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Govt’s flagship schemes get publicity on DD amid Covid-19 crisis




Doordarshan Bhawan | Commons
File image of Doordarshan Bhawan in New Delhi | Commons

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New Delhi: For the last few days, state-owned Doordarshan (DD) has been broadcasting reports that are showing people across the country thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and showering praises on his government for taking care of them during the lockdown period.

DD News has broadcast bites of multiple people who said they have benefitted from the different schemes of the Modi government.

For example, a resident of Himachal Pradesh, Rukmani Devi, was seen thanking PM Modi for receiving Rs 500 in her bank account under the Jan Dhan Yojana — one of the flagship schemes of the government. She also said the money helped her at this time of crisis.

In another video, Mini, a homemaker from Idukki district of Kerala, expressed gratitude for successfully receiving the first installment of PM-KISAN — the government’s flagship income support scheme for farmers.

Another woman was seen thanking Modi after receiving financial assistance under Ujjwala Yojana, a scheme that provides LPG connections to below poverty line (BPL) households. The video seemed to have been shot from her kitchen.

Dileep, a farmer from Karuvatta in Alappuzha district of Kerala, was also shown thanking Modi for receiving the first installment of PM-KISAN.

Several similar bites — purely about the government’s flagship programmes — flooded the Twitter timeline of the official handle of DD News with the hashtag #GareebKalyanForCOVID19 earlier this week.

Ensuring positive Covid-19 coverage was among the several tasks that a newly appointed empowered group on information, communication and public awareness was assigned with.

Also read: Ramayan on DD: Best way to keep India’s elderly indoors or show the young TV beyond Netflix?

‘Creating awareness regarding relief measures’

A senior government official said the All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan have been for long keeping people informed about Covid-19 developments through their continued 24×7 services on TV, radio and digital platforms.

“Apart from raising awareness on Covid-19-related news and precautions, the public broadcaster is also creating awareness regarding relief measures getting delivered to the intended beneficiaries in line with Section 12 sub-section 2(j) of the Prasar Bharati Act,” the official said.

The Prasar Bharati is the umbrella body of DD and AIR. Prasar Bharati News Services is the digital arm of Prasar Bharati and NewsOnAir app is the mobile application of AIR.

Prasar Bharati officials highlighted that the NewsOnAir App has more than 200 radio streams from across India, broadcasting coronavirus-related information in various regional languages, while DD News and AIR have been broadcasting special bulletins on Covid-19 twice everyday in Hindi and English.

These platforms are also holding phone-ins with doctors and health experts, a Prasar Bharati official said.

Special bulletin on positive Covid-19 stories

The official quoted above said the Prasar Bharati has launched a special bulletin on positive news stories in India’s fight against Covid-19 to share all breakthroughs, and contributions of individuals and organisations in this battle against the pandemic.

The official added Doordarshan and All India Radio are also working in tandem with various local governments and educational institutions to conduct virtual classes.

The Prasar Bharati is also one of the top five advertisers spreading awareness about the outbreak, he said.

Also read: How DD & AIR are helping bust fake news around COVID-19 and creating awareness


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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