Sukhdeep Aurora

India Inc.'s Progress on Gender Diversity - Good, Bad or Ugly?

The importance of gender diversity in the workplace is a pretty well-accepted fact now. While more and more companies are addressing the need to bridge the gender gap in their respective businesses, there are many instances where gender diversity has remained a ‘buzzword’ with only nominal lip-service paid to the urgent and current need for a diversified workforce.

India Inc., at certain functions and levels, still remains less than accepting of women at the workplace. Successful women are still an exception rather than the norm as they continue to struggle with the chauvinist thinking that has moved out of Indian homes and society and into our workplaces. To say this may be politically incorrect but if the ugly truth is not bared, there cannot be progress.

That is not to say that some positively seminal progress has not been made. Many India-based MNCs adopting their global entity’s gender diversity norms, as well as quite a few leading consultancies and technology firms, are actually the flagbearers of gender diversity in Indian workplaces.


Aiyaary: A Sublime Message to Stop Corruption

Neeraj Pandey’s movie ‘Aiyaary’ is a riveting film but one needs to be aware of the incidents that the film covers which are the Adarash Housing and the Tatra scam respectively. The former is direct and the latter in passing but is the centre piece of action.  His earlier movie ‘Baby’ staring AkshayKumar was a spy thriller about a deep asset, and quite enjoyable.

The movie Aiyaary is about recent events say five to six years back or quite recent in origin.  My generation of officers became veterans earlier than that, thus have very little to add about these recent events from personal knowledge. Yet although the critics review were hardly encouraging one sat riveted to the chair watching the movie as it showed a facet of the Army which generally is swept under the carpet. The first and the last thing to know about Arms acquisition process, is that the Armed Forces only carry out user trials and send their recommendations.

Sidharth Mishra

Committed Media, Emaciated Of Wit

In the Bombay edition of Times of India dated 28 June 1975 was published a small obituary insertion, 22-words to be precise, in the classified columns. It said, “O'Cracy, D.E.M., beloved husband of T. Ruth, loving father of L.I. Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justicia, expired on June 26.”

This was two days after Emergency had been imposed in the country and press censorship introduced. The government clerk sitting in the Times of India office and clearing the news reports and paid insertions saw nothing anti-government in the obituary insertion, when it was placed on the evening of 27 June 1975.

The next day, the advertiser, a young reporter with Reader’s Digest, called up a Times journalist to tell him about the obituary and explain how it “looked like a protest against press censorship.” Suddenly the Press fraternity of Bombay realized that everybody among them was not as pusillanimous as their editors were.

The intrepid reporter, who had made the paid insertion, was Ashok Mahadevan, who later went onto become India editor of Reader’s Digest. At that point of time, the social media did not exist, nor did exist the 24x7 television news channels. Thus the intensity of those 22 words was realized much later. Today in the media schools it’s referred to as benchmark of a journalist’s protest against the move to control a liberal, free and autonomous media.


Padmaavat: How The Resistance Waned

The impression that the average person got before the launch of the movie “Padmaavat”, in certain BJP ruled states was that heavens would fall; law and order situation would collapse, the world would come to an end, plus Rajput pride seriously dented. No such thing has happened in fact the producers and all people associated with the movie are laughing all the way to the banks.  On the other hand the negative publicity has made a lot of people watch the movie. There has been a certain curiosity, “a query”, in every one’s mind what’s objectionable lets ’see it for ourselves, thus increasing the ticket sales. My first reaction after seeing the movie was that the intelligentsia had let down the movie maker. Seeing believes, the movie on the other hand portrayed Rajput pride, showcased historically women sacrifice in our society, and down played the Delhi Sultanate. 

Thus what caused the bubble to bust; one wonders, was it not politics and the Rajasthan bye elections lost by the BJP.  While watching the movie most of us were wondering whether throwing stones at children and causing pain and anguish to these innocent lives was not only condemnable but also barbaric. There was nothing in the movie to show such anger.  Not a single politician that mattered had condemned the horrific incident in which schools going minor children were targeted. The question still remains “what is the guarantee that such a despicable act will not be repeated”? Are human valves so fragile?


Jharkhand Pilot for DBT of Food Subsidy a Dismal Failure

In October 2017, the Jharkhand Government introduced a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) pilot for the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Nagri– a block on the outskirts of Ranchi. Instead of rice at Re 1 per kg at the ration shop, the PDS cardholdersare to receive thesubsidy (calculated atRs 31.60 per kg) in their bank account, and they buy rice at the ration shop at Rs 32.60 per kg. If this pilot succeeds, the Jharkhand government plans to extend it across the state.

A recent survey in Nagri, however, found that that 97 per cent of the sample households opposed the DBT pilot. Their unhappiness – indeed anger – with the DBT system is not hard to understand. In January 2018, about 25 per cent of cardholders did not receive the cash. Even those who get money face many hurdles. Many households do not know which of their bank accounts is being credited with DBT money (the sample households had 3.5 bank accounts on average).