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The Hindu and how it is creating the North-South Divide: Repeatedly lying about devolution of funds and cheating their readers with misinformation

Instead of focusing on meaningful criticism, our English media has now been reduced to repeatedly lying and cheating their readers. It is tiresome to listen to their repeated lies but then it is also important to repeatedly counter their lies too. Thankfully, the citizens of our country are much more intelligent than these hate-mongers in the English media. 

The Hindu published an article on 5th October 2023, with a very combative headline – “Retribution for the South, accolade for the North”. I think you got the gist just by looking at the headline. This article was a continuation of the oft-repeated argument by this ilk, that South India is superior to North India and yet the Government of India keeps rewarding North India and ignores South India.

This particular article discusses the divisive argument through two subjects – the Delimitation of Lok Sabha Constituencies and the devolution of funds through Finance Commissions. While discussing these two subjects, the article stands out for some really unique arguments. The first is how it changes our understanding of basic geography itself. Sample this core argument at the beginning of the article:

The authors, one of whom is a professor, have miraculously decided that the Gujarati-speaking Western state of Gujarat is actually a Hindi-speaking Northern State for the sake of their argument. I kept on thinking as to why they would make this fundamental error. Is it to bolster their argument that the 4% increase in population in a certain group of states is because of Gujarat? Turns out, it is not. Even if Gujarat is not included in this elite list, the core argument (a 4% increase in population share) will stay as strong. 

This is not the first time this ilk has tried to alter our fundamental understanding of Geography. Prashant Kishor, in an interview with Shekhar Gupta, enlightens us that “Hindi heartland has now extended to Western India in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka”. How does Karnataka remotely get classified as a “Hindi heartland” and more importantly a “Western state”? How do Gujarat and Maharashtra get into the bracket of “Hindi heartland” when crores of people in these states speak and take pride in their own languages? 

Can you imagine if powerful commentators (such as Shekhar Gupta) and publications (such as The Hindu) could lie like this in today’s day and age, what must they have done back then when they were even more powerful? It is perplexing that they think their reader will not see through this chicanery. This bogey of labelling random states as “Hindi speaking” and altering their geography, merely because they vote for the BJP is really a sad reflection of the mental state of these commentators. 

But why exactly are they altering the fundamentals of geography like this? The essence is captured in these two paragraphs – South Indian states will lose out on their share of representation in the Lok Sabha post delimitation. 

Recently, India Today also put up a graphic on their website giving out some numbers on how South’s representation will come down if population is the criteria. This was dutifully picked up by the divisive politicians from the South. All of them are making one fundamental assumption that the number of Lok Sabha seats will remain constant at 543. It has been discussed at various forums that the number of Lok Sabha seats will increase from the current 543. It doesn’t make sense for us to have the same number of seats when our population was 50 crores versus when it is 140 crores! The new Lok Sabha building can accommodate 888 MPs – surely, they have built it with the purpose of increasing the seats from the existing 545. Instead of telling the readers about these possibilities, the English media is purposely fomenting hatred by discussing only one remote possibility.  

Now, the authors of The Hindu could not fill up enough space with only one bogus argument, so they decided to repeat the lie about the devolution of funds through the 15th Finance Commission (FC). The core argument is just in one paragraph highlighted below:

From 1975 till 2015, all finance commissions (7th to 13th) took the 1971 census as a reference. You must actually be wondering what relevance would the 1971 census have in 2015. This statistic actually reflects the status quoist mindset of the Congress party. But we digress. The Modi government did the logical thing of mandating to partial use the latest 2011 census data from 2015-2020 (14th FC) and fully use it from 2020 onwards (15th FC). Ever since this gang started screaming that the South States “lost the advantage despite doing good on population control. Controversial website Wire even went to the extent of claiming that “It is becoming almost untenable for Tamil Nadu and Kerala to thrive in the Indian union as rational, self-interested sub-units.”

On peripheral reading, you would actually think that this is a logical argument and be wondering why I am being so banal about it. In fact, if you read the article snippet pasted above from The Hindu, you would also assume that the Modi government hasn’t incorporated this logical argument at all, and is, therefore, anti-South India, fascist and whatnot. 

Guess what? The 15th Finance Commission has reduced the weightage allotted to only the population and has added a new criterion to actually reward states that have done well on controlling the population. Take a look at the comparison table below (the highlighted portion indicates the new criteria).

Demographic Performance refers to how states have performed with respect to population control. Simply put, you will be rewarded if you control your population better – which is exactly what the article in The Hindu is arguing for! The “tax effort” incentivizes states that have done well in tax collection efforts. This parameter is back in the 15th FC (after not being considered in the previous 3 FCs). 

The moot question therefore is this – Why have the authors of The Hindu piece intentionally not told the readers about this most important piece of information? Why have the editors published this lie-filled article when the fundamental premise itself has no basis? What do these people gain by fomenting such hate between regions of India? 

If anything, the Narendra Modi government has revolutionized the manner in which funds are devolved to the states. The states used to get 32% of the central share until the 13th FC period (ends 2015). From 2015 onwards, the states got a whopping 41% share. The percentage increase in the share is one aspect. Because of buoyant tax collections, as part of this 41% share, the states received a whopping 69.60 lakh crores (2014 to 2023) as opposed to just 18.50 lakh crores in the 2004 to 2014 period. 

Instead of focusing on meaningful criticism, our English media has now been reduced to repeatedly lying and cheating their readers. It is tiresome to listen to their repeated lies but then it is also important to repeatedly counter their lies too. Thankfully, the citizens of our country are much more intelligent than these hate-mongers in the English media. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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S. Sudhir Kumar
S. Sudhir Kumar
Obsessive eater, Compulsive sleeper, Repulsive Writer

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