The Times of India’s new campaign, ‘The Times of a Better India’ celebrates India’s progress through every decade and the opportunities it created for citizens to leverage. TOI has consistently showcased great Indian success stories and actively contributed to making India a better place, through its marquee initiatives such as Teach India, Lead India, Lost Votes, and many more. This time, ‘The Times of a Better India’ will go an extra mile and talk about the ecosystems that make those success stories possible – the institutions & organizations, the individuals & the factors that drove them, the social trends, the societal influences and even the policy changes that facilitated positive change.
In an exclusive interview with Outlook India, Mr. Kaustuv Chatterjee, Director - TOI, Language Brands & NPI, at Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. talks about the campaign and its narrative crafted by the publication. He also shared certain insights on the challenges India has faced in recent times and spoke about the vision for ‘The Times Of A Better India’ campaign.
● What is the rationale for TOI to do a campaign like ‘The Times of A Better India’? What are the campaign objectives for The Times of India brand overall?
The last 2-3 years have been tough. The pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, the depressing economic news from across the world has left all of us with a sense of gloom and doom. But what goes unnoticed are the efforts of individuals, institutions and organizations who have been working hard and ensuring that every decade in our country has been better than the previous ones. The Times of India wanted to turn the spotlight to positivity and highlight that despite the recent events and setbacks, the journey of progress of our country and hence of us individuals can’t be stopped. This is the time of big opportunities and the campaign urges us to find our rightful place in it.
We have also seen the rise of polarized debates, the echo chambers of social media, the biases all around us. The need of the hour is to put forth verified, correct and credible information. The Times of India stands as a voice of reason in this backdrop and its an opportunity for the brand to further cement its thought leadership position as the trusted and credible source of news and information for the country. The Times of India has been the harbinger of positive change in the country. Our campaigns like Lead India, Teach India and Aman Ki Asha have always stood for the same and the Times of a Better India hopes to carry it forward.
● India has many challenges but also there are great things happening. What is India narrative that TOABI is essaying?
India has achieved a lot since Independence, where every decade has built upon the progress of its preceding one. Sometimes, it helps to step back and look at this big picture. The Times of a Better India is a celebration of the often-unheralded stories of a nation on the move.
The ecosystem that is developing all around us is helping us achieve our dreams. Today a housewife can be a successful homepreneur because a plug and play e-commerce and digital infrastructure is available. You can travel to your remote hometown in a matter of hours since there are small airports and a network of highways that have been built. We can launch satellites even for other countries since our educational institutions have helped hone the right talent.
This is the narrative of the campaign. Rather than the often told stories of individual personalities, we are putting forth a more complete perspective.
● TOI has done many wonderful campaigns over the years like from Lead India, and India poised to recent ones like The Trust of India, and Lost Votes. Is The Times of A Better India campaign an extension of these campaigns or it is more like an umbrella campaign?
The Times of India has actively contributed towards making India a better place. Be it campaigns for citizen empowerment like Lead India, Lost Votes and Trust of India, campaigns for Social Equality like Sindoor Khela and Out & Proud, campaigns for better health like Mask India, Times Organ Donation Drive, campaigns for education like Teach India, Times Scholars, or for environment like TOI Green drive, Make India Water Positive etc. The Times of India has always championed causes that are important to our country.
“The Times of a Better India” is, in a way, an extension of these campaigns to the extent that its putting forth a different perspective to our readers. It is less action oriented and works more as an educative campaign that aims at sensitizing readers about the opportunities, beyond the polarizing debates and the rhetoric that have become commonplace.
● What is your definition of better times in India?
We firmly believe that since independence, every decade in our country has seen a progress over the previous ones and it benefits all of us as individuals and collectively as a nation.
To talk about certain specifics, the life expectancy is currently above 70 as opposed to 37 when we became independent. The literacy rate has gone up from 18.3% to 77.7%. Similar improvements have been seen for infrastructure like Roads, Rail traffic as well as air traffic. India’s successes of green and white revolutions that transformed us from a starving nation to a global food basket are something to be proud of. We are now the 3rd in the world for addition of unicorns. Our UPI system is a posterchild of what we can achieve in field of tech and we are far ahead of even developed economies.
The point therefore is that across many sectors and areas, we are reaching an inflection point of extraordinary growth. Our country will skyrocket into the realms of development across many areas and as the campaign believes firmly, right now are the times of a Better India, better than it has ever been.
On a slightly different note, access to the right information and knowledge, beyond the toxic debates and the biased viewpoints is also a definition of a better India. And as a news media brand, we provided trusted journalism to our readers helping them make informed decisions.
What kind of India stories does The Times of A Better India campaign plan to cover?
Over the ten weeks of the campaign, The Times of a Better India is bringing to its readers inspiring stories, heart-warming narratives, and deep insights, cutting across a range of themes, about institutions, organizations and individuals.
To give you some examples, while the ISRO story is often talked about, not many are aware about the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) — hailed as “the largest sociological experiment in the world” during 1975-76 — that benefited around 2 lakh people, covering 2,400 villages. The credit of training 50,000 science teachers in primary schools in one year goes to SITE.
Other examples include the story of a Rajasthan farmer spearheading the Organic farming revolution in India, the roadmap to India’s rise as a badminton superpower, how a ‘green doctor’ has been working to restore Delhi’s biodiversity parks, how girls from Haryana’s Fatehabad are wanting to become the next Neeraj Chopra, the story of a lab working to prevent animal extinction and many more.
And at the heart of this initiative, like in all our efforts of the past, are our readers. For more than anything else, The Times of a Better India is a celebration of the fortitude, ambitions and dreams of the average Indian, who is quick to recognize and use every foothold to rise higher.