The nationwide lockdown to contain COVID-19 transmission has taken a heavy toll on the economy of the country. Suggestions are coming in from all corners for the Central Government on how it can deal with the setback.
Recently, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao proposed a rather unconventional monetary policy tool called Helicopter Money. Coined by an American economist named Milton Friedman, the concept entails that the central bank of a country should increase the printing rate of currency notes and then the government must distribute the extra cash to the public through helicopters, in order to give a boost to the dwindling economy.
Days after KC Rao's statement, a Kannada news channel on Wednesday, April 15, aired a news report stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going ahead with the idea of Helicopter Money. The channel told its viewers that money will be showered from helicopters in different parts of the country.
TV channel got served
Denying that the Centre has given its nod to Helicopter Money, the Press Information Bureau of India (PIB), which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), sent a legal notice to the Kannada TV channel for telecasting a misleading story. It also mentioned that such news reports could defeat the entire purpose of social distancing, which is the key measure in the novel coronavirus fight.
"On April 15 Public TV broadcasted "HELICOPTER MONEY- Helicopternalli Surithara Modi" at 8.30 PM, which is false, mischievous, and deliberate. It clearly violates the Broadcasting Code and Rules," the PIB said in its notice to the local news channel.
"When the whole country is fighting COVID-19, your channel, instead of creating awareness and educating the public, is spreading false information, creating panic and social unrest. In view of the above serious violation of the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995, you are hereby directed to show cause why your channel should not be taken out of air immediately," added PIB.
Here is a copy of the notice:
India's COVID-19 case count is currently racing towards the 13,000-mark. The national lockdown has been extended till May 3, keeping in view the rampant spread of the China-originated virus.