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What the Hell, PMO? Is Jio the National Mobile Service Now?

Dedicating Jio to Dhirubhai Ambani may have been easier to digest than this over-the-top dedication to Modi.

Updated
Tech News
2 min read
Jio is a possible monopoly in the making. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

Everything is “Jio this” and “Jio that” right now since Mukesh Ambani launched Reliance’s game-changing new service and announced that the company would provide the lowest rates for data anywhere in the world. Does that sentence sound like a pitch for the product? One could say so. Much like one could say slapping someone’s face on an ad for Jio probably counts as an endorsement from the person – like the Prime Minister.

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We’re wondering what Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing gracing the front page of The Times of India and Hindustan Times as part of Jio’s ad campaign. Is he endorsing the product? Right above the image of the Prime Minister smiling approvingly at the immensely low rates of Jio and the free calling that it offers are the words ‘Dedicated to India and 1.2 Billion Indians.’ So now we’re more confused, is he dedicating Jio to all of us? Is this a PMO-backed initiative?

Hang on. There’s some fine print right under the photo though. Clarity. ‘Jio is dedicated to our honourable Prime Minister’s inspiring vision of a Digital India’ which is why we’re being treated to an inspiring vision of our Prime Minister on our morning newspapers.

All this is a little reminiscent of the end of every mutual funds ad, really. Or those amazing sale offers that have the dreaded ‘terms and conditions apply’ asterisk attached. But when was the last time you seriously read the “offer document carefully before investing” or even looked at the terms and conditions before hitting accept as you installed that fancy, new app?

If someone passes a newspaper vendor and sees that image, all they’re going to register is Modi’s face and the Jio logo – automatic endorsement.

So where is the PM’s office in all of this?

And let me pre-empt you, I don’t expect the Prime Minister to respond to every single small thing that happens in the country. But this not-so-small-possible-monopoly-in-the-making has his name and face stamped all over it – literally.

Especially considering the fact that the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 clearly states that without written permission from the Central Government, no name or emblem can be used for trade or business to suggest the patronage of the Government of India.

So perhaps a few words on whether the Prime Minister is truly endorsing Jio or not isn’t such an unrealistic expectation.

Mukesh Ambani dedicating Jio to Dhirubhai Ambani and his vision may have been easier to digest than this over-the-top dedication to Digital India. This seems like a mix between cashing in on the (very marketable) image of Narendra Modi and a simultaneous currying of favour with the present government.

Remember the GIF of Jayalalithaa’s supporters bowing their heads to her feet in obeisance after she won the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections this May?

What the Hell, PMO? Is Jio the National Mobile Service Now?

This ad is the print version of that scene with Modi and Ambani.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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