Hafta 261: Budget and Economic Survey, Kunal Kamra, Jamia shooter, and more


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In this episode of NL Hafta, Manisha Pande, Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone and Madhu Trehan are joined by Vivek Kaul, an author who’s been writing a series on the Union Budget for Newslaundry.Vivek starts the conversation with the 2020 Budget and the Economic Survey. “What used to be a remarkably esoteric document suddenly became very readable,” he says. Vivek says the invariable economic slowdown India is witnessing is a result of a lack of investments. He speculates that the reason for this might be the fact that it’s incredibly hard to carry out any economic activity in India right now, and blames this on operational issues.Mehraj brings up the huge tax cut the government gave mega corporations a few months ago, and wonders why this hasn’t resulted in a jump in investments. Vivek responds, “When a corporate invests, they hope to see a return on their investment, but there has been a consumption dip.”Madhu chimes in, “I’m wondering about the inconvenience that so many traders complain about when they talk about the problems that GST and such have caused them. But they then turn around and express their vehement support for Modi.” Manisha asks: “How much are people driven by the economy, actually, as opposed to ideas?” Madhu calls this a “psychological disconnect between your vote and your daily troubles”.Moving on to the big news of the week, Manisha talks about how Kunal Kamra gave Arnab Goswami “the Republic TV treatment” on an IndiGo flight. Manisha likes the term Abhinandan used in his piece on the incident — “ambush monologue” — and asks Madhu, “How many times have you been accosted by viewers?” “Thousands!” Madhu responds, talking about being waylaid in planes, washrooms, and even restaurants and parties. “Especially after the contempt of court thing,” she adds, “but I don’t object to it.” Madhu then explains how journalists write in a public space and that the public have a right to argue with reporters, and it is a journalist’s responsibility to deal with it.In the context of the ethics of Kunal’s actions, Mehraj queries whether Arnab can even be called a journalist. “Technically Radio Rwanda was considered journalism as well,” he points out. “And because there is no culture of accountability in this country, we just let this happen.”The panel also discusses the shooting at Jamia Nagar, Sharjeel Imam’s sedition case, Prashant Kishore’s ousting from the JDU, and much more. Tune in!

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