Saturday 30 April 2016

JNU: Much ado about nothing

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

This poem by Rabindranath Tagore is the contemplation of the Poet’s credence about the kind of freedom he trailed and invoked to God. True freedom means liberation from fear and head ‘held high’ is a manifested posture of that liberated mind. True freedom lies in the mind which is always led forward by the universal mind of the father into ‘ever-widening thought and action.’
But the irony lies here. Being a treasurer of culture, India is far way from this kind of freedom. Freedom is here being treated as Prometheus, who is chained by the Zeus, a capitalist sovereignty.

In India, if some students in a university had buoyed slogans against the state and demanded to over through a democratically elected government on the basis of some unsubstantial or factual grievances, how would have the state reacted? The recent Jawaharlal Nehru University mishaps have raised mammoth probe into freedom of speech. The contributors of the meet allegedly shouted anti-India slogans, leading to the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. This scintillated a debate regarding what constitutes sedition, who was in the wrong during & the aftermath of the clash and how much of what the media reports is true. At this juncture, Let us take a hypothetical example of US where this kind of anti-national sloganeering had been raised and neither the university authorities nor the State mandarins would have taken notice of the matter. “That is a point of view and all points of view are welcome in a university campus” – this would have been their standard reply. Only if the sloganeering by the students would have been escorted by violence or destruction of property, then the might of the State would have come down heavily on them because such rowdy behaviors would have adversely affected the freedom of the fellow students.
So long as their revolutionary fervor was confined to words, verbal or written, they would be protected by the First Amendment –“The Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or press or assembly”.

  Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy has strong views on the strife-torn and troubled Valley, which many may disagree with, or regard as extremely contentious. But what possible justification can there be — as the Bharatiya Janata Party has outrageously demanded — for slapping a case against her under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, for exciting “disaffection” towards or bringing “hatred or contempt” against the government? Do we lock up or threaten to silence our writers and thinkers with an archaic section of the law that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, merely because they speak their minds.

This exact things took place On the night of 9 February 2016, left-wing students organisation Democratic Students Union (DSU) held a protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus against capital punishment that was awarded to 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The university authorities withdrew permission for this event after protests by members of the right-wing students union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Anti-India slogans were raised at the DSU-protest, which not only led to the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar but also of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya on charges of sedition, the latter two being the organizers of that particular event.

JNU Vice-Chancellor constituted a disciplinary committee for investigating the controversial event. On the basis of the initial investigation report, Kanhaiya Kumar and seven other students were academically debarred. Kanhaiya Kumar has been granted six month interim bail by the High Court, on 2 March 2016. On 11 March the involved students were allowed to attend their classes again. The high-level inquiry committee of Jawaharlal Nehru University found out that provocative slogans were raised by a group of outsiders, wearing masks inside the campus. This is the story of JNU in a nutshell.

In his classic defense of free speech, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill laid down what is known as the ‘harm principle.' It suggests that the only justification for silencing a person against his will is to prevent him from causing harm to others. It is the powerful libertarian mid-19th century principle that we are stuck to the idea and free speech cannot be tabooed merely because we find it disagreeable, and that suppressant may be imposed only if such proclamation comprises a direct, explicit, and indubitable incitement to violence.
 There is no such nexus in sloganeering anti-national slogans on Kashmir & India, which are shaped around the theme of gross human right violation. But it is a tragic comic that there is talk of ‘sedition' at a time when it is regarded obsolete in many countries. Courts have ruled that laws that aim to punish people for bringing a government into hatred or contempt. In Britain, the last completed trial in a sedition case dates back to 1947. In the United States, Supreme Court rulings have rendered toothless the most recent sedition law, the Smith Act enacted in 1940.
                                                               If the First Amendment in the US gives the American student the unhindered right to profess subversive ideas, why can’t the Article 14 of our Constitution give the students of JNU, or students of any campus for that matter, a similar right? Those who are pitching in favor of sedition must be some illiterate, weak or pusillanimous person knows nothing about the true meaning & difference of patriotism and freedoms of speech.
So, the controversy over anti national remarks in JNU is essentially much ado about nothing.

Joy Das
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

The Scenario of India's Social Security

When we talked about social security, first we have to understand what it is? Well Social Security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that society, in which a person lives should help them to develop and to make the most of all the advantages like – culture, social welfare, work etc. which are offered to them in the country. The service providing social security are often called social services. This term is known by many of us.
Now in our country India, social security system is decided as a number of schemes and programs which are extended throughout a variety of laws and restrictions. But one main thing, the Indian Government controlled social security system in very small portion of the population. This is not foe each and very Indians.
India has a very basic social security system,
1)      Employee’s Provident Fund Org. (EPFO).
2)      Employee’s state Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

The ESFO is also known as a pension Scheme and as an insurance Scheme. On the other hand ESIC covers low earning employees providing them with basic healthcare and social security schemes.
In more specific Indian Social Security schemes are generally the following and they cover social insurances:
Health Insurance and Medical,

Pension: the EPFO under the ministry of labor and Employment. Presently only about 35 million out of a labour force of 400 million have access to formal social security in the from of old age income protection.out of these 35 million, 26 million workers are members of the EPFO.

Health Insurance and Medical:indan has a national health service, but this does not include free medical care for the whole population. In case of sick leave, te employer will pay half salary to the employees covered under the Employee’s State Insurance Act.

Disability: the workmen’s compensation Act requires the employer to pay compensation to employment related injuries resulting in death or disability.
Death: 50% of the monthly wage multiplied by the age factor.
Total permanent disablement 60% of the monthly wage multiplied by the age factor.

Maternity: the maternity benefit act requires an employer to offer 12 weeks wages during maternity as well as paid leave in certain other connected contingencies.

Gratuity:for establishments with ten or more employees, the payment of gratuity act requires the payment of 15 days of additional wages for each year of service to employees who have worked at a company for five years or more.

Anyone working in india for a prolonged period of time will have to pay social security contributions of 12% of their income if they are employed by a the EPFO. Which will in turn match the 12% contributed by the employee. 

Pallavi Das
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Friday 15 April 2016

Congress and CPM team up to beat TMC

The two arch rivals in politics for decades – the Congress and the Communists  – have finally reached a workable “understanding” in sharing seats in the West Bengal state assembly polls to put up a combined fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress
But for the moment, the two seem to have buried all their animosity as they say: “We are ready to do anything to oust this “despotic and autocratic” rule of the Trinamool Congress, and Mamata Banerjee.

Releasing the names of 116 of the 294 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in West Bengal, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said on Monday that they have only entered an “electoral understanding” with the Congress and there has been no alliance between them. “In an attempt to prevent division of votes, we had asked all Left-minded and democratic parties to come together. Because the Congress is no longer an ally of the TMC, we welcome them. But there shall be no alliance with them. Their symbol is theirs, ours is ours,” he said, after releasing the candidates names.

Lauding the ‘positive’ role of CPI(M) in forging an alliance with his party, Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Saturday said more than 90 per cent Assembly seats in the state would have one-on-one fight with the Trinamool Congress. Congress leaders in the poll-bound West Bengal are mounting pressure on the party’s central leadership, including president Sonia Gandhi, to form an alliance with the Communist party CPI(M) to take on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the upcoming Assembly elections.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) owes it very origin to antipathy towards the Congress party. Back in 1964, leaders such as JyotiBasu were anti-Congress before it was cool, splitting the Communist Party of India on the basis of its perceived closeness to Indira Gandhi (one of the snide names the CPI was called at the time was Communist Party of Indira). Mamata Banerjee might seem invincible after grabbing 34 out of 42 LokSabha Seats in the 2014 General Election but the ground reality actually isn’t that rosy. While she may hold 63% of the seats in the state Assembly and a whopping 81% of West Bengal’s LokSabha seats, this is more a function of the fact that the Trinamool’s opposition is divided and the vagaries of the first-past-the-post system, which is designed to heavily magnify vote-share leads in terms of seats.

Central West Bengal, which is where Malda is located, is an area in which the TMC has a limited presence. However, as ShuvojitBagchi points out, writing in the Hindu, communal turmoil like the episode witnessed in Malda recently is likely to boost both the TMC as well as the BJP in this region. The ensuing polarization will help the TMC mop up Muslim votes and the BJP attract Hindu voters. This should, of course, greatly worry the Congress, which has dominated central Bengal since 1947. Which is why the state Congress is so keen on an alliance with the CPI(M), which would ensure that its base remains secure.

Anurag Singh
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Politics and war: Synonimous

John Lily’s phrase “All is fair in love and war” in the Novel “Euphues”: The Anatomy of Wit” published way back in the year 1579 seems to be the most relevant phrase in the recent political scenario of West Bengal, as two of the uncompromising fighting giants in Bengal’s politics joined their hands with a close up smile, by way of seat adjustment in the ensuing Assembly Election of the State with a mission to up-root the ruling Trinamool Congress from the State.

 We have experienced U.P.A. Government at the Centre lead by the Indian National Congress supported by the Lefts from outside, though the experience was not at all sweet for the Congress. But in our State these two parties were the main political rivals till the end of the twentieth century. The CPIM led Left Front came into power in the State in the year 1977 and ruled the State for thirty four years and Congress party was the main opposition party in the State for about twenty five years of the Left regime. Congress party in the State suffered a division in the year 1998 when Trinamool Congress took its birth under the leadership of Ms. Mamata Banerjee and soon it became the main opposition party driving the Congress party from the chair of opposition in the State Assembly.

 Trinamool Congress started hue and cry against the ruling Left Front government and gained peoples’ attention and confidence. Several anti-government movements of the party were joined by the mass of the State picking up the movements to its thresh-hold point. Major movements at Singur and Nandigram against the land policy of the Left Front government drew attention of the entire Nation and beyond. Congress party in the State gradually became almost ‘name-plate’ with the advancement of the Trinamool Congress in the State.

 In 2011 Assembly election the 34 year old Left Front government in the State had to leave the chair miserably beaten by the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance. The alliance of Trinamool Congress and Congress did not last and the Congress party had to come out of the government. In last five years thousands of Left and Congress supporters joined the Trinamool Congress. Even some of the senior Left as well as Congress leaders preferred to change their colours to enjoy the power. Hundreds of party offices of the CPIM in the State remained closed, thousands of party members abstained from renewal of party membership. The CPIM led Left Front and the Congress party lost miserably in Panchayat and Corporation elections.

 The Left Front and Congress faced disastrous defeat in the Parliament election in 2015 when the Trinamool Congress won 34 out of 42 parliamentary constituencies in the State despite the nation-wide absolute Modi wave. In this election the Left Front could manage to get only two parliamentary seats while Congress bagged only 6 seats. Both the Left Front and Congress party in the State after the 2015 Parliamentary election could finally realize that it would be just next to impossible for any one of them to fight against almighty TMC. Both the parties could realize that the ruling party is quickly loosing its popularity for numbers of reasons.

 Sarada scam has forced one of the State Ministers to rest behind the bars while the All India General Secretary of the party has lost his chair. Many more reasons influenced the mass at large in the State to think twice before casting their votes. Both the Congress party and the Left Front thought this moment to be the ideal time to appear before the public in joined hands. Think-tanks of both these parties calculated the percentage of votes for the respective parties and concluded with the opinion that combined votes for the two parties would cause defeat for the ruling party in most of the seats in the ensuing Assembly election.

The dream of the Pundits of both the parties may yield positive result in the election, but there are lots of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in it. The most significant factor is the credibility factor.  34 years of the Left rule in the State produced tremendous negative feeling for the Left parties while Congress party has almost no impact in the minds of the voters in the State. Another important factor is development. The ruling party in the State has done lot of infrastructural development in the State which may attract the voters. The allegation of corruption against the ruling TMC party shall have some impact in the Ballot box, but the question is how far? The voters of the rural Bengal are somewhat been benefited by the ‘Kanyasree’ and other projects of the State government. BPL card holders are being benefited by having rice at the rate of Rs.2/- per Kg. All these factors may jeopardize the calculations of the think-tanks of Left as well as Congress leaders, but both the parties have nothing to lose out of this seat adjustment. Is it true?

NO. If the equations of the Pundits fail in this election, I am afraid there will be just no-opposition in the State in the next ten years which is dangerous for the democracy. I strongly believe that there should be a strong opposition to build ‘shadow ministry’ to protect the citizens from the abuses one party rule.

Sreemoyee Bhattacharya
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)


Authenticity of a Sting Operation

In more refined terms, it can be called Investigative Journalism or Undercover Journalism. A Sting Operation is an operation designed to catch a person committing a crime by means of deception. A complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care. Sting Operation is an information-gathering exercise; it looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches, or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed or distorted.
There are times when sting operations, according to the result and consequence got divided into two types.
Positive Sting Operation: Positive Sting Operation is one which results in the interest of the society, which pierces the veils of the working of the government. It is carried out in the public interest. Due to positive sting operation society is benefited because it makes government responsible and accountable. It leads to the transparency in the government.
An operation by an online news site called Tehelka to catch top politicians and army officers taking bribes from journalists posing as businessmen.
Negative Sting Operation: negative sting operations do not benefit the society, but they do harm the society and its individuals. It unnecessarily violates the privacy of the individual without any beneficial results to the society.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 7th February, 2007, issued notices to a private news channel and its reporter for carrying out a sting operation carried out in the year 2004, which allegedly showed a non-bailable warrant could be procured against any person by paying a hefty amount in the court. 
The recent sting operations have brought a huge change in the society where people somehow are able to open their eyes on different perspectives.
India TV’s casting couch expose:
It was probably the biggest shock to the entertainment industry when India TV exposed actor Shakti Kapoor and Aman Verma allegedly involved in seeking sexual favors for struggling actors. India TV in a sting operation sent an undercover agent as struggler to the aforementioned, who were caught on tape seeking seeking sexual favor from the reporter. This sting operation even marked an emergence of India TV in mainstream media.
Cobra Post sting operation:
The online magazine Cobra Post, over a period of several months, conducted a sting operation on three big banks – HDFC, ICICI, Axis alleging how these banks are involved in channeling huge amounts of black money into the banking system as laundered white money. Employees of these banks were caught n camera offering to convert black money into white money.

Now there will be questions if sting operation should be carried on or not?
Sting operation is deemed to be legal by Delhi high court. Its legal under Article 51A (b) of the Indian constitution! But sting operations are only legal if you do it for the betterment of society and public good. In any other reason apart from this, it will be considered invasion of privacy and hence, illegal!

Sting operation is a fantastic tool not only for the media but also for a common for catching anybody red handed. It can be used for throwing light on the topics likes corruption, bribe and frauds. 

Rohit Mitra
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

T20 Cricket: Good and Bad at the same time?

Champions League T20 or Twenty20 is a typical international cricketing event of three hours with each innings lasting around 75–90 minutes having a 10–20-minute interval. This is much shorter than previously-existing forms of cricket. In total 12 teams participate of with ten of them being the permanent members of ICC, while the remaining two are chosen by the Board through qualifying matches for the final event. However, in 2014 16 teams participated in it.

Since its inception the game has been very successful, resulting in its spread around the cricket world.  The inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007. Every two years an ICC World Twenty20 tournament is to take place, except in the event of an ICC Cricket World Cup being scheduled in the same year, in which case it will be held the year before. In cricket, the concept of franchises or clubs hasn’t really caught on before the advent T20. For the fans, cricket has mostly been about national passion and they are used to the national rivalries, having been fed on nation versus nation confrontations for years now.

Twenty20 cricket is claimed to have "raised the bar" in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of role in the team. This might lead to fatigue and tiredness among players. Indian Premier League was the dawn of a new era in T20 cricket.  Unlike football, it is still more about the cricketers than the team itself. If a cricketer of any team (upon whom audiences & other team members can support) fails to give his best, then the whole team suffers for this.

However, the biggest problem of the CLT20 seems to be the scheduling of the tournament also. Players hardly get time for rest to give their best in the 20-20 overs. A continuous pressure of various matches before and after T20 disturbs their concentration. So, to some extent T20 is causing a great massacre of cricket, as a result of which cricket gradually is loosing its charm. There are no specific formats of batting. Runs play major roles, a match is a success if it possesses maximum number of runs.

The format of ICC World Cup T20 is first World Cup starts with round robin, which is followed by Super 8s & then the Semi-Finals & the Finals which detect the winner. Since 2007 five seasons of T20 was successfully played till now. This year INDIA hosted the event & the finale was held on APRIL 3, 2016 AT EDEN GARDENS between ENGLAND & WEST INDIES

                                                            Aindrila Chatterjee
                                                              ( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)


JNU: Anti national slogans intolerable

 “You will never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race”- George Bernard Shaw.

The hue and cry raised all over the country by incidents that began in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not just unfortunate but also raises many questions. Anti national slogans were raised at the programme which was organised in the university to mark the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru. Its video clippings spread over social media like wild fire and also across every nook and corner of the country. People of all sections of the society and country felt outraged. Slogans of breaking up India and destroying India and “Pakistan Zindabad” cannot be defended by any amount of convoluted logic. Any concerned citizen of the country will react in an outraging manner.

The university has been at the centre of a heated debate on “nationalism” versus “freedom of expression” after the student union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested. Kanhaiya Kumar who heads JNU’s student union was charged with sedition for his role in an event. The campus is now witnessing a show down between those fighting for freedom of dissent and freedom of expressions, versus those who believe that people expressing anti-India sentiments should be charged with sedition. Freedom of speech is not the ability to say whatever you feel like, when you feel like, where you feel like. Protesting or propagating that you wish someone dead or are looking forward to see a group of people dead is not freedom of speech.

I am not against having people screeching at the top of their lungs like petulant children over non issues. After all, having such obnoxious people is just something we need to accept in having the right to say whatever they want in return. With that said, I do believe we need to hold people accountable whenever they spread misinformation, lies and blatant anti national statements. We simply shouldn’t ever tolerate such kind of acts even if we have the liberty of freedom of speech. Everyone should be held accountable for what one says.

The people who raised the slogans of breaking up and ruining the country and then slip into arguments of freedom of speech forgot that only if the country survives, then only will their democratic rights and freedom of speech prevail. Unity in diversity is the hallmark of a country. That is exactly why so many different thought systems have flourished here. Who will save India from these ideas or these nationalists if they have no love for the country?  They will simple have no place to stay in India.

Aaheli Ghose
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

T20- Changing Dynamics of Cricket

              Ever since the Inaugural Edition of The Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, T20 cricket has caught the imagination of cricket fans worldwide and particularly in the Indian subcontinent, where cricket is considered to be a religion for the majority of the population. The Inaugural ICC World Cup Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India winning and ever since the popularity of this form of the game has seen an upward graph in India.

              To begin with listing the pros of this form of the Gentleman’s game; Indian fitness coach Ramji Srinivasan declared in an interview with the Indian fitness website, that Twenty20 had "raised the bar" in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of their role in the team. Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist pushed for Twenty20 to be made an Olympic Sport saying "It would be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world."
              Such is the adulation for the game that it creates a concert-like atmosphere providing nail-biting action and entertainment not only for those who see the matches in the Cricket Stadiums but also those who watch it at home on TV. Such is the quality of coverage that many now claim that watching the match on TV is a better experience that even watching it in a stadium. It is proving to be a huge money-spinner as a part from the revenue earned by the ticket sales for each match, the live telecast rights of the series also fetches crores of rupees.

              Cricket is no longer played for just fun and glory, but it has proved to be a big business altogether. Twenty20 premier leagues are owned by a multinational cartel of sports syndicates regulated by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The tournaments have a high-volume, high-intensity business model heavily financed by corporate sponsorships, franchises, and equity ownerships. Production costs include contracting the rights of players, technical experts, technology-based equipment, and financing salary streams. Revenue flows accrue from gate receipts, bidding proceeds, exclusive broadcast rights, and investment royalties.

              On the other hand, T20 has also attracted a fair share of criticism, the most acute of which being that it steals the lime-light from other sports in India such as ‘Hockey and Kabaddi’ which are already being heavily ignored by the masses in India.  Apart from that, even though it was supposed to boost performance of players in International ODI and tests but players seem to increasingly face burn-out as a result of increase in number of matches played, draining them of energy and undermining their performance. The huge sums of money involved made it a happy breeding ground for massive corruption in Cricket administration such as the IPL scandal involving Lalit Modi. T20 has its benefit, hence the messiah of Cricket but at a high cost.

            Thus to conclude, in the words of one the greatest cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar, “T20 has changed the dynamics of cricket, the way it is played. For example, nobody thought that batsmen could play reverse sweeps off fast bowlers to short third-man stands. It has changed cricket big time.”

Aakruti Shah
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Tuesday 12 April 2016

New Alliance in WB-Not an Option but Necessity

Somenath Chatterjee, former Speaker of Lok Sabha and a veteran former communist leader said, ‘It is essential for all opposition forces to come together in bringing about a change in the government in West Bengal.’ Hence we get a newly allied CPM-Congress party against Mamata Banerjee's All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
Mathematically it’s known when two negatives bond, one positive is created. But according to our versatile NarendraModi, in politics mathematical orders don’t work instead the chances are more exponential. The recent alliance may possess a threat to the colossal armada of Trinamool Congress but the question is how catastrophic or insignificant would it be. It’s a do or die situation for CPIM & Congress as their base and image both has been lost in the battle over power.

History tells us that Congress was the undisputed name at the capital whereas CPIM was the same at Bengal with a long tenure of being at power with the majority of the population in their favour until the recent shakedown of the central poll of 2014 and the state poll of 2011.
But there is a pre synopsis to this alliance. Back in 1960s and in the beginning of the 70s the communists planted the seeds of antipathy towards the Congress and in the years following 2000, Trinamool had allied with the Congress against CPIM. It’s clear that there have been some serious conflicts of interests and bonding of interests which ultimately gave birth to this alliance and to be honest politics has always been the game of snake and ladder where yesterday’s friend become today’s foe and vice-versa.

Almost 7 decades after the communist party was found, the West Bengal party unit has become desperate with the alliance of Congress to topple the Trinamool Congress govt from Writers’ and Nobanno. The philosophy lies in the tactical measures to be taken by the arch rivals of yesteryear who are clearly strategizing to eat up the pie with the aim of surpassing the vote percentage in the composite form. In case if this turns out to be the reality the vote share of TMC would definitely go thin with its geographic presence in Bengal also in the loop side; with a huge presence in southern West Bengal but a weak presence in central and northern West Bengal provided that there would be some action from the house of BJP too.

The essence of the reality can be summed up in one sentence of its own. The communists do not have a ghost of a chance to win and so does Congress, hence the remedy is to join hands and fight for the common goal. However, the result of this could be disastrous for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But as per the voting results of the 2011 assembly elections and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, we have seen that Trinamool has won the maximum number of seats in both the elections and in turn increasing the chances of them bagging the maximum number of seats this time as well. 

Now all we need to do is to sit and watch whether this new alliance will seriously bring any change in West Bengal, or else the only visible problem thereafter would be the sharing of seats which lies inevitable in the near future. 

Monalisa Mitra
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Sting Operation : A piece of Sensational news

Sting Operation is the most critical but effective part of the media world. A sting operation is a complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care. The word “sting” derives its origin from American usage to mean a police undercover operation designed to ensnare criminals. The word “sting” is a synonym for the expression “set a trap to catch a crook”. In more refined terms, it can be called Investigative Journalism or Undercover Journalism. Sting operation is an information-gathering exercise; it looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed or distorted.

There are many cases of some important sting operation not only in India but also all over the world. Let us look at some of them-

1. Cobra Post sting operation:

The online magazine Cobra Post, over a period of several months, conducted a sting operation on three big banks – HDFC, ICICI and Axis alleging how these banks are involved in channeling huge amounts of black money into the banking system as laundered white money. Employees of these banks were caught on camera offering to convert black money into white money.
2. Tehelka Operation West End:
One of the most famous sting operations in the history of government of India is the “operation West End” carried out by Tehelka magazine in 2001. The operation was carried out to expose the deep rooted corruption in India’s Defence ministry. Many arms dealers and defense ministry officials were caught on tape accepting bribes. The expose led to the resignation of Defence minister

3. Star TV exposes of Manu Sharma in Jessica Lal murder case:

Sting operation by Tehelka magazine first and later by Star TV played a significant role in conviction of Manu Sharma in model Jessica Lal’s murder case. After Manu Sharma was set free when witnesses turned hostile, the agencies carried out a sting operation in 2006 to expose how witnesses were persuaded to speak in favor of Manu Sharma. The tapes played vital role in getting the case reopened, which finally led to Manu’s conviction.
4. Watergate Scandal (USA):
Watergate scandal that made Richard Nixon the first American president to resign was a result of a sting operation by two budding reporters of Washington Posts. The scandal that changed the political history of US was based on the burglary in the office of Democratic Party in Watergate complex. The sting operation, carried out by two reporters of Washington Post revealed that American President was a part of break-in at his opponents office.  Later when the scandal broke out, the video tapes that had the crucial discussion of President Nixon with his close officials revealed his involvement in burglary and paying the team a hush money to be quiet.
5.  Sar-e-Aam (Pakistan):
The most watched crime show of Pakistan Sar-e-Aam carried out a sting operation to expose the corruption in Pakistan Railway. This whistle-blowing program of ARY News hosted by Iqrarul Hasan had conducted a sting operation wherein railways’ officials took bribe and allowed smuggling of weapons via train from Lahore to Karachi.   The video was filmed to unveil the disoriented security arrangements in Pakistan Railway s but it seems like that this episode of Sar-e-Aam has blown the lid of a big corruption scam in the respective department as the repercussions of the sting operations are critical.

According to me sting operation is the right process of exposing a criminal in the public eye. This process has now got its popularity high in the media world. For the proper development of society this sensational investigation process is much required. Anyone can temper this process on his or her demand so the media and government should look after this in strict hand. Also they have to make sure that the evidences are authentic before it is broadcast. Thus, Sting Operations are an important part of the media world.

Shilpa Mandal
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

An Introspection of India's Social Security

In India the modern social security measures were planned and implemented after independence. They were too meagre and limited to the organised sector workers only, which constituted about 8 per cent of total workforce, despite a majority of the workforce comes in the unorganised sector. Importantly, the need to ensure social security for all, especially those in the unorganised sector, is an overarching concern recognised in the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12). The constitution of India provides strength and spirit to the social security for organised and unorganised workers through its Directive Principles of the State Policy.

Social security legislations came into existence as a part of industrial policy after large scale industrialisation. Some social security benefits in the form of Acts for the organised workers working in the big industrial units were also enacted during the British period. But major social legislations were passed only after Independence. Thus, while a large proportion of the organised sector workers have been be benefiting from legally mandated and budget provided social security benefits since independence, but most of the workers in the unorganised sector have been left out.

According to the World Labour Report 2000, the public sector expenditure on social security in India was as meagre as 1.8 per cent of the GDP, whereas it was 4.7 per cent in Sri Lanka and 3.6 per cent in China. The eligibility criterion is also too tight as they exclude many a vulnerable persons. The below poverty line (BPL) criterion is a minimalist and inappropriate approach to extend social security to the unorganised workers. About 55% of the population does not come in the category of the poor in India but is highly vulnerable. Not only this, most of the unorganised workers suffer from the lack of awareness about social security and social welfare measures. It has been argued that globalization has adversely affected social welfare programmes of the state. The state often promotes rather than accepts globalization. This is why it is bound to impact on the policy regime and welfare character of the state.

Social welfare and social security are deeply linked but they are pursuing different ends. Social security refers to a state of mind as well as an objective fact. It is mainly directed towards providing income security as a preliminary to a state of social and psychological well-being. Social welfare, on the other hand, is broadly understood as ‘the end product of possession of goods, positions in life and supply of services to help him to live in wholesome contentment and communication with others in the group’.

Narrowly speaking, social welfare refers to a set of institutional or personal services provided either by the state or voluntary organizations to prevent the incidence or to reform or rehabilitate the victims of disabilities, or disorganization or delinquencies or destitution and so on.

Aparajeeta Sen
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Social Security: Leaving the informal Sector untouched

India’s social security system is composed of a number of schemes and programs. Generally, India’s social security schemes cover the following:

·         Pension

·         Health insurance and medical

·         Maternity

·         Gratuity

·         Disability

While a great deal of the Indian population is in the unorganized sector and does not have an opportunity to participate in each of these schemes, Indian citizens in the organized sector (which include those employed by foreign investors) and their employers are entitled to coverage under the above schemes.

 The applicability of mandatory contributions to social insurances is varied. Some of the social insurances require employer contributions from all companies, some from companies with ten and more employees, and some from companies with twenty or more employees, and some from companies with twenty or more employees.


The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, under the Ministry of Labor and Employment, ensures superannuation pension and family pension in case of death during service. Presently only about 35 million out of a labor force of 400 million have access to formal social security in the form of old-age income protection. Out of these 35 million, 26 million workers are members of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, which comprises private sector workers, civil servants, military personnel and employees of State Public Sector Undertakings.

Four main types of pension (all monthly) are offered:

•           Pension upon superannuation or disability;

•           Widows’ pension for death while in service;

•           Children’s pension; and

•           Orphan’s pension

In addition, there are separate pension funds for civil servants, workers employed in coal mines and tea plantations in the Assam, and for seamen.

Health Insurance and Medical

India has a national health service, but this does not include free medical care for the whole population. The Employees’ State Insurance Act creates a fund to provide medical care to employees and their families, as well as cash benefits during sickness and maternity, and monthly payments in case of death or disablement for those working in factories and establishments with 10 or more employees.

In case of sick leave, the employer will pay half salary to the employees covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act.


The Workmen’s Compensation Act requires the employer to pay compensation to employees or their families in cases of employment related injuries resulting in death or disability.

In addition, workers employed in certain types of occupations are exposed to the risk of contracting certain diseases, which are peculiar and inherent to those occupations. A worker contracting an occupational disease is deemed to have suffered an accident out of and in the course of employment and the employer is liable to pay compensation for the same.


The Maternity Benefit Act requires an employer to offer 12 weeks wages during maternity as well as paid leave in certain other connected contingencies.

Every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of average daily wage (the average of the woman’s wages payable to her for the days on which she has worked during the period of three calendar months immediately preceding the date from which she is absent on account of maternity), including the day of her delivery and for the six weeks immediately following that day.


For establishments with ten or more employees, the Payment of Gratuity Act requires the payment of 15 days of additional wages for each year of service to employees who have worked at a company for five years or more.

India has a very basic social security system catering to a fairly small percentage of the country’s workforce. Traditionally, Indians relied on their extended families for support in the event of illness or other misfortunes. However, due to migration, urbanization, and higher social mobility, family bonds are less tight and family units much smaller than they used to be.

India’s growth story of the last two decades has had one recurring theme: that the pattern of economic growth is accentuating insecurities. Yet, there continues to be a deep divine over whether the gains from the growth ought to be ploughed back to achieve social security for everyone. Social security has come to be linked to be job benefits, trying it to one’s status as a worker in the formal or the informal economy when, fundamentally, it originates from the notion of ensuring everyone protection against vulnerability and deprivation.

India does not yet explicitly recognize a national minimum social security cover. A close look at India’s record in providing social security shows that while only a fraction of citizens enjoy any “protection” at all.

In provisions aimed at “promotion”, social security through nutrition, work, entitlements for all, recent evidence gives reasons for cheer, but even these are being threatened with fund cuts and further shrinking.

Arpita Raut
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)


“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, the lines from Act 1, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s tragedy, MACBETH, surely found its significance in the contemporary times. The foul-play being conducted in order to deliver justice is surely a reflection of what Shakespeare quoted in his tragic drama. Likewise, Sting Operation is a method of doing justice to the people of the country, by some established or anonymous vigilantes or recognized media houses in order to reveal the masks of the people with power and influence, who are running the country or, have been a part of the governing bodies, who, eventually gave themselves up to vices like corruption, human trafficking, adultery, sex racketeering, etc.

In these turbulent times, when people lost what used to be a conscience, or morality, the questions raised behind the ethics of running a sting operation, might be a bit too hypocritical. We are living in times, where justice or truth is seldom heard of. Therefore, it is bewildering how, ethical criticisms are being thrown at such operations that consequentially delivers the truth.  The questions that are being raised against the ethics of journalism, are somewhat degrading the mere purpose of journalism. Investigative journalism is all about finding out the truth at any cost, therefore, it is somewhat inhibiting the very role of a journalist. Article 19 (1a) of the Constitution upholds the freedom of speech and expression, which is the very basis and purpose of Journalism.  Yet, the reputation of journalism is put at stake, every time the purpose is being fulfilled.

Every time a Sting Operation has been undertaken, a singular motif has always been working behind it, and that is ‘to uphold the truth’. For instances ,like, sting operations on ultra-sound centers, carried out by the Karnataka Health Officers, resulted in the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act which bans sex determination of fetuses  and consequent abortion to stop female feticide. Another operation in which a journalist, posing as a struggling actress, met  actor Shakti Kapoor, who promised in t he television footage that his secretary would introduce her, with other  film directors, thus the issue of casting couch being dealt with. Also, another successful consequence, is the operation conducted by Tehelka, an online news portal, which caught up army officers and politicians taking bribes from journalists posing as businessman.

 From Sarada to Narada, every Sting, revealed the failure of the system, that we are or have been a part of. It revealed the inability and corrupted nature of a state government, eventually which is a part of the system. May be, Sting Operation isn’t entirely a true conduct of truth deliverance, but, in today’s time, what is? A society, which does not hesitate to commit heinous crimes like infanticide, feticide, rape, burglary, trafficking, murder and what not, the only question that hangs at its head is, does this society deserves justice in an absolute truthful way? To think of it, everybody is or has been deceitful or did commit some crime, maybe not in the eyes of law, but definitely murdering his/her ethics or conscience.

 That is how the human race is being built, and it is built to commit sins. Hence, when there are a few redeemers who want to help this society to distinguish between right and wrong, why contradict their ways? Why questioning their methods? Just because these journalists or media houses or even government officers, thought out of the way to help this sinner society, which is already tainted with innumerous sins?

This outrageous hypocrisy should immediately be ceased. We should at least, try and let them do their duty which they have sworn for, that is to serve justice, hence serving for the benefits of the society.  Criticizing the ways of ‘deliverance’ seems easy, then it is my advice to those is, please suggest or undertake a method that is absolutely devoid of any foul-play at every stage of the procedure, hence proving the criticisms worthy.

Paramita Das
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)