There is hardly a clear way of knowing where PR plugs end and news begins !!!

Money matters

Media-sensitive politicians and their bureaucratic cronies have tremendous influence on the structure and complexion of news in today’s papers, what with the government being the country’s biggest advertiser. Does commercial advertising really ensure the freedom of the press, asks BHARAT BHUSHAN.
It has been often argued that commercial advertising ensures the freedom of the Press; that it releases the Press from the clutches of the State and allows it to truly be the Fourth Estate of democracy. But is that really the case?
Commercial advertising ensures the survival of the Press by rewarding successful newspapers with handsome profits and ensuring decent wages for journalists – at least in the metros. However, it also helps the market leaders in building huge entry barriers by keeping the subscription prices at such abysmally low levels that only those with very deep pockets and the ability to take losses for inordinately long periods of time can enter the market. Advertising revenue, instead of keeping the Press free, actually becomes a tool in the hands of the market leaders to restrict the market.
Advertising is the principal source of revenue for Indian media houses. Subscriptions, news-stand sales, and circulation-based sales provide a significant chunk of revenue only in the magazine space and not for newspapers. Niche magazines (Computer magazines, automobile magazines, photography magazines etc.) get a larger share, up to 60% revenue in some cases, from circulation. For the newspapers, the main source of revenue is advertising as subscription is almost free. But the dominant player takes most of the advertising in a particular market, the second one gets most of the rest and so on.
The government is the biggest advertiser in India. Government advertisements form 40 to 50 per cent of the total volume of ads in an established newspaper and about 30 per cent of the ad revenue. These include both advertisements released by the Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) as well as display and tenders issued by the Central as well as State government agencies.
Classified ads, which are more readership drivers rather than revenue drivers, form less than 10 per cent of the ad revenue of a newspaper. In the smaller newspapers classified ads are virtually non-existent.
The third category of advertisements is that of commercial display ads. They are either national or local. The revenue from national display ads forms, on an average, 50 to 55 per cent of the ad revenue of an established newspaper. Then there are local display ads which appear in the city or suburban pullouts of newspapers — used largely by retailers, small property dealers, and local service providers – which are priced at a lower rate and therefore contribute proportionately less to the revenue.
These sources of revenue both shape the structure of the media as well as its content.
A major source of revenue, tender advertisements, for example, typically requires the publication to have a national footprint. A single-edition newspaper is less likely to get tender ads other than local, than a multi-edition newspaper. This has prompted some newspapers to start editions which are essentially facsimiles of the parent edition with minor changes and a low print run. Newspapers do not always become multi-edition to create new readers but to mark a token larger geographical presence in a market for attracting government ads.
The market for tenders and government ads is fairly corrupt and is known to be based on “relationships” between the public relations departments of the ad-giving agency and the ad sales representatives of the publication. A lot of government advertisement goes to newspapers where it does not belong. This is why one can see geographically irrelevant advertisements appearing in the newspapers in New Delhi. This also explains State government ads going to strange newspapers with low or virtually non-existent public circulation. There are newspapers which print only the so-called “voucher copies” which are sent to advertisers to show that their ads have indeed been printed.
All these shenanigans are possible because some of the ad revenue, in effect, ploughs back into the pockets of key individuals in the ad-issuing government departments. Not everyone is corrupt, but corruption is pretty rampant when it comes to getting government advertisements.
If the government is the biggest advertiser, one might ask how far can one go in criticising it. Ideally, it should have the effect of making all news anodyne and boring. It may seem a perverse argument, but one could say that the sheer size of the government in India, its inability to monitor the cost-effectiveness of its advertising budgets, and the all-prevalent corruption ensure that ads are not linked to being critical of the government. Everyone in the huge patronage network of corruption benefits  — except of course the tax-payer whose money is frittered away in advertisements singing paeans of political leaders dead or alive and distributing ad largesse to all and sundry.
There are also media-sensitive politicians who are keen on ensuring that they get the bang for the government’s buck. Typically, they would be ministers who control the DAVP or a similar government publicity agency or the chief minister of a State who is particularly sensitive to negative publicity. They get terribly upset over negative publicity but do not intervene directly. Erring newspapers may be punished by the ad-giving agency of the government by denying them ads for two to three months. Such a signal is enough for the pressure to reach the newsroom to be careful while writing about such individuals. However, after a brief interlude, it’s back to business again because they know that they need the newspapers as much as the newspapers need them.
Other than this, from the agencies that distribute government display and tender advertisements, there is really no overt pressure on the editorial to toe a particular line in its reportage. However, that does not prevent willing editors and media owners to publish positive reports to please the powers that be.
One way that newspapers have found of pleasing bureaucrats is to have special pages to promote government news – about transfers and postings and interviews with senior bureaucrats and often even politicians, whom journalists would normally not give the time of the day. Only a thin veil separates such write-ups from regular news pages. They are pure public relations exercises, puff jobs on bureaucrats and heads of public sector corporations, playing to their vanity. The hope is that they would be generous with government advertising to them in return.  What editors normally would not do is done by the marketing departments but bundled along with credible news packages in the same publication.
Display advertising from the private sector impinges on editorial content much less than government advertising does. Most big newspapers would claim that they have a firewall between their ad sales and editorial departments. And that by and large is the case.
However, with the frontier of control in the newsrooms decisively having shifted in favour of the managers at least in some papers, occasional requests would come to the editorial for positive stories about certain big advertisers. There was a time when this could be resisted. Now editors see themselves in quasi-revenue-generating roles and have internalised a code of behaviour vis-à-vis big advertisers. Thus, for example, the biggest fake university in India not only continues to get positive mention in the Indian media but columns by its founder are published in several newspapers. Similarly, a chit-fund honcho, who has reinvented himself as a sports promoter and real estate developer, hardly ever gets any adverse publicity.
To please specialised segments of the display ad market, some publications have started pages to promote the leaders and decision-makers in that sector – e.g. in real estate, travel, food, and automobile sector. Here again, uncritical reports and puff pieces are written by journalists who seem to float between the editorial and the marketing departments. The hope once again is of a quid pro quo – that in return for free publicity in “specialized” pages paid advertisements would follow in the news pages.
The market is so competitive that the media houses have to do a lot of running to stay in the same place. Media companies, therefore, have been trying to build revenue stream from different sources with varying degrees of success.
Some of the new revenue streams which try to milk the brand credibility of the publication are:
1. Exhibitions and fairs: These are activities which are offered to the advertiser as a 360-degree bundling of their product experience and can include events such as property fairs for real estate companies; test driving events for new cars; activities in malls where consumers can experience the product by using it or witnessing a demonstration; etc. The consumer gets to experience the “brand promise”.
2. Surveys: These relate to annual surveys of best science, engineering, medical, and law colleges; best universities; best schools; best companies; etc. These are becoming big sources of revenue for media houses.
3. Content re-selling: The main customers are dotcoms. The content is usually not exclusively generated for the customer, but it is shared. Syndications, however, are yet to take off in a major way in India.
4. Content generation: Here, exclusive content is generated for customers. The selling point is the content-creation capability of the seller. Customers are both other media houses, principally print and online, as well as non-media customers such as banks, insurance firms, funds, etc. 
5. Custom publishing: Where the entire job of content creation, production, and marketing is outsourced to a media house. These could be an airline’s onboard travel magazines, magazines for specific car manufacturers, and so on.
6.  Paid news: Where content is simply carried against payment — selling “packages” to political parties during elections in the heartland by prominent newspapers — are examples of this. However, “paid news” is not limited to elections alone. We have seen the pernicious practice of newspapers getting into financial relationships – by getting corporate equity – to publish only favourable information about them and censor anything unfavourable. This is achieved through “private treaties” between media houses and corporate entities.
7.  Conferences, awards, and seminars: This is a rapidly growing area, where media houses use their ability to pull in participants and provide editorial expertise to run both their own and franchised conferences, seminars, and awards of interest to sponsors.
8.  Books and collector’s issues: These are a relatively small revenue source for media houses. They are not to be confused with publishing companies which also happen to be owned by media houses (Penguin, Harper Collins) which are really stand-alone businesses.
9.  Archives: This monetises old content. This has grown for the Times of India and The Hindu but the others have been less successful.
10.  New media: Another growth area. Customised content delivered to mobiles, iPad, etc. This is a small earner so far, but holds maximum potential, as the market grows in size and richness of content.
11. Brand extensions: This has been attempted with varying success and can range from publications (food, entertainment, or travel guides) to watches, CDs, diaries, and other gift items.
12. Agencies/representations: Market leaders dominate this segment. This involves representing foreign and small media houses for ads, managing their circulation, etc.
Those alternative revenue-generating activities, which do not have anything to do with the mass media or which do not reach out to large audiences, are referred to as “below the line” activities. Thus, bringing out special supplements on real estate, watches, or a particular industrial sector would be “above the line” while holding a promotional event in a mall would be “below the line”.
The “below the line activities” negatively impact content in two ways: first, these activities get covered as “news” in the publications which are associated with them; and second, as ad sales representatives develop a close relationship with these clients, they start transmitting their requests to the editorial departments. The latter, may be as innocuous as getting someone from these companies quoted in a relevant story, getting the client some stand-alone “positive” publicity or getting them a much larger voice than warranted in a story which affects their immediate business interests (say, for example, disproportionately quoting your favourite realtors in a report on changes in government policy on land acquisition).
The booming education market and the bourgeoning role of the private sector in it have meant that surveys of best places to study have acquired a premium in the market. These surveys are an important source of revenue. The market abounds with rumours that while a majority of their findings are credible, there is always some room for manipulation. Little known places of learning and upcoming universities are keen to get their names included in these lists. If they manage to get this done then they are also likely to repay their gratitude with advertisements and sponsorship of media events subsequently.
Although no concrete evidence is available, the inclusion of some second-rate universities in these lists is often surprising, and a careful observer can identify which university is the favourite of a certain media group. What this means is that media houses are willing to trade their credibility for revenue up to a point, except they do it as carefully as possible so as not to erode it completely.
The important point to note, however, is that these so-called alternative revenue streams can have and do have a negative impact on content and the practice of journalism.
Increasingly as the line between ads and news has got blurred, so has the distinction between editors and ad-sales managers. What used to be a shifting frontier of control between editors and the marketing and ad sales departments has become open and porous.
As for the readers, one cannot blame them for getting confused. They take the news plugs that necessarily come bundled with these alternative revenue-generation streams for objective reportage. There is hardly a clear way of knowing where PR plugs end and news begins. This will eventually erode the credibility of journalism as a profession as well as that of the publications and media houses which indulge in these practices.

Bharat Bhushan was the founding Editor of Mail Today. Earlier, he was the Executive Editor of the Hindustan Times, Editor of The Telegraph in Delhi, Editor of the Express News Service, Washington Correspondent of the Indian Express and an Assistant Editor with The Times of India

Hindu’s Retaliation On Times Of India ” WAS NEEDED” : N.Ram

PCI no more a toothless tiger: N Ram

The Press Council of India is no more a toothless tiger, believes Publisher and Former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N Ram. The reason for it being its new Chairperson and the emerging debates around journalistic ethics and regulations.

N Ram credits the emerging discussions on Indian news media to the new Chairperson of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju. “He has triggered off a debate and 90 per cent of people seem to support his views on post-globalisation journalism and eroding ethics of journalism in India,” said Ram.

He shared that a strong chairman alone cannot bring about changes and that the council needs to be strengthened significantly. “I was one of those who argued that news media doesn’t need external regulation, but self regulation. But after the evidence of paid news, particularly the disturbing news that it continues to happen defiantly, there is a need to strengthen the Press Council of India.”

In Punjab, paid news has been documented and it has been defiant which means it has been going on, he said. According to Ram, the business of paid news rampantly continues in several parts of India and that there was enough evidence to establish it. When asked whether broadcast news should also fall under the ambit of the Press Council of India, as argued by Justice Katju, he said, “It needs a widespread debate. There is a difference between both the media. Print is about news media, but news constitutes close to seven or eight per cent of the Indian broadcast industry.”

On his role in The Hindu

Ram continues to remain a member of the board of The Hindu and publisher of the newspaper. Though he is not involved in day-to-day editorial activities of the company, he continues to take an active part in the business side of the company. When asked about his agenda for The Hindu, he told , “The board has some important responsibilities. On the business side a lot needs to be done. I no longer participate in the editorial operations. We have insulated the editorial process from shareholder intervention.”

On TOI vs The Hindu ad war

Ram supports the retaliation of The Hindu to the advertisement of the Times of India in Chennai, but calls it ‘a very small part of the play’. Ram clarifies that the advertisement that almost named the Times of India in its TVC attacking its Page 3 journalism, was a marketing initiative, partially influenced by the editorial division. “The Times of India published a campaign and this was a response to that,” Ram clarified. He also said that the attacking advertisement was consulted with the editorial team, before it went on air. “I had no problems with it. Though I didn’t initiate the campaign, once it came, it was clear in their (marketing team’s) judgment that there should be a response to it. I think it was needed,” he said

(courtesy: exchange4media)

Budget Coverage Ki Dhulai: Chief Dhobi Abhinandan Sekhri Wet-Cleans News Channels !!!

 Budget Coverage Ki Dhulai: Abhinandan Sekhri

It was budget day. And it played out predictably. Couch potatoes and TV viewers in our studio gave it a luke warm response. No big ticket ideas, no investment in new formats or real attempt to reform budget coverage.

There was a sharp increase in how taxing viewing most screen space was. Anyone with less than 50 different information boxes of text on the screen was outside the advertizing bracket.

Corporate Czars and economists were on premium with a huge subsidy granted by channels to Industry captains on nation building rhetoric as all of them suddenly had a surplus of concern for the aam aadmi, profit making was secondary which to believe would require a huge incentive or at least a rollover of disbelief.

Below: is this Pranab’s new scheme – win Rs. 1 lakh every hour? Nope! It’s a scheme sponsored by Toyota who incidentally have raised their car prices immediately after the budget so you know where that Rs. 1 lakh to be won every hour came from.

We don’t know what Dimples tweeted but Headlines today tickered that Rahul Gandhi thinks it is a good budget. This could have led to a market rally somewhere in Bhatta Parsaul if only they were watching.

People at NDTV were having the most fun with Prannoy Roy, Shweta Rajpal Kohli and 6 other guests. There was a jovial quotient surplus and known faces deficit, possibly a low cost option in the backdrop of high inflationary trends.

Headlines Today had a Sunil Alagh surplus (even a little bit is too much) and Times Now is suffering from a Lord Meghnad Desai surplus – in fact Lord Maghnad Desai is suffering from a Lord Meghnad Desai surplus.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw had a valuable input contribution deficit and silence surplus and her window on screen looked like the Mona Lisa frame as she sat there and kind of smiled.

There were no major cash voucher scheme but many vouchers for how Pranab Da has missed the bus. Arnab led the rally with a– “Has he chosen to miss the bus?” Possibly he prefers railways now.  Another person boxed in a window spoke up – “But he did find out the bus route.”

Mona Lisa Mazumdar Shaw broke her silence – “He (Pranab Mukherji) hasn’t missed the bus, but the bus has a flat tyre.”

Who will change the tyre inquired Arnab. The rubber industry has not yet felt the impact but automobiles are more expensive already.

Headlines today if not issuing bonds is certainly bonding with young viewers with a thumbs up thumbs down (Like-dislike this video like You Tube/ facebook) format. The growth projection of this kind of simple quantification of all issues is expected to be not just double but in triple digits.

No GST no FDI no fiscal consolidation said Udayan. Whose frame had a profile surplus and a who are you talking to surplus and look at us please.

On all channels there was a windows surplus and this budget was sponsored by the Aditya Birla Group, their logo appearing everywhere. Don’t know about anyone else but the budget gave them a bang for their buck for sure.

And then the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh interview slowed down the rate of growth of any entertaining activity and bored the shit out of everyone. Breaking News – Swaminathan Aiyar stayed awake through the interview.

Swaminathan Aiyar had a smile surplus trying in vain to balance the smile deficit on the PM who was overflowing with poker face surplus.

FICCI slammed the budget in the backdrop of a car slamming a suitcase which turned out to be robust enough to withstand the car impact. Ditto for FICCI and Pranabda.

However Defence Minister Anthony might have had an eloquence deficit when he said “Budget is good.” Which was communicated with a font size surplus by CNN-IBN.

“Commendable budget” was Kapil Sibal at his poetic best as tickered by CNN-IBN with a distraught shirtless boy in the background asking for help as he was stripped of cash, wallet and clothes. His network was working – 2G. No loss there.

Am not sure about the WPI index but the WTF index went through the roof.

(Courtesy: Newslaundry & Abhinandan Sekhri. Founding partner of Small Screen and newslaundry, Abhinandan Sekhri was a researcher at Newstrack and went on to become a reporter, always managing to do the story that was dropped. He scripted the political satire shows The Great Indian Tamasha and Gustakhi Maaf on NDTV’s news channels between 2004 and 2009. So he thinks he’s funny. Thinks!)

Report Rape & media will plaster your mug on national television for all to see

Police, Govt & Media Gang Rape !!!


As if it’s not disturbing enough to read about a girl being gang raped by four men. As if it isn’t disgusting enough to discover that this is the second time this has happened in a year to the same girl by the same group of men; it’s a hundred times worse to see how our police, government and news channels handle such a sensitive issue that can and will destroy (if it already hasn’t) a woman’s life.

Take the recent Noida gang rape case. In a shocking display of complete lack of empathy towards the victim or any respect for the law, the police actually named the defendant, in what they later called a ‘clerical’ error. So not only has she suffered twice at the hands of rapists, now thanks to this ‘clerical’ error (for which no head has rolled), her name, address and probably school and whereabouts are common knowledge – for the wholemohalla to know, talk, discuss and snigger about. All this after finally having the guts to come out and file a complaint against the accused. And let’s get real. We all know what our society thinks of rape victims.

Later – more shocking news. Once again an alleged rape victim was made to suffer.  When asked about the gang rape of a woman on a train in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee claimed the victim fabricated the story. So much for any empathy from the government, and that too from a woman Chief Minister! Has Ms. Banerjee gone and met the victim, or is she just trying to deny that any such thing happened on a train in herstate? Must be a Left conspiracy! This isn’t the first time Ms. Banerjee has called a rape victim a liar. On February 17th, 2012 the Kolkata police claimed that there were ‘technical discrepancies’ in the rape complaint filed by anAnglo-Indian woman; a state minister questioned the morality of the woman and alleged that the complaint was fabricated to extort money; and our great Chief Minister called her rape story “cooked up” and asked “where is the evidence?” What evidence would satisfy her? A recording perhaps… West Bengal is clearly the place all rapists should head, since no one believes the victims. At least no one in the current government.

And then. The unkindest cut of all – comes the Times Now report on this rape – with the anchor’s voice going on and on hysterically building up the supposed suspense, with shots of Mamta Banerjee in a loop, along with the interview of the rape victim with her identity concealed. Just how was her identity concealed? By putting a thin, black band that barely covered her eyes (forget about her face), and then putting her entire byte on TV in a loop, while leaving her face and shoulders exposed.

Is there no law to regulate how the rights and the dignity of rape victims can be protected on news channels?  I mean forget about the police and the politicians. We (unfortunately) can’t really expect anything different from them. But a national news channel like Times Now? Do they have no sense? Do they really think that putting that little band on a rape victims eyes is good enough to mask her identity and protect her from the certain backlash that exposing her will have? Shouldn’t the news media know better?

According to the Norms of Journalistic Conduct as defined by the Press Council of India – “While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or kidnap of women/females or sexual assault on children, or raising doubts and questions touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.” Is anyone following these rules? And who is enforcing them? You can file a complaint with the Press Council, but how long it will take to get justice, if any, is anybody’s guess. Besides, by then the damage is done.

According to the BBC guidelines “All victims of rape and other sex crimes, including children, are automatically guaranteed anonymity for life from the moment they make a complaint that they are the victim of a sex crime…These restrictions only apply to identifying the person as being the victim of an alleged sexual offence. They do not prevent the identification of the person in other contexts… Victims can be identified if they agree to it. The consent should be in writing and must not be the result of any pressure.” I have so far failed to find any such guidelines in the website of any Indian news channels.

Switching through other channels, at least NDTV had the sense to blur her face, even though the overall look and hairstyle was fairly evident.

Then comes Headlines Today (Pt4). Initially they did blur her face, but suddenly in the middle of the story they show the bottom half of her face without blurring! Why? Was it necessary? No, but they did it anyway. Just for some variety. Un-fuckin-believable!

Which again brings me to the real question. Why can’t they just darken the whole shot so that absolutely nothing can be seen, and only her voice heard? Are they catering to the voyeur in the audience who may be getting off on seeing a woman who’s been violated? Do we as the intended audience really want to see this? I don’t think so. I think we’re better than that and don’t need any such visuals. What we do want is for the media to deal with rape in a sensitive way. I really couldn’t bear to watch anymore, but I seriously think we need a law for this.

In the meanwhile there are three lessons all potential rape victims can learn from this episode.

1)    Don’t report the rape because the police will tell everyone who you are.

2)    Don’t report the rape unless you want to be called a liar.

3)    Don’t report the rape because the media will plaster your mug on national television for all to see. With a slim black band of course.

(Courtesy: Sunayana Singh & Newslaundry. Sunayana wandered into journalism by accident. Reported for Newstrack and loved it. Later made documentaries and worked on short films. Gave birth to two kids and is raising them. Consulted for children’s TV channel POGO for 5 years. Had too much of kids screaming, yelling and fighting in life so decided to move into a quieter, more mature zone – TV News critique. Don’t snigger.)

Bilingual dictionaries to promote India’s mother tongues

New Delhi: The campaign to preserve vernacular mother tongues and make knowledge accessible to students through translation across the linguistic arc has taken a big stride with a new bilingual dictionary series in Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada from the source language, English.

An initiative of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), National Translation Mission, Regional Institute of South Asia and Pearson Education, the six bilingual dictionaries is the first lot of the 11 dictionaries that the government is collaborating on with Pearson under its Longman imprint.

“The dictionaries, released in the national capital on Saturday, aims to fulfil the National Translation Mission’s mandate to develop translation tools for 22 Indian languages under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution,” said Aditi Mukherjee, project manager of the National Translation Mission.

The second lot of the language dictionaries that are in the works include Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu and Urdu, Mukherjee said.

“One of the primary mandates of the National Translation Mission, set up three years ago under the ministry of human resource development, is to promote academic education across 70-odd disciplines in 22 languages by translating 100 books in each discipline. The lexicon is an important translation tool – kind of a spring board to push the mother tongues, many of which are threatened with very few speakers,” Mukherjee told .

The Longman-NTM-CIIL dictionaries have over 12,000 words and phrases culled from the British National Corpus.

Translation studies as a concept took roots in the country in 1986 when the ministry of human resource development presented a document, “Programme of Action” – to make translation an academic and commercial pursuit.

The paper, conceptualised by late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, a linguist, led to the establishment of the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies (CALTS) at the University of Hyderabad.

It was later followed by a translation website, “Anukriti” under the 10th Five-Year Plan and the National Translation Mission with the CIIL as its nodal agency.

“The target group of the National Translation Mission is those university students who do not know English. We have to look at how to disseminate or translate from English and to English. We have identified 105 books and have acquired rights for 23 books from source publishers to be translated in different languages,” Mukherjee said.

The mission assigns the task of translation to the publisher or deputes a translator from the National Register for Translators, a pool of government translators, the project director said.

Recalling the beginning of the dictionary project, Udaya Narayan Singh, former director of CIIL and pro-vice-chancellor of Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan, told IANS, “The idea for the dictionaries was sown when Pearson published my book, ‘Translation as Growth: Towards a Theory of Language Development’ in 2009. At the time, I had just completed work on connecting Microsoft’s Windows 7 to 12 Indian languages. I was also working on bi-lingual language dictionaries…”

Singh said he was earlier a part of “Anusaraka” – the National Language Processing Project – a linguistic collaboration between Hyderabad University and IIT-Kanpur.

“I suggested online dictionaries to Longman from which we culled the idea for language lexicons in print with 12,000 words,” Singh said.

“The idea is to create a translation industry as recommended by the National Knowledge Commission by mobilising the publishing stakeholders (both private and public) and getting the regional language publishers into the loop. They know how to reach the readers,” Aditi Mukherjee said.

The 22 Indian mother tongues that the National Translation Mission has taken up for promotion have 134 dialects, Udaya Narayan Singh said.

“This accounts for 96 percent of India’s population. The remaining four percent speaks 600 languages,” Singh said.

“The government has taken the depleting linguistic groups into account and is relooking at the Linguistic Survey of India after 100 years. It has asked some states to come up with parallel survey reports,” CIIL director S.N. Burman told IANS.

The National Translation Mission is also trying to set up lexicon bases for languages like Santhali, Konkani, Marathi, Bodo and Sanskrit, Udaya Narayan Singh said.

“You need to introduce the threatened mother tongues in primary schools which has many implications,” Singh said.