to this.
He emphasised the importance of neutrality and objectivity in media reporting and said “news should not be mixed with views”.
“Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and its neutrality, objectivity and fairness is crucial for survival of India’s democratic ethos,” the Vice President said.
He also asked the young officers to bring forth many developmental stories from across the nation.
Terming information and psychological warfare as an important dimension of modern day wars, Naidu advised the IIS officers to develop expertise in these emerging and strategic areas.
Referring to the increasing frequency of extreme climatic events and erratic weather patterns across the globe, the Vice President asked the young officers to run a mass media campaign for nature conservation and environmental protection.
“If you love nature, nature will protect you,” he told them.
During the address, his last as the Vice President, Naidu said: “The key to my rise from an ordinary farmer’s son to the second-highest constitutional post in the country lies in sheer hard work, single-minded devotion and constant travel and interaction with the people in every part of the country. I have learned a lot by meeting and talking to people.”