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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Left High and Dry By P.T.I. ?

Today we read this article in Kannada Prabha. Here is what it says in the first two lines:
ನವದೆಹಲಿ: ೧೯೯೯ರ ಲೋಕಸಭಾ ಚುನಾವಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗೆದ್ದ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳು ನಿಗದಿತ ಮಿತಿಗಿಂತ ಸರಾಸರಿ ಸುಮಾರು ೩೦ ಪಟ್ಟಿಗಿಂತಲೂ ಅಧಿಕ ಹಣ ವೆಚ್ಚ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂದು ವಿಶ್ವ ಬ್ಯಾಂಕ್ ಹೇಳಿದೆ.
ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳ ಚುನಾವಣಾ ವೆಚ್ಚಕ್ಕೆ ೨,೫೦,೦೦೦ ರು. ಮಿತಿ ನಿಗದಿಪಡಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಆದರೆ, ಗೆದ್ದ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳು ಸುಮಾರು ೮೩ ಲಕ್ಷ ರು.ನಷ್ಟು ಹಣ ಖರ್ಚು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂದು ವಿಶ್ವ ಬ್ಯಾಂಕ್ ತನ್ನ 'ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಸೇವೆ ಸುಧಾರಣೆ- ಯಶಸ್ಸಿನಿಂದ ಪಾಠ' ಎಂಬ ವರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಿಳಿಸಿದೆ.
The question is, does the World Bank Report really say that "೧೯೯೯ರ ಲೋಕಸಭಾ ಚುನಾವಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗೆದ್ದ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳು ನಿಗದಿತ ಮಿತಿಗಿಂತ ಸರಾಸರಿ ಸುಮಾರು ೩೦ ಪಟ್ಟಿಗಿಂತಲೂ ಅಧಿಕ ಹಣ ವೆಚ್ಚ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ." ?

No. It does not. We actually read that report. You too can read it here.

So, what does it say? Here is what it says about the spending:

While campaign ceilings for a Lok Sabha seat have been re-pegged at Rs.25 lakhs, the average winner spent approximately Rs.83 lakhs inthe 1999 Parliamentary elections.
 It does not say anything about "30 ಪಟ್ಟು" or any "ಪಟ್ಟು". So how did Kannada Prabha arrive at that figure? We don't know. We can only guess.

It appears that the Rs. 25 lakhs in the World Bank report has erroneously become Rs. 2.5 lakhs in the Kannada Prabha report. This simple error has further been compounded by the assumption that Rs.2.5 lakhs was the mandated spending limit for the 1999 elections. Since, 83 lakhs actual spending is about 30 times that of 2.5 lakhs, it is reported as "30 ಪಟ್ಟು". (Please note, this is just a guess on our part. We really do not know where that "30 times" came from. It certainly is not there in the WB Report.)

Actually, the Rs. 25 lakh that is cited in the World Bank report is not the spending limit for 1999 elections. As the WB Report states, that figure is after "re-pegging". And it was done in 2003 for the 2004 election. The 1999 spending limit was about Rs. 15 lakhs. So, the Kannada Prabha report is incorrect on following counts:

  • First of all the World Bank did not say "೧೯೯೯ರ ಲೋಕಸಭಾ ಚುನಾವಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗೆದ್ದ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳು ನಿಗದಿತ ಮಿತಿಗಿಂತ ಸರಾಸರಿ ಸುಮಾರು ೩೦ ಪಟ್ಟಿಗಿಂತಲೂ ಅಧಿಕ ಹಣ ವೆಚ್ಚ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ"
  • Second, the World Bank did not say "ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿಗಳ ಚುನಾವಣಾ ವೆಚ್ಚಕ್ಕೆ ೨,೫೦,೦೦೦ ರು. ಮಿತಿ ನಿಗದಿಪಡಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು." Instead, it says "campaign ceilings for a Lok Sabha seat have been re-pegged at Rs.25 lakhs". As mentioned earlier, this re-pegging happened after the 1999 elections.
  • If we use the 1999 ceilings of Rs.15 lakh spending limit, the actual money spent of Rs.83 lakhs is only about 5 times more. Not 30 times.

Why are we blaming P.T.I. for this? Because, it appears it's a P.T.I. story even though Kannada Prabha fails to credit it.

We found the same story appearing in Mumbai Mirror. Yes, it has the same error. However, the Mirror takes care to credit the story to P.T.I. Here are the same lines from Mumbai Mirror:

New Delhi: Winning candidates on an average spent over 30 times the stipulated amount for a Lok Sabha seat in the 1999 general election in India, says a World Bank report.

While the campaign ceiling for a Lok Sabha seat has been re-pegged at Rs 2,50,000, the average winner spent about Rs 83,00,000 in the 1999 parliamentary election, said the report "Reforming Public Services in India — Drawing Lessons from Success".

We really do not understand this failure to credit where the credit is due. Actually in this case blame is due.

Is that it? Not by any chance.

Further in the story while discussing about Muti-Party System Vs. Two-Party system, as per Kannada Prabha, the WB report said that "ದ್ವಿಪಕ್ಷೀಯ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದು."

Is the WB Report as unequivocal about the Two-Party System as Kannada Prabha states? Does the report really say "ದ್ವಿಪಕ್ಷೀಯ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದು."? The answers are actually, "No" and "No".

So, what does the report actually say about Multi-Party System Vs. Two-Party System?

It indeed discusses the benefits of a Two-Party System (as opposed to a Multi-Party one) at some length. But it does not declare that the Two-Party System is "ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದು". In fact, the authors of the report take enough care to write the following:
"On the other hand, multi-party systems may disrupt collusive tendencies among dominant parties andprovide more space for citizen voice. More research is needed to understand the effects of two-party and multi-party systems on public service delivery."
Interestingly the Mumbai Mirror version of the PTI story does not have what Kannada Prabha has in this context. It does not say anything about the Two-Party System. All it says is:
The [World Bank] report attributed the staggering expenses to the growth of the multi-party system in India. "The growth of multi-party competition in tight races has encouraged a free-for-all to outspend opponents to win," it said.
A simple question: Do we get the right picture about the WB Report by reading the Kannada Prabha report?

Decide for you yourselves.

Tail Piece: The WB Report is pretty interesting. The issues that are discussed in that are quite educative. Please go and read that. If you are a journo, I am sure there is more than one story to report there. Definitely a more interesting story than the one about Indian politicos spending more than the mandated limit in their election campaigns.


Anonymous Srivathsa Joshi said...

May be P.T.I stands (does it have "ijjat" to stand up?) for
"Purposely Truth Ignored"???

Jun 27, 2006, 9:54:00 PM  
Blogger Dr U B Pavanaja said...

Just like our graduates do not know how to vote ....


Jun 28, 2006, 2:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Jayant said...

matte shuru hachchikondyaa, sanjaya?

Jun 28, 2006, 3:42:00 AM  

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