In the endless list of policy prescriptions made by the pundits after the declaration of the general election results there has been precious little commentary on possible judicial reforms despite a near national consensus that our judicial system is broken. This is a rather surprising state of affairs given the lost decade of judicial reforms under the UPA government. On the rare occasion that the national conversation veers towards the topic of clearing the pendency backlog, the ideas under discussion are rather uninspiring. Suggestions for evening courts or fewer court holidays fail to understand the fundamental problems with the Indian judicial system.
INDIA has been growing steadily richer in recent years, but it still has more malnourished people, especially children, than any other country. A big, nationwide study from 2005 and 2006, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), found that 42.5% of children under five years old were underweight. The region with the next highest proportion of underweight children is Africa, with an average of 21%. Another measure of malnutrition is stunting, when children are unusually short for their age. Again, India’s problems were shown to be unusually bad.
Now comes some good news. In 2013 and 2014 the UN agency for children, Unicef, and India’s government conducted a new study called the Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC). The purpose was to gather up-to-date figures to use in the interim before the next big NFHS survey, which is under way. The RSOC report has unfortunately not been published, but The Economist obtained a copy.
It points to some striking national trends. For example the proportion of underweight children has fallen from 42.5% a decade ago, to just under 30% now. There have been similar improvements on stunting, wasting and other measures of malnutrition. The national immunisation rate has risen and the rate of open defecation is down from 55% of households to 45%.
Really interesting, however, is the breakdown of results by state, presented here. By and large social and health indicators across India follow predictable patterns. In states with higher incomes, those nearer the coast and farther south, most health indicators are better. Typical high achievers are Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In landlocked states, poorer ones and in the north, social and health results are usually worse. Notorious backward states include Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. North-eastern states are often outliers, both poor and landlocked but often with high rates of literacy and better health.
Results from the RSOC mostly bear out these trends. Everywhere has seen a reduction in the share of underweight children and in stunting. But it is striking that on occasion higher incomes do not correlate with the biggest health gains. Maharashtra and Gujarat are both states with relatively prosperous people, but Maharashtra’s nutrition levels are better than Gujarat’s. This is also true for rates of immunisation and of open defecation. It appears that Maharashtra’s government has put more emphasis on tackling nutrition problems, for example among its adivasi, or tribal, population.
Two crucial factors are worth looking at. Lower rates of open defecation correlate well with reduced malnutrition. When children live and play in clean environments they are less likely to be infected with parasites that make it hard to absorb nutrients. And states that focus on helping girls and young mothers probably do better at breaking long-term cycles of malnutrition. Where teenage girls have a low body-mass index there seems a greater likelihood mothers will give birth to undernourished children. Proper nutrition for girls and women should be a priority.
Pendency is only one issue facing the Indian judiciary. The more substantial issues concern the quality of justice and accountability. Both these issues are inextricably linked to the lack of transparency in almost all aspects of the judiciary’s functioning and there is precious little that is being done to remedy the situation.
As the RTI Act has demonstrated, transparency can dramatically alter the status quo in powerful institutions because as Justice Brandies once commented “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” and the Indian judiciary needs a lot of sunlight. Unfortunately, as will be explained below, the Indian judiciary has almost excluded itself from the ambit of the RTI Act.
Accountability through statistics
Let’s start with the issue of statistics on case pendency and judicial backlog. There is no single database in the country which collects statistics regarding various aspects of pending cases in each and every courtroom of India. In 2004 eminent lawyer and Senior Advocate Mr. Fali S. Nariman who was then a MP in the Rajya Sabha introduced in Parliament the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004. This proposed legislation was aimed at creating authorities at the national and state level to collect, in a scientific manner, statistics from each and every courtroom regarding the hours taken by the Court to hear the dispute, the time between the filing of the case and hearing by the court, the adjournments granted, time taken for delivery of judgment after it has been reserved, along with the names of the lawyers and judges responsible for the case. Imagine the possibilities if all this data was made available on a computerized database. Not only would it provide information on the efficacy of the judges but also help litigants separate the litigating lawyers from the adjournment lawyers. (Frontline carried an interesting story on the bill over here.)
Nariman’s intention of introducing such a bill was to help in better data collection so as to facilitate a better study of the judiciary but was against using it as a tool of accountability. In his interview to Frontline, he said “I don’t like confrontation with the judiciary. The objective is to try and discern whether anything can be done better by inspiring judges and lawyers. The Bill cannot be a new source of litigation. A citizen, if properly motivated, can use the statistics, provide for himself a mechanism and an opportunity to get greater inputs than what is now available, to do something without the fear of contempt.”
Notwithstanding Nariman’s stand, the true value of this data collected through the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004 was the tremendous impact that it would have on judicial accountability because once statistics on the functioning of courts are placed in the public domain it is only a matter of time before policy wonks can track trends and publicly separate the inefficient courtrooms from the efficient court rooms. Unfortunately for India, the UPA lacked the vision to enact this bill.
For far too long the judiciary has taken refuge under the cloak of judicial independence to avoid any accountability
The judiciary’s battle against the RTI
The battle for greater transparency in the internal workings of the judiciary should have strengthened after the enactment of the Right to Information Act. Unfortunately, judicial attitudes to the RTI Act, especially that of the Supreme Court’s Registry, have been rather hostile. Three cases highlight the judicial ‘hostility’ to the RTI Act.
In the first case, when a RTI activist filed an application with the Supreme Court, in 2007, asking for disclosure of the assets of all Supreme Court judges the Registry of the Supreme Court fought the RTI applicant all the way to the Delhi High Court which ordered the Supreme Court Registry to disclose the information in 2009. (The judgment can be read here) Even then the Supreme Court Registry appealed to the Supreme Court itself but after a revolt in the ranks the list of assets were made public. The appeal to the Supreme Court is yet to be decided.
In the second case, a RTI activist Commodore Batra, had filed a RTI application with the Supreme Court asking for the number of cases reserved by its judges for judgment between 2007 and 2009. The Supreme Court Registry refused to provide such information on the grounds that it did not maintain such records. The Central Information Commission (CIC) over-ruled the Supreme Court Registry on August 3, 2011 and ordered the Registry to provide the information to the applicant. Instead of conceding to the CIC, the Supreme Court filed an appeal before the Delhi High Court in 2011 and the matter has been pending since then.
The third case involves the applicability of the RTI Act to legal pleadings and other public documents held by registries of various courts. Even before the RTI Act, the internal rules of most courts across the country allowed for litigants to access pleadings held by the registry. The difference between the internal rules of these Courts and the RTI Act is that the latter provides for a delightfully simply mechanism to access the information. On the other hand, accessing information under the internal rules of the court is complicated and out of bounds for most common people who will have to conduct the process through a lawyer or a court clerk. Most courts across the country, including the Registry of the Supreme Court have flat out rejected the applicability of the RTI Act to access pleadings that are otherwise available under the internal rules of the Court.
In contradictory decisions, two different commissioners of the CIC came to diametrically opposite conclusions. The CIC judgment ordering the Supreme Court Registry to make available even pleadings under the RTI Act has been appealed to the Delhi High Court by the Registrar of the Supreme Court in 2011 and the appeal continues to languish before the High Court.
Forcing transparency on the judiciary
Like all powerful institutions the judiciary isn’t going to volunteer more information about itself because it is well aware that increased transparency will make it more vulnerable to criticism. At times, arguments have been made that increased transparency will impinge on judicial independence. However such arguments need to be dismissed with contempt.
As Nariman stated in his interview with Frontline “Judicial independence means deciding cases without being influenced by anybody. But disseminating information about how many cases get decided in the courts will not compromise judicial independence at all. This is a wrong impression that the judiciary, among all organs of the government, must remain totally secretive, and nobody must know anything that is happening in the judiciary.”
For far too long the judiciary has taken refuge under the cloak of judicial independence to avoid any accountability.
Parliament must enact the Judicial Statistics Bill, 2004 along with amendments to the RTI Act to force the judiciary to be more transparent.
A long-awaited report on electoral reforms issued by India’s law commission has failed to introduce a ceiling on poll spending by parties, perhaps the most serious lacuna in the country’s political system, because it gives a huge advantage to those supported by the wealthy.
The report, released last week, has retained the ceiling on what individual politicians can spend in their constituency at between Rs54 lakh and Rs70 lakh, with the exact value depending upon the size of the electoral area. But in the absence of a cap on what parties as a whole can spend to promote themselves before an election, these limits on individual expenditure will make only a slight difference in creating a level-playing field for all parties.
In the 2014 general election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept to victory, spent Rs714 crore and the ousted Congress spent Rs516 crore, according to the data the parties filed with the election commission. All parties must file this information within 90 days from the last day of polling. But one estimate pegs the BJP’s spending just on advertising at seven times the total official amount, of around Rs5,000 crore.
The law commission, an executive body set up to advise the government on legal reforms, has, however, attempted to improve disclosures on the sources of funding—perhaps the next-most important electoral reform, one linked to overall transparency in the political process. The Association of Democratic Reforms, a non-partisan advocacy group, estimates that nearly three-fourths of national parties’ total income now comes from unknown sources.
The main loophole with disclosure was the fact that while parties had to reveal to the election commission the names of donors who gave amounts greater than Rs20,000, they did not have to do so for smaller sums. In order to avoid disclosure, parties therefore often broke up larger donations from one source into parcels of less than Rs20,000.
But the report has now clarified that parties must reveal the identity of an entity or individual who donates more than Rs20,000 in all. This means parties cannot resort to the sleight of hand of passing off big donations from one source as smaller ones.
Moreover, parties will now have to reveal sources of donations even if they are less than Rs20,000 each in denomination if the total funds collected in these smaller amounts crosses Rs20 crore or 20% of the parties’ total income, whichever is less.
The Bahujan Samaj Party, for example, has used this loophole for eight years in a row. In 2013, it declared that it had received Rs307.31 crore from voluntary contributions between 2004 and 2013, but did not disclose any of the donors’ names, claiming that none of the amounts was more than Rs20,000.
Parties will attract heavier penalties for not filing information or not doing so on time. If the election commission finds a party to have wilfully filed wrong information, it can now levy a fine of up to Rs50 lakh.
A candidate who fails to file the necessary information within 90 days after the end of a general election can be barred for five years from contesting an election—instead of three previously. The fine for political parties who fail to file information on time will be Rs25,000 per day, up from Rs10,000, and they could also lose tax benefits.
Given that none of the major parties filed expenditure statements on time after the 2014 general elections, these higher penalties could help. The deadline to file expenditures was August 26, 2014, but the two major parties—the Congress and the BJP—filed their expenses only in December and January, respectively.
Surana College to receive the prestigious Asia’s Biggest Power Brand Award “Most Promising & Valuable Business Management Institution 2015” at 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015
Renowned Educationalist Archana Surana voted by the Network 7 Media Group Jury as “India’s Most Valuable Woman Educationalist & Reformist of the year 2015”
In a double bonanza to the highly successful & reputed Surana College, South india’s top business institutions, has been selected by the jury of Network 7 Media Group with two coveted & prestigious awards to be conferred on 21st August 2015 in Mumbai at Hotel Sahara Star for its outstanding & remarkable contributions in imparting quality education. The selection comes at a time when the institution gearing up to expand its base on a pan india base. While Surana College has been selected for “Most Promising & Valuable Business Management Institution 2015”, its chief mentor & well known Reformist Archana Surana will be receiving the coveted & prestigious “India’s Most Valuable Woman Educationalist & Reformist of the year 2015” at the high profile 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015. The Annual Affair is being rated by the industry as a top forum for recognizing the best talents.
Since its inception in 2000, India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards also known as ILC POWER BRAND is asia’s most eagerly awaited prestigious meeting points where leaders across the society gather to speak, set the agenda into motion. Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Ratan Tata, Yash Chopra, Shobhaa De are among the very few names associated with the title. Historically the past editions has been high voltage debate-centric & are successfully organized with the media & analysts describing the multi-faceted significance of the event. India Leadership Conclave 2015 comes with a historic message as the world has started looking at India as a game-changer in the new world order. ILC POWER BRAND is an award winning & highly acclaimed annual mega leadership forum & an annual gatherings of the world’s biggest thought leaders from World leaders, industry icons, movie stars, and CEOs convene with artists, rebels, peacemakers to activists to voice out their opinions , speak out their minds without fear or favour at the prestigious platform from the illustrious organizers of the Conclave, the Network 7 Media Group, world’s most delimitative & credible news media born out of staggering india’s decay in economic prosperity, social inequality, cultural intolerance & inefficient & corrupt political leadership in the country. India to us is a passion & not a dream, a reality that is time tested & proven. Indian Affairs is the ink bringing together business and political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world to discuss India’s evolution into a prominent global economic power, and the key challenges which it still faces.
About Surana College
Surana College, (est. 1995) under GDA Foundation Trust is affiliated to Bangalore University (u/s 53(5), (& under Karnataka State Universities Act 2000) and is also included under section 2(f) of the UGC (University Grants Commission) Act 1956.
Surana College is constituted under section 53(5) of Karnataka State Universities Act 1976 and is affiliated to Bangalore University. The institute has been catering to all sections of society on need-based quality education. The institution is also included under section 2(f) of the university Grants Commission Act (1956) and is an ISO 9001:2008 certified institution. Surana College offers Bachelor of Arts course with combinations of (History, Economics & Political Science) (Psychology, Optional English & Journalism) (History, Tourism, Journalism), Bachelor of Science course with combinations of (Chemistry, Botany & Biotechnology), (Physics, Mathematics & Computer Science), (Statistics, Mathematics & Computer Science), Bachelor of Commerce, M.Com, Bachelor of Business Management & Bachelor of Computer Applications. Also, Certificate and Diploma Courses in Fashion Designing & Management are indigenously offered by the Surana’s.
The institution has been catering to all sections of society on need-based quality education.
Pre University with various combinations.
Five Streams at under graduation
Four Streams at Post graduation in the areas of Arts, Science, commerce, Management & IT
Collegeworks for the cause of students’ future, both in their career and life.
Many case studies of inducting average students only to raise them to achieve distinction andranks. The emphasis is on academic focus adding to train for holistic development of students. Constantly identifying value-additions to the university stipulated curriculum,
The Institute designs balanced inputs of curricular and co-curricular components into its practice. The institution prepares students into self-reliant, independent thinking, globally relevant, skilled and socially useful citizens of the nation embedded with values to contribute in their own mite to the society.
Students at the campus will have the due freedom coupled with responsibility and discipline. No culture shocks in the campus. The college encourages research bent of mind to challenge the life and knowledge concepts by out-of-box and lateral thinking.
There is also encouragement to entrepreneurial activities. No donation at the Susana’s; with affordable fee against quality.The curriculum is embedded with pro-community practices. Offering co-education has been an advantage with the institution.
Student involvement is in the key functioning at the college even in extension activities, community services and sustenance of academic environment. Parental and public acceptance have been of immense support for the college functioning.
Scholars, veterans, experts and prominent citizens as visitors encourage with suggestions and motivation. The corporate sector, service industry and socio-cultural institutions look up to have the students from the college in their organizations.
The staff are aware of the importance of identifying and training different levels of leadership with a 360 degree perspective. Healthy academic relationship among faculty, students and parents has been enhanced and secured the learning outcomes.
Effort to maintain and preserve the joy of learning has augured well for the institution. Immense support from the Management and good interdepartmental co-ordination makes the institution stand proud.
To be the educational institution of preferred choice by ushering convergence of knowledge, skills and values.
Moulding Character and Careers.
Addition of New Courses & Combinations/Streams in higher education,
To promote the spirit of “learn while earn” Establishment of New Evening College to facilitate working employees to pursue a Degree
Promotion of Research Centre in Science Commerce Management & IT Domains,
Obtaining status of UGC 12-b
To Attain Accreditation of National Board of Accreditation (NBA)
The upcoming CBSC School isin progress
Promotion of sports through sponsoring National& International Sports Persons/Students,
Expansion of services in the field of Health, Education& Rural Development
MILESTONES OF THE COLLEGE
28 University ranks in academics
Permanently affiliated to Bangalore University
Institution included under 2(f) UGC Act 1956
Accredited by National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC)with “A” Grade
ISO 9001- 2008; certified
New Pre-university an Undergraduate Evening Colleges have been established
Obtained diversified courses at Undergraduate & Postgraduate level to meet the market demand
Recognized Research Centre for Management courses by the affiliating university
Publication of several books by teaching fraternity
Strong Corporate linkages
Representation in Sports at National, International arena specially in the areas of Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, Swimming, Lawn Tennis
Due representation in RD parade regularly by NCC
Cultural performances in RashtrapathiBhavan
Prominent role in theatre and cultural activities at university level and also identified by SPIC-MACAY
Enjoying the high visibility & acceptance by Society
Archana Surana (Bhandari) – Profile
Conscientious and self-motivated, individual with great enthusiasm and determinationto succeed. Hard working, reliable and resourceful with excellent organizational and staff management skills, combined with the ability to prioritize a substantial workload. Successfully receives, assimilates and evaluates information quickly in order to complete any task efficiently. Friendly and good humored whatever the circumstances. Born on 12-07-1966 is Educationist, Philanthropist and social worker. Mrs Surana began her professional career as a Director of Pharma Industry, contributed immense for the strategic & financial growth of the organization over a decade. She is the Managing Trustee of the GDA Foundation, a Charitable Trust and a member of Bhawribai Surana Charitable Trust. She has served for several orphanages, participated in rural development efforts (NSS), supported for the cause of the Social &Eco movement. Also helped the schools with computer and library facilities (Sophia).Mrs. Suranaintroducedblood donation camp movement in the institution, a lifesaving initiative. As Patron, Patron in chief, Introducedthe Institutional Magazine since long.
Archana Surana born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in northernEastren India. The daughter of a famous doctor Dr. P.M.Bhandari and Mother Smt. Sunitha Bhandari, an accomplished house wife, is also a recipient of President’s Medal received from Dr.S.Radhakrishnan. Brother Sri.Anil Bhandari, is an Engineer. Smt.Archana Surana completed Primary Education in St.Patrick’sVidyaBhavan, Jodhpur. A Rank holder at Metric level; Graduate from University of Jodhpur Rajasthan with a Rank; National Scholarship Awardee from Ministry of Education & Culture, Government of India for Meritorious accomplishment.
Married to Sri.Dilip Surana S/o Sri.Ghewarchandji Surana,Managing Director of Micro Labs Ltd, a leading Pharmaceutical Company. Blessed with wonderful daughter Diya Surana.
A versatile, enthusiastic andcompetentperson who always strives to achieve a high standard in whatever is undertaken. Has gained a variety of administrativeeducational, philanthropical and social skills and can execute effectively as an individual as well as part of team.Soon after marriage, began her professional career&took the responsibilityas one of the Board of Directors of Pharma Industry, contributed immense for the strategic & financial growth of the organization over a decade.In the process of fulfilling the great expectations of Father-in-law, “Sri.GC.Surana, Founder Chairman, Micro Labs Ltd & GDA Foundation, an Industrialist, philanthropist, & a great Visionary”, she evolved into a great Educationist, Philanthropist and social worker & Took additional responsibility of GDA Foundation Charitable Trust & Surana Group of Institutions, as Managing Trustee which is running:
Surana Independent PU College, Basavanagudi
Surana Independent PU College, Kengeri
Surana College (UG & PG) @ Basavanagudi& Kengeri
Surana Evening College, Basavanagudi
Surana Institute of Fashion Designing
These Institutions which caters Education & Training over 2500 students every year. Thousands of students have intended their future through this premier Institution. She is Catering employment opportunities over 250 Teaching & Administrative personnel’s without cast & creed and effectively playing a roll of key mentor of all segments.Training & Counselling many,as chief mentor on day to day basis not only to teachingfeternity also thousands of students are benefited by her personal care, advise & counselling in the institute. Her individual interaction with students has made many students in to proud citizensof our country. The Able guidance of Mrs. Archana Surana has contributed many national International sports personalities to the nation.Promoted/Sponsored Cultural accomplishments in the Institution through students, faculties & cultural ambassadors of our country to enrich the nation’s cultural fragrance.(Spick Mache). Within short span of time, Archana took the Institutions to greater heights & made it a Centre for Academic excellence. Many ranks, distinctions have been secured under her able leadership from Pre University Education to Post Graduate level. Students have represented at National & International levels in Sports & Cultural activities.
Percentage of Students placements has shot up as a result of her effective guidance.
Activities on Research have been initiated.
Campus infrastructure has been transformed into very high quality level to meet the socio-academic needs of the modern world.
Never compromised with quality & efficiency, she always prefers horizontal & vertical expansion; Visualizes growth for long term; open to new ideas & Modern Perceptions.
The wide range of Archana Surana’s social work covers the sectors of healthcare, education, empowerment of women, and culture, Through Foundation She has involved in many social activities like donations to Charitable Trusts, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Temples etc.Archana Surana’s contribution & moral support for the construction of mega Jain Temple, recently dedicated to public by her Father in law Sri GC Surana & family, is absolutely unique.(Samarthanam, Kengeri, Muslim Trust & others) (Kashmir rehabilitation fund) (Gundlupet), Supporting Specially abled students (Samarthanam)
Under her patronage, the Institution has published many books in the field of Literature & Polity. A few to mention:
Musings on Rajarao&RK.Narayan
Many leading publications have come to light based on the Top seminars conducted by Surana Institution under her directions. Some of them are
Also syllabus based publications initiated by her, like:
An interface on Indian Scientific Heritage
An interface on History of Modern Science
Series of Institutional Annual Magazines by name Dharpan&Darshikeare published under her patronage, which are very popular among students & faculty.
Membership Successfully held the responsibility of President of the Sophia’s Parents-Teachers’ Council, Bangalore
Talks Given talks on different forms especially on the topics of Women healthcare, (well women cell) Education, Women Empowerment, Culture& so on
Archana Surana is also a Stage Artist a good Mime, Drama artist.
A successful woman with positive attitude & great leadership qualities, Mrs. Archana Surana always adores an innate smile, poised, graceful and interactive with members of the society.
Mr. Dilip Surana
Mr. Dilip Surana son of Late Shri G. C. Surana (Founder of Micro Labs Limited) joined the family business in 1985 at a young age of 21 years, and rapidly absorbed the nuances of Corporate Management that grew the company rapidly into a global pharmaceutical enterprise specializing in life saving medicines. His early years in industry were marked by distinguished accomplishments and thus steering Micro Labs among the top ranking companies in the pharma sector. The AWACS ranking for the company has improved from over 100 in 1985 to 18 as on 2014. Under his leadership, the company established world-class state-of-the-art research and manufacturing facilities covering Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and finished dosage forms as well as infrastructure for new drug discovery. He instilled the most stringent quality standards in his pharmaceutical enterprise. As a result, Micro Labs has to its credit, all the international regulatory approvals including US FDA, UK MHRA, Australian TGA etc., reflecting the high standards of quality and regulatory compliance of research and manufacturing facilities. He pioneered the concept of specialty – wise focused divisions in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry and established various divisions that cater to special therapeutic segments in chronic disease management. He is a regular participant in various international seminars and summits relating to Pharma industry. He is instrumental in inducting Senior Pharma veterans in the company, to bring in the much needed professionalism in the company. Recognizing the dynamism and contribution of Mr. Dilip Surana to the Pharmaceutical Industry, he has been honored as the ‘Dynamic Entrepreneur of the year 2010’, honoured as the ‘Great Son of karnataka’ by Governor of Karnataka his excellency HR Bhardwaj in 2011, honoured as ‘Most Dynamic Entrepreneur of the Year’ 2013 and ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ 2014.
Rated by Experts & widely acclaimed by thought leaders, India Leadership Conclave Annual Affair is just not a leadership forum, it symbolizes the hopes & aspirations of the billion people reflected by the speakers at the forum. “ILC POWER BRANDS” has been rated in Asia as the most credible & coveted Awards developed by Network 7 Media Group consisting of eminent jury members of the different verticals of the society & is conferred to the Individuals & Companies in its annual meet at the Indian affairs India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards. since the institutionalization of the Business Leadership Awards in 2010, India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards has been India’s most awaited & asia’s most respected set of Awards conferred to Companies & Individuals who have made their mark through their remarkable performances despite all odds & has made India Proud!. Since the last five successful years, the platform has recognized, felicitated more than 300 fortune 500 Companies & towering captains & Leaders of the Country. Widely perceived by Asia as a centre point of discussion, India Leadership Conclave platform too has witnessed deliberation by top business tycoons, politicians, Bureaucrats, Social Reformers etc. Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards also known as ILC power Brands are set of credible,prestigious awards developed by the eminent Juries & bestowed to the deserving Leaders & Enterprises after a through screening of their landmark achievements for their significant accomplishments in their own fields who have performed under tough conditions imbibing innovation in their business approach. Indian is known in the industry to break rules & give prominence to the hidden talents, big or small as we believe that top leaders should not always be given importance. It is mix of experience, innovation & risk taking abilities that drive our nomination process. The prestigious & coveted Awards were presented in a glittering award ceremony with a full house power packed audience to felicitate &honour the Leaders who made india proud, each time they performed in their field, Indian Affairs watched them closely & did not let it pass as their name appeared as top contenders & were put to public votings& are declared winners
India Leadership Conclave 2015 comes with a historic message as the world has started looking at India as a game-changer in the new world order. ILC POWER BRAND is an award winning & highly acclaimed annual mega leadership forum & an annual gatherings of the world’s biggest thought leaders from World leaders, industry icons, movie stars, and CEOs convene with artists, rebels, peacemakers to activists to voice out their opinions , speak out their minds without fear or favour at the prestigious platform from the illustrious organizers of the Conclave, the Network 7 Media Group, world’s most delimitative & credible news media born out of staggering india’s decay in economic prosperity, social inequality, cultural intolerance & inefficient & corrupt political leadership in the country. India to us is a passion & not a dream, a reality that is time tested & proven. Indian Affairs is the ink bringing together business and political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world to discuss India’s evolution into a prominent global economic power, and the key challenges which it still faces.
The theme of the 2015 Conclave is “India @ 58 : learning lessons from the past and restrategizing for the future” to be held in the commercial capital of india, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India at Hotel Sahara Star on Friday the 21st Augst 2015.
Cartoonist & Champion of Indian free Speech Aseem Trivedi to address at India Leadership Conclave 2015
Award Winning Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi known for tough stand & independent depiction of real India will also be conferred Indian Affairs Indian of the Year in Cartooning
India as a nation has seen many historic moments since its inception in 1947 & over the last 58 years, we have also seen emergence of disruptive forces trying to silence the freedom of expression & speech whenever we have raised voices against the corrupt fabrics of the society. We have been subjected to many atrocities against the mighty of the rich & powerful but one thing that has not changed in india, that of our abilities to stay unafraid & voice our opinions says Satya Brahma, Chairman & Editor-In-Chief of Network 7 Media Group on the announcement of Aseem Trivedi as a Keynote Speaker at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2015. Aseem is known for his independent political cartooning, activism & a great human being. While the other misconstrued india tried to prosecute the talented cartoonist, Aseem stood out as a voice that millions of India associated with, a force that defied all odds & a catastrophe that took the political class by storm for vividly portraying the arrogance & abuse of power. Aseem’s presentation on Activism & Cartooning will be the most awaited presentation at the annual affairs which is running on a theme India@58, added Satya. The Network 7 Board Jury Members also were unanimous in selection of the emerging & talented Youngman of India as Indian Affairs Indian of the Year in Cartooning.
The much awaited & Asia’s biggest meeting point for thought leadership conclave organized by Network 7 Media Group’s initiative from the nation’s most widely acclaimed news media India Affairs will host its 6th edition under the theme “India @ 58” : Learning Lessons From The Past And Restrategizing For The Future” at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 in Mumbai, India on Friday, the 21st August 2015 where top leaders from the various sections of the society will assemble to make an analysis of India’s journey from independence & the important milestones that the country has achieved since last 58 years & the areas where India has remained silent & unmoved & has given a big miss.
Aseem Trivedi (born 17 February 1987) is a controversial Indian political cartoonist and activist, best known for his anti corruption campaign Cartoons Against Corruption. He is a founder member of Save Your Voice, a movement against internet censorship in India. The website of his anti corruption campaign Cartoons Against Corruption was banned by Mumbai Police in Dec, 2011.
He was arrested in Mumbai on 9 September 2012 on charges of sedition, related to the content of his work. 10 September 2012, Chairman Justice Markandey Katju of the Press Council of India, who is also a former Judge of Supreme Court of India defended Aseem Trivedi saying that “he did nothing illegal” and in a statement, he maintained that arresting a cartoonist or any other person who has not committed a crime, is itself a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as it is a wrongful arrest and wrongful confinement.
He has been announced as the 2012 recipient of the “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” of Virginia based Cartoonists Rights Network International. He is sharing the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who was abducted and badly beaten in August, 2011 amid the Syrian regime’s crackdown. Ali Ferzat is in the Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He was also nominated for the Freedom of Expression Awards 2013 by free speech organization Index on Censorship.
Striking down of section 66 A of Information technology act 2000 by supreme court is great victory of free speech. Although free speech was available as fundamental right since 1950 with the adoption of Indian constitution. But this opportunity was not available for common man , it was practiced only by professionals. Specially traditional media was controlled by big houses and vested interests. It is social media which gave opportunity of free speech to common man. That is why there was stringent laws and strong actions against free speakers. Since last three years there were number of arrests under section 66A of IT ACT. And those arrests were made either for no reason or for very small reasons . But one thing was common in all those arrests that all of them were politically motivated. Not only in my case where I was booked during Anna Hazzare Agitation in Mumbai, most of arrests were made due to political vendetta.
Just after my arrest in September 2012 Shaheen and one of her friend was booked because they protested the Mumbai Band on the funeral of Bala Saheb thakre ,on their facebook. Then came the case of Ambikesh Mahapatra , an Associate Professor in Jadavpur University. Ambikesh has forwarded a caricature of Mamta Banerjee on facebook. He was also arrested and recently in an important judgment Calcutta high court not acquitted Mahapatra but also awarded compensation for wrongful arrest.Air India employees Mayank Sharma and KB Rrao was arrested for posting comments critical to leaders on facebook. In Uttar Pradesh several persons including one famous dalit writer were arrested for criticizing a cabinet minister.
When civil right activists and netizens protested the blatant misuse of 66A , Govt came out with guidelines where officer of DIG rank were given powers to decide on violations of 66A. UPA Govt assured that misuse will be curtailed through this. But this remained only empty promise and the politically motivated arrests went on.Even the leaders of NDA who were protesting against this section they went back when they came in power and started defending the draconian section in the name of national security . Thanks to Supreme Court that free speech got a Great victory and citizens can now express themselves without fear. In my case Bombay High court has rejected charge of sedition and cancelled imposition of section 124A of IPC upon me . But still there are charges under National Emblem Act 1971 and 66a of IT act. After struck down of 66A not only me but so many persons can feel free on social media and the space can be used with dignity.As far as I think one should not fear from right of free speech being misused after this decision. There are multiple provisions in IT Act which can handle any provocative and defamatory post. Now once again we feel assured about our democratic freedom since its custodian Supreme Court is there. Long live Independence of Judiciary.
Celebrity & Noted Fashion Designer Archana Kochhar set to receive the prestigious Fashion Designer of the Decade at 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015
Archana Kochhar voted by the Network 7 Media Group Jury for revolutionary “Make in india” design.
Network 7 Media Group, the flagship media outfit of Indian Affairs, asia’s most analytical news media is hosting the high profile leadership event in its sixth consecutive years, 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 in Mumbai, India on 21st Augst 2015 under the aptly theme “India @ 58 : learning lessons from the past and restrategizing for the future” where the who’s & who’s of nations thought leaders will be attending the event. Widely perceived as a top destination for exchange of ideas & a central debating point, the conclave will be addressed by top political leaders, social activists, rebel leaders, musicians, artists & leading business tycoons. Co-inciding with the Seminar, The Annual Event will be hosting its Business Leadership Awards also known as ILC POWER BRANDS to the top achievers of the country in various categories.
Archana Kochhar, World renowned Fashion Designer known for making innovative outfits to some of the biggest names of the country will be receiving the top recognition at the Conclave. The previous recipients of the Awards include the iconic Manish Malhotra in 2013, stylish Babita Malkani in 2014 & the very beautiful & talented Komal Sood for India’s Most Promising Fashion Designer title. Announcing the name of Archana Kochhar, Satya Brahma, Chairman & Editor-In-Chief of Network 7 Media Group said “ Archana is one of the shining star of indian fashion designing & has carved a niche for herself by bringing top costumes making sure that end result justifies her creative efforts. Archana has indeed made notable contribution to the Indian fashion design & continued innovation to bring excellence in the industry, We the jury members at the India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 are absolutely convinced of Archana’s remarkable accomplishments as a trendsetter with a global outlook specially the areas for her quest for the Designer emanating from the strong adherence to quality innovations that stimulate the creation of innovative garments that reflect the cultures of india & world, expose promising and accomplished Designer like her” . Satya added
India Leadership Conclave platforms over the last six years of successful uninterrupted editions has felicitated many top iconic Bollywood stars such as Late Yash Chopra, Rani Mukerjee, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Fashion Designers Manish Malhotra, Babita Malkani & Shraddha Kapoor.
Archana Kochhar’s Journey in Fashion Designing
Archana Kochhar is an internationally acclaimed Indian fashion designer with a creative approach to deal with the ever evolving fashion designing innovations blending a fine amalgamation of exquisite embroideries, nouveau texturizing techniques and new technologies like digital printing, all of this traditionally rooted. Going back to her initial days, Archana got into the world of Fashion way back in 15 years to make a foothold in Design, creative illustration of fine textile imprints using the state-of-art technologies like digital printing, fine arts & craftsmanship. Today, Archana is a much sought after name in Bollywood, Hollywood, bridal, cocktail prêt, resort and men’s wear. Archana’s fashion creativity & costumes are often seen in the high profile fashion shows, Red-Carpets & top event destinations. In an era where competition is intense & manifold where the demands for fine collections with a different look are sought after by the elite celebrities to cater, Archana has truly demonstrated & exhibited as a unique professional to redefine “Fashion Design” in the world. Archan’s flagship store located in the commercial capital of india in Mumbai, has reinvented itself over the years as a most trusted & reliable place to shop & try out different costumes. Creativity in Fashion design is about what you don’t see as well as what you do, the inside of a dress is as important as the outside. From the embroidery to the construction techniques, to the handwork that goes into them. Every single detail is thought about completely in Archna Kochhar’s fashion Library.
In the words of the gorgeous Fashion Designer Archana Kochhar, “fashion is an art that becomes artistic with each design. Subversive, creative design must remove itself from the standard, from what is known, and challenge society, while remaining recognizable enough that people can still understand and interpret it. So they can glean an experience from it. So it can stand as inspiration. It is this that imbues a fashion design with the potential to eventually become the new norm – the new standard. Creative subversion is necessary for the movement and evolution of society, not just in fashion, design and art, but for the development of social norms and the progression of intellectual thought. We are indebted to the creative, for without them we would be wallowing in the stagnation of popular, accepted thought, all modes the same and unchanging. Subversive creators play a role in our society, not as tastemakers, but as enlighteners. They challenge our minds and souls, the values we hold dear, our known interpretations of the world, of popular culture and the art and design that preceded it. They can both divide and unite people. They are simultaneously our history makers, our storytellers and our visionaries”.
Bollywood’s glitterati who have adorned her creations are some of the biggest names in Bollywood, Sports as well as modeling like Shraddha Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Kangana Ranaut, Bipasha Basu, Karishma Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh, Urmila Matondkar, Nargis Fakhri, Jacqueline Fernandes, Prabhu Deva, Rajneesh Duggal, Vijender Singh, Randeep Hooda, Ileana D’cruz, Soha Ali Khan, Amrita Rao, Huma Quereshi, Daisy Shah, Celina Jaitley, Zarine Khan, Divya Khosla etc walking the red carpets and runways around the world.
Creativity can be an ecstasy of both pleasure and pain for the artist. Inspiration, when it strikes, is a powerful force that its recipient has little control over. The best fashion designers are held up by their industry as the veritable geniuses of our time. Whilst knowledge and training play one part in their creative passion and output, for centuries, theorists have wondered whether there are certain innate qualities that set artists apart, and put them in a unique position of creative ability.
Archana Kochhar’s care for the society is evident from the fact that as an Educationalist, Mentor & a guest Lecturer, Archana Kochhar is a visiting faculty to more than a dozen of colleges & is often seen in mainstream newspapers through her writing. Archana Kochhar has been invited by Galleries L’fayette Paris to showcase her spectacular collections under her label with international design houses like Armani, Versace, Kenzo, Ungro and Nina Ricci. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for Smile Foundation, working for the upliftment of the girl child and women empowerment. As a brand, Archana Kochhar is associated with many corporates due to her international design appeal and specialization in customizing each project that she curates ranging from interiors, jewelry, upholstery, weddings and fashion events with corporate giants like Reliance, Aditya Birla Group, Gitanjali, Sahara, Mahindra, to name a few. Over the years the brand Archana Kochhar has created a niche for itself and revolutionized the bridal arena with Archana Kochhar’s craftsmanship, detailing and expertise in her art. It has also made a mark globally and is well acclaimed not only in India but also in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Canada and many other cities around the world. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, few designers were chosen to revived the 5 dying arts , eminent Designer Archana Kochhar was one of them and she was bestowed by the Textile Ministry with the honor of being a brand ambassador for the revival of five dying arts of Maharashtra. Archana Kochhar was invited by the PARIS HAUTE COUTURE FASHION WEEK & the NEWYORK MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK 2015 to showcase her collection in the international Fashion week Platform. Archana has been associated with SMILE foundation for Ramps for Champs & Cook for a Smile with Vikas Khanna. Exclusive designing of uniform for CLUB Mahindra. Lakme Fashion Week S/S 2014 had olympic silver medalist and Padmabhushan awardee Vijender Singh as showstopper. Jacqueline Fernandes launched Archana Kochhar’s summer/resort range in Dubai for Label 24. Chitrangada Singh & Urmila Matondkar launched Archana Kochhar’s Wedding range in Dubai. Nargis Fakhri walked for Archana Kochhar in the London Fashion Week Show in London. Kangana Ranaut walked for Archana Kochhar at the India Resort Fashion Week. Aditya Birla Group & Archana Kochhar launched and curated together the new viscose yarn with Soha Ali Khan. Archana Kochhar & Zarine Khan launch Gitanjali Jewels Nizaam range in Mimbai. Archana Kochhar launches her Chokhi collection at Lakme Fashion Week A/W 2013. Bipasha Basu walks for Archana Kochhar at Atlantis, Dubai. Shriya Saran walks the ramp for Archana Kochhar for the opening of India Jewellery week in Delhi. Prabhu Deva and Shahzahn Padamsee walked the ramp for Archana Kochhar for Lakme Fashion Week S/S 2013.Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi’s ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ campaign, few designers were chosen to revive some of the dying arts of India , eminent Designer Archana Kochhar was one of them and she was bestowed by the Textile Ministry with the honor of being a brand ambassador for the revival of five dying arts of Maharashtra. Designer Archana Kochhar is the Good Will ambassador of the organization “Smile Foundation” a charity cause for the Girl Child Health and Education in India. She believes in giving back to society and has helped in raising funds through her Charity events and shows for the Smile Foundation organization.
The beautiful Fashion Designer Archana Kochhar will be crowned as “Fashion Designer of the Decade” in a glittering award ceremony where some of India’s finest creative genius will be recognized in various categories. Rated by Experts & widely acclaimed by thought leaders, India Leadership Conclave Annual Affair is just not a leadership forum, it symbolizes the hopes & aspirations of the billion people reflected by the speakers at the forum. “ILC POWER BRANDS” has been rated in Asia as the most credible & coveted Awards developed by Network 7 Media Group consisting of eminent jury members of the different verticals of the society & is conferred to the Individuals & Companies in its annual meet at the Indian affairs India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards. since the institutionalization of the Business Leadership Awards in 2010, India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards has been India’s most awaited & asia’s most respected set of Awards conferred to Companies & Individuals who have made their mark through their remarkable performances despite all odds & has made India Proud!. Since the last five successful years, the platform has recognized, felicitated more than 300 fortune 500 Companies & towering captains & Leaders of the Country.
World Renowned Facial Plastic & Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Debraj Shome voted as “India’s Most Promising Face in Facial Plastic Surgery Innovations” at ILC POWER BRAND 2015
Celebrity Plastic Surgeon known for path-breaking Facial Surgery storms into the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 as the innovative Facial Plastic Surgeon. Voted as Leader in medicine of tomorrow in facial cosmetic & reconstructive surgery.
MediAngels Founder & noted Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Debraj Shome has been relentlessly batting for building a world-class online healthcare platform & make healthcare available to very Indian equitably and affordably & is is my dream and this goes beyond my ‘other hat’ as a Facial Plastic Surgeon is what the eminent Plastic Surgeon & Oculoplastic Surgeon said on the eve of the forthcoming Leadership Meet organised by Indian Affairs, the flagship brand of Network 7 Media Group, Asia’s most credible media in mainstream journalism hosting its 6th edition in Mumbai on 21st Augst 2015 . India@58 is the theme at 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 where Nation’s burning issues from world leaders, industry icons, Politicians, movie stars, rebels, peacemakers and social activists will be addressing.
Network 7 Media Group while announcing the name of , Dr. Debraj Shome for the selection to the category “India’s Most Promising Face in Facial Plastic Surgery Innovations” at ILC POWER BRAND 2015, the jury members looked at the revolutionary approaches in Facial Surgery by the top Facial Plastic Surgeon & Oculoplastic Surgeon who also finds a special mention at Part of “Marquis Who’s Who” & voted amongst “Best Plastic Surgeons in India” by multiple agencies. The US returned Plastic Surgeon has been in limelight recently for his opinions that almost 44% of the 12,500 patients for whom surgery was recommended were advised against it by their second opinion consultants.
In a letter addressed to MediAngels Founder Dr. Debraj Shome congratulating his selection for the coveted title as “India’s Most Promising Face in Facial Plastic Surgery Innovations”, Satya Brahma, Chairman & Editor-In-Chief of Network 7 Media Group said, “ I appreciate the spirit of innovations & path-breaking initiatives that you have been fostering over the years in medical research in Cosmetic Surgery. I am fully convinced of your accomplishments as one of the torch-bearers of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, an investigator whose novel work will evolve the treatment of surgical disorders and the practice of plastic surgery, though not in full sense of the term, to foster the development of the best new technology and inventions in the field of plastic surgery. It is indeed commendable. We also looked at your dedicated to enhancing natural beauty, using state-of-the-art procedures to achieve natural results designed to make patients feel better and more confident about their appearance special in recent times when patient expectations often going beyond the limits of what doctors can control. I can clearly see that as an Editor & being connected to high profile celebrities, this is indeed a bigger challenges, I can say with confidence, that your practice is unique, much will be seen may be in 2020. India Leadership Conclave Platform only gives credence & recognition to innovators. The previous healthcare leaders in medical practice include Dr. Ramakant Panda, Dr. Mukesh Batra, Dr N.S. Laud, Dr. Shashank R Joshi, Dr. Naresh Trehan, Dr. Kaushal Pandey, Dr. Mukesh Hariawala to name a few”, Satya added.
Dr. Debraj Shome is the Co-Founder and currently heads the Institute of Aesthetic Surgery – The Esthetic Clinics, at JCI accredited top-line multi-specialty Indian corporate hospital. He is presently attached to many multi-specialty hospitals including Breach Candy Hospital (Breach Candy, Mumbai, India), Saifee Hospital (Girgaon, Mumbai, India), Nova Specialty Hospital (Chembur, Mumbai, India) and Holy Family Hospital (Bandra, Mumbai, India). He is the head of the Facial Plastic Surgery center at Nova superspecialty surgery, Chembur, Mumbai, India. This is one of the topmost centers catering to ultra-superspecialty surgery in India.He was the co-founder of the Esthetic Clinic at Apollo Health City, Hyderabad, and had been the Head of the Department of Facial Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery there from 2009-2011.
Dr. Shome is a world renowned and an acclaimed Facial Plastic Surgeon & Oculoplastic Surgeon, who specializes in facial cosmetic & reconstructive surgery, Oculoplastic surgery, ocular & facial cancers, orbital, lacrimal & socket surgery and is one of a handful Indian surgeons listed by Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debraj_Shome). Dr. Debraj Shome has won many citations and honors such as “Best Plastic Surgeon Mumbai”, “Top 10 Cosmetic Surgeon India”, “Best Oculoplastic Surgeon India”, “Marquis Who’s Who”, “Celebrity Plastic Surgeon in World”, “Marquis Who’s Who Asia Pacific” etc. Oculo-Facial Plastic Surgery is a burgeoning super-specialty in India, but is quite in demand in the USA currently. Currently majority of the facial surgeries in the US are performed by this particular group of plastic surgeons, who are super-specialized in surgeries of the lacrimal, orbital, facial & peri-ocular tissues. As these surgeons have been trained specifically in plastic surgery of the tissues of the face & practice exclusively in the face, end results in all facial surgeries tend to be better than general plastic surgeons who operate all over the body.
Dr. Debraj Shome’s special interests include Cosmetic Facial Plastic Surgery, Oculoplastic Surgery, Non-surgical Facial Rejuvenation, Face Lifts, Mid-Face lifts, Facial Reconstructive Surgery post Facial fractures & cancers, Rhytidectomy (wrinkle removal), Blepharoplasty (eyelid lifts), Eyelash enhancement, Rhinoplasty (Nose job), Auricular (ear) Repositioning (Otoplasty), Hair Transplants and Hair Restoration Surgery, Facial & Orbital Fracture Repairs, Neck Lifts, Jaw Contouring, Reconstructive Surgery for Facial & Eyelid Cancers, Facial implants (Chin & Cheek implants) for re-shaping the face or changing the facial contour in order to look more young and beautiful, Lip Augmentation & enhancement, Facial Flaps & Grafts for Facial Cancers, Orbicularis Oculi Myectomy for intractable Hemifacial spasm & Blepharospasm, Eyelid Surgery viz. Ectropion, Entropion, Ptosis surgery, False eye (Artificial Prosthetic Eye) fitting & Socket Surgery (Evisceration, Exenteration, Enucleation), Ocular Anterior Segment Trauma and Reconstruction (surgery post injury to the eye), Orbital Tumor Surgery & Orbitotomy (Medial, Lateral, Anterior & Complex), Orbital Decompression Surgery, Lacrimal Surgery for watering of eyes & tear duct blockage surgery (Dacrocystorhinostomy, Endoscopic Lacrimal Surgery, Dacrocystectomy, CDCR, Nasal Intubation, Probing & Syringing) and Ocular Oncology (eye cancer therapy like treatment for malignant melanoma, retinoblastoma, skin cancers, orbital lymphoma, basal cell carcinoma, etc.)
Since June 2007, Dr. Shome has been a Visiting Faculty to the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, www.mdanderson.org. Earlier he was also attached to Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai, India (One of India’s top eye hospitals) and the Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai. His responsibilities included – conceptualizing, developing the Department of Oculoplastic Surgery (Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery) & Facial Plastic Surgery and being the Head Of Department there. These centers had been extremely successful. Apart from his clinical insight, Dr. Debraj Shome has a research background with interests in basic science as well as clinical plastic surgery & ophthalmology and has published more than 40 international scientific peer-reviewed papers and presented papers at various scientific forums.
Dr. Debraj Shome acquired his undergraduate medical degree from Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai; one of India’s oldest medical schools. Thereafter, he went ahead to specialize in ophthalmology and completed his residency from Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. He obtained the degrees of F.R.C.S. (Fellow of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow) in 2003 and also his Diplomate of National Board (D.N.B.) in 2004. Dr. Shome then studied extensively and acquired specialization degree in Orbital surgery, Ocular Oncology & Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery in an elaborate fellowship from L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India, 2005. Dr. Shome subsequently completed an esteemed clinical fellowship in Cosmetic Facial Plastic surgery from one of the world’s top centers at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA. Following that, Dr. Shome completed another clinical Fellowship in Head & Neck Surgery from the Department of Head & Neck Surgery at the M D Anderson Cancer Center in 2007. This fellowship, prepared Dr. Debraj Shome to specialize in multi-disciplinary approaches to Head & Neck Oncology. This makes Dr. Shome truly distinctive as he has been trained independently and exclusively at the best / top centers in ophthalmology (eye surgery), plastic reconstructive & cosmetic surgery of the face & peri-ocular area & oculoplastic surgery. After completing his MBA (Masters of Business Administration) in Healthcare Management in November 2008, from one of the world’s top business schools, Dr. Shome added another chef d’oeuvre. Such a remarkable coalition of top-class health and clinical practice skill sets enables Dr. Shome to develop and lead teams to make the best possible centers, as a man manager, an administrator and a surgeon. Dr. Debraj Shome founded The Esthetic Clinic at Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad, now situated at two of the most reputed hospitals in Mumbai. Dr. Debraj Shome has won numerous rewards and honors in his career till date. He has penned down more than 40 research papers and has published those in top-line peer reviewed international journals, chapters in international books and has given numerous presentations in ophthalmology conferences, head & neck conferences, oculoplasty meetings, ENT conferences, Reconstructive Surgery meets, Facial Plastic Surgery Conferences, Plastic Surgery symposiums, and Cosmetology conferences all over the world; thus, Dr. Shome is a trailblazer who not only practices the best in medicine but also conducts research that modify practice patterns and make up the ‘medicine of tomorrow’.
Indian Affairs Editor-In-Chief Mr. Satya Brahma caught up with Dr. Debraj Shome on the recent state of affairs in the field of Plastic Surgery, here are the excerpts from the interview.
Question: What according to you is Facial Plastic Surgery trending now?
Answer : This is the era of super-specialization in Medicine. As Doctors become super-specialized, they gain even more knowledge in that particular specialty which they are specialized in. This, in turn, improves medical outcomes.
In earlier days, there used to be just general practitioners and they who used to treat all kind of disease conditions, affecting any and every part of the human body. For example, Earlier, it used to be the case that our kids used to get treated by a Family Physician. But now, with so much advancement and super-specialization in the field of Medicine, every parent would prefer taking their child to Pediatrician (Child Specialist) for treatment. In general, it has been proven repeatedly as Doctors keep on doing the same thing again & again, their outcomes improve, which in turn benefits the patients.
This concept of improved results with super-specialization, extends itself to Facial Plastic Surgery. Earlier, there used to be only General Plastic Surgeons and they used to perform all types of plastic surgery on the entire body and also surgeries as varied as microvascular surgery, burns surgery, hand surgery and even aesthetic facial plastic surgery. But, it is impossible for any one specialist to excel in all of these types of surgeries. This marked the start of the advent and development of Facial Plastic Surgery as a super-specialty.
In the Western world, it has been proven repeatedly that when a Facial Plastic Surgeon performs a surgery on the face, as opposed to a General Plastic Surgeon, the outcomes of surgery are much improved. A Facial Plastic Surgeon’s sole focus is performing surgeries on the face. They keep on doing the same types of surgeries throughout their life, as a result of which there are improved outcomes & lesser complications.
Cosmetic Surgery or Plastic Surgery is all about trying to make a person look better & perform a surgery in an aesthetic manner, whatever be the underlying cause, be it fracture, cancer, or purely for cosmetic reasons. It is unacceptable in today’s world to be treating a cancer on the face in a manner that the cancer is treated, but the face is scarred for life! So, paying aesthetic attention to all diseases of the face, is important!
So, in summary, If Doctors start concentrating on a particular part of body, e.g face, certainly the results will be better and patients will have more predictable outcomes. So, Facial Plastic Surgery is currently a growing sub-specialty in India, but a standard specialty in the US and any other Western countries. In western countries, most of the surgeries of the face are performed by Facial Plastic Surgeons and I see this trend being reproduced in India over a period of time.
Question : Has India come of ages in the Creative & substantive innovations in Facial Plastic Surgery if so, what are its milestone achievements?
Answer : Facial Plastic Surgery is an emerging specialty in India. Most of the Facial Plastic Surgeons in India today, have been trained in this specialty from across the world and are now practicing in India. This is beneficial to India, as I am certain that these surgeons will bring with them the expertise of the Western world, outcomes will start improving and becoming better and better as individuals and professionals concentrate on this particular branch of medicine.
India is already turning out to be a large Medical Tourism centre for people from the western countries coming here to get treated. Indian doctors have created a name for themselves in multiple specialties & sub-specialties. It seems as if Facial Plastic Surgery would be the next frontier.
Some milestone achievements have been achieved by us so far, in Facial Plastic Surgery, already. Like for example, in 2010, we were responsible for treating an Iraqi woman, whose face was destroyed by a pen bomb planted by the American Forces. It took us 11 hours to reconstruct all the bones of her face and give her a new look and a new life. This was probably the first Face Transplant like Surgery or the first complete Face Rejuvenation Surgery performed in India. Many such milestone achievements would be expected from Indian Facial Plastic Surgeons in the future, as there is no paucity of talent in India.
This story was covered globally by Reuters.
Question : Your take on Indian VS Global in excellence in Facial Plastic Surgery?
Answer : The face is a cross over zone and there are a multiple specialities, who perform surgeries on the face. For an instance, there are General Plastic Surgeons who operate on the face. There are Oculoplastic Surgeons, who are from an Ophthalmology background and work on the face & are specialized to work in the area in and around the eyes & upper face. There are Facial Plastic Surgeons who are from an ENT (Otolaryngology) & sometimes Ophthalmology and work on the face; Maxillofacial Surgeons who come from a background of Dentistry and are specialized to treat bones and occlusion. Each of these backgrounds gives these surgeons greater understanding in their areas of the face. So, I think it becomes very important to gain excellence in Facial Plastic Surgery by trying to work with all these multiple specialties, and to learn from each of them.
People who get to work with all these multi-specialties tend to get better because there is something to learn from every other surgeon they are working with. An ENT surgeon would perform a better Rhinoplasty (Nose job) surgery when trained in Facial Plastic Surgery, or an Ophthalmologist would be better at performing a Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) and so on. And someone who has worked with all these specialties will certainly create excellence.
I am very privileged to have gained Fellowship training (additional surgical training) in 4 different & diverse sub-specialties associated with Facial Plastic Surgery which are, Head & Neck Surgery, Oculoplastic Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery & I recently completed a Fellowship training in Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery from Wales, UK. By training with multiple specialties, it helps to amplify our knowledge and lets us get better.
When comparing Indians with Global excellence in Facial Plastic Surgery, I can say that at this moment India is in an emergent stage when it comes to Facial Plastic Surgery. Probably there a very few trained Facial Plastic Surgeons. However, this trend is set to change since all the surgeons are realising that we cannot be performing surgeries for all the parts of the body and excel at it all. So in the near future, I see more and more Indians training in Facial Plastic Surgery, concentrating on excelling in this, publishing research papers in Facial Plastic Surgery and working towards making India one of the Global frontiers in Facial Plastic Surgery.
Question : What according to you are the missing links in Indian Facial Plastic Surgery?
Answer : In my opinion, the biggest missing link in Indian Facial Plastic Surgery is that there are no programs or training courses dedicated to training young surgeons in Facial Plastic Surgery in India. Most of the current Facial Plastic Surgeons have been trained overseas.
In India, when Doctors acquire training in Plastic Surgery, they feel that obtaining a M.Ch. in General Plastic Surgery is the best possible way to become a Plastic Surgeon. But the truth is that, M. Ch. Training courses in General Plastic Surgery in Indian hospitals do not even deal with Cosmetic Surgery. They deal chiefly with burns & reconstructive surgery. Now, when you are trained in burns surgery and try to come and try and operate on a person’s nose and change it 1 mm this way or that way, these are really different surgeries to perform. And, even more difficult patients to manage. The mindset itself of managing these patients and performing these surgeries is very different!
So, doctors/ surgeons like us who are trained in different specialties should come together and start training programs in India, so that more and more surgeons are ultimately trained in & specialised in Facial Plastic Surgery. The surgical skills are already there, what needs to happen is more and more surgeons should be trained in terms of appropriate communication for a cosmetic patient, developing the right mindset and obtaining appropriate training in Facial Plastic Surgery. This will certainly help transform India into one of the Global frontiers for Facial Plastic Surgery.
Question : Describe yourself as a person, a Plastic Surgeon & a Global Citizen.
Answer : Facial Plastic Surgery is a super-specialty that is shooting up in India presently while in USA, it is in vogue currently and most facial surgeries in US currently are performed by this particular genre of plastic surgeons, who are super-specialized in surgeries of the facial tissues.
I was the ex-Head of Department at the Institute of Aesthetic Surgery at The Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad, India and Ex-Consultant at the Institute of Aesthetic Surgery at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, India which are both JCI accredited top-line multi-specialty Indian corporate hospitals.
My interests include Plastic surgery, cosmetic & reconstructive surgery, aesthetic and cosmetic surgery, facial plastic & reconstructive surgery. I chiefly deal with Cosmetic Facial Plastic Surgery, Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery post face fractures and cancers, Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation, Rhinoplasty (Nose Job / Nose Surgery), Face lifts, Mid-Face lifts, Mini Facelift, Rhytidectomy (wrinkle removal), Auricular (ear) repositioning (Otoplasty), Hair transplants and hair restoration surgery, Eyelash enhancement, Neck Lifts, Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift / cosmetic eyelid surgery), Lip Augmentation and shaping, Jaw contouring, Facial Fracture repairs, Aesthetic Surgeries for Facial Cancers, Facial Implants (for changing the shape of the face), Facial Myectomies for intractable Blepharospasm & Hemifacial Spasm, Facial Flaps & Grafts for face cancers, etc.
I consider myself very fortunate to have won numerous accolades and honors in my career till date. I have to my credit, 40 research articles published in top-line peer reviewed international journals, chapters in international books and numerous presentations in ophthalmology conferences, head & neck conferences, ENT conferences, Facial Plastic Surgery Conferences and Cosmetology conferences world over. Also, I am honoured to be a faculty at two of the world’s top rhinoplasty and facial plastic surgery cadaveric dissection courses, held at Vinnea, Austria and San Francisco in USA.I am extremely fortunate to have won the Colonel Rangachari award & the Hanumantha Reddy award in 2010, for a revolutionary paper and invention of a nano-molecule of carboplatin (a cancer drug), which promises to change the way eye, facial & neural cancers are treated. This is considered the highest award for research performed in ophthalmology in India that year. As a Global Citizen, I would like to see that healthcare becomes available equally and freely for all. Apart from being a Physician, I have also had the honour of being entrepreneurial and we have started an Online Hospital called MediAngels.com . MediAngels.com aims to do to healthcare, what Flipkart & Snapdeal are doing to products all over the world. The purpose of this e-healthcare venture is to have the best doctors from all across the world on a cloud based platform and match the best Doctor to every single disease with the help of technology, in the form of phone and the internet, and making doctors available all across the world.It seems strange to me and surreal in a way that in the population of about 1.2 billion in India, you can buy the best phone or camera whether you are in the most remote area or in Mumbai, but you still can’t have access to the best doctors. Today, you cannot have access to the best doctors and I am sure the same would be the case 30 years later, as best doctors are a rare resource, and it would be very difficult to have the best doctors in every city or every town or every village or every multi-specialty hospital.Therefore, MediAngels, the World’s First Online Hospital, is the business of tomorrow, wherein we connect Global Medical experts, diagnostic laboratories and all other types of medical requirements, to patients, using technology. The strength of MediAngels can be ascertained by the fact that it has been voted as the most innovative startup in the Asia Pacific region in 2012, by Intel & The Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, from amongst 8,000 companies. The strength of this social enterprise can also be deciphered from the fact that MediAngels has been funded by diverse entities, like the India’s largest private equity fund – HDFC Holdings Ltd., the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and by a renowned venture capital fund – VenturEast.So in summary, I as a Global Citizen would like to change the way healthcare is delivered all across the world. I, in my lifetime, would like to see an equitable distribution of healthcare to every citizen in India & all over the world, at the most affordable price, within the comforts of their office/ workplace. MediAngels is our way of trying to accomplish the same. We hope to succeed in our endeavour to do so!
Awardees 2010 : The revolutionary leader of modern India Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi : Lifetime Achievement Award : Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman TATA Group and Mr. K V Kamath, Chairman ICICI Bank. The India Corporate citizen of the year : Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s best Airlines : Dr. Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, The Young Business Leader :Mr. Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman & MD, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Brand of the Year : Lalit Kumar Modi, Chairman and Commissioner,IPL, Business Women of the Year : Ms. Chanda Kochhar, CEO, ICICI Bank Ltd, Bank of the Year M.D. Mallya, CMD, Bank of Baroda, : India’s most Admired Bank Shri O.P. Bhatt, Chairman, SBI Bank, : India’s most Promising Web-based Solutions Company Pankaj Jaiswal, Chairman/MD, Dotcom Services (I) Pvt Ltd, : Lifetime Achievement Award Yash Chopra, Producer, Director, Yash Raj Films, : India’s Upcoming Biogroup CO Sanjay Bawsay, Chairman, Synergy Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, : Innovation in Blood Products in IV/IG R. Muthukrishnan, Chairman, Elshaddai Biologicals Ltd, India’s most Admired Electronics Brand Venugopal N. Dhoot, CMD, Videocon Industries Ltd, :Technically & Scientifically Most Advanced Biotech Company Gunvantlal Shah, Chairman, Samarth Pharma Pvt Ltd, : Upcoming Pharma retail chain Hemant Bothra MD, :Trust Chemists & Druggists, : Youngest Dynamic Enterpreneur Award Nikunj Kirtibhai Kanakia, Chairman/MD, Lifeline Industries Ltd, Infrastructure Co. of the year Sanjay Reddy, Vice-chairman of GVK Industries & MD of Mumbai International Airport Ltd, : CSR Woman of the year Ms Sudha Murthy, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation.
AAM ADMI – BEYOND ROTI, KAPDA & MAKAN
AN ORDINARY INDIAN – BEYOND BASIC NECESSITIES: 2011
Friday, 22nd April 2011 Hotel Leela, The Grand Ball Room Mumbai, India
The Indian economy is galloping at a breakneck speed and might even reach double-digit growth by 2013, feel Industry pundits & Economists. Many economists agree that the demographic dividend that India enjoys could see the country sustain its high growth rate for a long time to come. The India growth story is indeed enviable. Despite being plagued by myriad problems, India has emerged stronger and more resilient to any global crises so far. India is expected to be the world’s fastest growing economy by 2018, according to Economist Intelligence Unit, a research arm of the Economist magazine. But does this so-called growth reach Indians living at the lowest rung of the society, does 8-8.5 per cent rise in gross domestic product indicate better living conditions for the poorest of the poor? . What does aam aadmi feel about this development story so well publicized by the politicians, economists and media alike?. Well this is the State of Affairs & we at 2nd edition of India Leadership Conclave 2011 decided that this year’s theme has to deal with common man amidst the year marked by unpleasant & unholy nexus of Corruption & Policy Makers. Last Year, we had a economic theme in our first edition of ILC “ Will Resilent Indian Economy Bounce Back by 2010? & this year all our experts belived that it has to be Aam Admi, so, this year’s theme is “AAM ADMI ( AN ORDINARY INDIAN) – BEYOND ROTI, KAPDA & MAKAN ( BEYOND BASIC NECESSITIES) 2011 to be staged in India’s commercial capital Mumbai
At the India Leadership Conclave 2011, a wide range of new resources and thinking will be launched. Highlights include: the world’s largest study on CEO views on corporate responsibility today and in the future; a new “Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership”; sets of principles to guide commitment around women’s empowerment and social investment; tools and guidance for all of the Global Compact principle areas, as well as key topics such as supply chain and doing business in conflict-affected areas; and best practices in a range of areas to serve as inspiration for increased action. Future advances in global integration, poverty reduction, protection of our planet and, ultimately, peace critically depend on our ability to collectively address the most pressing global challenges. Accelerating the practice of corporate sustainability and responsibility is an urgent task in these complex times, when crises – from financial market break downs to environmental degradation – are increasingly global and connected. The stakes could not be higher, given that climate change threatens the security of food, water and energy – the interlocking resource pillars which underpin prosperity and the productivity of the economy. To bring about a new era of sustainability, business everywhere must put long-term considerations, comprehensive risk management and ethics at the top of the corporate agenda. The India Leadership Conclave 2011 seeks to maximize interaction between participants. For the majority of the Summit, including plenary sessions, participants will be seated at tables of approximately 10 people – consisting of leaders from a variety of stakeholder groups. Sessions will begin with a panel discussion conducted in “Question & Answer” style, to be followed by round-table discussions by participants. 2011 will mark a decade since world leaders committed to reduce extreme poverty and set out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015. Much remains to be done – especially with negative impacts from climate change, food crises and the global economic downturn turning back advances. Poverty is a profound threat to global security, interdependence and building strong markets. Business can and must strengthen its role in finding strategic and effective solutions to combat global poverty, hunger and disease.
Most young people in towns or villages are no longer resigned to their fates. This change is mainly propelled by some 350 million Indians between the ages of 16 and 35 — or some 35% of our population — who have mobiles in their hands and a motorcycle or car to ride. It is a revolution of impatient young people. Inspired by television, they want the good life and want it now. Many students disdain government colleges but head for private institutes teaching computers, technical skills and English. They seek employment in call centres or seek to ply their own small businesses as building or service contractors, small manufacturers, owners of roadside eateries or running repair shops. Seeking new opportunities, many migrate from villages to neighbouring towns, leaving the elderly behind. As they earn and spend more, there is an explosion of demand for articles of consumption. Their ambitions, triggered by TV and cinema, are both good and bad. That they still respect many of the underlying Indian values of family and religion is, of course, good. Their impatience and anger and their attraction to liquor, drugs and sex is, of course, not commendable. These young people want quick answers, a fast life and quick justice. This has huge political impact because India’s new youth have little time for the issues that so stirred their elders. They want stable economic progress where they can thrive. The Left are floundering precisely because the ideology of socialism is of little interest to them while the BJP is losing direction because Hindutva ideology offers few work opportunities. Regional languages are losing ground because they are not very useful for job opportunities. They know that Hindi and English are essential for jobs but a third language is an unproductive burden. They are not as strongly bound by caste as their elders used to be. With better education the lower castes also face fewer obstacles. Young men may be more outspoken but young women are no longer as submissive as their mothers had been. Girls want better education that can make them economically independent and free from bondage to caste or tradition. Many are increasingly assertive against forced marriages, dowry and other injustices. These young people do not respect the authority of the government because it represents the lazy, inefficient and corrupt world of thanedars, tehsildars, patwaris, doctors at primary health centres or teachers at village schools. They do not respect a legal system where the rich abuse the law to oppress the poor. They also have little time for their politicians because they regard all elected representatives as corrupt and and useless. They have moved beyond ‘roti, kapda and makaan’ and seek education and employment opportunities that can give them the good life. These millions constitute a huge pool of restless energy that lacks a direction. If they merely follow their movie role models they could become an angry, destructive lot. But if this energy could be productively channelised, it could accelerate India’s progress. With education and motivation, they could become a great economic asset as populations age in the US, China, Europe and Japan. But they need young leaders who understand them and who they can relate to.
India@58 is the theme at 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015
The Annual Leadership Conclave to debate Nation’s burning issues from world leaders, industry icons, Politicians, movie stars, rebels, peacemakers and social activists at Indian Affairs Conclave.
Sunday,10th May 2015, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The much awaited & Asia’s biggest meeting point for thought leadership conclave organized by Network 7 Media Group’s initiative from the nation’s most widely acclaimed news media India Affairs will host its 6th edition under the theme “India @ 58” : Learning Lessons From The Past And Restrategizing For The Future” at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 in Mumbai, India on Friday, the 21st August 2015 where top leaders from the various sections of the society will assemble to make an analysis of India’s journey from independence & the important milestones that the country has achieved since last 58 years & the areas where India has remained silent & unmoved & has given a big miss. Currently in its 6th year since the last five successful editions held annually uninterruptedly in key states of the country where the platform evoked great degree of interest & made headlines,the Conclave will be debated & discussed by the speakers of eminence from the world leaders, industry icons, Politicians, movie stars, rebels, peacemakers and social activists. The Grand Annual Affair of Indian Affairs Conclave has been a sold out event & attendance from over 350 delegates coming from india & across the globe. India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards 2015 is also keenly a awaited platform for its power brand awards called ILC Power Brands. From business to politics, cinema to sports & public service to social service, ILC Power Brand Awards are the most coveted prestigious & credible awards by an eminent panel of jury members, conferred to top leaders of the country. Iconic leaders like Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, late former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Priyanka Chopra, Kiran Mazumdar shaw, Narayan Murthy are few of the names who are the recipients of the awards in various categories.
Announcing the 6th edition of Indian Affairs India Leadership Conclave 2015, Satya Brahma, Chairman & Editor-In-Chief of Network 7 Media Group said “ The theme of the conclave “India @58” is a timely & an aptly subject as 58 years of india’s freedom from the British rule, the momentous march of india to be a self reliant state & a bigger force in the world has been a subject of discussion to many as history is repeated time & again of what India has achieved & missed. The debate is no longer to address on what india could possibly do in near future to emerge as a world Leader in the presence of total 196 countries but to introspect what india missed & the opportunities it lost for lack either of political will or merely an inability to compete & sustain as a emerging super power, the conclave’s aim is to focus on grey areas as well as red areas by the top leaders of the country. In a nation of 1.2 billion populations, India is still confronting the growing dissenting voices on cultural extremism, religious intolerance, terrorism, and decay in progress to tackle Maoist & Naxalite forces & even introspecting the historical blunders it committed over the last five decades. As a Nation, India has its own complex issues like any other country in dealing with healthcare affordability, unemployment, literacy, poverty, growing voices to free Indian system from the shackles of corruption, nepotism, redtapism & vip culture, but India seems to be heading for a momentous & historical reincarnation as the power of India as a bigger force both as a vibrant democracy & a resurgent economy. India is still to find a place in United Nation as a permanent member & dispel the forces that make india as a two states, one for affluent sections of the society & the other for a bigger chunk of population where roti, kapda & makan is still a realty. Scams after scams has paralyzed Indian growth & economy as power brokers continue to call the shots depriving the voices of million masses, it is time for India to discuss the roadmap for future, said Satya Brahma, Chairman of the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs business Leadership Awards 2015.
More than 300 industry leaders, diplomats, policy makers, social activists, business tycoons, rebel leaders are expected to attend the much awaited annual affair including delegates from the middle east, Europe & asean countries. The grand conclave ILC 2015 will also felicitate leaders & Companies for the remarkable performances for making india move, proud & prosper. Coinciding with the conclave, Network 7 Media Group will present leadership awards also called as ILC power brands in top categories in a glittering award ceremony.
India Leadership Conclave 2015 comes with a historic message as the world has started looking at India as a game-changer in the new world order. ILC POWER BRAND is an award winning & highly acclaimed annual mega leadership forum & an annual gatherings of the world’s biggest thought leaders from World leaders, industry icons, movie stars, and CEOs convene with artists, rebels, peacemakers to activists to voice out their opinions , speak out their minds without fear or favour at the prestigious platform from the illustrious organizers of the Conclave, the Network 7 Media Group, world’s most delimitative & credible news media born out of staggering india’s decay in economic prosperity, social inequality, cultural intolerance & inefficient & corrupt political leadership in the country. India to us is a passion & not a dream, a reality that is time tested & proven. Indian Affairs is the ink bringing together business and political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world to discuss India’s evolution into a prominent global economic power, and the key challenges which it still faces.The theme of the 2015 Conclave is “India @ 58 : learning lessons from the past and restrategizing for the future” to be held in the commercial capital of india, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India at Hotel Sahara Star on Friday the 21st Augst 2015.Since its inception in 2000, India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards also known as ILC POWER BRAND is asia’s most eagerly awaited prestigious meeting points where leaders across the society gather to speak, set the agenda into motion. Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Ratan Tata, Yash Chopra, Shobhaa De are among the very few names associated with the title. Historically the past editions has been high voltage debate-centric & are successfully organized with the media & analysts describing the multi-faceted significance of the event.
Why india is making a big noise on net neutrality,India is to grow its mobile internet user base to 173 million by June 2015!
The debate continues
Opposing camps pitch their views on what zero rating and differential access to the internet would mean in India
in an unparalleled, passionate campaign, India’s internet users have sent nearly 400,000 emails in the past three days asking the country’s telecom regulator to safeguard internet neutrality. The number of emails is expected to double in the coming days.
The regulator, Telecom Authority of India (TRAI), is currently being bombarded at the rate of 10,000 mails per minute through a campaign Savetheinternet.in set up by a chain of volunteers. The campaign is in response to TRAI soliciting public opinion on whether telecom firms, who are also India’s biggest internet service providers, can be allowed to charge different rates for different uses of internet data – for instance, email usage or internet browsing charged differently from usage of apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Skype.India is to grow its mobile internet user base to 173 million by June 2015.Along with hundreds of thousands of vociferous internet users, leading opposition politicians, actors and even stand-up comics are flooding the regulators’ inbox and egging on their followers to do so. A video campaign created by India’s best-known comedy group All India Bakchod has gone viral on social networks, its followers spewing ridicule against the regulator’s move.With the increasing penetration of smartphones, the number of mobile Internet users in India is expected to reach 213 million by June 2015, a 23% jump over six months, according to the Mobile Internet in India 2014 report released on Tuesday.There were 173 million mobile Internet users in India in December 2014. According to the report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (Iamai) and IMRB International (a market research firm), the number of mobile Internet users in rural India is set to grow at a rate of 33% from October 2014 to reach 49 million by March 2015 and 53 million by June 2015.Urban India, however, will continue to account for a large percentage of mobile Internet users across the country and is expected to reach 143 million by March 2015 and 160 million by June 2015, according to the report.The report reveals that for 74% of the mobile Internet users, the primary activity is to access email, followed by social networking, which is accessed by 61% of the mobile Internet users. Online chatting through instant messengers, watching videos, listening to music and navigation are some of the other activities common among users.The report also stated that the average monthly mobile bill for users has increased by 13% to Rs.439. The proportion of this amount spent on mobile Internet was 45% last year and has increased to 54% this year.The report finds that 63% of mobile Internet users spend betweenRs.101 and Rs.500 monthly on their mobile connection, 26% spend between Rs.501 toRs.1,000, and 7% spend less thanRs.100 every month.More than half of the mobile Internet users spend between Rs.101 andRs.500 every month in availing mobile Internet services.According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there were 935.4 million mobile connections in India as on 31 October 2014, up 0.55% from 930.2 million in September 2014.The Iamai-IMRB survey was conducted across 35 cities with more than one million population, including the eight large metros and smaller cities such as Coimbatore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ludhiana and Visakhapatnam.
Along with hundreds of thousands of vociferous internet users, leading opposition politicians, actors and even stand-up comics are flooding the regulators’ inbox and egging on their followers to do so. A video campaign created by India’s best-known comedy group All India Bakchod has gone viral on social networks, its followers spewing ridicule against the regulator’s move.“This is a shocking and totally unexpected response, we have never seen anything like this before on the Indian internet,” a campaign volunteer Kiran Jonnalagadda said. The intensity of the campaign demands that the telecom regulator and the government take notice, said Bangalore-based Jonnalagadda, founder of a platform for coders.
Net Neutrality, or the belief that internet service providers ought to treat all internet traffic on their networks as equal, became a hot discussion topic after the telecom authority began soliciting user opinion last month. On top of that, last week the country’s largest telecom provider, Airtel, launched Airtel Zero, a platform where companies that pay can have users browse their sites or use their apps for zero data charges i.e. free.Airtel Zero was widely slammed as an assault on net neutrality which could potentially smother startups and innovators as it unfairly pits them against players with deeper pockets who can tout their services for free. Thousands of internet users attacked Airtel for its discriminatory product which they said would un-level the playing field for smaller companies and stunt the growth of ecommerce in India.Airtel itself responded that Airtel Zero is ‘free’ to all consumers and open to all marketers, big or small. Since the launch of Airtel Zero on April 6, over 150 startups contacted have to inquire about the product, it said in a note, adding ‘…they will have an equal opportunity to run with the big boys..”
But such is the opposition to Airtel’s proposal that Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, which reportedly was looking to sign up for Airtel Zero, backtracked in the face of serious flak online. On Tuesday, Flipkart said in a statement that it would be ‘committing to the larger cause of Net Neutrality in India’ and would internally discuss details of the action it would take to support the cause.But Airtel is hardly alone in proposing such an idea. Internet.org, a Facebook initiative with several telecom operators, aims to develop new business models around internet access to the poor. The argument is that internet penetration in under-developed countries like India warrants huge investments in infrastructure and justifies the extra charges.
Should the Internet be touched? That’s one way to summarise the twenty questions the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the publicin a recent consultation paper. Most questions pertain to whether the hitherto unregulated over-the-top services, typically apps such as Skype and Facebook that ride on telecom networks, need regulation. Views have also been sought regarding net neutrality, the principle of data equality that has over the years ensured the Internet remained a level playing ground. TRAI will eventually take a call on whether India has to change its approach to Internet regulation. But isn’t the Internet perfect the way it is? Apparently not. At least that is what telecom companies believe. After spending billions of dollars in setting up infrastructure and bringing themselves under regulatory scrutiny, telecom companies can’t bear the fact that numerous applications ride on their networks for free. Some of the apps have millions of subscribers and command valuations of billions of dollars. Some like Skype and WhatsApp compete head on with the voice and messaging offerings of the telcos, who to be fair also need money to invest in building networks. Still, what’s not to be forgotten is that the telcos do benefit from the apps that piggyback on them. More app usage means more data consumed and more money inflow. Whether telcos are really aggrieved or not is debatable.
Even if they are, violating the core principle governing the Internet will be a disastrous way of delivering justice. For, the licence to violate net neutrality will mean telcos could now be in a position to ensure some sites are served faster than others. It could also mean it becomes costlier to use certain applications. Most importantly, it could endanger the very feature of the Internet that has over the years made it possible for countless start-ups, right from the Googles to the Flipkarts, to dream and act big. It’s well acknowledged that the Internet has disrupted the world of business like no other technology has in recent decades. It has helped start-ups with hardly any capital and clout to still make a mark. So by rejecting net neutrality, which will enable telcos to play the gatekeeper to a valuable resource, we will be shutting the door on the entrepreneurial aspirations of millions. That’s because the only way for them to compete with the big moneyed Internet players would be to match their spends to make the Internet work for them. The absence of net neutrality will definitely benefit the telcos while at the same time harming the market by unleashing monopolistic tendencies. Telcos don’t want to be dumb pipes that agnostically transfer data. The cost of their ambition will be the loss of the Internet’s openness.
The debate on net neutrality in India is playing out on the internet, social media, television and newspapers. On one side, there are telecom service providers who believe in services such as zero rating and sponsor-enabled free access to the internet for consumers; on the other, there are proponents of free and fair access to the internet who consider variable access as a violation of the principles of net neutrality.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has launched a consultation paper, inviting views from the public to analyse the implications of the growth of internet services, apps, over-the-top services (OTTs) and consider changes required in the current regulatory framework. To get both sides of the argument, Forbes India spoke to Rajan Mathews, director general at the Cellular Operators Association of India, and Pranesh Prakash, policy director at The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS), a Bangalore-based, non-profit, research and policy advocacy.Q. How are zero rating and net neutrality linked? And if they are separate issues, what differentiates them?
Rajan Mathews: Zero rating and net neutrality are two separate issues. Net neutrality is about not denying access, and about the absence of unreasonable differentiation on the part of network operators in transmitting internet traffic. Zero rating is when operators subsidise tariffs as a result of commercial arrangements with application providers who do not discriminate against the customer, but provide a benefit. Zero rating is not a net neutrality issue since access to all content and applications remains open. Such arrangements increase social welfare by transferring the cost of internet access from consumers to content providers. If a content provider deems its revenues to be substantial and wishes to engage in distribution arrangements with last-mile access providers to subsidise access to its services, it should be allowed to do so. Zero rating should be the customer’s choice.
Pranesh Prakash: The issues of net neutrality and zero rating are intrinsically linked. Zero rating is the practice of not counting certain traffic towards a subscriber’s regular internet usage. The motivations for zero rating are many. Unbundling is one. For example, a consumer wishes to use a WhatsApp pack as opposed to accessing WhatsApp through the regular internet pack. Self-interest is another: Showcase the internet’s value through cheap or free packs of certain internet services so that customers graduate to higher data packages.
All forms of zero rating—zero-priced, fixed-priced, subscriber-paid or internet service provider (ISP)-paid, content-based or content provider-based—have one thing in common: They are instances of discrimination on the network. This links it to net neutrality, which, at its core, is a question about discrimination by ISPs.
We shouldn’t only be focussed on the existing models of zero rating while regulating it, but also on the models that may emerge in the future.
Q. Zero rating is seen as an attempt to give internet access to millions of Indians who can’t afford an internet connection. Is there a different, but net-neutral, way to do this?
Mathews: Zero rating is [offered] in the nature of a subsidy, which is prevalent and practiced in all forms of businesses. For example, MS Office is available at different rates to different consumers such as homes and businesses, students and enterprises. It is for the consumer to choose which version to buy. The same should be applicable to telecom services as well.
Prakash: Just because something provides access to the bottom of the pyramid doesn’t make it something we should have. For example, predatory pricing is something that might benefit all subscribers in the short term but, over time, it harms the market, competition and consumers. Suppose all ISPs are mandated to provide internet for free to everyone; in the short run, everyone will get free internet but it’s not a sustainable business practice for ISPs. If free internet can be sustainably provided, that’s not harmful. The current debate is to evaluate if we can ensure a method where we can have competition while providing access to the bottom of the pyramid.
Pranesh Prakash, a graduate of Bengaluru’s National Law School, he is part of the founding team of The Centre for Internet & Society, of which he is now policy director. He is also the legal head of Creative Commons India and was an Access to Knowledge Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project
Q. Europe has different guidelines for net neutrality, while the US has its own version. Should India borrow the best of both regions or frame its own norms?
Mathews: We should refer to all the practices in various countries. However, the norms for the same [in India] need to be developed in consonance with the rules and regulations of the land, cultural practices and other factors pertinent to India. Trai is already working on the issue and the department of telecom (DoT) has formed a committee to evaluate, assess and provide its recommendations, which would be passed through the Telecom Commission, and eventually approved by the Cabinet.
Prakash: We can’t mix and match guidelines from other countries. While the principles that are invoked as we try to counter unjust discrimination by networks are, and should, apply equally throughout the world, how those principles apply to any particular region depends on a variety of criteria.
Net neutrality is, at the heart of it, a financial and economic issue. It might have important repercussions on freedom of speech and expression, and on privacy. Net neutrality is about the issue of settlement [of payment for data transfer] on the internet; it is the question of who should pay who and how much for transferring bytes.
And since the root conditions leading to network discrimination keep changing, our implementation should not be static; it should be periodically reviewed.
People have been discussing net neutrality since 2004-05, but today it has become a big issue worldwide because of the rise of video content providers like Netflix and YouTube.
Q. Do you believe that Trai should be the nodal body to decide on net neutrality, or should there be an autonomous body consisting of representatives of consumers, OTT players, internet and ecommerce companies, ISPs and telecom players who work with the DoT?
Mathews: Trai is a competent authority and has the requisite expertise to reconcile varied inputs from different stakeholders and come out with a balanced and effective recommendation on net neutrality. Further, a robust process is being put in place by the government to ensure that the matter is assessed with due diligence and in consideration of the Indian context, by reviewing the process at three stages—through the DoT, the Telecom Commission as well as the Cabinet. The joint efforts would be adequate to address this issue.
Prakash: Frankly, I don’t see the difference as the latter is precisely what the regulatory body is supposed to be doing. There are some who believe that Trai has been captured and is not a fair regulator anymore, and for those who have that view, they would see a clear difference. But if one doesn’t see Trai that way, these two are essentially the same situations. Lastly, while Trai might be the right body to regulate net neutrality (which, essentially, is a regulation of the actions of ISPs), it is not the ideal body to be regulating content providers (OTT players).
Q. We want internet access to be fair and free, but there is still ambiguity on the privacy and security issues related to information app creators and OTT players collect from users. Should this also be brought into the ambit of Trai consultation?
Mathews: Yes, it is essential to have these vital issues under the regulator’s authority. In its consultation paper, Trai has covered the issues of subscriber privacy and concerns regarding security. Further, all interested stakeholders are invited to provide their inputs to Trai which will evaluate them. We are hopeful that the same would be a part of Trai’s recommendations as well as the policy adopted by the government.
Prakash: No, they should not be brought under the ambit of Trai because they operate on a different layer. We, at CIS, had suggested that a separate office of a ‘Privacy Commissioner’ be set up in India to address some of these issues. Trai should not get into issues of content and content providers, etc, which it’s not well-equipped to regulate. It should stick to regulation of the carriers of telecommunication and not the regulation of what is being carried through the pipes. Unless there is a strong enough argument that it makes, which I haven’t seen so far, of functional equivalence of a few services, it is difficult to justify Trai getting into content regulation.
“If you’re an Internet Service Provider (ISP), then your job is to get the Internet to people. The Internet should be neutral, and you should not degrade any traffic, or charge more for any traffic, or prioritise any traffic.” Prasanna Gokhale couldn’t have said it in simpler terms if he tried. At a time when India is seeing widespread debate around net neutrality, the words of Gokhale, CTO of Bengaluru -based ISP ACT Fibernet, sound very reassuring as a customer.Ever since Airtel first announced its plan to charge extra for 3G data used for VoIP services like Skype, people have been paying more attention to the issue of net neutrality. So far, the debate has mostly centred on mobile Internet access. This has partly been because the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had been working on a set of draft guidelines for Over The Top (OTT) services – what we’d call apps and websites – and presented these for feedback last month.Over a million responses later, we are still no closer to a final resolution on the issue. However, many of the concerns that are being raised about wireless providers are equally applicable for wired broadband. Companies like Airtel and Reliance – for example – both have DTH networks and video distribution platforms, therefore in theory at least, something like YouTube affects their business in the same way.Because of this, it’s all the more important that our broadband providers make their position clear on the matter before things come to the same pass in that industry. Gokhale is very clear when talking to us that ACT Fibernet supports the idea of net neutrality. The only kind of traffic management he says the company supports is data usage packages (called fair usage policy or FUPs by some ISPs) – where your maximum access speed is throttled after you have used a certain limit of data.”It is a standard model for India, and one that is well understood by the customer,” says Gokhale. “We are able to give people a good service at a reasonable cost by doing this.” And compared to most other companies’ packages, ACT’s broadband packages are actually much more affordable.
Aside from ACT Fibernet, so far one other ISP has also spoken out in support of net neutrality. In its feedback to Trai, Citycom networks (better known as Spectranet) outright states that it is too early to regulate OTTs, argues that if regulation and interference is kept to a minimum then we will see more innovation from OTTs and thus greater revenue from data. It’s a fantastic response, and well worth reading in its entirety.Compare that to the responses companies like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea or Reliance Communications have stated in their responses to Trai’s draft proposal, and you can see that most Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are not on the same page as Gokhale.ACT Fibernet itself is unfortunately not so well known in many parts of India. The company offers its services in just six cities in Southern India – Bengaluru, Chennai, Nellore, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, and Eluru – and Gokhale tells us that growing into new markets is a slow process that will take time. In fact, given ACT’s very reasonable plans (in Chennai, a 20Mbps plan with a 60GB limit costs Rs. 1,099. On Airtel, a 16Mbps plan with a 35GB limit costs Rs. 1,649) when compared to other providers, we had to ask Gokhale whether ACT Fibernet has any plans to expand to Delhi now. He laughed and said that people always ask him about coming to Delhi and Mumbai, but added that at present, the company was going to continue to expand in the South.
As the name suggests, ACT Fibernet uses fibre-optic cables to deliver Internet access to its customers. In contrast, most established companies use a technology called DSL that uses the regular copper line of your phone, Gokhale explains. Fibre allows for much faster connections, and is also free of electro-magnetic interference, according to Gokhale.”With DSL, the upload speeds are also much slower, it is a technological limitation,” he explains. “The real advantage of fibre is that it is scalable. Today we are offering plans from 20Mbps to 100Mbps, but over time, we will be able to offer even greater speeds with the same cable. On the other hand, the DSL connections can’t get faster.”
This is why DSL providers are also starting to invest in installing fibre-optic cables, and bringing these services in other parts of the country. That doesn’t mean that ACT is going to rush to gain a presence all over India just yet.”To build the network, there is a lot of investment needed,” says Gokhale. “You have to basically dig up the place, and lay the cable and this is not an easy process. We have gained a level of expertise in doing this, but if you try and expand too fast then you won’t be able to ensure quality of service.”
This is another important point that the TSPs could stand to learn from ACT Fibernet – especially at a time when practically half the mobile Internet users say that the experience between 2G and 3G connections is indistinguishable.Hopefully, companies like ACT Fibernet and Spectranet will stick to their beliefs when the debate shifts from wireless broadband to all ISPs, so that we as customers have viable alternatives to switch to if we feel we need to do so.The idea of net neutrality or free and equal Internet to all has garnered wide attention from across the globe. While countries like the US, Chile, Netherlands and Brazil have already adopted net neutrality that doesn’t allow discrimination of Internet content or charge users differently based on the content, site, or platform they consume, back home the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also asked for mass feedback to help formulate regulations that could change the way Indian netizens consume the Web in the near future.While consumers appear to be majorly in favour of net neutrality, telecom companies are up in arms against the concept owing to the notion that bringing equality of Internet would cut down on their prospective revenue from the OTT services that are offered through their network, including apps such as WhatsApp, Flipkart, Skype, etc.
Below is the timeline of the landmarks in the net neutrality debate in India:
The debate on net neutrality in India
While consumers appear to be majorly in favour of Net Neutrality, telecom companies against it as bringing equality of Internet would cut down on their prospective revenue from the OTT services.In 2006, TRAI had invited opinion regarding the regulation of net neutrality from various telecom operators.In February 2012, Airtel chief, Sunil Bharti Mittal, suggested that services like YouTube should pay an interconnect charge to network operators. In July same year, the company reiterated that large Internet companies like Google and Facebook should share their revenue with telecom companies for allowing their services for free to the users.In February 2014, Airtel again raised the proposal of regulating apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Line. However, TRAI rejected the proposal.On March 27, 2015, TRAI, published a ‘Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services’ consultation paper, which is a 117-page document describing what net neutrality in India would mean and how it’ll impact the way we consume the Internet today. The deadline for comments is April 24.On April 6, 2015, Airtel launched its open marketing platform, Airtel Zero, aimed at offering free access only to certain apps. The platform received flak for splitting the Internet into paid and free where Internet companies pay money to Airtel to allow users to get free Internet. While Airtel has widely defended its platform for being akin to the working of a toll-free number, where the caller doesn’t pay but the company which uses the marketing tool does.On April 11, 2015, India’s comedy collective, AIB, posted a video on YouTube, decoding Net Neutrality and urging Indian netizens to support the cause and spread the word. The video questions the legitimacy of regulation OTT services based on the 1885 Indian Telegraph Act. It asks Indian netizens to demand for equality and freedom of using the Internet by sending an email to TRAI through www.savetheinternet.in and stop the regulation of the Internet services.On April 14, 2015, Flipkart pulled out of Airtel Zero over row of protests against net neutrality abuse. The e-commerce platform said that it will commit to the larger interest of the public and walk away from Airtel’s controversial platform. Following that, Airtel tried to clear misconceptions about its new platform, saying that it was not a tariff proposition but an open marketing platform.On April 15, 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed that his internet.org initiative, which has been recently launched in India, did not abuse net neutrality and was aimed at providing access to those communities and places where basic Internet is not available. The same day, online travel services provider Cleartrip pulled out of internet.org citing growing protests against the issue.On April 17, 2015, speculations arose over Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Zero allegedly violating net neutrality. Under Wikipedia Zero, users can access Wikipedia on Wikimedia’s partner networks without having to pay for data usage. The service was launched in 59 countries with 67 operators that is said to allow 400 million people access to Wikipedia free of data charges.On April 19, 2015, Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal sent emails to customers to clear the company’s stand on net neutrality and defend Airtel Zero platform. The same day, Industrial body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) reaffirmed its support for ‘net neutrality’, but also made a strong pitch for ‘net equality’ that will enable access to Internet for a billion Indians as part of the governments digital India vision.On April 22, 2015, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi moved adjournment motion in Lok Sabha demanding debate on net neutrality.TRAI will record public comments on the issue by April 24 and counter-comments by May 8. As the date draws to a close, end users are mulling what shape the final verdict will take possibly upturning the way people have known the digital form of communication.What is your stand in this debate? Do you think net neutrality should stay as it is and allow you to continue using the Internet like you have been from the last 20 years? Or should telecom operators be given opportunities to earn more returns on the investments they have made? Let us know in the comments.
If you like the current state of the internet, you should know about net neutrality. If you are not aware of it, don’t worry.
Internet is built around the idea of openness. It allows people to connect and exchange information freely, if the information or service is not illegal. Much of this is because of the idea of net neutrality. If you like the current state of the internet, you should know about net neutrality. Many web users are aware of it. But if you are not, don’t worry. We explain it here:
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is an idea derived from how telephone lines have worked since the beginning of the 20th century. In case of a telephone line, you can dial any number and connect to it. It does not matter if you are calling from operator A to operator B. It doesn’t matter if you are calling a restaurant or a drug dealer. The operators neither block the access to a number nor deliberately delay connection to a particular number, unless forced by the law. Most of the countries have rules that ask telecom operators to provide an unfiltered and unrestricted phone service.When the internet started to take off in 1980s and 1990s, there were no specific rules that asked that internet service providers (ISPs) should follow the same principle. But, mostly because telecom operators were also ISPs, they adhered to the same principle. This principle is known as net neutrality. An ISP does not control the traffic that passes its servers. When a web user connects to a website or web service, he or she gets the same speed. Data rate for Youtube videos and Facebook photos is theoretically same. Users can access any legal website or web service without any interference from an ISP.Some countries have rules that enforce net neutrality but most don’t. Instead, the principle is followed because that is how it has always been. It is more of a norm than a law.
How did net neutrality shape the internet?
Net neutrality has shaped the internet in two fundamental ways.
One, web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves. For example, you can criticize your ISP on a blog post and the ISP will not restrict access to that post for its other subscribers even though the post may harm its business.But more importantly, net neutrality has enabled a level playing field on the internet. To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users. Unlike the cable TV where you have to forge alliances with cable connection providers to make sure that your channel reaches viewers, on internet you don’t have to talk to ISPs to put your website online.This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services. All of these services had very humble beginnings. They started as a basic websites with modest resources. But they succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way.
What will happen if there is no net neutrality?
If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power (and inclination) to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make.Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist. Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers. For example, if you pay Rs 500, you will only be able to access websites based in India. To access international websites, you may have to pay a more. Or maybe there can be different connection speed for different type of content, depending on how much you are paying for the service and what “add-on package” you have bought.Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web. It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites. Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that.Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs.
What is the state of net neutrality in India?
Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. Sunil Abraham, director of Centre for internet and Society in Bangalore, says that Trai, which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times. For example it invited comments on the concept of net neutrality from industry bodies and stakeholders in 2006. But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality.However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality. There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between.
Will the concept of net neutrality survive?
Net neutrality is sort of gentlemen’s agreement. It has survived so far because few people realized the potential of internet when it took off around 30 years ago. But now when the internet is an integral part of the society and incredibly important, ISPs across the world are trying to get the power to shape and control the traffic. But there are ways to keep net neutrality alive.Consumers should demand that ISPs continue their hands-off approach from the internet traffic. If consumers see a violation of net neutrality, they ought to take a proactive approach and register their displeasure with the ISP. They should also reward ISPs that uphold the net neutrality.At the same time, as Abraham says, Trai needs to come out with a set of clear and precise rules that protect the net neutrality. “We have started seeing ISPs trying to take control of the traffic that flows from their servers but Trai can regulate them. It can keep the internet open and consumer-friendly by forming rules that protect net neutrality. These are early days so it is easy to do. If ISPs manage to change the system, it may become too late,” he says.
Monica Lewinsky recently gave a TED Talk in which she called herself “Patient Zero” for online bullying and shaming. Lewinsky says before her affair with former President Bill Clinton, the media landscape was quite different. She claims that she was the first person to truly experience online global public shaming, which has now become the norm. Lewinsky notes that she is now working as a social advocate to create a safer and more compassionate social media environment. In the TED Talk, Lewinsky notes that she made a big mistake. However, she questions, “Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?” Lewinsky says that she is constantly reminded of her indiscretion and that she regrets her actions deeply. However, she says that what the media did to her was unprecedented at the time and ultimately set the stage for what was to come in the world in regards to online bullying and public shaming.
“Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply… In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before. It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world.”
Lewinsky says she was “Patient Zero” for the new phenomena of losing a reputation almost instantly via lighting-fast internet news and communications.
“I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.”
Lewinsky is hoping to now use her unique story to push for a more compassionate social media environment and to help victims of online shaming overcome the obstacles in front of them. What do you think of Monica Lewinsky’s new position as an advocate to end cyber bullying? Is she a good role model for victims of shaming, or is she stepping out into the spotlight now due to Clinton’s name being thrust back into the spotlight?
Here’s a look at some of the most high profile TV interviews in recent history.
Bill and Hillary Clinton on “60 Minutes” in 1992
The couple submitted to questions by Steve Kroft when allegations that Bill Clinton had an affair with Gennifer Flowers threatened to wreck his presidential ambitions.
The couple held hands at times as Bill Clinton denied he had an affair with Flowers. Clinton refused to say whether he had ever had an affair.
The interview appeared to salvage Clinton’s campaign, but perhaps the most quoted line of the interview came when Hillary Clinton said, “I’m not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”
Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, 1993
In the early 1990s, two of the biggest names in pop culture, Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, came together for an in-depth interview that let viewers get a glimpse of the life of the King of Pop.
The live interview brought in 90 million viewers worldwide as Winfrey interviewed the musician at his Neverland estate.
Jackson, who avoided media attention at the time, opened up to Winfrey about rumors surrounding his life, childhood, and revelations regarding his skin pigmentation disorder.
Hugh Grant and Jay Leno, 1995
British actor Hugh Grant had just being arrested for soliciting a prostitute – shocking his then-girlfriend Liz Hurley – and people wanted to hear what he had to say for himself. A humiliated Grant appeared on “The Tonight Show” in 1995 just weeks after the arrest.
Jay Leno most famously asked the actor, “What the hell were you thinking?”
The interview would also go on to be a symbolic moment in late night seeing that it was the first time Leno beat his late night-rival David Letterman in ratings.
Barbara Walters and Monica Lewinsky, 1999
In one of the most watched specials in TV history, Barbara Walters spoke with Monica Lewinsky for a special “20/20” event on ABC.
The 1999 interview reached 74 million viewers as Lewinsky talked about her relationship with President Bill Clinton — a scandal that threatened to bring down the president.
During the interview, Walters asked pointed questions that ranged from Lewinsky’s feelings for Clinton to how the scandal began.
LeBron James and “The Decision,” 2010
In 2010, sports fans were drawn to TV not for a game, but for an announcement from the NBA’s biggest star.
Nearly 10 million watched as LeBron James told sports reporter Jim Gray that he was “taking his talents to South Beach,” announcing on ESPN that he was leaving Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat.
James eventually returned to the Cavaliers, but “The Decision” was a media event that instantly became a much talked about pop culture moment.
Amanda Knox and Diane Sawyer, 2013
Primetime event interviews are nothing new to Diane Sawyer.
In 2013, the ABC anchor spoke with Amanda Knox, the college student who was exonerated of murder charges after spending four years in Italy, during a special titled “Murder. Mystery. Amanda Knox Speaks.”
The interview brought in 8.5 million viewers, and was the first time Knox had broken her silence on TV regarding allegations that she had murdered her roommate in Italy.
Lance Armstrong and Oprah, 2013
Billed as a “no-holds-barred” interview, cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he did use banned substances during his historic seven Tour de France titles.
The interview, which was spread out over two nights, brought in big numbers for Winfrey’s cable network, OWN, with 3.2 million watching on the first night.
The Planning Commission has been abolished. A new body in its place has been set up – the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. Fresh responsibilities, too, have been outlined for the NITI Aayog, indicating what kind of role it could play in the coming months. But more significant and revealing are the details in the Expenditure Budget for 2015-16 that show the government’s financial allocations for the NITI Aayog.
First, it would be interesting to take a look at the new set of responsibilities for the NITI Aayog. The overall task of setting national development priorities with the active involvement of states has been entrusted to the new body. It is expected to foster cooperative federalism and prepare credible plans at the village level and aggregate them progressively at higher levels of the government. There is also a hint that the new body would provide support to the government through its advice and research work and even build itself to be a think tank.
All this might appear a little vague. But what could provide some clarity are the two words that have been used by the government in articulating the new responsibilities of the NITI Aayog. And these are: Plan and states. What this means is that whatever else the NITI Aayogmay be doing, it surely will continue to both formulate plans and engage with the states. What these plans would be and what the nature of engagement with states would be are issues that the NITI Aayog will have to work out. Similarly, the government will have to decide if it would permit the NITI Aayog to determine the allocation of central resources to states or act as a forum of discussion of Centre-state issues.
It, therefore, appears that the NITI Aayog will not be completely different from what its predecessor was. There are other indications as well that support such an assessment. For instance, even though the Planning Commission has been abolished, the planning ministry continues to remain in existence. You might wonder what the need for a planning ministry would be when the government has bid goodbye to the planning era. And an even more important question: What role would a full-fledged minister for planning play when there is no Planning Commission?
Probably, restructuring institutions are easier than reforming the council of ministers. One possible reason for retaining the planning minister could be to have a person who could be present in Parliament to address questions and issues concerning the NITI Aayog. If that is the only reason for having a planning minister, then why not have the prime minister, who is the chairman of the NITI Aayog, or a minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office to do that job in Parliament? Or has planning not been completely abandoned?
Controversies have also surfaced over the status of the vice-chairman and members of the NITI Aayog. It appears even as its vice-chairman will enjoy the rank of the Cabinet minister, his pay and perquisites will be equivalent only to those offered to a Cabinet secretary. Likewise, its members will enjoy the rank of a minister of state but their salaries will be the same paid to a secretary in the Union government. What does it mean for the NITI Aayog vice-chairman’s status as a permanent invitee to the Cabinet meetings? Remember that the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission was an invitee to all such Cabinet meetings.
Equally interesting is the financial outlay for the NITI Aayog’s secretariat for this year, estimated at Rs 52 lakh, compared to Rs 42 lakh spent on the secretariat of the Planning Commission in 2014-15 and Rs 25 lakh in 2013-14. The overall expenditure on the NITI Aayog for this year would be around Rs 88 crore, compared to Rs 93 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 78 crore in 2013-14. So, what is going on about institutional reform? And where are the financial savings that the creation of a leaner body like the NITI Aayog was to have generated?
The government has of course saved some money by doing away with the Independent Evaluation Office that was set up in 2011-12 to assess the effectiveness of the government’s flagship development programmes. Have the flagship programmes too been wound up? Not really, even though the funding pattern for some of them has changed and the states have been asked to cough up more on financing some of them. So, who will evaluate these programmes?
In short, whatever role the government may want the NITI Aayog to play, it should articulate it more clearly. Equally important, there is an urgent need for some reforms of the council of ministers and the rules of business framed by the government for the NITI Aayog.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Initiatives
It took all of four months. Puttamraju Kandriga has gone from being a slummy village to a modern miracle after it was adopted by cricketer-turned-MP Sachin Tendulkar. Concrete roads with tiled pavements, an underground sewage network with a treatment plant, storm-water drains, 24-hour water and power supply, a playground, a community hall…this Andhra Pradesh hamlet about 150 km north of Chennai, with infrastructure that many an Indian city may be proud about, is quite unlike any other in the region or probably even the State.
Says the Master Blaster: “We plan to do much more.”
It was last November that Sachin stepped in to adopt the village under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a month earlier. Unlike other similar high-profile village adoptions where work is yet to begin on the ground, a lot has already been accomplished in this village thanks to quick decisions and constant supervision. Puttamraju Kandriga is a sleepy little village with just 399 people living in 110 houses. Predominantly made up of Backward Class/ST below-poverty-line families, the people make a living from growing red chillies and lime.
“We had no roads, no toilets in our homes nor did we have running water and uninterrupted power supply till Sachin adopted our village. Today, we have all of those along with excellent roads,” says Bhaskar Rao, a chilli farmer-resident, with a mix of happiness and pride.
The model village is a joint effort of the local administration and Sachin who has contributed ₹2.79 crore from the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds, while the Government has sanctioned ₹3 crore. “I’m proud that we have been able to provide basic necessities of life such as running water on tap at home and toilets,” Sachin told BusinessLine over phone from Mumbai.
Asked why he chose this village and not one in his home State, Sachin replied: “Puttamraju Kandriga is also in India. I’ve received support from all over India. Wherever I went I was showered with love and affection which means a lot to me.”
Chhavi Rajawat: The woman sarpanch who transformed her village
For some people goals and aspirations never end and the quest for life goes on. Chhavi Rajawat, a merit finder and an optimist who came out of the box of monotony and went back to her village in Rajasthan to bring about the concept of management to sort out the problems existing there. Born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Chhavi is from a small village called Soda in Malpura tehsil, Tonk district. She did her schooling from Rishi Valley School (Andhra Pradesh) and Mayo College (Ajmer), and went to Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi for graduation. An MBA graduate, Chhavi utilizes her business management degree to take care of her village better.
Before switching her focus towards Soda village, she worked with five companies with various capacities. And today she is accumulating all her experience and applying on the welfare of the village as aSarpanch. Apart from sorting out various disputes among the farmers and villagers, she is also taking note of the unemployment issues and kind of facilities provided to the villagers of Soda. Chhavi heads the NREGA meetings in the village and believes in taking crucial steps which would help the village to come forward. Besides being the sarpanch of Soda, Chhavi also runs a hotel that family owns in Jaipur and a horse riding academy.
She also undertook the water conservation project which includes digging afresh and strengthening of the reservoir covering an area of 100 acres. According to her, there are numerous problems and issues in the village which needs to be resolved.
About the panchayat, it is actually a gram-swaraj where the sarpanch is not really a sarpanch. His post is just for namesake. There is a lack of funds and no powers that a panchayat can use for the welfare purpose. The villagers completely depend on the district level government officials. These officials and local politicians are bribe feeders and eaters and thrive on casteism. Therefore without any legal documents or proofs, the legal issues remain tied up in files for years. The only authority a panchayat has is listing down the proposals of projects that village has to undertake. This is then sent to the District headquarters for approval and sanctions.
The estimated cost of the water conservation project is 3.5 crores. The reason the state government gave for not funding this project is that it prohibits the usage of machinery for therural development. All the water in the village is declared unsafe owing to high levels of natural contamination from fluoride, chloride and other minerals and salinity. Due to the saline nature, the water is not fit for irrigation also. This unsafe water is showing its effects on village kids who most of them are suffering from dental fluorosis. Therefore rainwater is the only source of safe water available in the village. Prior to 2010, Soda has been declared as the drought hit zone which got relief in 2010 after 14 years.
In villages, agriculture is the only source of income which is seasonal. Thus even those who are above poverty line cannot afford to shell out money to construct toilets and take sanitation measures.
Children education in Soda is hindered by the government for not providing options of subjects in which they are interested in. This makes young children indifferent towards their studies and hence they tend to give up.
According to Chhavi, water conservation project was there top priority, hence now it is running successfully and independently under her assistance and due to the honest effort of villagers ofSoda.
Lack of proper sanitation was another issue in Soda, which Chhavi and the villagers are overcoming by seeking funds to build toilets in each and every home in the village (i.e., 1000 households cost per toilet being Rs.500). Apart from this, solar electricity is also promoted in soda village which is a great help to them. If one has to bring some positive change, one has to work very hard in every direction, Chhavi is trying to change mindsets. “Villagers have got used to not working and taking the partial payments for NREGA, I have to change that, I go for surprise visits and give them a scolding or two if they are not working”, says Chhavi. With the help of NREGA and various NGOs, she is focusing on bringing about job opportunities and safe drinking water in the village which is the major concern. She is also involved in improving the education facilities in the village.
Working hard with the villagers of Soda, Chhavi says that she is used to rural life as she grew up playing with kids of farmers. Soda is her home and she believes in doing every good thing for the village welfare. Chhavi took the whole responsibility of the village and says she is paying her debt to the village she grew up in. Villagers of Soda consider Chhavi as their daughter and trust her skills. Girls of the village want to be like her and get inspiration from her work.
More than 90 percent of the educated and skilled people live in cities and become a part of a rat race. And out of that 90 percent educated 20-30 percent settle abroad to make money. They forget the very fact that our country needs them. Chhavi Rajawat is out of those 10 percent educated personalities who give up their comforts and glamorous city lives and work for the cause of welfare of the country and her village Soda. Chhavi Rajawat is an angel of the Soda village and the villagers. At this point of time, the people of Soda not only appreciate her but also feel proud of them. Now Chhavi resides in the Soda village itself and takes all the crucial responsibilities for the improvement of the system which a village sarpanch should take. Chhavi proved to be a heritage saver by being a merit finder which became a boon for Soda village.
Recasting India is about how a set of exceptional individuals, ideas are catalysing social and economic changes in India
After the deluge of daily negativity of the Indian media, a cheerful and thought-provoking account of grassroots transformations in the country cannot but come as a relief. Journalist-author Hindol Sengupta’s Recasting India, a book about how a set of exceptional individuals and entrepreneurial ideas are catalysing socio-economic transitions in far flung parts of India, is a splendid change, invigorating, effervescent and crammed with dramatic insights.
The book suggests that India is transforming in small but profound ways with incremental changes that have the potential of turning exponential. The basis of this optimistic book is the author’s concept of Per Capita Hope, which he believes is hidden by a “narrow focus on GDP”.
A more powerful phenomenon, he writes, is “the new found freedom from anxiety and a constant sense of being held back, the paranoia of failure and the humiliation of class that millions of Indians have been freed from. No longer was success the exclusive privilege of the wealthy, I argued.
Liberalisation had had an equalising, democratising role; it had allowed all of us to dream and then try to become. It had given us Per Capita Hope.”
Hope is what this book is all about; the process of transformation explained through 10 heart-warming stories of change. The book leads us away from the new glass and aluminium citadels of progress to the lanes of city slums and backward rural alleys where more profound transformations are at work.
Most of the book is about entrepreneurship at the micro level and how this process is not only generating money and raising incomes but also gradually levelling social inequalities and promoting what the author calls a democracy of everyday experience.
One story talks about a village called Hiware Bazar in Maharashtra. “As an Indian, with years of having travelled in and visited Indian villages — often utterly foul and despondent places — coming to Hiware Bazar is almost surreal”, the author writes.
“A few kilometres from Ahmednagar, the car turns into a small lane and then into fields where roads don’t exist at all. All very classic rural India until all of a sudden, a few metres from the village, a well-paved, bump-free road pops up again. This leads straight into a village that, in fact, does not look like an Indian village at all.”
Hiware Bazar today has solar lighting, a sewage disposal system, uncontaminated ground water, clean white washed village office, prosperity and best of all, a new found dignity. Not too many years ago it was just another poverty stricken rural dead end. It is not merely change that makes this village unique but how this transformation occurred thanks to a commerce post-graduate who returned to his village.
Popatrao Pawar, son of a wrestler, returned to Hiware Bazar after completing his masters from Pune University and was elected village sarpanch or headman.
He correctly identified water shortage to be the reason for their misery and began a water conservation programme through cooperative action and existing government development programmes.
Pawar said he spotted the missing link in the problem. “We had to conserve our most precious resource — water. Everything else flowed from there.” His water conservation projects, which meant repair of eroded forest land, building of water harvesting structures and conservation of the village watershed area, not only sent agricultural production skyrocketing but also changed the lives of hundreds of women previously condemned to a life searching for clean drinking water.
Not surprisingly, per capita income in the village has soared from `832 to more than `30,000; just three families in the village are below the poverty line compared to more than 90 per cent earlier.
Life too is far better; cleanliness has meant the end to mosquitoes and flies, money has built a properly staffed village health centre, a proper school and toilets in every house. The story illustrates how a single idea from a single social entrepreneur has the power to change hundreds of lives.
The stories are compelling not merely because they talk of far reaching change in the lives of thousands of ordinary Indians but also because they are so different from the usual drivel churned out by the mainstream media.
The book is a quick and easy read, which is only to be expected from a business journalist like Sengupta, who clearly has travelled widely and looked closely at some of the myriad socio-economic process at work in this country. His emphasis in this book is on how transformative entrepreneurship in this country is capable of being: “Of course entrepreneurship is not a magic wand — it will not solve everything, nor will it solve things instantaneously. But business has — largely — never been thought of as part of the solution in India.”
With this book it is perhaps time to give that notion another thought.