Indian Government


India, known as one of the oldest democracies of the world boasts of registering its name in the list of the most successful governments existing at present. But, to what extent are these records accurate? Do these statistics share a common view with the common Indians? This Republic day, we dive in the history of India’s elective Government and to what level it justifies this title.

Democracy as defined by the Oxford dictionary is – “a form of government that allows the citizens to participate in political decision making, or to elect representatives to government bodies.”

India, is largely considered as one of the greatest democracies of the world, for its unity while housing a huge diversity. But, how far do you think this statement holds true? Do the political leaders in power, indiscriminately represent the voice of the common for real? As per the essence of Democracy,  one may doubt that despite of a political party possessing the power the title of “ruling”, is the actual power truly resident in the hands of the Indian voters? Questions like these often pop in our mind when we start our day with our morning dose of chai reading the daily document of latest happenings.

The elective Government of India, in its entire tenure of existence, includes some happenings which make us rethink of us being the citizens of a representative nation. Infact, without any provision to make the person standing in the elections to abide by his words and promises when he gets to rule, one can even perceive the democratic rule of India to be limited only till the proceedings of the election propaganda. The leaders, who at the time of contesting elections claim to invest the people’s money in various developmental schemes, hardly maintain any transparency about the utilisation of that currency after coming into power. Ironically the Government which claims to be belonging to the people, becomes unsuccessful in being truthful and open to the same people.

The common man and woman who, sardonically are of supreme importance in an elective nation, have no direct power to remove the modern day monarch AKA Prime Minister for five complete years, if he proves to be contrary to what he projected himself while seeking the support of the people. All they can do is create pressure on the ruling party by Dharnas, protests or strikes which again by the ultimate power of the modern monarch and his officials are often shunned by their control over the police, as was exemplified by the recent speculation about the incident of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). The opposition which is meant to play a crucial role in guarding the ruling party often ends up in either using nasty ways to brainwash the people causing a turmoil or highlighting only the self beneficent issues, excluding the matters associated with the good of the masses.

Surely, India has progressed massively since 1950 which doubtlessly deserves all the appreciation but yet, there are many deep loopholes, shortcomings and blemishes which require appropriate treatments to maintain the Nation’s spirit of democracy. So, this Republic Day lets not only celebrate the country’s success but also commit to spreading awareness, and take measures to transform it into a true democracy, not only in words but also in action.

Feature Image Credits: Medium

Kriti Gupta
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The Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, recently attributed the major slow-down of India’s automobile sector to the “millennial mindset”. Here is looking into the same, and beyond.

The Union Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, stirred a wasp’s nest recently, when she commented that the Indian millennials’ preference for app-based cab provider services such as Ola and Uber, is one of the leading reasons behind the ongoing grand fall of the Indian’s automobile sector. According to Sitharaman, who is an alumna of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Economics, there has been a change in the mindset of millennials who now prefer cab aggregator services for their daily commute, instead of committing to paying monthly instalments for a car. She also cited metro as a reason for why young urban consumers are buying fewer cars.
Sitharaman’s analysis comes at a time when India’s auto industry is facing the worst setback in its history. In August this year, when sales fell by 41 percent, we had the tenth consecutive negative month for domestic passenger car sales in India. The broader industry scenario also reflects on the reality of the automobile industry with car companies putting brakes on investment, dealerships shutting down in large numbers, and lakhs of jobs already gone Maruti, India’s largest automobile producer, has reported its seventh consecutive month of contraction in the demand for cars. In conversation with the Economics Times (ET), Maruti Chairman, R.C. Bhargava, said that the situation could get even worse, since he sees more workers in the automobile sector getting fired in the near future. The automobile production industry gives employment to around 7.6 million people in India. However recently, due to fall in the demand (and hence, the sale) of cars and other vehicles, the production of automobiles has left 20 to 30 percent people of this number, unemployed.
Going by the numbers, this auto slowdown is mere a reflection of our country’s overall economic woes than anything else. Consumption, the main component of the economy, is falling; the growth rate of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has fallen to a six-year low; and unemployment is pegged at a 45-year high.
Sales of buses and trucks also saw a precipitous 39 percent fall last month, compounding the auto industry’s trials. According to Bloomberg, it actually is a pointer to the general fall in demand in the Indian economy — something that extends way beyond the country’s millennials and their buying behaviours.
According to ET, millennial consumers are deferring buying decisions in view of the uncertainty of India’s economic indicators. Other factors down the line that have contributed to the auto slump include
the sluggish urban income growth that has ploughed the demand for cars, “haze” car norms that are confusing buyers, the shadow-banking crisis has made loans scarce,thegovernment’spushfore-vehicles in the country, and the rising fuel prices. Moreover, a drop in private investment and banking crisis has led to a weakened consumer demand.
On the other hand, millennials today are hyper-aware of their impact on the planet, and are consciously buying less. They are also waiting for eco-friendly options to emerge in the market. Abhinandan Kaul, a first-year student of St. Stephen’s College agrees, “Our generation is well-read and conscious about the decisions they make as global citizens, so making efforts towards green-living is a priority for many.”
According to some analysts, millennials are saving up for efficient electric alternative vehicles and waiting for cars that will comply with the new pollution standards (Bharat Standard-BSVI-whicharetobeemployed from April 2020 onwards).
Tanmay, a law student, affirms, “People our age use cabs for commuting, but there are many other lynchpin factors affecting this sector.” The reasons for the auto-industry’s plunging sales are varied, and millennials’ aversion to owning cars may have only had a brief impact, if at all, on car sales numbers. This impact, however, cannot be extended beyond the country’s urban centres, where cab service apps enjoy wider user bases.


Feature Image Credits: Namrata Randhawa for DU Beat


Bhavya Pandey

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The Information and Broadcasting Ministry recently issued an order banning the broadcast of condoms commercials between 6 am in the morning to 10 pm at night, stating that it had received numerous complaints regarding their unpleasant impact on children.

It all started in September when a condom advertisement featuring Sunny Leone invited dissent from a Surat-based group. The ad was displayed on hoardings across the city and carried a message in Gujarati “play but with love” which was shared on social media by the public. City-based group Hindu Yuva Vahini conducted a protest at one of the locations where the advertisement was displayed. Recently, the government strictly asked T.V. channels not to air advertisements selling and promoting condoms because these are “indecent especially for children” and can create “unhealthy practices” among them.

This move by the Centre evoked strong reactions from not only domestic media and companies; but also from the international media.The New York Times laid emphasis on how conservative the society in India is whilst talking about the rampant growth in the country’s population, while BBC News called sex and contraception a taboo in our society. Reuters even reported “India’s decision to ban condom ads on daytime television drew widespread ridicule on Wednesday as a retrograde step that threatened progress on sexual and reproductive health.” The ministry has henceforth clarified that the ban is only on “sexually explicit” ads that are used primarily for P.R purposes. However, that does little to change the current practice in India of labeling anything sex-related as “taboo”.

The need of the hour, especially in our society, is to recognise that promoting the usage of condoms and the practice of safe sex is not the problem, it is rather the way condoms and contraceptives are marketed in India that is severely problematic. In India, condoms are advertised not as a resource of protection from unwanted pregnancies or Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) but exclusively as a means of enhancing the sexual experience. This approach used by the advertisers results in the main essence of the advertisement becoming solely about sex and promoting redundant cosmetic advantages like an assortment of flavours, colours, patterns etc, and not about highlighting the practical advantages that come out of using protection. The very basic and primary functionalities of a condom are uncared for and not showcased in these advertisements.

In a country that hosts a constant rate of increasing population of 1.4 billion people, banning advertisements like these can only do more harm than good. Instead of prohibiting condom ads, the government should make active efforts to change the perception of the general public that heavily lacks sexual awareness. Sex needs to be welcomed by the Indian society as a part of a safe and hearty lifestyle as opposed to it being branded as “indecent” and “unhealthy”.

Feature image credits: Cosmopolitan

Bhavya Banerjee

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Tripura, under a CPI(M) chief minister, Shri Manik Sarkar worked in cooperation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2015, to completely repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This Article focuses on how two extreme binaries came together to resolve such a huge issue in the state, especially when this intellectual war between the Left and the Right is in continuum.

The North East has often been under reported in the news, throughout the mainland. The racism exerted by the media to reluctantly cover states with a majoritarian ethnic minority population, has enabled the mainland to disassociate itself from the issues of the North East. To integrate the North East into national policies, the NDA Government has specifically focused on implementing a development agenda at all levels of government. From integration drives by student unions much like DUSU to university level programmes like Gyanodaya have facilitated a discussion between the students.

Tripura, one of the gems of the North East has a State Government under the leadership of a left front chief minister, namely, Manik Sarkar. However through cooperation with the Home Minister at the centre, under the leadership of the Prime Minister backed by a BJP led NDA Government, AFSPA was repealed in May 2015. AFSPA, by law, can only be repealed if the Governor agrees to it. And in the case of Tripura, Manik Sarkar closely worked with the intelligence agencies to ensure that militancy was less, and provided a consolidated report to the Governor, who after consulting with the Prime Minister, repealed the controversial act from the state (from one police station to another, gradually).

After repealing the act, Prime Minister Modi, reportedly asked for a report on how Tripura repealed AFSPA from the Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, who obliged. It is important to state that even political adversaries, who have extremely contrary views came together to relieve the people of Tripura from such a harsh law. 

Let us now take a closer look at AFSPA –

AFSPA has been one of the most controversial policies adopted by the central governments (across party lines) throughout the history of Independent India. With insurgencies fostered by remorse amongst the ethnic minorities, backward classes and people demanding a monopoly for a particular religion, the archaic act of parliament has often led to the protection of the Indian mainland at the cost of rampant human rights violations carried out by a number of army and paramilitary personnel. Although the number of jawans responsible for such acts is minuscule as compared to the full force deployed, the fact remains that the data for the number of prosecutions against the armed forces have also been shocking.

Jammu and Kashmir has been a hotbed, much like Manipur where women have come out in the open to oppose the law, claiming they had been raped and their husbands had been shot dead despite being innocent.
An RTI query made to the Ministry of Defence, Government of India had revealed that only one army man has been prosecuted in Jammu and Kashmir during a tenure of 22 years, against the 44 cases that were received for sanction of prosecution from 1990 to 2011. This meant sanction was not granted in almost 98 per cent of recommended cases (97.73 per cent). In all the cases of rights abuses the controversial AFSPA was invoked to shield the accused. 

This is a major tradeoff that needs to be dealt with. The security agencies need to work in a coalition with the government to ensure that the militancy reduces in these sectors, and only then can such a law be repealed.

If the centre and the states could come together, and gradually repeal the act from one district to another, in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Assam, then we could soon see tremendous reduction in ‘seditious’ activities in these states. It is clearly important for the media to cover these issues extensively. It is also the responsibility of the Left and the Right to come together and work for the betterment of the society through constructive policies and not destructive ones.

Image Credits: www.nelive.in

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Ishaan Sengupta

The Indian government has always made pretentious claims about idealism and socialism, yet goes on banning books – a distortion of the freedom of expression – to claim their supremacy. About 20 books are officially banned in India currently, and imports of many others are denied by the customs department.

But are the bans really worth it? With greater permissiveness and social freedom, uncensored copies of the book are anyway floating freely on internet.

Indian writers and economists have said much harsher things. Yet, in all these years nobody has bothered to take them into consideration. Analysts from Reporters Without Borders rank India 131st in the world in terms in their Press Freedom Index, falling from 80th just 11 years earlier. Here are top 5 books that are censored in India.


1) The Satanic Verses

Amongst the oldest, yet youngest controversy as is evident from incidences of Jaipur literature festival. India was the first Country to ban the Book following the hostile response from the Muslims all over the Globe. He has been in a hiding for over a decade. Fatwa was imposed on Rushdie by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini for demeaning Islam. Rushdie had to live in hiding for nearly a decade.

2) The Great Soul

Joseph Lelyveld, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former executive editor of The New York Times penned a biography, “The Great Soul”, inspired by Gandhi’s life in India and South Africa. The reviews claimed that the book exposed Gandhi’s sexual life and bigoted views. Reacting to it, the book was called for a ban in Gujarat, Gandhi’s hometown has. But imposition of nationwide ban was abjured, citing Lelyveld’s clarification. Still book is not let inside India by customs department.

3) Nine Hours to Rama

Nine Hours to Rama written by historian Wolpert, a professor at University of California. This book is a fictional account of last day of Gandhiji’s lije and focuses on how Nathuram Godse planned Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. It got banned because it exposed the poor security provided to Gandhi, and hinted at possible incompetence and conspiracy.

4) Lady Chatterley’s Lover

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence was considered as obscene because it was an account of a women’s illegitimate relationship with her Gardner. It has depiction of sex and politics gave rise to controversies and was unanimously banned in India and Britain (though Britain lifted up the ban). But the ban is not followed as it should be and you can find books in some stored. The court said that the court does not protect those who take delight in “sexual pleasures and erotic writings”.

5) The Polyester Prince

Australian journalist Hamish McDonald wrote this account of Ambani’s rise in 1998, which remained unavailable in India, partly because of concerns that Ambani would sue if the book got released. The books asserted that many of the rules and regulations were turned down to serve his purpose.  An updated version” Ambani and Sons”, was written down which is available in book stores.