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Ambush marketing in sports and sporting events: Ethical or unethical?

Ambush marketing has been a topic of huge controversy. Lack of judicial mechanism to regulate unfair marketing strategies has kept the perpetrators at ease from any punishment. However, with the increase in popularity of sports and competition amongst various brands for sponsorship rights, a proper governance mechanism related to ambush marketing needs to be framed.

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Modern day sporting events often fall under the category of multi-billion-dollar ventures and attract a lot of revenue as well as viewership from across the globe. In the world of sports, there are several instances wherein the ethos and integrity of any sporting event or tournament are questioned. Even though sports have many significant problems such as doping, match-fixing and corruption, one such sporting issue which does not attract much attention is ambush marketing. Ambush marketing is slowly becoming a major issue in the world of sport. In friendly and competitive sports, the competition amongst the global businesses to associate themselves with the sport has given rise to ambush marketing and trademark infringement.

WHAT IS AMBUSH MARKETING?

Ambush marketing is a concept wherein an entity or a business attempts to capitalize on a cheap marketing opportunity by trying to associate itself with a well-known sporting event. This generally happens when a business entity associates itself to some event without the prior consent of the authorities of the tournament or other organizers and other necessary parties.

Many companies use this strategy of marketing by becoming an unofficial sponsor at an event without entering into any licencing or a sponsorship agreement. Ambush marketing is a common marketing strategy for smaller businesses as it is the cheapest method of promoting brands to attract customers.

Ambush marketing consists of many strategic marketing practices aimed at influencing customers and viewers to refer to any particular brand. This includes the unauthorized use of logos, designs, pictures, advertisements and videos. This strategy helps the companies and brands to publicize themselves and reach out to the general public without incurring any extra costs on marketing. Ambush Marketing is typically targeted at major sporting events such as World Cups, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

HOW DOES AMBUSH MARKETING DIFFER FROM SPONSORED MARKETING?

Under sponsored marketing, the parties enter into a formal Sponsorship Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding for the use of any well-known trademark or a copyrighted instrument. Such agreements discharge upon the licensee a formal right to associate itself with the licensor as it has paid the sponsorship fee, either in lump-sum or as royalty. Sponsored Marketing does not involve the risk of unethically alluding the customers’ attention. It is important to note that sponsored marketing does not jeopardize the intellectual property rights of any other competitors or well-known brands.

EVOLUTION OF AMBUSH MARKETING

The term ‘Ambush Marketing’ was first used in the 1980s, by Jerry Walsh whilst working in the marketing division of American Express. He referred the term as a situation wherein a product or a company tries to publicize itself by showing association with a major event without having contributed to the event in terms of finance or sponsorship.

Ambush Marketing as a phenomenon first came into the picture in the 1984 Olympics. It was the first time that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had agreed to fund the Olympics privately, allowing many private investors and committees to apply for official sponsorships. However, the green light given by the IOC for private investments opened doors for many businesses, companies and brands looking to associate themselves with the event without paying the colossal sponsorship fees. Since then, ambush marketing started becoming a lesser-known, under-shadowed but a common problem in the Olympics.

In the 1996 Olympics, a sprinter named Michael Johnson won the Gold Medal for 400 Meter track race. Complimenting to his tall and muscular stature, there were these gold-coloured Nike shoes which were specially custom-made for him. The sparkling shoes attracted a lot of attention of the general public when it finally found its photographic mention on the cover page of TIME magazine, wherein the shoes hung around Johnson’s neck. By that time, Ambush Marketing had become a common strategy of marketing. In this case, even though Nike did not have any mala fide motive to ambush, yet it was in the limelight, thus, a need was felt was have a proper regulation to distinguish between Ambush Marketing and Indirect Ambushing.

EVOLUTION OF AMBUSH MARKETING IN INDIA

Initially, the concept of Ambush Marketing in India very nuanced. However, India also faced a problem of Indirect Ambush Marketing. In ICC Development International Ltd v Arvee Enterprises and Anr., Arvee utilized matchday tickets as prizes of their special occasions and the victor was to be offered passes to the World Cup. The textual and verbal expression used to promote the challenge was equivalent to what the ICC had got enlisted. Arvee was, along these lines, sued on grounds of passing off and trap advertising. Once more, the case of snare promoting was not perceived by the Court as the Court dismissed the application in light of the fact that the logo of ICC had not been abused and consequently there was no extent of any suspicion among the buyers of the litigants’ merchandise that there was any association between the respondents and the authority patrons of the occasions. The situation has been the same ever since.

TYPES OF AMBUSH MARKETING STRATEGIES

1. Direct Ambushing

When a brand directly tries to associate itself with a particular sporting team or an event without entering into a sponsorship, branding or a licencing agreement, it is known as Direct Ambush Marketing. The affiliation which the brand portrays which such sport or a tournament is void. Direct Ambushing is the most common form of fake affiliation in sports. This type of marketing strategy directly infringes the exclusive rights of other parties or brands which have entered into sponsorship agreements for a major sporting tournament. Using exclusive offers such as giving away tournament related merchandise for any purchases from the brand, or hosting any banners or flying any blimps on officially sanctioned tournament venue amounts to direct ambushing and puts the rights of the official sponsors in serious jeopardy.

Sprints Communication Co. used direct ambush marketing at the FIFA Football World Cup in 1994, utilising the event’s official logo without the consent of FIFA or Master Card, who had been given exclusive rights to use the emblem.

2. Associative Ambushing

When a brand or a company uses a common and well-known tagline associated with a team or a tournament to promote itself, it is known as associative ambush marketing. This type of ambush marketing is most commonly found in television and social media advertisements, wherein a brand uses some commonly used name, word or a reference which is associated with the happening of the event. This type of marketing strategy attacks the competitors who have official licencing agreement and is very difficult to recognize as it does not take place at the officially sanctioned match venues. Sometimes, advertisements can also use official match-day clips without authorization to gain the attention of the viewers.

In India, a famous contraceptive brand named ‘Durex’ uses the strategy of Associative Ambush Marketing. The brand, while making advertisements over social media, uses certain phrases or catchphrases of certain famous and important social, cultural and political events while trying to market its brand. This strategy, as applied by the company falls under the ambit of Associative Ambushing because it is not directly associating itself with any important occasion or events but the subtle use of phrases and texts from such major events is enough to attract the attention of the viewers.

Incidental Ambushing

When a company, by virtue of its previous tie-ups with a sporting event, uses this leverage to falsely associate itself with the event, it is known as incidental ambush marketing. Customers and viewers, by this virtue, are under the impression that such a non-sponsoring company is the official partner or sponsor.

4. Online Ambush Marketing

Activities such as Cyber Squatting, or websites using the event names and logos for any promotional offers to the people which implies their association with the event is known is online ambushing. This is commonly done by betting and fantasy sites to trick clients into believing in the brand’s excellent reputation.

Ambush Marketing generally jeopardizes the following bona fide rights of the event, sponsors and partners –

1. Trademark Rights

When a firm uses the tournament’s or any franchise’s trademark without permission, it infringes on the event and tournament organisers’ trademark rights while endangering the sponsors’ licencing rights. Infringement or dilution of a trademark of any type is a violation of the Trademarks Act, which can result in penalties in some circumstances.

2. Copyright

When a company, in order to associate itself with the tournament uses any copyrighted material such a match footage, player interviews, it infringes the rights of tournament copyright holders. Generally, this also infringes the rights of the Television Channels which pay nominal broadcasting fees to the tournament organizers to secure the broadcasting rights. Thus, any aggrieved party can file a complaint under the Indian Copyright Act.

URGENCY OF PROPER LEGISLATIONS IN INDIA

The illegal act of Ambush Marketing is very difficult to tackle since it is very difficult, even for the law enforcement agencies to recognize as to which marketing strategy constitutes ambush marketing. Sometimes, a sporting event may take place in France, but ambush marketing relating to that event can take place in India. Ambush marketers can take advantage of numerous legal and societal loopholes to fool their consumers by connecting themselves with the event and obtaining unearned recognition.

Ambush Marketing done in any sporting event is an unethical business activity. The lack of comprehensive legislation in India makes it difficult to trace ambush marketing and take timely legal actions. However, tournament organizers, bookies and stakeholders need to take some risk mitigation steps to recognize and stop ambush marketing in sports. A few steps which can be taken by the aforesaid authorities in this aspect are:

1. Brand Protection

Tournament and event organizers should take effective risk mitigation and prevention steps. This can be done by a well-planned monitoring programme, both online and offline. In any suspicious activity comes to the knowledge of any person, they should report it to the appropriate authorities or disciplinary bodies. This will help in addressing any trademark or copyright infringement or ambush marketing well in advance and will protect the interests of the tournament, participants and viewers safe.

It is also important to note that selling match tickets or hospitality packages from a draw of lots made after a consumer has made a significant purchase from a brand which is not associated with the event also qualifies as ambush marketing. Hence, businesses which are legally associated with a particular event needs to undertake strict monitoring check to ensure that their competitors are not undertaking such activities. There should be a proper strategy for mitigating ambush marketing done digitally.

In the case of ICC Development v Ever Green Service Station, The defendant was given an injunction for misusing the World Cup emblem only because there was a copyright violation since the logo was deemed an artistic work under the Indian Copyright Act.

2. IP Monitoring

Every well-known brand faces a risk of Intellectual Property infringement by their competitors, either due to unauthorized use of their trademark or copyrighted material or citing disparagement. Such brands, in order to protect their intellectual property, need to develop a robust IP Governance Mechanism and check whether there is any kind of trademark dilution of their brand. IP Monitoring is extremely important to maintain the authenticity of the business while fostering the confidence of the customers. Thus, recognizing and rectifying potential trademark dilutions is very important since there are many brands in the market which changes appearances and distinct shapes of well-known trademarks and use them as per their convenience. It is important to note that Trademark Dilution is an offence under the Trademarks Act.

3. Engaging with infringers and notifying Law Enforcement Agencies

Since the remote owner of sports rights is the organizer and manager of the event, combined with ambush marketing, it is easier to know whether there is trademark or copyright infringement. Since organizers and management directly sell their rights to sports teams, franchisees, sponsors, partners, and service providers, they must clearly identify these official partners on the officially authorized competition website and competition website. If there is suspicion of ambush marketing, punishment should be based on the code of conduct. Law enforcement agencies should be involved at the same time. To this end, sports agencies, organizers, and franchise agencies may also maintain contact with law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and national levels. The participation of these institutions will establish a clear governance agreement to prevent any sports-related fraud. In India, Ambush Marketing may also be reported as infringing intellectual property rights.

Final Thoughts

Ambush Marketing has been a topic of huge controversy. Lack of judicial mechanism to regulate unfair marketing strategies has kept the perpetrators at ease from any punishment. However, with the increase in popularity of sports and competition amongst various brands for sponsorship rights, a proper governance mechanism related to Ambush Marketing needs to be framed. In India, Ambush Marketing still comes under the purview of various Intellectual Property and licencing rights. Hence, a need for comprehensive legislation in India is indispensable. Even though there is a lot of debate as to what classifies as Ambush Marketing, it is very clear that any activity which jeopardizes the bona fide rights of anyone is deemed unethical.

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Policy & Politics

Builder hardware products from India have considerable global demand, says Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash

Tarun Nangia

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Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025: MSME Secretary B B Swain

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Builder Hardware is another performer making India as one of the top 20 suppliers with a 1.2 percent share in the world builder hardware export pie, said Som Parkash, Minister of State of Commerce & Industry

While addressing the Builder Hardware Expo, organised by EEPC India, virtually today, the Minister noted that builder hardware products from India have considerable demand across the continents.

Indian builder hardware product is one of the best performing segments in the Indian engineering goods sector which has been the key driver of merchandise exports from the country.

“Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and the construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025,” said Mr B B Swain, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Swain stated that EEPC India with more than 60 per cent of its members representing MSME sector took several initiatives even during pandemic to provide global interaction opportunities to small players in the form of webinars and virtual Expos.

“The Government of India has been proactive to ensure that all the benefits of the MSME schemes reach the intended beneficiaries in time,” said Mr Swain.

EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said that the four-day virtual Expo would provide opportunity to the Indian exhibitors to display an array of over 200 domestic builder hardware products to overseas buyers from nine focus regions and trade blocs.

“The buyers would comprise contractors, builders, building engineers, architects, landscape artists, interior designers, consultants and project management professionals,” he said.

Speaking at the Expo, EEPC India Vice Chairman Arun Kumar Garodia said India belongs to the league of leading builder hardware manufacturing and exporting nations.

“The Government of India has now set a National Mission of merchandise exports to reach US$ 400 billion within this fiscal, US$ 500 billion by FY-24 and US$ 1 trillion by FY-28 by making Indian products the only choice for global buyers,” he said.

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Policy & Politics

MOU SIGNED BETWEEN J&K AND GOVERNMENT OF DUBAI FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRIAL PARKS, SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITALS

MoU will give UT a big developmental push: Piyush Goyal

Tarun Nangia

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Jammu and Kashmir administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Dubai for real estate development, industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super specialty hospital and more.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon. This MoU gives out a strong signal to the entire world that the way India is transforming into a global power, Jammu & Kashmir is having a significant role in that as well.

This MoU is a milestone after which the investment will pour in from entire globe and is a big developmental push. Different entities from Dubai have shown keen interest in investment. Development has to be aspired on all fronts and we are on track, he added.

Goyal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shri Amit Shah for their focus and commitment towards the development of UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Recent industrial package of 28,400 Crore rupees is a testimony towards ensured development.

Terming it a momentous occasion for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Shri Manoj Sinha said that this development journey will help the Union Territory to scale new heights in Industrialization and sustainable growth.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon.

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India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa: V. Muraleedharan

‘India has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth,’ said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India

Tarun Nangia

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‘India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa and has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth”, mentioned V Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India while addressing the Inaugural Session at the 2nd edition of the India Africa Higher Education and Skill Development Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India today.

Muraleedharan elucidated that India is best positioned to partner Africa as we can offer affordable and high-quality education and skill development opportunities and make the young population employable and allow them to participate in growing economies of African countries. Elucidating on the strong Indo-African partnership in the domain of higher education and skill development, the Minister stated that capacity building and providing higher education opportunities with for the socio-economic development of our partner nations is a major element of our Foreign Policy.

India has long standing ties in education with Africa and over 2000 Indian faculty members have been involved in teaching and research activities of Ethiopian nations. Further, defence academies and colleges are being set up in nations like Nigeria and Tanzania. With a view to promote students from African nations to study in India, several initiatives have been undertaken like the Study in INDIA, ITEC programmes, Sir C V Raman Scholarship, collaboration of Department of Science & Technology with the World Bank to develop centres of excellence in African countries and the launch of e-VidyaBharti and e-ArogyaBharti Project, among others.

Dr Sarah Ruto, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education Republic of Kenya, emphasised that Kenya is working towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals with a special focus on select education-based SDG Goals. She mentioned that Kenya has a competency-based curriculum to meet the rising demands for tertiary education and there is focus on alumni network funding as well as partnerships to promote skill development.

Buti Kgwaridi Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, Government of Republic of South Africa informed that a bilateral cooperation treaty is being negotiated in education for exchange of students as well as to share best practices. He added that forums like IBSA and BRICS have also provided opportunities to address the developmental needs of the nations.

Dame Diop, Minister of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Inclusion, Government of Republic of Senegal informed that the Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES) which harmonises national policies particularly for human capital development and vocational training is a major step towards promoting employability. The Minister commended India for committing 130 million Rupees to Senegal to create science and technology institutes.

Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Government of Republic of Botswana highlighted that the commonality of English language based higher education system offers scope for greater cooperation between the countries. The Minister stated that the Botswana Vision 2036 aims at transformation from a resource-based to an all-ingredient knowledge-based economy focussing on education, training, and human resource development systems. Expressing the commitment to the youth, Botswana has joined the Generation Unlimited initiative as a leader thereby, playing a crucial role in forging multisector partnerships across geographies to provide greater access to skilling and livelihood opportunities.

S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee & Advisor-Group Finance & Special Projects, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, said that the Indo-African collaboration has strengthened in the post pandemic era as the nations are collectively focusing on new age learning models and enhancing the role of technology in education. Emphasizing on the strong multilateral cooperation with Africa, it was highlighted that one of the most popular programs, the Study in India commonly called EDCIL offered by Ministry of Education offers around 900 scholarships to African students to study in India and Indian universities are also investing in promoting their services to the African community.

The two day Summit organised in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India will focus on Online education, Study in India and Skills Development programmes. Over 6 ministers from Africa and India participated at the Summit and event saw online registration of 600 delegates from India and Africa.

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Policy & Politics

INDEX NUMBERS OF WHOLESALE PRICE IN INDIA FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021(BASE YEAR: 2011-12)

Tarun Nangia

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Note: P: Provisional, F: Final, * Annual rate of WPI inflation calculated over the corresponding month of previous year

The month over month change in WPI index for the month of September, 2021 (as compared to August, 2021) was 0.07 %. The monthly change in WPI index for last six-month is summarized below:

Annex-I

All India Wholesale Price Indices and Rates of Inflation (Base Year: 2011-12=100) for September, 2021

Annex-II

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

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Policy & Politics

One nation one election: From inception to constitutional/logistical issues

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‘The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.”

In the yesteryears, when Late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was injecting the idea that India will awake to life and freedom, he certainly would not have had any idea that the same speech, to the same public and with the same zeal will be delivered by dissecting few of the words and adding spice wrapped in polarized feelings. Those occasions were five yearly festival of Indian democracy- elections where such speeches jumbled every now and then – could be heard and read.

But one could never fathom of a situation where complex electoral processes does not go simultaneously for the centre and state and in fact, takes place at intervals of every few months in the diversified though unified country like India. And the saga of speech would start once again, every second, for months. It took 20 years of independence and 17 years of first general election to break the chain. 1967 was the last time when India had near simultaneous elections.

The Constituent Assembly had scholars like Dr. BR Ambedkar who raised the issue of deciding the status of election commission i.e. whether it has to be a permanent body or a temporary one, giving logic for his take on the issue. At the same time, the far-sightedness of ones like Prof. Shibban Lal Saxena, threw light on the issue that mid-term dissolution of assemblies would push us to a situation of having elections before completion of five years and hence we cannot have such a commission which sits free for five years after conducting one and waiting for other election, and hence we have Article 324 in our constitution.

Kerala Assembly made debut for the mid-term dissolution and elections were held in the year 1960, unlike for rest of the country which was held in 1962. Nagaland and Pondicherry should also be kept under exceptions because assemblies here were formed only after 1962. Like every beginning has an end, similarly every end has a beginning. The end of simultaneous election had its beginning in 1970 when, on the wishes of Indira Gandhi, there was a premature dissolution of Lok Sabha on December 27, 1970 and mid-term elections were held in February 1971. The next political event was declaration of National Emergency, 1975. General Elections were held in the year 1977 and the newly formed Janta Parivar started to focus on dissolution of assemblies of few states after the 1977 victory. Such attempts, both at centre and state level, were rusting the greased process of simultaneous elections. The 1998 and 1999 dissolution of Lok Sabha acted as a catalyst for such rusting of simultaneous elections and now only three to four states go for elections with the Lok Sabha polls for last few years. Thus, the Election Commission now conducts state elections once or twice every year and so we get to hear the saga of speeches discussed earlier every few months.

The Hurdles in the path

The Representation of People Act, 1951 is relevant to throw light on the legal aspect of the possibility and shortcomings faced by the authorities for conducting simultaneous elections. Section 14 and Section 15 talk about notification for general elections to House of People and State Assembly respectively. These provisions are empowering in nature and hence the Election Commission, by virtue of these provisions, can notify elections keeping a gap of six months from the end of tenure of the house and this gap period has to be strictly adhered to. Usually, the election schedule is announced a few days before the notification is issued so that the individuals and institutions involved in the process gear up. Hence we can surmise that for the present state of affairs regarding elections of different states and for those assemblies ending their tenure in the span of less than six months, simultaneous elections are legally possible. But, this is not the only changes that shall be required.

Our constitution’s basic structure not only includes parliamentary democracy but also federalism. Also, the tenured elected legislatures are equally important to sustain parliamentary democracy. By bringing the scheme of simultaneous elections, tampering of constitutional accountability shall take place. This shall further deteriorate the structure of federalism that we uphold.

As we have a quasi federal state, our President and Governor neither reigns nor governs unlike United States where the President both reigns and governs and England where the King reigns but does not govern. Thus, by bringing simultaneous elections, we shall be indirectly bringing Governor and President at the pedestal to govern and reign, as when the Lok Sabha or the State Assemblies would be dissolved, the President and Governor shall be appointed as head of the executive. This was even suggested as one of the proposals in The Niti Aayog discussion paper, 2017.

The Paper and the Draft Report of the Law Commission in 2018 also suggested to shorten the tenure of few legislative assemblies and to extend the same of the others in order to synchronize the cycles. This would lead to chaos as why would an elected assembly would want a tenure of two years in place of the earlier promised five years. Similarly, it was also proposed to conduct only two sets of election in a time span of five years. This action in itself is anti-democratic as it goes against the right of citizens to elect their leaders at regular intervals.

This anti-democratic action can be curved into a democratic one by bringing the necessary constitutional amendments. In order to sync the tenures and terms, amendments shall be needed in the following Articles of The Constitution of India, 1950

Article 83(Duration of Houses of Parliament) and 172(Duration of State Legislatures) – These article provides for fixed tenure of five years of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly. It shall need to be amended to match the requirements of flexible tenures in case of synchronizing elections.

Article 85(Sessions of Parliament, prorogation and dissolution) and 174(Sessions of the State Legislature, prorogation and dissolution) – These sections empowers the President and governor to dissolve the Lok Sabha and Legislative assembly respectively. it shall need to be amended to include synchronization as a reason to dissolve.

Article 356(Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in States) – This article provides for when president or governor can act as head. This shall need to be amended to include manual tampering of tenures so as to create a path to shorten the tenures and also provide for a way to president or governor to act in situations.

In addition to these constitutional issues, there are logistical issues too. The logistical issues which are of major economical value bring with itself the shortage of the number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). Presently, the complete set of single EVM including the voter-verifiable paper audit trial can be used for different elections taking place at different time and places for so long as is the recommended life of an EVM. One EVM can have the names of 16 candidates at maximum. Hence for those constituencies where candidates are even one more than 16, the second EVM has to be used. As a precautionary measure, few of the EVMs are kept as reserve and they are to be used in case the once installed earlier face issues. The number of polling stations in India is more than one million. Now the calculation has to start from providing every polling station with EVMs, that too double in number in case of simultaneous elections for centre and state. The procurement of such large number of EVMs does not limit the expenditure. Storage and security of the EVMs adds to the expenditure which undoubtedly counts to thousands of crores and this does not adds to decrease in the expenditure as is the view of proponents for simultaneous elections. As far as local body polls are concerned, the polling stations, the superintending authority and the judicial authority for taking cases of local elections are different from those of state or centre elections. Hence such issues only add to the logistical issues already faced by the election commission.

Conclusion

The idea of one nation one election is not alien to India. 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 pave way for the history of simultaneous elections. The synchronization shall definitely bring stability and strengthen nationalism. In long run, it might also help to cut expenditure and speed up development but the immediate expenses seem to be more than the cost benefit analysis. Moreover, the authors are of the opinion that one election might make the country more centralized and lead to tangential behavior towards local issues and regional parties. It might also transform our democracy to a managed democracy like in Russia. It might give the pretence of free and fair elections but the reality shall be far from it.

Thus, it is imperative that electoral reforms are needed but one nation one election is not the correct scheme to embrace under the ambit of electoral reforms.

The Constituent Assembly had scholars like Dr. BR Ambedkar who raised the issue of deciding the status of election commission i.e. whether it has to be a permanent body or a temporary one, giving logic for his take on the issue. At the same time, the far-sightedness of ones like Prof. Shibban Lal Saxena, threw light on the issue that mid-term dissolution of assemblies would push us to a situation of having elections before completion of five years and hence we cannot have such a commission which sits free for five years after conducting one and waiting for other election, and hence we have Article 324 in our constitution.

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Policy & Politics

MAKING IT HAPPEN: HIGH SCHOOL TRANSFORMATION IN GANJAM

Anil Swarup

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With the sole motto of ‘Desire for excellence in School Education’, the concept of transformation of high schools into Centre of Excellence (CoE) is based on the vision of Chief Minister of Odisha. The school transformation initiative aims to revolutionize the high school education paradigm of Odisha by upgrading the existing school infrastructure at par with the best of the private schools in the country. This has helped provide a highly conducive learning environment for the students from humble background and would also ensure the delivery of best quality education and training.

The major challenge of community participation and ownership was addressed through regular coordination meetings with PRI members, Block Administration, parents, alumni, School Management Committee (SMC), teachers and students. This also helped identify the needs and priorities of the school for imparting quality education. After several rounds of consultations, it was decided to bring about holistic changes in the existing infrastructure of the high school and re-establish it with Smart and Digital Class Rooms, e-Library-cum-Reading Room, Modern Science Laboratory, Hygienic Toilet, Safe & Pure Drinking Water and upgradation of Sports facilities.

After finalizing the above-mentioned priorities, the next challenge was to work out the finances to implement the said work. This is where the ‘Mo School’ initiative of the State Government played the role of a game changer. Under this programme, contributions were to be invited from alumni, donors and organizations for every school and the State Government would provide twice the matching grant against each donation received. For example, if a CSR contribution of Rs. 1 Lakh was received for a particular school, the State Government would provide Rs. 2 Lakhs for the said school and a total amount of Rs. 3 Lakhs would be made available for the development of the school.

In addition to the aforementioned, the local self-governing bodies such as Gram Panchayats and Blocks also earmarked their funds for transforming the local schools which would turn into an asset for capacity building of their children. The overall transformation work was closely monitored by the School Management Committee (SMC) in coordination with Block Technical Team in order to maintain a higher degree of transparency, accountability and timeline.

The main aim was to improve quality of education in high schools by using latest technology, upgrading infrastructure by means of smart class rooms and creation of interactive learning environment with audio-visual facilities. In order to inculcate the practice of reading and to develop soft skills among the students, a well-furnished Library-cum-Reading Room has been setup where students not only develop practice of reading books related to their syllabus but also various informative and motivational books.

To inculcate a sense of scientific temper among students, a modern integrated science laboratory has been setup. To facilitate easy understanding of various science concepts and theories, students will now get a first-hand learning experience by performing various experiments in the laboratory. The modern science laboratory will improve scientific reasoning abilities and practical skills of the students.

In addition to all the above, separate hygienic toilets for boys and girls were also ensured in the high schools. The idea is to ensure that students remain free from infection by developing good sanitation habits. The toilets are fitted with colored & designed tiles and with modern sanitary fittings to minimize wastage of water. Installation of napkin incinerators in girls’ toilet is also ensured to dispose the sanitary napkins in a hygienic way. It is also ensured that the teachers and students use the same toilet so that they take personal interest in maintaining cleanliness & hygiene. Special and dedicated toilet for students with special needs are also made an integral part of the new toilet pattern.

As a top priority, pure and safe drinking water facilities are being ensured in all schools under the ‘Nal Se Jal’ campaign of the State Government. Provision of water purifier is ensured in every high school for safe and pure drinking water. It has also been decided to upgrade the school playground with modern playing equipment in order to nurture young sporting talents.

An additional initiative called ‘Water Bell – The reminder’ has been launched by Ganjam Administration with a vision to inculcate the habit of drinking water at regular intervals among the students so that they stay hydrated and fit. As students spend most of the time in schools, water bell is a reminder for a strategic break for the students during the school hours to take a break and drink water in between the school sessions. Students are also encouraged to carry water bottle to schools

The efforts being made have the potential of transforming high school education in the entire state of Odisha, including Ganjam District . The idea of upgradation of Government high schools driven by 5T principles has not only resulted in the transformation of infrastructure but also developed self-confidence and motivation among students, teachers and parents coming from very humble background in rural areas. This ambitious initiative has become a reality only because of the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, especially the field level functionaries like BDOs, AEs, JEs, SMCs, Teachers, parents, students, etc. The success can be attributed to ‘Team Ganjam’ led by a young and dynamic Vijay Amruta Kulange. This team made it happen. All this could not have been achieved without political support from the top. The beauty of the model is that it is replicable, scalable and sustainable because all the stakeholders are on board.

Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.

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