NDTV India Jumbles Rice & Paddy Data, Ravish Kumar Issues Apology

In a Facebook post, Ravish Kumar and NDTV India admitted to the error, which they will rectify in their show on January 18.

NDTV India anchor Ravish Kumar and the channel have issued apologies using their respective social media channels after Kumar incorrectly conflated the procurement volumes of rice and paddy in his show. Kumar made this error on his show, 'Prime Time', that aired on January 14, in which he was addressing the broader issue of the ongoing farmer agitation.

In the show, he relies on a poster tweeted by Piyush Goyal, who serves as the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The poster shows the government's procurement of paddy ("धान"), which has risen from 423 LMT (lakh metric tons) in kharif marketing season 2019 - 2020 to 534 LMT in kharif marketing season 2020 - 2021 (up to January 10, 2021 and still ongoing); posting an increase of 26%.

The poster can be seen below.

The poster in question (Courtesy: Twitter handle @PiyushGoyal)

In his show, Kumar says that the poster does not show the procurement of paddy, but rather that of rice. He says that in 2019 - 2020 kharif marketing season, the procurement of rice of was close to 519 LMT, and therefore the rise in year-on-year procurements could not be 26%.

Later, he states that somebody in the government is making a mistake or somebody is distorting data to spread lies; and that a governmental poster with the face of the prime minister with such an error is openly being tweeted by a minister without checking.

His statement in the show can be seen below.

In their clarification, Kumar and NDTV India admit that they jumbled paddy data with that of rice, since they could not find data for paddy procurement on the website of the Department and Public Distribution and the Food Corporation of India.

In the original YouTube video embedded above, the description reads that there has been an error in the reporting of paddy numbers, and it will be rectified on its episode on January 18.

"सूचना - इस विडियो में 32 मिनट पर एक पोस्टर दिखाया गया है जो 2019-20 और 2020-21 में पैडी की सरकारी ख़रीद की तुलना करता है। इस विडियो के निर्माता ये स्पष्ट करना चाहते हैं कि ख़रीद के इन आँकड़ों को समझने में चूक हुई है और इसे 18 जनवरी 2021 के एपिसोड में ठीक कर दिया जाएगा।" Read it here.

Read the clarifications given by NDTV India and Ravish Kumar below.

What does the data say?

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution released numbers on operations during the kharif marketing season 2020 - 2021.

According to these numbers, the governments states that it has purchased 534.44 LMT of paddy up to January 10 this year against last year's corresponding purchase of 423.35 LMT; an increase of 26.24%. This procurement has taken place in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Odhisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Of this lot, Punjab has contributed 202.77 LMT, which is 37.94% of the total procurement.

Further, it goes on to say that 71.13 lakh farmers have benefitted from procurement with an MSP (minimum support price) value of 1,00,903 crores.

Read the release here.

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