Vice President's Secretariat

Vice President expresses concern over Covid-induced financial strain in the media industry

VP appeals to everyone to treat their employees with empathy and care during these difficult times

Praises media for empowering people through information and perspectives on the pandemic despite risks involved

Pays rich tributes to Late Shri M P Veerendra Kumar

Says he was deeply committed to the cause of the uplifting the marginalized sections

Posted On: 22 JUL 2020 7:36PM by PIB Delhi

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today expressed his concern over the COVID-induced financial strain in the media industry and appealed to everyone to treat their employees with empathy and care and stand with them during these difficult times.

Paying tributes at a virtual commemorative meeting held to pay respects to late Shri M P Veerendra Kumar today, the Vice President praised him for protecting the rights and welfare of the employees of Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Limited despite ushering in technology in the publication of a range of magazines.

 

He appealed to everyone to draw inspiration from the likes of Shri Veerendra Kumar and adopt a more empathetic attitude towards the fellow citizens.

Observing that Shri Veerendra Kumar was a multifaceted personality, Shri Naidu said that he was a respected politician, a prolific writer, an environmentalist and an accomplished journalist.

Lauding several initiatives and campaigns piloted by Shri Veerendra Kumar as the member of various press bodies, the Vice President said that he pioneered the cause of the freedom of the press in the larger interest of the people.

“As Chairman and Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Limited, he made invaluable contribution in the field of journalism”, Shri Naidu added.

One of the important aspects of Shri Veerendra Kumar’s life was the empowerment of people through dissemination of information, the Vice President said and highlighted the importance of providing correct and authentic information during these pandemic times. He appreciated the media for empowering people through information and perspectives on the pandemic despite risks involved in the task. However, he also cautioned the media to guard against unverified and unsubstantiated claims on treating COVID-19.

Stating that Shri Veerendra Kumar was an exemplary parliamentarian, Shri Naidu  said his conduct was worthy of emulation by all legislators.

The Vice President said Shri Veerendra Kumar was a man of principles and was deeply committed to the cause of uplifting the marginalized sections. He had always placed public cause above everything else. The Vice President said that his work and ideals will inspire the generations to come.

To illustrate his commitment to ideals and values, the Vice President cited the example of Shri Veerendra Kumar resigning from the post of Minister of Forests in Kerala Government when he was pressured to withdraw his decision to ban the cutting of trees.

 

Remembering his keen participation in the trade union movements and passionate advocacy of the rights of the workforce, Shri Naidu said that Shri Kumar, as Union Minister of State for Labour (Independent charge), ushered in pioneering reforms in the management of Employees Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to benefit the workers.

Recalling Shri Veerendra Kumar’s support for the rights of the indigenous people, Shri Naidu called for taking a balanced approach towards development and the conservation of nature. Development should not be at the cost of the environment, he emphasized.

Lauding Shri Veerendra Kumar’s literary achievements, the Vice President said that he was among the very few men in public life and legislatures to have been honoured with Kendra Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sahitya Academy honors as also the coveted Moortidevi Award (2016) instituted by the Bhartiya Jnanpith Trust for his contributions to the world of letters.

Shri. Arif Mohammed Khan, Governor of Kerala, Shri. P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, Governor of Mizoram, Shri. N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Publishing Group, Shri. P.V. Chandran, Chairman & Managing Editor-Mathrubhumi, several Members of Parliament, Sri M. V. Shreyams Kumar, son of late Sri  M P Veerendra Kumar and MD, Mathrubhumi were among the dignitaries who participated in the virtual event.

The following is the full text of the speech:

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This is an emotional moment for me today as we all connect to remember our beloved friend Shri M P Veerendra Kumar who left for heavenly abode some months ago. Had he been with us, we would have been celebrating his 84th birthday today.

Shri Veerendra Kumar was a multifaceted personality--politician, a prolific writer, an environmentalist and an accomplished journalist. As Chairman and Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Limited, he made invaluable contribution in the field of journalism.

He also served as the President of the Indian Newspaper Society and chairman of the Press Trust of India.

In his journalistic role, he pioneered the cause of the freedom of the press in the larger interest of the people. He piloted several initiatives and led various campaigns as a member of various press bodies. Despite ushering in technology in the publication of a range of magazines by the publishing company that brings out ‘Mathrubhoomi’, Shri Veerendra Kumar ensured the protection of the rights and welfare of the employees. Such sync between words and deeds is very rare.

Dear sisters and brothers,

We are in the midst of a pandemic which has disrupted every activity and impacted the economies of all nations. It is in such times that we need to draw inspiration from the likes of Shri Veerendra Kumar and adopt a more empathetic attitude towards our fellow citizens. The media industry too was badly hit by the pandemic and I understand that several media houses are facing Covid induced financial strain. I am told that there also have been some lay-offs. I appeal to everyone to treat their employees with empathy and care and stand with them during these difficult times.

One of the important aspects of Shri Veerendra Kumar’s life was the empowerment of people through dissemination of information. This is all the more necessary in present times to provide correct and authentic information.

I appreciate that despite taking a hit, media has pursued the mission of empowering people through information and perspectives on the pandemic. However, media should guard against unverified and unsubstantiated claims on treating COVID-19.

Shri Veerendra Kumar was a distinguished member of the Rajya Sabha and an exemplary parliamentarian. He was deeply committed to the cause of the uplifting the marginalized sections. Be it Kerala Legislative Assembly, Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, his conduct was worthy of emulation by all legislators.

Widely seen as someone who commanded respect across the political spectrum, he was baptized into politics with Praja Socialist Party at the age of about 16 years and was later drawn into Socialist Party by the late Jayaprakash Narayan. He was also influenced by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia. He was arrested during the Emergency and his assets were confiscated.

Shri Veerendra Kumar always put the public cause over everything else. He was a man of principles. This was evident in the episode when he was made the Minister of Forests in Kerala Government. His first decision was to ban cutting of trees as he was conscious of the adverse consequences of tinkering with nature. Huge pressure was brought on him to withdraw the decision. Committed to his ideals and values, Veerendra Kumar resisted and resigned within 48 hours of becoming a minister.

A keen participant in the trade union movements and a passionate advocate of the rights of the workforce, as Union Minister of State for Labour (Independent charge), Shri Kumar ushered in pioneering reforms in the management of Employees Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to benefit the workers.

He was deeply pained by the erosion of the rights of the indigenous people and supported movements for their protection.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I have time and again called for taking a balanced approach towards development and the conservation of nature. Development should not be at the cost of environment.

Shri Veerendra Kumar was perhaps among the very few men in public life and legislatures to have been honoured with Kendriya Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sahitya Academy honors as also the coveted Moortidevi Award (2016) instituted by the Bhartiya Jnanpith Trust for his contributions to the world of letters. Last year, I had released the English version of his famous travelogue “Haimavathabhuvil” called Himalayan Odyssey.

An author, orator, publisher, administrator, parliamentarian and above all a humanist, Shri M.P. Veerendra Kumar’s contributions in different fields have been immense. His work and ideals will inspire the generations to come.

Thank you.

Jai Hind!

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VRRK/MS/MSY/DP



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