Skip to main content

Ex-civil servants tell corporates: Patronising hate on TV 'undermining' investment

"UPSC Jihad" on a TV channel 
Counterview Desk
In an open letter to companies, business houses and and corporates of India, as many as 95 former civil servants, mainly IAS and IPS officials, have exhorted them to “rethink” their policy on “advertising on media channels that spread discord and divisiveness in society”, stating, “Corporates often go by apparently doubtful TRP numbers to decide their policy for advertisements.” They insist, “It is certainly time to look beyond such technical considerations.”
The letter states, “Advertising on channels which spread divisiveness is bad not only on moral grounds but bad for business as well. As several economists and social scientists have pointed out, investments tend to wither when there is unrest.”

Text:

We are a group of former officers of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in different capacities. We have come together as a group known as the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG). This group does not support any political party but believes in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.
In the normal course, when we observe a flagrant violation of the principles embodied in the Constitution, we write letters or make open statements pointing this out to the concerned governments and to constitutional/statutory bodies. However, upholding the principles of the Constitution is not a function of governments alone.
All of us, as individual citizens as well as members of various organisations in the country -- social, political, professional or business -- have a duty to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution and to follow these principles both in our work as well as in our personal lives. Unfortunately, in recent times, we see growing discord and distrust among the people of the country and a steady erosion of democratic values with long term consequences for everyone.
Today, we are addressing this open letter not to the government but to an equally important segment of society, viz. the various companies, business houses and corporates in the country. These entities, responsible for wealth creation in the country, have not, we believe, been doing their bit in upholding the rights and freedoms spelt out in the Constitution. Sadly, an impression has gained ground that these bodies have preferred to look the other way even as a rising tide of hatred and divisiveness threatens the very foundations of our society.
Many well-established corporates have shown no hesitation in advertising their products on media channels which have made it a practice to ramp up their viewership by spewing hatred, creating divisions on the basis of religion and caste, manufacturing false narratives and making criminals out of law-abiding people. It is possible that these corporates have not given sufficient thought to how their acts have unwittingly strengthened the forces which divide the nation through deliberate false propaganda.
As several economists and social scientists have pointed out, investments tend to wither when there is unrest. And that is, unquestionably, what has been happening in India
Our Constitution, as we know, guarantees fundamental rights to each and every one of its citizens. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth. It is a matter of concern for all of us that several media channels have gone against this fundamental right on a regular basis and yet receive advertisements from many companies.
Channels which communalise the spread of Covid-19, allege that the UPSC has allowed Muslims to ‘infiltrate’ the higher civil services and dub sensitive advertisements about communal harmony as “Love Jihad” are unfortunately patronised by many corporates. Corporates often go by apparently doubtful TRP numbers to decide their policy for advertisements. It is certainly time to look beyond such technical considerations.
Advertising on channels which spread divisiveness is bad not only on moral grounds but bad for business as well. As several economists and social scientists have pointed out, investments tend to wither when there is unrest. And that is, unquestionably, what has been happening in India. India’s investment as a percentage of the nominal GDP has declined from 41.2% in September 2011 to 21.4% in June 2020. Many other growth parameters have been on a downward spiral too. Distrust, fear and uncertainty hurt not just the fabric of society but business as well.
In the midst of this gloom, a few corporates stand out like shining beacons: they have taken a stand against advertising on media channels which foment hatred and disharmony. We commend them for their initiative and courage. We also fervently hope that other corporates will follow their example.
To all companies, business houses and corporate bodies we would like to say: let not any of your actions, even inadvertently, help forces that create discord and ill-will amongst our people. This country and its people deserve better. It is time to show, through both substantive and symbolic acts, that we uphold the principles of our Constitution and are committed to the peace and prosperity of all our citizens.
Satyameva Jayate
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

Government 'fails to take up' Indian migrants' unpaid wages issue with other countries

By Rafeek Ravuther, Chandan Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar*  The migrant workers were one of the most vulnerable sections during the pandemic. India experiences large-scale movement of migrants internally and internationally. After the outbreak of the pandemic, migrant workers continued to face injustice especially in getting wages in expedited manner. In the international context, India, the home of 9 million cross-border temporary labour migrants, carried out the largest repatriation exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Even though the Indian government addressed the immediate requirement of repatriation, it failed to understand and recognise their post-arrival grievances, like back wages, social protection etc. Recently many workers were deported from the middle- east region. Amidst the establishment of grievance mechanisms such as Consular Services Management System (MADAD) and helplines in Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), the unresolved grievances remain high. The number of unresolv