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Comment: Unchanging nature of our problems

According to American news media, even in these adverse times, Modi has been able to maintain his popularity way better in comparison. How has this been possible? Is this because of lack of options for people? Whatever be the reason, the question remains why even after 73 years of our independence, our problems remain unchanged?

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Communalism and Hindu Muslim polarization

Jawaharlal Nehru’s address on India’s ‘Tryst with destiny’ is historic, widely discussed and well studied. In 1947, Nehru announced over radio that he was the ‘First servant of the Indian people’. Nehru didn’t live long. He left us in 1964. In spite of the tug of war in politics, he did not shift from his ideology or philosophy. One after another, quite a number of Prime Ministers came after Nehru and every year delivered a speech from the Red Fort.

On August 15, 1966, Indira Gandhi delivered her speech from the Red Fort as Prime Minister. In her speech, there was this one issue — that there had been leaders of the Indian freedom struggle but changes were taking place and for the next generation that was coming to the forefront, the lifelong sacrifices of the freedom fighters were not known. So she gave a call that the new generation adapted the previous generation’s thinking and took up the responsibility of completing their unfinished task. It wasn’t long after independence had been achieved. Indira Gandhi adopted Socialism. Even Nehru would speak about Socialism. He declared himself a Socialist in his autobiography. But Indira Gandhi wanted to raise the banner of Socialism before the appeal of Independence ended. Gradually, it was seen that the Prime Minister’s speech from the Red Fort became an occasion for the announcement of proposals. During the later part of her prime ministership, Indira Gandhi gave birth to this custom.

Now, another Independence Day has passed and the Prime Minister has made a speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the Red Fort in unique circumstances: during the Corona pandemic. Journalists would undertake detailed research on the colour of the turban he wore this Independence Day and the turbans he wore on previous I-Day functions. But for the world’s largest democracy, there are many apprehensions about the days ahead as India passes through these troubled times. What will be the future of India’s democracy? Where are we headed on the ‘Tryst with destiny’?

India’s Constitution is not unwritten like that of Britain’s. Although in many cases we end up imitating Britain, our Constitution is written entirely in Indian format and is the world’s longest written Constitution. This Constitution consisted of 1 lakh 45 thousand words. From December 9, 1946 to January 27, 1948, for 165 days, the meeting went on for writing the Constitution. The number of members in the Constituent Assembly formed for writing the Constitution was 299. There were 15 women in this body. Among these women were Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kripalini, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Purnima Banerji, Leela Roy and Malati Devi Choudhury.

The Constituent Assembly debates are thrilling. Babasaheb Ambedkar was the chairman. Although C. Rajagopalachari, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Sardar Patel, Nehru and Rajendra Prasad were members of the Constituent Assembly, Gandhiji wasn’t. He was busy dealing with the riot situation in Kolkata and Noakhali. Once, in the middle of the debate, Nehru said: in the action of establishing democracy we are missing only one person, and he is Bapuji.

After reading the captivating debates, the questions that come to mind are: Which were the issues that the framers of the Constitution were concerned about? On which topics did the major discussions take place? Those were:

  • Communalism and Hindu Muslim polarization
  • Caste conflict
  • Centre-state conflict, the balance of various regional languages
  • Economic and social inequality and establishment of justice

Since then, ages have passed! The Yamuna is drying up. The Saraswati is extinct. The Ganga is polluted. Today, it appears that India’s basic problems, in all probability, remain as they are. Nehru began the ritual of writing letters to chief ministers. At least once in a month for sure, sometimes he had written two. It’s astonishing that even today the Prime Minister is doing video conferences with chief ministers. Earlier there were letters, now, tweets on social media — but the problems have not disappeared. During the time of Indira Gandhi, rogue politics practically took formal shape. After she was assassinated, politics became more rogue dependent.

About politics, common people derived the idea that it is for the power-hungry, corrupt, those who were beyond the law and the elite. Unfortunately today, there is extreme polarization in Indian politics. You are either a Modi-supporter or a Modi-detractor. Since the spread of the Corona virus, the popularity of Rightwing populist leaders has been declining across the world. But, according to American news media, even in these adverse times, Modi has been able to maintain his popularity way better in comparison. How has this been possible? Is this because of lack of options for people? Whatever be the reason, the question remains why even after 73 years of our independence, our problems remain unchanged?

(Jayanta Ghosal is a senior journalist. The views expressed are personal)

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Who is Preetika Chauhan? Everything to know about ‘Savdhaan India’ actress arrested by NCB

Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught buying drugs. Here’s everything about her!

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The Narcotics Control Bureau made two more arrests in the drug supply case on Sunday. ‘Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught for buying drugs red-handed.

Who is Preetika Chauhan?

Preetika Chauhan hails from Karsog, Himachal Pradesh. She is a B.Tech graduate and had made her acting debut with the film Jhamela, which was released in 2016.

She went on to play goddess Shachi in Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan.

Apart from Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman, Preetika Chauhan also had appeared in a few episodes of CID and Savdhaan India. She was also seen as Bhudevi in Star Bharat show Jag Janni Maa Vaishno Devi.

Preetika was last seen as Goddess Parvati in Santoshi Maa – Sunayein Vrat Kathayein. Preetika was also part of the TV show ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’.

The case is in the ongoing investigation in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. The Bollywood drugs nexus case came to light while a parallel investigation was being carried out by the NCB.

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Only 7% plan on going out to movie theatres in the next 60 days

Results of July, August and October survey by LocalCircles indicate that people continue to stay reluctant in going to theatres and multiplexes due to the Covid-19 scare.

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Even though movie theatres are now open, only 7 per cent people are willing to go to watch a film there in the next 60 days, as per a survey.

Results of July, August and October survey by LocalCircles indicate that people continue to stay reluctant in going to theatres and multiplexes due to the Covid-19 scare.

Cinema halls across the states were allowed to reopen after seven months of the ongoing pandemic induced by the novel coronavirus.

Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are some of the states where theatres and multiplexes have started to function. Cinema halls remain closed in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and many northeastern states.

LocalCircles conducted a survey to know if citizens if plan on visiting movie theatres in the next 2 months. The survey received 8,274 responses from across the country.

In the survey, citizens were asked, “now that the multiplexes and theatres are open in many states and the remaining states will also open them soon, will they be going to watch a movie in the next 60 days?”

However, only 4 per cent said they would go to watch if any new releases come and 3 per cent said they will go regardless of new or old movie. 74 per cent said they will not go while 2 per cent were unsure and 17 per cent said they don’t watch movies in theatre.

LocalCircles had conducted similar surveys during past few months to know how people plan to go out to watch movies when the theatres and multiplexes reopen. In the July survey, 72 per cent consumers had said that they will not go to theatres or multiplexes when they open, keeping the Covid-19 scenario in mind.

This number increased to 77 per cent in August and stands at 74 per cent in October.

Cinema halls claim to have taken various measures to ensure safety, such as sanitisation of their premises and other Covid-19 safety protocols. Among others, some of them have started the movie shows with 50 per cent of the total occupancy, staggered show timings, social distancing, thermal screening, adequate protection gear for the staff, etc.

But all said and done, it looks like people continue to be reluctant in going to a theatre or multiplex in the next 60 days, the survey said.

States that are considering opening multiplexes and cinema halls in the coming weeks may want to consider this consumer feedback and accordingly make their decision.

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2020 lockdowns to drive new forms of automation: Report

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

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The ‘great lockdown of 2020 will make the drive for automation in 2021 both inevitable and irreversible and remote work, new digital muscles and pandemic constraints will create millions of pragmatic automations, according to a new report.

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

“In 2021, up to 30 per cent of organisations will ramp up their focus on quality by better planning and testing automation before deploying it to production or exposing it to employees,” said the Forrester report on automation.

Three times as many information workers will work from home all or most of the time, while many companies will institute hybrid models in which workers come to the office less often.

“As a result of the pandemic, new forms of automation will support one in four remote workers either directly or indirectly by 2022”.

Direct support in the form of giving a bot to individual workers to support their daily journey will be rare.

However, indirect support will blossom, as intelligent automation handles employee benefits questions and supports document, customer service, and line-of-business tasks that are often invisible to the home worker, the findings showed.

Recent rapid growth in the consumer drones industry has sparked momentum in the commercial drone market.

While social distancing is a factor in drone usage, two forces will accelerate adoption in 2021.

“First, governments are crafting better regulations to facilitate drone adoption and commercialization, with Amazon Prime Air gaining FAA approval for drone deliveries and India driving drone pilot training with new policies,” according to the report.

Second, the rapid evolution of computer vision and 5G will enable real-time drone intelligence over ultra-reliable, low-latency communications.

Like machine learning, RPA will become an embedded feature of many platforms by the end of 2021.

“But rushed and haphazard automation exposes systems and the business to serious risk, so the lack of focus on automation quality is alarming, the report warned.

It can lead to monumental failures that not only damage a company’s reputation and customer trust but also limit broader public trust in automation (specifically AI) as a result of media scrutiny, it added.

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