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How Electoral Bonds Compromised Quality | Jail Pass?

Matu 22

“I’m Apolitical” – lately, a prevalent response to the question “Do you follow the country’s politics”. An unresponsive mass hands the country and its resources into the clutches of predators. This is the trend observed as one peruses through the Electoral Bond data released by the ECI.

Explainer: Why SBI wants four months to furnish Electoral Bonds data

Source: The New Indian Express

Albeit the crux of the issue has persisted for the greater part of India’s administrative history, the wall between a citizen and the administration is thicker than ever.

As the media shouts extolment passed off in the name and spirit of heterodoxy, here’s how our everyday lives fell prey. The following read intends to explore the day-to-day ramifications of letting authority go unchecked, perhaps due to the lack of interest and education, or worse, conflict of interest.

  1. Losar H by Torrent Pharma – a widely prescribed pill for blood pressure regulation, the same pill happens to be one of the permanent residents in my mother’s pill caddy.
  • In 2018, Torrent Pharma’s antiplatelet medicine Deplatt-150 had failed the salicylic acid test and was declared substandard by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration.
  • In September 2019, Torrent Pharma’s drug Losar H, was found to be substandard by the Gujarat Food and Drug Administration.
  • In October 2019, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to the firm for repeated quality-related failures at its manufacturing unit.
  • In December 2021, Torrent Pharma’s drug Nicoran LV, for heart diseases, failed to meet standards when tested by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration.
  • In February 2023, Torrent Pharma’s Lopamide , for diarrhea, failed the dissolution test and was found substandard.

Though it could lead to the suspension of a company’s manufacturing license, the Gujarat government did not take any action against the pharmaceutical company.

Total donations – 91, value – Rs 77.5 crore.

Similar trend could be observed in the cases of Hetero labs and Hetero Healthcare, Zydus Healthcare, Glenmark, Cipla, IPCA laboratories limited, and Intas Pharmaceuticals.

Poor people are in fact more likely to face ill health, but the rich are significantly more likely to be hospitalized than the poor, in my conversations with such households, I found out that most of these households seek advices from the local pharmacist, and use such medicine without a doctor’s consultation or prescription.

Though this is a problem in itself which has to be dealt systematically, the least a government along with its regulatory bodies could do is protect its citizens from subpar and harmful medication. Make sure that the medicines hitting the market are safe and effective.

  1. In November of 2023, a total of 41 workers were trapped for 16 days after a portion of the under-construction Silkyara-Barkot tunnel collapsed in Uttarakhand.

The said tunnel is being constructed by the Hyderabad based Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd (NEC).

Silkyara tunnel collapse: 6-inch-wide pipe reaches trapped labourers;  rescuers say now will go with 'full force' - The Economic Times

Source: Economic Times

NEC purchased 55 electoral bonds of ₹ 1 crore each between April 19, 2019 and October 10, 2022; donated the entire amount to the BJP, as per the data released by the Election Commission.

It is interesting to note that the rat-miners, garnered praise for their herculean efforts to rescue the trapped workers. The leader of the group, Vakeel Hassan, had his home in New Delhi razed by a bulldozer for being built in an unauthorized manner.

This chaos shows the inability of the government to keep the veil of social harmony intact, which is again another discussion altogether perhaps a more important one.

  1. Recently at the India Today conclave 2024, The vice chairperson, Kalli Puri implicitly shared her views on Media in India, she said “The media cannot play the role of the opposition. Expecting it to do it leads to unfair charges of Godi or Modi media,… If the opposition is in disarray, the media cannot be blamed for it. We cannot present another side if it doesn’t exist. We are observers in this boxing match. We are not the players.”

She added, “This is not about fear. This is a matter of rules, roles and competence. We are the medium, we are not the message.”

To be crude, press and media holds rich history of bringing about the change. Speaking up on behalf of the people whose voices go unheard, speaking truth to the power and holding the power accountable. This should be the soul and spirit of journalism.

Home minister Amit Shah and Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman were in attendance at the event, during their respective interviews, they seemed upset that they needed to be answerable for the Electoral bonds data, Amit shah misled the crowd with fallacies and wrong data. No follow up questions were asked.

Recently the NBDSA – The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority fined Aaj Tak over Anchor Sudhir Chaudhary’s ‘Tukde Tukde’, ‘Khalistani’ remarks against Obama, and penalised the channel over the anchor’s ‘Love Jihad’ shows.

The NBDSA penalized some television channels and ordered the removal of certain programmes from their websites citing their propagation of ‘hatred and communal disharmony’ as being ‘not in good taste’. – Deccan Herald

The Indian mainstream media has completely stopped asking any valid questions to the authority, and instead are walking our democracy backwards one show at a time. Although this is a huge discussion on its own, I feel the importance to share an interesting interaction.

As I spoke to a cab driver, he eloquently presented PM Modi as the best thing to have ever happened to India, not opposing the idea, I asked him to be specific as to what achievements of the beloved leader did, he find himself drawn to the most, he failed to answer. I followed it up trying to understand how did he come to this conclusion. His answer indicated Ad populum fallacy propagated in our newsrooms.

This interaction shows the persuation media has on the views of an average Indian. An average Indian does not question the credibility of a Newsroom. He accepts the information without protest, he trusts the media to speak the absolute truth. He does not feel the need to do his own research to understand and comprehend what’s being fed to him.

The Newsrooms rarely discuss issues like Unemployment, Education, and Healthcare. I rarely come across newsroom discussions that cover Manipur, Ladakh or any major protests. The media today fails an average Indian by blatantly spreading fake news, morphed stories, and propaganda rich soups of chaos damaging the social harmony of the country.

As of today, a responsible media seems like a far-fetched dream and with-it comes the exploitation of the vulnerable.


This Article was Originally Written By Sneha Alkur.

Read Also:

Electoral Bonds: How Unconstitutional? Why Controversial?

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