New Delhi, April 27: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio program, Mann ki Baat, which translates to “Heart to Heart Talk”, is set to air its 100th episode on April 30th, 2023. The program’s aim is to connect the Prime Minister with his audience by addressing a wide range of social and political topics, encouraging national unity, and addressing current events.
However, a recent study published by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) has shown that the program’s listenership is low, with over 60% of the Indian population having never listened to the show.
The Indian government has launched an all-out promotion of the program ahead of its 100th episode, with a Rs 100 coin being minted and constant chatter around the event, including the Information and Broadcasting Minister publishing over-the-top op-eds about the program, and photos of ministers attentively listening to it. However, these promotion activities belie the reality of the show’s low listenership.
Overview of Mann Ki Baat
Mann ki Baat is an initiative that began in October 2014, just a few months after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India. The program is broadcast on All India Radio, Doordarshan, and the Narendra Modi mobile app. The idea behind the program is to have a direct dialogue between the Prime Minister and the citizens of India.
The program aims to connect with listeners from various parts of the country and spread awareness about important social and political issues.
In the program, Modi talks about a wide range of topics, from cleanliness to climate change, urging citizens to take up issues of national importance and contribute to the country’s growth. Modi’s Mann Ki Baat has been praised for its innovative approach to connecting with citizens and promoting national unity.
According to the CSDS report, at least three-fifths of the Indian population has never listened to the Prime Minister’s radio address. Even in households that have a high media presence, such as those with TVs, internet, and stereos, two-fifths have not heard ‘Mann ki Baat’ in the last year, and three in every ten have heard it only once or twice.
The survey found that South Indians are the least likely to have listened to the program, most likely because the Prime Minister’s address is in Hindi.
However, even in Hindi-speaking states, the popularity/listenership of the program is low. The report shows that even among those who lean towards the BJP, the Prime Minister’s party, 51% have not heard ‘Mann ki Baat’.
In the northwest and east India, 63% have never listened to ‘Mann ki Baat’. For South India, this figure is 75%, and for non-Hindi-speaking states, it is 62%. At least 50% of people in Hindi-speaking states and 54% in North India, both strongholds of the BJP, have not heard ‘Mann ki Baat’.
A recent survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) has revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio show, ‘Mann ki Baat’ (MKB), has a low uptake.
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The show has been widely promoted by the government, with a Rs 100 coin being minted to commemorate its 100th episode and over-the-top op-eds by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
However, the survey found that only 9% of households with high media presence have heard MKB almost every month or always, while 30% have heard at least one or two episodes of the 99 aired so far.
The survey also found that among those who lean towards the BJP, 51% have not heard MKB, and only 26% have heard the programme at least once. For those inclined toward the Congress party, 68% have not heard the radio programme, and 18% have heard it once or twice. Additionally, 67% of those with no clear leaning or other leanings have never heard MKB.
The CSDS report contradicts a report by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Rohtak, released by Prasar Bharati CEO Gaurav Dwivedi, which claimed that over 100 crore people have listened to the programme since its inception, and 23 crores have listened regularly.
The IIM Rohtak report also claims that MKB has influenced people to the extent that over 60% have expressed interest in working for nation-building, 63% feel their approach towards the government has become positive, and 73% feel optimistic about the government’s working and the country’s progress.
However, the IIM Rohtak report has been criticized for not revealing what percentage of people listen to the programme regularly. Moreover, the appointment of the director of IIM Rohtak, Prof Dheeraj Sharma, who released the report, is under a cloud.
The Ministry of Education has called his conduct “appalling, immoral, unethical, and fraudulent” and declared him unfit to hold the post of IIM director due to sexual misconduct allegations against him.
The 100th episode of MKB is set to be aired on Sunday, April 30, 2023.