I, like all am a habit of creature – I get on social media as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. As I scrolled, one face was unmissable – our very loved Prime Minister Oli with a new slogan “Naya Yuga ko Suruwat”, translated to ‘the start of a new era’. Apparently, the signboards were illuminated last night, and social media was having its fun – doing what it does best – making things viral.
The same post was plastered on all national dailies too, the immense media coverage was to introduce PM Oli’s new social security scheme which is to ‘benefit people from all walks of the nation’. According to a video message by PM Oli, ‘today marks a new era as all working people will be able to use the facilities offered by the newly introduced social security scheme’.
रोजगारीमा रहेका वा रोजगारी गुमाएका वा रोजगारी नभएका, सवै नागरिकको भविश्य सुरक्षित गर्ने प्रणालीको थालनी हामी आजैबाट गर्दैछौं । pic.twitter.com/LYgINX7mzH
— KP Sharma Oli (@PM_Nepal) November 27, 2018
Today, Nepal celebrates its first ‘Social Security Day’ – the exact contents of the scheme is to be revealed in a program later today, however, the intense media coverage, and the question of its necessity needs to be critically thought of.
Think of the timing, as shown in our cover picture (above). Yesterday, all these national dailies covered a story about either Nirmala Panta, the acquisition of the wide-bodied Airbus by NAC, or both. With very little to show as progress, too much negative publicity was being covered by the media, and subsequently being spoken about by the public. It was reported by MyRepublica that state owned media outlets were being instructed ‘not to cover stories about Nirmala Panta and her family’, and all leads us to question if the amount of media coverage was necessary to introduce a social scheme, or are there ulterior motives?
It is also important to note that national programs such as social security schemes take a long time to fully incorporate into the system, and this whole thing could backfire upon them. Now that the entire country knows the PM is about to introduce a new scheme, they are going to follow up, just like they keep asking about the rail and the waterways. We raise this question because let’s face it, Nepal is not known to implement changes on time – look at the long list of applicants for a new smart license. And if they are going to introduce it phase wise, we come back to the same question again – was the overwhelming media coverage necessary?
Note: The coverage was not funded by the government but sponsored by other businesses, mostly large corporate houses or financial institutions such as Ncell, Buddha Air, Nabil Bank, Sanima Bank, and so on.