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AIR INDIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Stories

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AIR INDIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Stories

The Maharaja treatment; from promises of laptops for business class passengers to the all women-crew on women’s day and of course many reports of cockroaches on the plate – Air India has managed to cover it all.

It is also often referred to as the warm hug among the Arline industry- not because of its hospitality but rather because of the lack of air condition in its planes and it’s “Air-dadi’s”.Several comedians have shared their terrible in-flight experiences and journey disasters; the kind of comedic material that is relatable.

People are just not satisfied with the quality of the airline’s service, as compared to how it was 73 years ago. The Government decided to sell 100 per cent share of the airline and started its preparation in late-2019. On January 27, 2020, the Expression of Interests (EOI) was released to invite bidders.

After World War II, regular commercial service was restored in India, and Tata Airlines became a public limited company in 1946 under the name Air India. After Indian independence, 49 per cent of the airline was acquired by the Government of India in 1948. There were multiple aircraft failures and crashes from (1950-1990) that had people terrified, which had made them not to board an Air India plane. The most notable crash happened in 1985– terrorist bomb attack in which 307 passengers and 22 crew members had lost their lives.

AIR INDIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Stories

Source: Wikimedia

A trip down memory lane:

  • Nationalisation – In 1953, the Government of India passed the Air Corporations Act and purchased a majority stake in the carrier from Tata Sons.
  • 2000-01– Attempts were made to re-privatize the airline.
  • 2001– Ministry of Civil Aviation charged the then-managing director because of corruption. Losses had come up to Rs 570 million because of extra commissions that were sanctioned. In May 2004, Air India launched a wholly-owned low-cost subsidiary called Air-India Express connecting cities in India with the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
  • 2007 – Invitation to join the Star Alliance.

Now, this is where the losses become way too out of hand.

  • 2007 – 2009 – Air India and Indian Airlines had combined losses of around Rs 7.7 billion. After the merger, which turned out not to be a good idea, it became -72 billion.
  • Attempts were made to reduce the debts by selling several aircraft it has not made any difference.
  • 2011 – Losses accumulated to 426 Billion rupees, the operating loss was 226 billion, and it was seeking 429 billion from the government. The decision to buy 111 new aircraft and the ill-timed merger with Indian Airlines was the reason behind the unfortunate financial situation. In August, the invitation to join Star Alliance was suspended as a result of its failure to meet the minimum standards for the membership.
AIR INDIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Stories

Source: Wikimedia

After a series of debt-laden trouble, the then government in 2013 had made up its mind to privatize the company yet again. As it was the only means for the company to survive. This was opposed by the BJP and the CPI (M)– the opposing parties. In January 2013, Air India cleared a part of its pending dues through funds raised by selling and leasing back the newly acquired Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Good Years for Air India

Things seemed to be going good, from the years 2014 – 2017. Air India a member of the Star Alliance once again, it signed an agreement to raise money to meet requirements, its revenue operating loss and net loss were Rs 198 billion, and it also became the third-largest carrier in India (after IndiGo and Jet Airways), with a market share of 13 per cent.

Privatisation

In 2017, the government (which once opposed this act) had approved the privatisation of Air India. A committee has been set up to start the process. In March 2018, government-issued (EOI) to sell 76 per cent stake of Air India along with Low-cost airline Air India Express. However, it did not receive a single bid from any private firm.

Having previously failed to sell the airline, the government decided to sell 100 per cent share of the airline and started its preparation in late-2019. On January 27, the current BJP government had released the (EOI) to invite bidders. This time to sell 100 per cent shares of both Air India and it’s budget carrier Air India Express, the government has already decreased nearly Rs 30,000 crore of debts.

AIR INDIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Stories

Source: Wikimedia

Opposition’s Thoughts

The Shiv Sena slammed the Centre over its decision to sell its entire stake in Air India as it questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for failing to run the company. The Sena also warned that the staff of Air India should not suffer in the privatisation process started by the government. Employee unions have always opposed stake sale.

However, the government has held extensive meetings with the unions and tried to identify specific issues raised by them. Air India was once the pride of the country, but due to changing circumstances, the mountain of debt rose to Rs 80,000 – 90,000 crore.

Why can’t the government-run a company like Air India properly? How will consumers and employees be impacted?

The Centre has also come under attack by its lawmaker Subramanian Swamy who threatened to go to court against the sale, calling it anti-national.

It seems like the bidding is kept on the backbench for a little while now, as an Air India Jumbo plane is awaiting the decision, for the evacuation of Indian citizens in Wuhan Province China. If they are planning on selling it, why send a “government” aeroplane on an evacuation mission? Is the government re-thinking its decisions on the sale, or is it a one last rescue tactic to earn points among possible buyers?

I'm Annie, a TV and web series enthusiast. One can catch me watching many series, often all at once! When given the opportunity to choose between coffee or chai...Coffee will always have a special place in my heart. Being in the final year of my UG, I am not only confused about my future but our country's too. I also love writing and conveying ideas from a fresh perspective, I hope that one day this passion will lead me to great and satisfying milestones.

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All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

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National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.

Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)

With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.

Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.

The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.

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Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations

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Fake News II News Aur Chai

Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.

Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.

Fake News Stories

  • On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
  • On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
  • Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
  • On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
  • In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.

Need of Accountability

False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.

If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.

 

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Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained

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Pegasus II News Aur Chai

Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.

The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.

Pegasus Spyware and India

According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.

This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.

Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.

According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.

The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’

This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.

Pegasus Spyware and World.

 In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.

At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden.  After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.

If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.

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