Newspaper Watch 2015-2016



Sarcajc Research in Journalism Advertisement & Cartoon 

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Going Cashless
Today (20 December 2016), a full page advertisement in colour by VISA on the last page of Times of India has appeared with punch line-”Visa is helping bridge generations”. This advertisement carries a photograph of a middle aged man with a young boy showing him a mobile phone. It seems this advertisement has take clue from Indian Prime Minister’s appeal to the young generation to help by teaching the older generation to use mobile phone for cashless transactions! The advertisement echoes in smaller font- “Reach out & teach someone to go cashless. Be a digital ambassador”. While a smaller advertisement by Times of India shows photo of a smiling woman sitting with a smiling man holding a plastic card, both are looking at the screen of a laptop. The advertisement’s  punch line reads-”Why spend your marketing budgets in cash dependent markets? Advertise in markets where cash doesn’t make such a difference!”. Surely, the man & woman features in this advertisement do not seem to be advertisers. To get to the crux, read on smaller fonts- “with 60% of India’s credit card usage taking place in Mumbai, Delhi, NCR & Bangalore, demonetisation has not really inhibited spending…Advertise in metro cities…”(page 4). While Bollywood actor- Ajay Devgun stars in advertisement in many television channels promoting cashless economy, courtesy Ministry of Finance. Just to remind, earlier Ajay features in Pan Masala advertisements! Keeping with brand image? 

​Landmark Financial Reform but advertisement language bias

It is not often that one views any advertisement by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a newspaper in Hindi. Today, an advertisement in English has appeared in a Hindi newspaper- Dainik Bhaskar on page 9 with headline- “Reserve Bank of India. Mumbai. Notice (published as advertisement)”.Will all readers of Hindi newspaper able to read & comprehend advertisement in English?  CLICK TO READ MORE.

News Goof-up
Is Tiger  a Lion? Shamya Dasgupta’s article on state of cricket in Bangladesh has appeared on page 23 in Economic Times with heading- “Bangladesh Maul into history”. The subheading in smaller font reads-”First ever test win over England in Mirpur shows that Tigers have finally come of age”. The article contains photographs of two cricketers from Bangladesh and a photograph of a model of wooden tiger & wooden man. The subheading has termed cricketers from Bangladesh as ‘Tigers” but no-where in the main text the word ‘Tiger” is used, rather the start of last para reads-“Bangladesh’s test life is now 16 years strong, & turning more than just one corner, even if only in their Sher-e-Bangla (Sher means Lion) backyard…”. Surely, Lion is not a tiger. Incidentally, accompanying the text is a picture of model of wooden tiger eating a man is that of a toy made for Tipu Sultan, the King from Indian state of Karnataka, not from Bangladesh. Surely, illustrator/cartoonist is being missed here. Cartoonist- R. Prasad’s cartoons no longer appear in Economic Times, wonder why?.

Women Unsafe in India
Anniversaries come and go, with little impact on daily lives? Shivani Singh, an intern with The Hindu reports on page 3, the anguish of mother of Nirbhaya- “ Four years have passed since we lost our daughter…Even after intense protests & appeals for my daughter’s case, she has not received justice…What can one expect for the millions of girls and women who have been similarly wronged..” (17/12/2016). The heading of this news report needs no explanation- “Nirbhaya’s death didn’t change anything”.  On the same date, Times of India devoted one full page to this issue. The editorial of Times of India on 19/12/2016 came up with heading- “Unsafe City” and highlighted- “Four years after the Nirbhaya gang rape, crimes against women are going unpunished”. However, none of the newspapers or television channels have started a campaign to make city safe for women. SARCAJC has been raising issue of women insecurity regularly. Will Prime Minister Modi implement & monitor ‘Woman Safe Drive’ like the ongoing Demonetisation drive?

12 October 2016

RTI Act 2005 lost its teeth

Today is Right to Information (RTI) Day, however, not many newspapers have carried any special report on this occasion. Amar Ujala informs -“Though it has been more than one decade since implementation of RTI Act, less than one percent of population have used it”. The new newspaper in Delhi -DNA which was launched yesterday, with its editor-in chief saying- “…You wont find a story where we have sold our soul to make money and sold it to you as news..” has devoted one full page to various facets of RTI Act. Among the questions, it asks- “Has the Act ushered in “transparency and accountability” in the working of every public authority?” And also highlights-”RTI ‘killed’ by weak info, says activists”. 

SARCAJC conducted a random survey in Delhi Metro and found 78 percent of respondents were unaware of RTI Act 05. Though, on numerous occasions, governmental advertisements appear to educate the mainstream, not a single advertisement has appeared today, on occasion of RTI Day. Empowering more and more citizens with RTI Act not a priority? SARCAJC would like to point out the glaring hurdles faced by the main street:

(1) In majority of cases, where information is not provided within stipulated period of time by PIO, Central Information Commission (CIC) does not impose a penalty, which is in tune with RTI Act 05. In one case reviewed, CIC did not even issue a show cause notice to PIO!

(2) In one case reviewed, Central Information Commission (CIC), let off PIO without penalty, when PIO said -“sorry”, though there is no provision of apology in the entire Act! 

(3) In one case reviewed, Central Information Commission (CIC) imposed penalty on Public Information Officer (PIO), it was deducted from her salary. However, later, the educational institution in Delhi, where she was working reimbursed the penalty from government funds, killing the RTI Act 15. 

(4) In another case reviewed, Central Information Commission (CIC) made adversarial comments regarding the manner the RTI Act had been implemented by a educational institution and asked Principal to put all information including minutes of meeting on its website. However, the institution did not adhere and instead printed in its annual report that CIC has praised that institution! When this was brought to notice of CIC, they expressed helplessness to take action against that erring institution! What must be state of ‘education’ in that ‘educational’ institution, is not hard to guess!

(5) In another case reviewed, PIO stated records are missing, therefore information cannot be provided. However, CIC did not take any action against PIO for missing records. PIO can get away easily without penalty or by stating missing records as an excuse!

(6) In another case reviewed, PIO of a public sector bank denied information by stating -”Not coming in definition of information provided in section 2(f)”, another public sector bank denied same information -”The query does not fall within ambit of the RTI Act, 2005. Further, information sought is exempt under section 8(1) (d) of RTI Act 2005“. ! Though the same information was provided by another bigger public sector bank under RTI Act!

(7) In another case reviewed, the first appellate authority asked the appellant to appear in person for hearing or send some representative, though there is no provision in the RTI Act 2005. 

(8) In another case reviewed, information was sought from a Central Ministry under RTI Act 05, but PIO without providing it, transferred to its subordinate institution, which in turn transferred to its subordinate institution, which did not even respond! It is pertinent to note that Central Ministry has the requested information, not its subordinate institutions but such is the working of PIO, who just don’t care, killing the soul of RTI Act.

(9) In many cases, time lag after filing complaint/appeal at CIC ranges to two years before hearing, by that time, the PIO gets changed and information can get obsolete to make a dent on accountability of public institutions. Why not increase the number of Commissioners at CIC to reduce the time lag and get a quick hearing? 

(10) The profiles of Commissioners of CIC was reviewed, majority were bureaucrats, many critics view this as unfair. However, public memory is still fresh- a self proclaimed activist’s appointment as a Commissioner CIC, had first refused to take salary & perks but later retracted. He even appointed private personnel to work for him at CIC, made videos of hearing at CIC, which the RTI Act 05 does not mention/permit. Not to forget, he was soft on erring PIOs. While on the other hand, even activists, respectfully remember a Commissioner at CIC, though a bureaucrat, was not forgiving towards erring PIOs. Therefore the distinction between bureaucrats and non bureaucrats based on negative cognitive scripts should be avoided. All one needs is a person as Commissioner at CIC who will following the RTI Act 2005 in spirit with full integrity. 

Right to Information Act 2005, was launched with fanfare had lost its teeth due to lackadaisical attitude of the Central Information Commission to impose penalty on erring PIOs. RTI Act 2005 is indeed a pillar of vibrant democracy, but for the main street, its just talk, no action. Anyone listening?

3 October 2016

Just Laziness? 

The Reader’s Editor of Hindu- A.S. Panneerselvan has penned down -”Journalism as collateral damage” in Hindu and has looked at two developments- “secrecy surrounding “ health of chief minister of Tamil Nadu &  “the details regarding the ‘surgical strikes by Indian army cross line of control, as “these developments have opened the door to look at many professional difficulties confronting journalists”. He underlines -“most frustrating element in the two issues is the impenetrable iron curtain that denies space for journalists to carry out act of verification”. He ends-”the disturbing question for journalists in these two cases is the lack of credible and trustworthy information…Journalism cannot be a collateral damage in a country that enacted the Right to Information Act more than a decade ago”. Taking clue from his views, newspapers were scanned for the news of attack on Army camp that took place last night around 10:30pm. This news was quickly picked up by the Indian news channels, one TV channel was even able to contact someone close to the camp and was able to confirm the sound of fire exchanged, at various time period. Today, of the 16 newspapers (in Hindi & English) scanned,12 carried this news on their front page. Rajasthan Patrika (Jaipur edition) gave most prominent coverage to this news on its front page. However, surprisingly 4 newspapers- Times of India, Economic Times, Amar Ujala, Viraat Vaibhav did not carry this news at all! Interestingly, Navbharat Times (newspaper in Hindi) did manage to provide some space on its front page but its  sister concern in English -Times of India did not provide space to this news on any page!  Like it or not, this reflects no “professional difficulties confronting journalists”.

What’s in number after all? 

Times of India (New Delhi) mentions on its masthead that total number of pages is 54. Do readers actually get these pages? A quick look at page number mentioned on last page of Times of India reveal 30 pages in main paper, while last page of supplement mentions page number 10, totaling to only 40 pages! Further, take a look at Economic Times. Its masthead mentions that total number of pages is 26+4 pages od ET Panache. However, last page of Economic Times(New Delhi) mentions page number as 24 instead of 26! How to get people to read a newspaper? Take a clue from an advertisement in Economic Times (ET) on page 24 that comes with punch line in capital letters-“Reading the Economic Times just got more rewarding”. The accompanying currency note worth 1500 does not mention the denominator! Smaller font mentions-”Play Win with ET & stand a chance to win exciting gifts worth (Rs 3 Crore)”.. The ad goes on to explain-”How it works- Spot the currency note in the paper…”.What’s the catch-”Pick up your copy TODAY. However, there is no “currency note” in the paper today! ”. Many friends of SARCAJC raised concern about getting less pages than mentioned. Did you ask, how to get people to read a full newspaper? 

2 October 2016

Gandhi in Advertisement

Today is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Most newspapers carry advertisements on this occasion, mostly governmental advertisement. Only a few companies of private sector have placed ads, while remembering Gandhi. Ayurvedic oil- Dr. Ortho, carried a photo of Mahatma Gandhi with a quote, not related to oil! Not to forget Bollywood writer/poet posing with Dr Ortho in his hand. An advertisement by Pitanjali, company leading in Auyrvedic products, carries a sketch of Mahatma Gandhi with punch line- “ Salute of an obliged nation to SWADESHI ANDOLAN (movement) idol of Pujya (respected) Bapu on his birth anniversary”. The catch in smaller font is-”Adopt Pitanjali & bring economic freedom to the nation. Save nation from foreign company’s economic loot…”. This advertisement has appeared in both English & Hindi is Times of India and Amar Ujala respectively. However the difference is indeed visible, Hindi advertisement has an extra word- “slavery”- “…Save nation from foreign company’s economic loot & slavery..”. Ralco Tyres has highlighted small charkha, a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi. Four lines in big font, below the charkha reads- “one wheel had got air of freedom. Two wheels can ease all our breath”. What’s the catch? Smaller fonts read-”Come from this Gandhi Jayanti let’s enjoy cycling everyday”. A family is seen cycling but instead of cycle, only wheels are visible! Bathroom fitting brand- Jaquar’s punch line asks- “Remember why Gandhi’s believed in Swadeshi?”. Interestingly, its patriotic tone ends -”…we Indians can do it! That we are saare jahan se achha!”. The catch lies below this-”Jaguar. Proudly made in India for the world”. The largest public sector bank- State Bank of India also remembers Gandhi with punch line-”Gandhi’s thinking is still today with us”. Wonder, why other private sector advertisements in leading newspapers forget to remember Bapu on his birthday?  

11 September 2016

Historical opps!

Some media remembers history in brief. Today, Dainik Bhaskar remembers on page-14, the historical lecture by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago. However, there is confusion regarding the year during which this lecture was delivered- 1893 or 1983? According to headline in Dainik Bhaskar, year was 1983, while the fine print reveals to be 1893! History in present does not end here! Today, a radio channel- AIR FM Rainbow, ran a quiz programme to identity “Genius”. Hang-on, did  two female anchors tell the correct answers to all quiz questions? Nope, according to them, Drapadi (Mahabharat fame) was born in State of Punjab! UnGenius, did you say? Correct answer is - Uttar Pradesh! The website of AIR highlights- “As India’s National Broadcaster and also the premier Public Service Broadcaster, All India Radio (AIR) has been serving to inform, educate and entertain the masses since it's inception, truly living up to its motto – ‘Bahujan Hitaya : Bahujan Sukhaya’”.
A part of the next quiz?

Unemployment Again

International Labour Organization (ILO) in its recent report-"World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth" has raised its concern over increasing unemployment among youth. “Global number of unemployed youth is set to rise by half a million this year to reach 71 million – the first such increase in 3 years”. However, ILO’s findings did not find space in leading newspapers, where politics mostly finds prominence. Today, Kapil Dave reports in Times of India, PAGE 15- “Joblessness turn MBAs, technies into Gujarat officers. He reports that for 2560 class III posts (requisite minimum qualification- class 12th pass), more than 10 lakh applications were received, which included highly educated -postgraduates, MBAs, doctors, law graduates, engineers. Most selected candidates are graduates. Such is the intensity of unemployment in progressive State of Gujarat, which government unemployment figures do not reveal. However, this news has not made it to the front page of any newspaper, scanned today.

17 August 2016

Least we forget

It is not often that one reads about women journalists who used a pen during the British Raj. Today is an exception, with supplement of Hindi newspaper- Dainik Bhaskar informing about Sarla Devi Chaudhurani, a noted editor of journal in Bengali- ‘Bharti’. The supplement - ‘Madhurima’ has carried this information (however small) under heading-”Bharti’s Sarla Devi”. It does not forget to mention her prominent role in Indian freedom movement. Perhaps elaboration on her leading role in  the Swadeshi movement, in next issue.

It appears Sarla Devi has not been given her due by historians in this regard. It's high time, when nation is celebrating 70 years of independence, you agree, right!

11 August 2016

Hindi still poor in Advertisement

Near to the Independence day, today, a half a page advertisement by Ministry of  Tourism, Government of India, has appeared in Times of India and Amar Ujala. The ad in Times of India is in English while advertisement in Amar Ujala is in Hindi language. The punch line of both ads is-”Bharav Parv”- in bold, meaning festival of India.

It seems the ad in English is original, while the Hindi ad is a poor translation.
Click for MORE

7 August 2016

Olympics Opens

India’s previous record of winning medals in Olympics Games is rather dismal but still of the 21 newspapers scanned today, all inform of the inauguration of the Olympics in Rio, Brazil. The most prominent coverage among newspapers has been given by Asian Age- “Samba, flash & lots of feeling” followed by DNA- “Quest for Sports’ ultimate glory begins”. The write-up by Rohit Mahajan,  Sports editor, of Tribune on front page is accompanied by heading-“Tricolour amid united colours of sport”. A large photo of the opening ceremony has been carried by Loksatta on its front page. Deccan Herald has carried a photo of marching Indian contingent on its front page. However, both Hindustan Times and Hindustan have carried photo of Indian Hockey players on their front page but with different highlight. Hindustan Times highlighted-“Mixed start to India’s campaign”, while Hindustan highlighted-“Proud: India starts with win in Rio”. While Pioneer and NavBharat Times have given less prominence to Rio Olympics on their front page. Wonder why?

17 July 2016

Hair cut

A well-known Indian writer has recently spent a few days in  President’s home in New Delhi. A write-up  has appeared in Times of India- “With Amitav Ghosh, a new side of Rashtrapati Bhavan”. New side? The author seem to have been floored by the grand vastness (330 acres) of the British build President’s home: this estate “houses round 5,000 people, has its own post-office, tuition centre, diner, convenience store, cyber cafe and a chakki…”. No-where he ponders on the heavy expenses paid by the tax payer for this legacy of British Raj, getting even more eye-catchy. Whereas Sunday Guardian is the only newspaper scanned today that has carried news- “French President Hollande shocks the nation with the price of his hair care”. Here, in India, heavy expenses by Presidential palace, does not shake the mainstreet nor the media.  What would Mahatma Gandhi say, take a leaf from the past:“…The contrast between the palaces of New Delhi and the miserable hovels of the poor labouring class cannot last one day in a free India in which the poor will enjoy the same power as the richest in the land…”. (Constructive Programme. 1941)

Also check out Hindustan Standard.  4/01/1945:

20 June 2016

Public Health

Shilpy Arora's report on page 2 of Times of India highlights-”Indoor pollution levels in city alarming, finds study”. She cites a study conducted by a private hospital and NGO in the city of Gurgaon. Not surprising, houses in posh DLF city have double the satisfactory PM2.5 levels, but hang on, don’t educated, well off people live here? A friend of SARCAJC points out to the use of banned pesticides in house gardens, so toxic to the respiratory system that one can't breath. When a complaint was made, the owner lady (who takes tuition of kids in her house) showed her ignorance about the banned toxic pesticide and blamed the gardener, though she herself had asked the gardener to spray the pesticide every week since last two months and had paid him for this service. Banned pesticides is a status symbol?  Alas, there is no effective law in India to stop this menace that causes havoc with public heath, specially of neighbours. In places like New York, Louisville one can dial a telephone number to report foul smell. In United Kingdom there is realisation that -“Offensive odours and smells also contribute to the level of air pollution in our local communities. They may be harmful to our health and affect the use and enjoyment of property” and there is environmental protection Act to deal with it firmly. However, in India, public awareness is extremely dismal. One friend of SARCAJC told that police did not take action against neither the owner nor the gardener who used toxic banned pesticide in the house garden (made on encroached government land) in Gurgaon, DLF city. Nor, anyone has been round up for leaving construction material like sand on roads in hyped posh DLF city in Gurgaon. Is anyone listening?

13 June 2016

Birth date-51 or 61 or 52? 

Scissors of Central Board of Film Certification on a Hindi movie and subsequent objections by its director, made it to all newspaper. Free publicity! Today, on page 9 in Times of India a write-up has appeared, without the name of the writer with a heading-”Censor board was set up in 1961, has nine centres across country”. However read on-”The central Board of Film certification (CBFC), which was earlier known as Central Board of Film Censors, was established in 1951..”. Is the year of incorporation 1951 or 1961? Refer to the official website of central Board of Film certification, which mentions it has been set up under provisions of Act of Cinematography Act 1952. Which year is correct, you decide!

5 June 2016

World Environment Day

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s advertisement features a photograph of an elephant and a rhino but without any wildlife environmental background. The punch line reads- “Wildlife is our pride. Let us stop illegal trade in wildlife”. With nature in background, the advertisement by Indian Railways carries a punch line- “Going green with to build a healthy planet”. In 8 bullet points lists measures to reduce carbon footprints. Another advertisement by Indian Railways informs of “Tiger Express”  with punch line- “Our promises are on track…Explore India’s natural wonders with Indian railways”. A unique initiative indeed, but hang on, the date of start of journey is today at 15:00 hrs from Delhi. Will interested people get sufficient time to arrange for this 6 day journey after reading the advertisement in the morning? The advertisement by Delhi government features a sparrow with punch line-” Let us take a pledge on world environment day” another ad is about rainwater harvesting. The advertisement by Haryana State Pollution Control Board in the background of nature, birds and  tigers, also tells-”Go wild life. Zero tolerance for illegal wildlife trade”. The advertisement by Government of Maharashtra shows 2 situations- “Barren future and sustainable future”. And tells readers- “You decide”. This ad stands out as it talks about sustainable development coined by Brundtland Commission. Very few ads by private sector have appeared on this occasion, wonder why? One of the exception is a large advertisement by Medimix soap in DNA newspaper.

27 May 2016

Passing By

On completion of two years in power, the Central government led by PM Modi, has placed large advertisements in many newspapers, highlighting its achievements. Indeed, lucrative revenue for newspapers! But not all were pleased, including the Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose government was under fire for hefty expenditure on advertisements. Today in Times of India, a news headline reads- “Kejari slams PM over Rs. 1cr ad spend” (page 6). However read on-“Chief Minister Arvind Kejariwal on Thursday accused the Modi government of having spent over 1,000 crores on advertisements to mark two years in office…”. Rs.1 crore or Rs. 1000 crore? Keep guessing! Errors are not rare, on 25/5/2016, Times of India’s sister concern- Economic Times, leading financial newspaper in India, carried on its front page interview of Human Resource Minister- Smriti Irani by Rohini Singh. The rest of interview appeared on page 21. Now, on page 21, with the heading- “Learn to ‘Take the heat’” 36 lines have been repeated, word to word- “Irani, responding to questions…..on most issues”! Now that’s call, literally- Learn to Take the repeat!

25 May 2016

Kid-Ad choice

The four page supplement of Economic Times -“Brand Equity” is “KIDS special issue”. On its front page a heading reads- “Under the Influence” and it “brings you a handy guide on how to talk to an elusive, fickle demographic: children”. Read on- “.BE gives you an insight into handful of categories where consumers are, for want of a better word, under the influence of or atleast giving due consideration to what their kids think”! Indian cartoon character- Chhota Bheem has also appeared as focus on page two, some advertiser’s choice. The conversation among four on train specially chartered by a MNC reads-”Snap, crackle, Mon & Pop”. Actor, Boman Irani mentions-”Every 30 to 40 years, if you look at advertising from back when, it looks terrible. You think, “Are these the ads we were listening to?”…Or will we be targeting infants in the next 30 years? I really don’t know”. Do you? Nevertheless, eight kids aged 9-13 years living in cities, crop up on page four, answering questions posed by Shephali Bhattt and Amit Bapna. The first question is Bike/car you’d want to own when you grow up! Cool question, get cool answers - Lamborghini, Jaguar, Ferrari etc! Wonder, what would children in rural areas answer? None of the cool kids (seemingly belonging to affluent  families) here belong to rural setting. Probably, they could have asked- which is your favourite advertisement featuring a kid? Did you hear- Amul advertisement since decades? The little Amul girl in Amul’s advertisement continues to amuse with its toonish appeal in newspapers, though Amul girl’s advertising success seems missing in four pages of Brand Equity. Today, Amul’s ad-toon has appeared in many newspapers with heading-”Let Raghuramain!”. The little Amul girl is going round with RBI governor -Raghuram Rajan, the caption at bottom reads-”Second helping please!” hinting at the desire of RBI governor for a second term! What would lobbyist say-A little kid lobbying for Rajan Uncle, but what will we do? Now that’s Ad- power!

24 May 2016

A Poisoned Country?

Centre for Science & Environment’s new study points to presence of possible cancer-causing chemical in bread in India. 84 per cent (32/38) samples were found with potassium bromate/iodate in the range of 1.15-22.54 parts per million (ppm). 79 per cent (19/24) samples of packaged bread, all samples of white bread, pav, bun and ready-to-eat pizza bread and 75 per cent (3/4) samples of ready-to-eat burger bread were positive. Products of all five popular multinational fast food outlets like KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Subway and McDonald’s  were found positive with potassium bromate/iodate.  DNA informs -”...Bread industries use potassium bromate and potassium iodate in for treating flour, substances banned in the 1990s across the European Union, and later Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nigeria, Peru and Columbia…”. The editorial board of New York Times informs that US Congress is finally getting serious about hazardous chemicals in household products & industrial goods- " Congress Moves, Finally on Toxic Chemicals". But why India has not banned  potassium bromate and other hazardous chemicals also used in household & industries? Is public health not a priority? However, none of the newspapers scanned today in India, carry editorial on this critical issue. 

20 May 2016

Election flowing

The newspapers are flooded with State election results. Of the 22 newspapers scanned, maximum pages (8 pages) devoted to individual election results with photos, is by Dinakaran, newspaper in Tamil (total pages- 12). In the area of cartoons, Economic Times's toons stand out. While the newspapers in English and Hindi in the capital carry self explanatory headlines, which one is most creative, you decide from the following:

Congress lost in left-Right (Navbharat Times)
BJP sizzles, Congress melts (Indian Express)
BJP back as Shah of Bharat’s politics (Economic Times)
Didi, Amma’s finest hour (Millennium Post)
Assam right, Kerala left, Didid, Amma stay put (Tribune)
Towards Cong-mukt Bharat (Pioneer)
Mamta,Jaya win big; BJP stroms Assam (Deccan Herald)
AIADMK, Trinammol win; Cong. routed in Kerala Assam (Hindu)
Lotus blooms for first time in Assam, Mamta, Jayalalita returns, Congress routed (Amar Ujala)
BJP is all happy (Dainik Bhaskar)
Again magic of Amma-Didi works(Punjab Kesari, Panipat edition)
Lotus blooms in Assam (Veer Arjun)
A Conless India, almost (Times of India)
The Art of lotus faming (Mail Today)
BJP gains, Didi & Amma remain (Hindustan Times)
In Assam (picture of lotus, party symbol of BJP), on the edge (picture of hand, party symbol of Congress). (Rajasthan Patrka. Jaipur edition)
‘BJP looks North-East, Cong within (DNA, Mumbai edition)
BJP surges, Cong loses (Asian Age)

How different are editions of a newspaper in New Delhi and Election State, say West Bengal? Let's look at Statesman, that highlights role of journalism on its masthead- “People’s parliament, always in session”.  It's Kolkota edition carries on front page, a full page advertisement by winning Trinamool Congress with smiling photo of Chief Minister of West Bengal- Mamta Banerjee. The punch line reads - “The people have spoken development has been chosen”. Move on, paper’s headline read in bold-“Mamta back” on background picture of green colored hands! The same is repeated in  Siliguri edition, Bhubaneswar edition. However, Delhi edition’s headline reads-”Debut, comeback, debacle” but does not carry any advertisement of any political party.

14 May 2016

Age of Turbulence?

The editorial in Rajasthan Patrika comes with heading-”statistics: Unsolved  puzzle“. It has taken on statistics straight on from the start-” Perhaps there is not other bigger artisan than government. Specially in India. If there is a need to hide unsuccess, then statistics will be different. Despite knowing that main street believes in ground reality than statistics. Talking about inflation, there is a big difference between ground reality and government statistics…In last one year price of pulses have increased by 80-100 percent but government statistics show increase of 30-40 percent. What will the government achieve by doing this, only government knows…”. But not only the government, World Health Organisation (WHO) also! Today, Hindu has carried a report on page 4 with heading-"Outdated data misleading: experts" by Damini Nath & Bindu S Perappadan. A must to read.

Mahatma Gandhi on statistics:

Truth of Statistics has been truly said by economists themselves that statistics can be made to prove two contradictory propositions. It is therefore necessary for a prudent man who is not concerned with merely proving a preconceived proposition but who is concerned with merely proving the truth to probe beneath statistics and test independently....

13 May 2016


The Supreme Court of India, recently, in a 53-page order pulled up the government for  the “lack of will” in combating drought.  “An ostrich-like attitude is a pity, particularly since the persons affected by a possible drought-like situation usually belong to the most vulnerable sections of the society,”  It held that declaration of drought is not a complicated affair but a manageable exercise, which could have appropriate conclusions based on scientifically drawn data, which required use of modern technology to make an early determination of a drought or drought-like situation after doing away with “colonial methods and manuals that follow a colonial legacy. Today, editorial in Rajasthan Patrika has come up with heading- “sheet of silence “and notes- “ The tragedy of our nation is that we have linked drought with politics. People die but political parties search for politics in this too. The remark by Supreme court on approach by state governments on this should be understood”. While Hindustan Times editorial is with heading- “When ideas and will have dried up”. It ends-”There is absolutely no time to lose and play dirty politics. It is emergency situation; and like in any crisis, the centre and state will have to work with whatever is available”. Whatever is available?  Isn’t drought not a man made failure, with no concrete efforts to conserve water to halt the depleting water table. Isn’t there a need to relook at so called “Green Revolution” led agrarian policies? Why isn’t afforesting s priority? Why majority of newspapers don't bother to focus on real issues in depth? 

Must read on editorial page of Daink Bhaskar - “Determination to get back greenery and happiness” where efforts of Prof. Rajashekhran and Shubendu Sharma are highlighted.

Today, the front page of Asian Age shows a colored picture of  spoonbells on “dry bed of undale lake, near Karad, Maharashtra..” The Hindu has carried a colored photograph of a squirrel drinking water from earthen pot. The birds and animals too feel thirsty, but they can't approach any court or political party for relief. We appeal to all to provide water and food to birds in individual capacity in homes & around.

Here is a squirrel drinking water from a diya that we have kept.

12 May 2016

Anything goes?

The masthead of Amar Ujala (Delhi-NCR edition) carries a colored photograph of Mr Vijay Mallaya with text- “Mallaya had received British citizenship during 1992 complications in bringing to India”. Hang on, Mallaya was Indian citizen, even member of Indian parliament but not a British citizen. He had received British residency during 1992 not citizenship! Was this an isolated error by Amar Ujala? Nope, the same wrong fact has been repeated on page 13 by Amar Ujala Bureau! However, the news report by Radhvendra Narayan Mishra on page 9 with heading-”Problems by Centre increased in bringing Mallaya to country” carries correct facts.

11 May 2016

Advertisement Watch

Many advertisements draw attention to anniversaries of persons, events but are not often eye-catching and lack details. But today an attractive advertisement has appeared in Hindu with punch line- “Celebrating one of India’s most ancient modern minds”. A illustration of Sri Ramanujacharya informs of time period- 1017-2017. The advertisement informs readers details of “one of finest philosopher, saints and social reform.. “And reasons for celebration are listed, that include- “…We celebrate him who saw 20th century issues in the 11the century..”. This advertisement is quite unlike the advertisement that came on 8 May 2016 on occasion of Martyr’s Day that was published in Amar Ujala by Government of Delhi. It just showed four photographs of martyrs, garlanded, but does not inform any details about their contribution. Infact, one of them was not hanged by the British in relation to Delhi Conspiracy case with rest of three on 8th May!

10 May 2016

Editorial on Advertorial

It is not often that editorial in leading newspaper focuses its attention on an advertisement carried a day before. Yesterday, an advertorial appeared in Economic Times with heading in bold-“Let us stop vilification against India Inc: ASSOCAM”. It starts off- “Expressing strong concern over a vilification campaign against Indian Inc being painted as willful defaulters of the banks…..public discourse and narrative has been so much swayed in uni-direction that anyone speaking in a pragmatic and truthful way could be targeted as being friend of swindlers…”. It appears that banker and Central Bank are sympathetic to rising NPA but others are not?  And sermons- “..banks, media, judiciary and the opinion leaders should realise that the present downturn will not last for is going to the meantime let us not kill our projects…”. Today, the editorial in Economic Times has come up with heading-“Systemic Reform to end vilification”. It starts off- “Stop vilification India Inc, cries Assocham…it is no use playing victim”. And questions inflated cost of projects and also throws light-”..the bulk of this excess is handed over to politicians…”. And ends - “..banks must be insulated from neta-babu interference. Banker’s pay must go up significantly but get linked to the quality of the assets they originate. Do this, to end vilification”. Any takers?

8 May 2016

Double News

The supplement of Times of India- ‘Gurgaon Times’ consists of 24 pages. The paper mentions -”Advertorial Entertainment Industry promotion feature” on its masthead. On page 11, it carries a write-up by Saloni Bhatia about a TV actor with heading-”Gaurav tries to overcome his water phobia, learns to swim” with his smiling photo, not swimsuit but jeans and jacket. Read on, the word to word same write-up by Saloni Bhatia accompanied by same photo appears, again on page 14!

Advertisement Watch

Many advertisements focus on children to promote their product. The new kid of the block which has raised concern- is an advertisement of Rooh Afza, a drink that has been in the market for long. It features a smiling kid with curly hair, holding the drink, what is striking is the punch line in Hindi-”If you try, you will get a kite, with stubbornness sky”. What has this to do with a drink by a reputed company that has been in the market for more than 100 years? Read on fine prints which starts off with a statement that appears to have been written by fan of Gordon Gekko- “Greatness needs greed…”. This is not all. The large fonts in Hindi shout-“Greed is one art”. The word “bad” has been cut off, literally in handwriting which could be attributed to that of a  kid ! 

Point to ponder- What kind of message kids will take home by this advertisement-‘greed’ and ‘stubbornness’ are good qualities? Surely, this is against the vision & mission of Rooh Afza manufacturing company- Hamdard- "We are committed to selfless care and improvement of human life..".  Advertiser's  fascination for Gordon Gekko doesn't fit in here.

On the occasion of Mother’s day, many advertisements have appeared in most newspapers. The outstanding advertisement is by Roop Mantra in Amar Ujala, wishing “Happy Mother’s day” with a touching poetry. The accompanying illustration is that of mother & child in form of a tree meets the occasion very well.

6 May 2016

Anything goes?

The front page of Hindu has carried a news report by Radhakrishnan Kuttoor with heading-”Good Samaritan runs into wooden bureaucracy”. He reports that a elderly labourer from Kerala had donated some of his inherited land to 10 landless families, is being punished by imposition of fine worth Rs. 46,396 for cutting tree branch in his own property, which the revenue department claims to be government land. However, at the end of news report, it is mentioned he is a bachelor, but then read on-  “Of the 1.63 acres that he inherited from his father, he gave 1.13 acres of this three daughters and donated land as an eco conservation-cum-charity gesture”. A bachelor with three daughters! Will Hindu’s reader’s editor note?

30 April 2016

Toon calls for Research

Times of India on page 27 has carried a write-up with heading- “To work more efficiently, no monetizing, not multitasking”. It refers to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2014. For Indians, this should not be new, as in Gita it is mentioned- “To do work with focus & full efficiency is Yog”. The accompanying picture shows a woman with her land on forehead reading tablet. The caption with this picture reads- “Focus is the key”. However the woman appears stressed rather than focused. While on the other hand, adjacent to this write-up, cartoon shows man who has fainted after reading all 60 pages of Apple user license agreement. Indeed the cartoonists- Sunil Agrawal & Ajit Ninan have touched the nerve regarding lengthy fine print agreement that a user is often asked to sign on the internet before using services. For a laymen, it is difficult to read legal agreement in full and also to comprehend; with no option of raising apprehension about any clause which may appear unilateral. This toon, calls for research for public cause . Hopefully, Times Trends will further inform the readers.

27 April 2016

Do you care?

Team SARCAJC traveled in the evening on National Highway 8, that connects Delhi to Gurgaon to find out whether scheme of Odd-Even for cars made pollution less in Delhi. The entire stretch was so polluted that breathing noxious air was sheer punishment for us. Not only NH 8, the stretch from diplomatic area in Delhi to Delhi airport was also severely polluted. Does someone care? Today, Times of India on page 5 reports-”Odd -Even Redux” in bold red colour. The daily pollution watch reveals that PM2.5 levels peaked again yesterday, higher than 2015 levels, same was seen for Ozone, hovering around poor quality, air quality also deteriorated. It seems the Delhi government is complacent after receiving international recognition for  ‘Odd Even’ for cars and is turning blind eye for rising pollution levels. Definitely, imposition of air emergency is needed; however none of the mainstream newspapers or prime TV channels are raising, but who cares?

22 April 2016

Earth Matters

Today is world Earth Day. However, why main stream newspapers are not celebrating? What’s the meaning of ‘Reader Engagement Initiative’ on page 7 in DNA (Mumbai) on this occasion? Seems more like a sponsored one full page carrying news and advertisement of The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The ad comes with a punch line on World Earth Day-”Trees for the Earth. Let’s get planting”. And the statement  seems to be coming from polluting industries - “. …Today, environment-related compliances are seen as one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to doing business. The biggest hurdles include securing permits, consent and clearances. This has hampered India’s growth, as well as the industry’s contribution towards the economy…”. Not surprising Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has recently been honoured with ‘Ease for Doing Business, as well for its activity in Make in India’ initiatives, incidentally,same State is riddled with drought like conditions but cricket tournament be played? Strange, there  is an  advertisement from any Central Environment Ministry in Times of India, though this full page ad informs that "National Panchayat Raj Day" is two days later.  

A friend of SARCAJC informs that he has recently planted 4 trees in community park in Gurgaon and is taking care of them, even giving water to them everyday. He had also planted three trees, eight years ago: of which Mango tree will give mangoes this time, feast for the birds indeed! Yes, earth day is everyday and such green initiative needs to be encouraged. However, should this be not highlighted in Advertisements on this Day by Ministry of Environment, forget articles by so called celebrity journalists, atleast? It seems politics takes preference over earth matters, as earth is not a reader (read voter?).

19 April 2016

Tiger Migration?

A half a page advertisement had appeared in Times of India, 12/4/2016 on the occasion of “3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger conservation” with the heading-“International meet to save wild tigers”. “Wild" Tigers! Tigers were thought to be wild animals, anyway?

Take a clue, from our Newspaper Watch archives, 29 May 2007-

Tiger Farming

According to Wildlife Institute of India, since 2002, the tiger count has declined by sixty percent. What’s the solution? Not a National Wildlife Crime Bureau but a Chinese Model! India seems to be star stuck by China, after SEZs, military, now its tiger farming. The idea is to replicate the Chinese 'successful' model of tiger farms. And who’s advocating this ‘great’ idea- Environment & Forest Secretary. But a recent International Fund for Animal Welfare report had stated that tiger body parts were being sold from these farms to wine distilleries or restaurants serving tiger delicacies (Hindustan Times). So what’s the harm if the country can earn some foreign exchange by trading some parts of tiger- many high growth enthusiasts may argue. Stretching this never ending human greed- why protect tigers or as a matter of fact any animal living in forests, when the proposal for the SEZ-forests in on! In quest for higher and higher profits, it seems we have forgotten that we share this planet with other living beings- who also have a right to live in their natural habitat.

The advertisement in Times of India (12 April 2016) highlights National Efforts, Project Tiger: The Impact and International Efforts. Under ‘National Efforts” the first highlight is “India is home to 70% of the world’s tiger population”. . Under “Project Tiger : The Impact”, the first highlight is “30% increase in tiger numbers since 2010”. And under “International efforts” the first highlight is “Founder member of the Global Tiger Forum  of tiger countries”. Apart from small logo of tiger, the advertisement sans any pictorial depiction of Wild Tiger, though coloured photo of smiling Prime Minister of India is present! Celebrating increase in number of "Wild" Tigers? However, how reliable is methodology of collection of statistics regarding Wild Tigers? Are all tigers tagged for identification? How are new ones identified and tagged? Is there a reliable database open for Tiger loving humans in tiger & non tiger reserves?  Read Jayashree Nandi’s write-up-“India may send tigers to Combodia” (Times of India. 12/4/16) along with Ignatius Pereira’s-"Biologists question claims on wild tiger population” (Hindu. 19/4/16)

11 April 2016

Forget it?

With the presence of Reader’s editor, The Hindu  newspaper is unique among many in India. However, has the mere presence of Reader’s editor made a substantial change, when it comes to corrections (read errors)? On 9th April 2016, ‘Write angle’ came in with the heading “A view from the óther’ side” where Hindu Punch, a satirical magazine, was mentioned as “Hum Panch” not just once but twice. But yesterday or even today, no correction by The Hindu newspaper, wonder why?

24 March 2016

Holi celebrations

Today is Holi, the festival of colours, fun! Most newspapers in Hindi have decorated masthead with colours of Holi, in contrast,  restrained is seen in majority of newspapers in English. In the past, few Hindi newspapers used to carry funny & fake news on front page, but it seems this year around, is missing. Of the 15 newspapers scanned today, the Dainik Bhaskar stands out with Five toons by cartoonist Ismail Lahri on front page with heading-” Laugh on those situations that  irritate everyday”. ‘Five colours of Holi‘ indeed! On page large colored toon on state of jet of closed Kingfisher airlines, along with 7 caricatures who have receives special awards on occasion of Holi! Most Hindi news channels had few programmes on this occasion, the outstanding one was telecast in the morning by APB News- “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai”( Don’t mind, today is holi). It took on sarcastically Modi, Kejeriwal, Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sanjay Dutt, Smriti Irani and even student leader of JNU and his concept of Freedom! However, the news channel in English were rather restrained in Holi celebrations. 

Our cartoonist has taken on Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister on Holi! 

20 March 2016


Hindu had asked- Where have the sparrows gone?  (14/9/2014). DNA had also raised a question- “Where has the chirpy sparrow gone? (19 March 2010), while Deccan Herald had informed- “House sparrow listed as an endangered species (24 June 2010). Has the situation improved since? None of the 14 newspaper scanned, inform of this today- world sparrow day. Glad to inform that the little, cute, chirpy sparrows exists in abundance, where we are working from!

19 March 2016

Just spending

Today, most newspapers inform  of decrease in savings rate on various small savings schemes. The front page of DNA carries interesting cartoon that reflects the pain of common man. The front page news informs -”In a move that will hit the common man, the government on Friday slashed interest rates payable on small savings, including Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), in a bid to align them closer to market rates..” While the report on page 10 in Economic Times informs that new interest rates will be aligned with lower market rates with heading- “Interest Rates on PPF, KVP Slashed” and ends - “The central bank had blamed competition from small savings schemes where the interest rates are revised only once a year' as one of the reasons for banks not passing on its rate cuts to customers”. While editorial of Financial Express is seen cheering this step- “Given the Rs 400,000 crore that are expected to be collected from these schemes this year, even a 100bps savings – three-fourth of savings come from post office deposits where the cuts are the largest – means a substantial saving of Rs 4,000 crore…And since banks will now find the competition from small savings schemes reduced, they will be more willing to lower deposit, and hence, lending rates. All told, expect a lot more transmission of rate cuts across the system, more so if the RBI cuts repo rates next month. Certainly, small savers will protest, but the government will do well to explain that the reset protects their real incomes…”.

But what they forget that savings is an essential component for investment; and saving rate in India has declined since 2007-08. Household is a major saver (73 per cent of gross domestic saving) in 2012-13, saving mainly in physical assets. Private corporate sector (23% of gross domestic saving), public sector (4% of gross domestic saving) during the same period. Household sector dominates even in net capital formation. The major head of capital receipts of the central government is market borrowings, which in 2014-15 stood at Rs. 4813.04 billion (81% of total capital receipts). This is a significant growth from mere Rs. 4.96 billion during 1975-76. The disinvestment receipts first came up during 1991-92 as offshoot of economic reforms as Rs. 30.38 billion, continues, stands at Rs. 634.25 billion (10.78% of the total capital receipts). However, small savings have seen a decline from peak of Rs 330.35 billion during 1998-99 to negative Rs. 113.02 during 2007-08, negative 13.02 during 2008.09. The latest figure is 82.29 for year 2014-15 (1.4% of the total capital receipts). For the same year Provident Fund stands at Rs. 120 billion (2% of the total capital receipts). The dependency on market borrowings, away from small savings since 1975-76 is evident. There is a need to encourage small savings. Even the latest Economic Survey (2015-16) has expressed grave concern- “Saving and investment rates are showing hardly any signs of revival”. So, what steps have been taken to increase savings rates?

16 March 2016

Due Credit withheld: Indian Women Cricketers

The neglect of women hockey by authorities was shown in blockbuster Hindi movie- Chek De India. Is this apathy spread in sports? Some  might argue it was just a movie, and women in India are empowered. Is this women empowerment in sports reflected even by leading Indian newspapers? Take a clue from cricket- men & women are playing World Cup T20 in India. Of the scanned 16 newspapers, only one newspaper- Indian Express has carried an editorial on women cricketers- “The other World Cup”  and mentions- “..No one loves women’s cricket, it seems. Many aren’t even aware that such a thing as the women’s world T20 exists and is being held simultaneously with the men’s game. It will take time for perceptions to change…The perceptions are changing, albeit slowly, and if Mithali’s women can perform in eye catching ways, the game’s profile will take a leap”. So, has this newspaper highlighted victory of Mithali’s women’s win in the first match on first page? Nope, further on the sports page, 24 page, the highlight is- “India make their own debacle” covering majority of space, leaving leftover space for -”Harmanpreet steps out of Mithali’s shadow, sets up a massive win”.

Yesterday, Indian men cricketers lost while Indian women won their first T20 match. Scanning of 16 leading Indian newspapers (8 English, 4 Hindi, 2 Telugu, 1 Marathi, 1 Malayalam) reveal that only one newspaper in Hindi- Hindustan has highlighted the victory of Indian women cricketers on its front page with colored photograph of captain of Indian women’s team -Mithali Raj batting against Bangladesh, and highlights her 42 run innings. Even on Sport page 19, women cricketers dominate-”Win of women team Indian on Bangladesh”. Hindi Newspaper Jansatta’s sports coverage has given equal importance to result of first encounter of Indian women & Indian men’s T20 match. However, on the rest of leading newspapers’ Sports page, Indian men dominate. This is rather alarming as role of newspapers is crucial in changing stereotypical perceptions regarding women. They would have been played a positive role of changing negative cognitive scripts by highlighting equally if not more WIN of Indian women cricketers vis-à-vis Indian men cricketer’s loss, but majority failed here. Take one example, the sports page of Pioneer carries a smiling colored photograph of correspondent who is reporting about Indian men cricketer’s match, and she is a women - Meenakshi Rao, while no correspondent from Pioneer is reporting about Indian women cricketers, and report is sourced from an agency- PTI. Such apathy!

15 March 2016

Just reporting

The capital of India, Delhi has population of 16.8 million. The number is more than that of Belgium. Most leading newspapers report that Sixth Economic Census for Delhi conducted by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics in collaboration with the Central Statistics Office, Government of India, for the February-June, 2013 period  has been released. To cite:

Hindu newspaper shouts- “Employment rate drops in Delhi, but entrepreneurship on the rise”. While Times of India screams-”No new jobs created in 10 years”. Both reports did not carry the name of the reporter.

Both compared, the reporting by Hindu was rather optimistic, while Time of India, more realistic. Jobless growth is reflected by Sixth Economic Census for Delhi. Mere 30,19,781 persons were employed in 8,75,308 establishments in 2013, less of 536606 persons as compared to 2005. The year 2013 shows an average of 3.45 employee per establishment compared to 4.69 employee per establishment in 2005. 

8 March 2016

Problem of women participation

In India, despite legislation and plethora of glossy conferences on women empowerment, women have a lower status than men. Today, newspapers are decorated with numerous advertisements wishing “Happy Women’s Day” and few articles concentrating on well-off women in urban areas with refined consumer taste. The efforts by the governmental policies and advertisements does influence beliefs of citizens and thereby the contents of psychological contract. There is no doubt that more women participation in higher positions is desired. But why are they so few in numbers as compared to their male counterparts? For example, they stand mere 11% in the lower parliament house. The decline in participation rates among educated is alarming, is this a result of insecurity faced by them?   

28 February 2016

Map placement

The weekly newspaper- Sunday Standard on page 12 carries a news report related to  three countries with highlight- “Hatrick Score” and heading- “From TV star to the Prez Race: A Trump Uprising”. The photo of Donald Trump is in colour with quotation of Marco Rubio in text box, just below his photo. However the news- “Irish Punish Coalition” is accompanied by a  map of Iran, while map of Iceland is just above” Reformists lead Iran Poll”. Wonder why?

25 February 2016

Advertisement Watch

Advertisements of cars dominate the  transport sector everyday in newspapers. For a change, railway advertisements have been appearing for past few days, with annual railway budget in mind. Airlines advertisements are not frequent, but  today an attractive half a page advertisement by Air India has appeared announcing flight to Vienna. The Indian Maharaja appears as a tourist in city of Vienna in a western attire with memories of Sound of Music!I The ad informs of travel schedule but not of fare! Yesterday, a half a page advertisement from Jet Airways & Etihad Airways had appeared in Times of India- with ‘sale’ in bold, listing fares for 12 cities across the world and shouts- "BOOK NOW!".  However today, a small text box has appeared from same airlines (in very small font), with a heading- “CORRIGENDUM” and informs “...The said advertisement had travel fares to certain destinations inadvertently printed due to system error. We apologise for any inconvenience”.

2 February 2016


The Supreme Court of India has expressed its anguish over government’s apathy over unemployment problem in India-  “It is the duty of every welfare state to generate employment. Presently millions of youth of the country are unemployed. The right to livelihood is a part of right to life…”. However, this news has not been carried by majority of newspapers in India. Times of India has carried this news on page 16, what priority is unemployment here, anyone’s guess!
24 January 2016


When one news report appear twice in a newspaper, but on different pages, what can one infer?

Today, Indian Express carries a same new report on page 2 as well as on page 4 with heading -”Threats to journalist an attack on freedom of expression: Editors Guild”.

24 January 2016

New Report

The recently released World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2016 by International  Labour Organization (ILO) emphasizes - “in sum, making decent work a central pillar of the policy strategy would not only alleviate the jobs crisis and address social gaps, but would also contribute to putting the global economy on a better and more sustainable economic growth path”. Further, the quality of job is a challenge.- “Vulnerable employment is particularly high in emerging and developing economies, hitting between half and three-quarters of the employed population in those groups of countries, respectively, with peaks in Southern Asia (74 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (70 per cent)”. The insecure employment coupled with rise in periphery employment is taking a toll. According to  ILO Director-General Guy Ryder-“Many working women and men are having to accept low paid jobs, both in emerging and developing economies and also, increasingly in developed countries. And despite a drop in the number of unemployed in some EU countries and the US, too many people are still jobless. We need to take urgent action to boost the number of decent work opportunities or we risk intensified social tensions,” .

However, this report has been ignored by mainstream newspapers in India. Is unemployment not a problem in India, forget underemployment or vulnerable employment? The desperation to get any employment is grave in India, this can be inferred from the fact even MBAs, engineering graduates have applied for sweeper’s job in a municipality in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For 114 sweeper post, 19,000 applied, mostly graduates and above. Hopefully, the New Education Policy will take note of the state of skills needed for getting a decent job?

27 December 2015

Goof up

The Sunday Guardian is a 40 page weekly newspaper. The most visible change that came this year was that it turned cartoon-less. Priced at Rs. 20, it is the most expensive weekly newspaper. To compare, other weekly newspaper- The Sunday Standard costs only Rs. 6 with 28 pages.

What’s so special this time in Sunday Guardian, take a closer look at news column at page 8- "Armed Chinese vessels enter Japan waters"- It starts off with-"NEW YORK: With 33.9 twins per 1,000 births, the US recorded an all time high in 2014, a new report said..". The report quoted was from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But NOT a word about China or Japan in the whole newspaper! Further, in near-by column contains word to same lines but with different heading- "Birth Rate of Twins hits record level in America". The former has been sourced from REUTERS, while latter from IANS

27 December 2015

You still Unemployed?
Youth employment has been a longstanding priority of the United Nations. Three years back, ILO had adopted a Resolution calling for "immediate, targeted and renewed action to tackle the youth employment crisis. This November, the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth was launched which aimed to "scale up action in support of youth employment – one of the main global challenges and priorities of our times". How far this will target developing countries, is yet to be seen.

In India, one does not often find unemployment a key economic indicator as Growth in various sectors is reviewed frequently, with stock market reacting to this data. And its reflection is present in the media too. How many correspondents are recruited by Indian media (print and electronic) for Labour beat is not a surprise.

This year, most newspapers reported that total 2.3 million people, including 24,969 postgraduates (150,000) and 24,969 graduates had applied for mere 368 posts of peons in the Uttar Pradesh government secretariat. Even 255 doctorates have applied for the job for which eligibility was just Class V-pass and ability to ride bicycle.

Rukmini had highlighted that according to census, unemployment rate still high and unemployment grew faster for illiterates than for literates. (7/11/2015. Hindu). Subhodh Verma on front page of Times of India wrote -”Worrying high number of job-seekers aged 20-29”. (23/12/2015. Times of India) highlighting data from census that had taken place way back in 2011.

 However, they both failed to explore the more recent grave picture after census- Fourth annual employment & unemployment survey report (2013-14) by Labour Bureau, Government of India. It reported that the unemployment rate for females is distressing, especially in urban areas. The unemployment rate for the persons aged 18-29 years and holding a degree in graduation and above is found to be maximum with 28 per cent based on usual principal status approach at all India level. This implies that there is lack of employment opportunity for the educated people vis-à-vis less educated as well as young (15-29 years). In case of 'graduates' and 'post graduates' the unemployment rate is about 14 per cent and 12 per cent respectively based on usual principal status approach. Whereas in case of 'not literate' and 'below primary' persons, the unemployment rate is less than 2 per cent each based on survey results.

Given the stigma attached the unemployed in conservative social context, the Jahoda’s unemployment theory takes ground with reality check of nearly non-existent social security benefits for unemployment as compared to those that exist in developed countries.