Even as some farmer groups and opposition parties like Congress continue to oppose the three farm laws based on lies, NDTV India was caught peddling yet another fake news on the issue. On 14th January, in the program titled Prime Time With Ravish Kumar, NDTV India anchor Ravish Kumar accused the govt of India of giving false data regarding the farm product procurement by government of India.
But the govt of India has strongly reacted to the program, saying that Ravish Kumar used wrong data to accuse the govt of lying.
In the program, referring to an infographic posted by minister Piyush Goyal, Ravish Kumar said that the data given in the graphic is wrong. Food and Public Distribution minister Piyush Goyal had informed on January 11 that till January 10, govt of India had procured 534 Lakh Metric Tonnes of paddy, compared to 423 LMT in the same period last year. Therefore, the paddy procurement has gone up by 26% till now this year.
Ravish Kumar disputed the data, saying that as per data available on the website of Food and Public Distribution ministry, the total paddy procurement in 2019-20 was 519 LMT, not 423 LMT, therefore the increase in the procurement is not 26% as claimed by the govt. He said that either someone has made a mistake in the govt of India, or wrong numbers are being used to spread falsehood.
But the fact is, it is Ravish Kumar who has either made a mistake or deliberately lying. And to do so, he had cropped the image of the tweet of Piyush Goyal. The minister had clearly said that the data is for procurement upto 10th January. But to label the govt as liar, Ravish Kumar used the procurement data for whole 2019-20 with the date for 1 April 2020 to 10 January 2020.
It need not be said that one can’t compare data for one whole year with the data for 9 months and 10 days in another year. One has to take data for the same period in different years to arrive at any meaningful comparison.
Therefore, although it is correct that total paddy procurement for 2019-20 was 519 LMT, that figure can’t be compared to the procurement of this year as the year is end and the procurement is still going on. Therefore, the data till 10th January this year was compared with the data till the same date last year, which was 423 LMT.
Hence, it is Ravish Kumar who is lying to mislead the people that the govt is lying.
The union government has taken a strong objection to the fake news peddled by Ravish Kumar, and has confirmed that the paddy procurement upto 10 January 2020 was 423 LMT. And therefore, it is correct that the procurement has gone up by 26% in the said period. The ministry termed the program a ‘shocking display of poor journalism and sheer disregard of actual facts’.
The letter sent to the NDTV Ethics committee by the Press Information Bureau’s Additional Director General has said that Ravish Kumar has done an unfair comparison of full year procurement of 2019-20 with ongoing procurement for 2020-21. It also states that Piyush Goyal’s tweet was cropped in the TV program, giving the impression that it was a malafide act.
The letter notes that at a sensitive time when farmers are protesting near Delhi, Ravish Kumar has misrepresented important facts, which misleads the farmers and incites negative sentiments in the society.