As the New Year 2023 started, the Ministry of Home Affairs released its review of initiatives undertaken in the year 2022. It is a summary report of all the activities undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2022. It is commendable that the ministry releases such reports every year. However, the narrative of the document is a matter of concern. The review contained facts and figures that are not calculated for the year, 2022 but some since independence and some, for a couple of years. Most important is the repeated mention of the names ‘Modi’ and ‘Amit Shah.’ This article highlights some statements that show that the government body is into personal or party branding, and some of the data presented is not of the year 2022.
Table 1 Consolidated table counting the number of times Modi and Amit Shah names mentioned, Sources: Year-end review of 2020, 2021, 2022
|Year||Mention of name ‘Modi’||Mention of name ‘Amit Shah’|
In the review document released in 2023, the name of Prime Minister, ‘Modi’ was mentioned 62 times and the name of the home minister, ‘Amit Shah’ 78 times. Such mention raises the concern that people in the high levels of government take undue advantage of government resources for personal branding and propaganda. Surprisingly, China, which is a totalitarian country, does not repeatedly mention the name ‘Xi Jinping’ in its documents. In the 2022 government work report of China, the name of premier of the state council, ‘Li Keqiang,’ was mentioned only once and the name ‘Xi Jinping’ was mentioned 15 times. The US federal documents which fall into the family of democracy, also do not mention the name of the president frequently. Even while summarising the threats emanating from China, the US government report does not mention the competitor country’s leader repeatedly. The US, in its 2021 report regarding the threats emanating from China mentioned the name Xi Jinping 35 times and the name of the president, Joe Biden, was not mentioned.
Accusations of other political parties and stating them as facts are other examples of propaganda. Under the heading, Jammu & Kashmir, the review argues that ‘Under the rule of three families for 70 years, only Rs. 15,000 crore investment came into Jammu and Kashmir and Shri Modi has brought investment of Rs. 56,000 crore in just 3 years.’ In the section of North East, the ministry highlighted a couple of developments with acceptable data. Conflict management and resolution was the major achievement of the government. Especially, Bru-Reang Pact and Bodo Pact were negotiated with eight insurgent groups. However, even in this section, the ministry directly stated that the earlier governments had instability, insurgency, and inequality as agendas. This is a blatant misuse of government resources where accusations are portrayed as facts.
“The previous government had three I’s, Instability, Insurgency and Inequality, we changed the three I’s, to Innovation, Infrastructure and Integration.”
Apart from the personal branding and accusations, there is another interesting feature in the 2023 review. An annual review will mention the activities or developments that happened in a particular year.Under the heading of ‘Jammu & Kashmir,’ the data of 2022 was not mentioned. Under the heading of ‘Police,’ the data showed is since the independence; under the heading of ‘Left Wing Extremism’ and ‘Cyber Security,’ the data of 2022 is absent. This shows that the review is more inclined to show the positive aspects even if the method and narrative mislead the public.
Table 2 Highlights of the Year – end Review of Ministry of Home Affairs
Jammu & Kashmir
Number of terror incidents has decreased from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021, while the
number of security forces personnel martyred has reduced from 91 in 2018 to 42 in
Here are some highlights under three sections where the annual review contains data from a couple of years and sometimes without the data for the year 2022.
When the review mentioned that 35000 police personnel were martyred, it is not the count for the year 2022 but for the entire police history. NDTV reports that the total number of police personnel martyred is 35000 since independence. There is no reason to include this fact in an annual review document. Mentioning the names of the Prime minister and the Home Minister frequently shows that the review wants to highlight them rather than the work. In addition, the mention of old data does not make any sense in the year-end review. Such data only shows the volume without actual development.
Though this article critiques the yearend report, the exercise of releasing annual reports is commendable. It shows at least that the ministry has a sense of accountability to the public. However, there are some concerns regarding the way it is drafted. This article hopes that the reader finds a way to view the government reports critically and considers only relevant facts.
Arun Teja Polcumpally is a Research Associate with the Hyderabad-based Centre for Development Policy and Practice