RETAIL & HOME INDUSTRY BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSS THE CHANGE IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR - The Daily Guardian
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RETAIL & HOME INDUSTRY BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSS THE CHANGE IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

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NewsX was recently joined by a power-packed panel of India’s biggest business leaders from the retail and home industry for a session on consumer behaviour. Six business leaders were part of the panel who reflected upon their learnings from the pandemic and discussed what lies ahead for the industry in 2021.

The panel included Mahesh M, CEO of Creaticity and session convenor, Govind Shrikhande, mentor and ex-MD of Shoppers Stop, Latika Khosla, founder and design director of Freedom Tree, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI (Retailers Association of India), Kavitha Krishna Rao, country commercial manager of IKEA India, and Ashish Shah, co-founder and COO of Pepperfry.

Addressing the pandemic, Ashish said, “Pandemic was a very different event for all of us. It bought all of us sitting at home together, as we spent more time at home, and our appreciation and liking for the living things and non-living things went up significantly. Therefore, it did a lot of good to the category and people started thinking about the piece of sofa that should be replaced so that they can watch Netflix at home more properly. Suddenly, they realised the need for having a dining table so that the family can have lunch together, etc. Just by the means of observation that people started doing at their home, the category started to benefit significantly.”

He further said that early on when things were opening-up in May-June-July, the way he saw it was that it was the first time in life that they got time to sit back and think about themselves. He added that this event kind of redesigned things for them. “I think all of us here would have restated our priorities, our value systems for the future and therefore, there are very clearly called out action points that we would want to take in our lives or lead a certain way of life going ahead and I do not see that changing as I would not want to go back to times when I used to be in the office at 9.30 am and leave at 11 pm, 6 days week and working 14 hours a day, etc. I know that all of that can be accomplished through Zoom calls, being at home and also spending time with family. So I think there is a significant change in what we are now defining as our priorities. Therefore, going back to the same regime, way of working, etc, in my opinion, won’t happen. Therefore, this is something which is going to stay. I think it is a very different way of consuming things, not only what we want to consume but how and where we want to consume has also changed and therefore I don’t see this going back in a near future,” said Ashish.

Kavitha shared two perspectives on the topic, the first one being around the pandemic and the second one was the home category in itself despite the pandemic. Agreeing to Ashish’s statement on how people have started spending more time in their homes, she added that clearly the need for furniture and furnishing related to home has increased and it was exactly the trend they saw at IKEA as well. Kavitha said that it was not just the work from home space but there were a lot of aligned categories including cooking and eating, storage and organising and outdoor furniture where they had seen an increase in interest among consumers. She added that there will be a lot of growth within the home category.

Putting forth her second perspective, Kavitha said, “We’ve looked at a lot of reports and it talks about typical households spending about 2.5% of their income on products or services related to homes. This is still very low if you compare it with the global average which also means that as consumers begin to see how essential furniture and home furnishing is and that it can actually make a difference to their everyday lives, I clearly see that the Indian households are also going to start spending much more money in the home category. So that is also the reason why I feel that this growth and increase in interest in the category is something that is going to stay for the long term. In the next 10 years, I expect this category is going to see immense growth.”

Throwing some light on the massive shifts in the home lifestyle, Kumar said, “One of the things that we realised almost at the start of the pandemic was that suddenly everybody is refocusing on where they are. Recently, I had a chance to go out of the house and I went to one of the Shivaji Maharaj forts in Maharashtra and was wondering if, at that time, a fort was getting created, the kings would make sure that the fort had everything inside to make sure that even if they have got somebody coming and attacking them, just being inside the fort, they can handle everything. This is what individuals felt like when they were sitting inside their houses when this pandemic started. Suddenly, 1000, 2000 and 3000 square feet houses became the fortresses that they were inside. This meant that every single customer was looking at that place and thinking that it’s not just my house, it’s also the place where I am going to work from, the school for my kids, my workout space, and many also decided to make their gardens. Several new initiatives started and they also realised that they are talking to various people, so multiple studios were there in the house to do various things.”

“When someone from outside came to their house, they also had to make sure to take all kinds of precautions and that created its own protocols. This is exactly the way people would have felt when they were sitting inside the fort in those days and this has definitely shifted. Also, when you are sitting inside a fort and when you have to go out, you start thinking about what do I need to do to make sure that I am safe and how do I come back after accomplishing the tasks and this is what I am seeing happening to consumers. If you look at all our retailers, the first good news is that one of the earliest categories to recover was home. The ticket size has also doubled and I think that is because they were sitting in the house browsing as to what they want. The home also became the place where the discovery phase of shopping was happening so they were thinking about various things from a digital perspective and then they were going to the store and buying whatever they wanted to buy and come back soon enough into their houses,” he added.

Latika said that the way things have been, there’s been no place to go but a home for the last few months. She said, “People would ask earlier, there’s competition. I would not consider other home brands as a competition but your competition is somebody who stops and decides to have lunch or they have got some school things to do for their children so the budget goes into that. If there’s a vacation or a family wedding, the interests are distracted. At the moment, we have all been blessed that the interest is entirely on home and the lessons to learn from that have been that there’s been an over utilisation of home.”

She feels that there has been a realisation that it’s time to look after your home as a lot of people who buy from Freedom Tree are busy professionals. They have been blessed with this time to look after their homes. Latika added that people had realised that it was the space that nurtured them the most for when they do need to step out.

“The two biggest shifts that have happened for us was quick online and offline seamlessness as anybody who came to the store made a purchase. They risked to come out and would make a purchase. What surprised me the most was the unusual categories, the bigger category investments. The purchases of better quality, higher-value products was also surprising. People were looking at buying things as investing in themselves. These are few of the unexpected things,” added Latika.

Govind said, “Covid-19 has been one of the worst phenomenons for working women and I would like to highlight it because classically a working woman was leaving home to her mates, leaving the kids to school, and was then going to work peacefully. Now that she is at home, she has to take care of her work, her husband, her home as well as the kids. Normally she works eight hours a day but is now working 24 hours a day. WFH will stay but I still believe that human beings are social animals, we love to touch, feel, and talk to people so we cannot be stuck in a fortress. There’s a great word in Marathi, ‘natyabhoomi’ that means “firta rangmanch”. In Marathi when you say firta rangmanch, the same drawing hall becomes a playground, the same playground becomes a kitchen, and the same kitchen becomes a school which is what is happening.”

He further said that certain things that were luxury till yesterday has become a necessity today, and some things that were wants yesterday have become needs today. For example, now that the maids were not coming, a dishwasher became a permanent part of people’s homes. Govind said that all the additions in the homes became a need from luxury which is the change in consumer behaviour.

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‘MUMBAI DIARIES 26/11’ IS A HOMAGE TO FRONTLINE WORKERS, SAYS KONKANA SEN SHARMA

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX, Konkana Sen Sharma opens up about her latest project ‘Mumbai Diaries 26/11’.

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Konkana Sen Sharma opened up about her latest project ‘Mumbai Diaries 26/11’. Talking about her role in the series and what attracted her to the project, the actress said, “I am playing Chitra Das. She is the Social Services Director of this Government Hospital in Mumbai. She is not a doctor but she’s from a medical background. The show is in an unusual setting. I would say it’s a medical drama rather than a medical thriller because this set is this government hospital, Bombay general hospital with the backdrop of 26/11, which has been fictionalised. For the first time, we’re seeing it from the point of view of the doctors, so it’s really the personal lives of the doctors, the challenges of working in a government hospital set against the unprecedented events of 26/11, where nobody is really prepared or nobody is ever trained to deal with this kind of circumstance. For me, when I read the script, I found it very unusual. I have never played a doctor. I have not really seen even a medical drama like this and today, after Covid, we all have a newfound appreciation for our frontline workers and the difficulties that they go through, so for us, it’s a homage to the frontline workers.”

When asked how important is to tell this story through their point of view and the message that the series sends out, Konkana expressed, “Yes, I do think it’s very important. Although it may be entertaining or binge-worthy, it is a thriller. It’s an unusual kind of setting and it is very important to remember this. Particularly, in a post-Covid or at least, now that we have all been through the pandemic we have even seen how doctors have suffered. There have been attacks on doctors. They often have to deal with a lot of very difficult circumstances, whether they are shortages of PPE kits or working in the government hospitals, where the situation is not always ideal and we have a storage of beds or equipment supplies, etc. We sometimes forget that the doctors are not gods and for them to perform, they need the infrastructure. They need the support also. They are dealing with their own issues and have to deal with these kinds of things, so this is very relevant, particularly today.”

Speaking of 26/11 and where she was during those days, Konkana shared, “I was actually not in Mumbai. We had driven outside of Mumbai. The news was trickling in. It was very shocking. What happened is, initially we also didn’t have a handle on exactly what was going on because there were events in multiple locations. It went on over three days, we also didn’t know, what and how it’s going to unfold. It was not a contained one-off incident. It was a very insecure and frightening time. It was very confusing. Is it safe for us in our group or we should drive back to Mumbai? What we should do?! That took us some time, then when we came back, it was a time of shock. We were all in shock and disbelief and everybody, whether somebody on the street or a neighbour, it was very shocking. There was a sense of this very uneasy kind of stillness that was over the whole city. There was a very heavy silence that something like this could have happened in Mumbai. We never know when something would happen again, that was the fear.”

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SWASTIKA: OUR CONTINUING LEGACY

It is a universal symbol seen in all ancient civilisations andcultures and still remains as a living tradition across many nations in various forms, and especially in India among Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. Owing to its widespread presence across the ancient civilisations, and later modifications to suit the new religious orders, Swastika has a variety of meanings associated with it.

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Existence (asti) cannot be produced by non-existence (nasti). “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” – Carl Sagan

The antiquity of swastika goes long back into history where it started its journey from the prehistoric era. It is a universal symbol seen in all ancient civilisation-cultures across the world and still remains as a living tradition across many nations in various forms, and especially in India among the Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists as part of their religious rituals. Owing to its widespread presence across the ancient civilisations, and later modifications to suit the new religious orders, swastika has a variety of meanings associated with it. The Vedas by itself have associated various meanings to the swastika where we find that in the Rig Veda 10.35 swastika is associated with Agni, and with the Sun’s movement upholding the law of Dharma or righteousness. In ancient Indian architectural sciences known as Vastusashtra, two swastikas facing each other create a square, which forms the square mandala of the Vastu Purusha. Similarly, swastika is also associated with a crossed vajra (sign of thunderbolt—in RV 3.30.16 and 3.58) seen in the hands of deities; the symbol is also related to the four cardinal directions; is linked with the lunar power, female principle and new life; associated with astronomy; the Christian cross; Vishnu pada; etc. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that swastika is most likely man created first graphic symbol representing an idea, which holds a clear intention and meaning, transcends all barriers of languages, and the knowledge of which was passed across generations following ancient oral traditions while maintaining continuity within changes across the world. Thus, swastika is a symbolical manifestation of existence, which is entwined with cosmic natural forces and is based on the theory of dynamism.

The Seven Sages or the Saptarishi (Ursa Majoris or the Great Bear) as the Swastika (Image via Jay Shankar from Google, strictly for representational purposes only)

Swastika- denoting movement. From Wikipedia

Triskelion of the Chaldeons- another form of Swastika denoting the cosmic movements. (From Wikipedia)

Two swastikas (left oriented and right oriented) merge to form the square mandala of the vastupurusha. The left-hand swastika (Sauvastika) symblises the Devi as Goddess Kali, and is associated with tantra puja.

A crossed double vajra or visvavajra (Wikipedia)

A schematic diagram of a Persian garden, with quadripartite structure and a focal water feature, connecting aqueducts, and surrounding trees, as well as the placement of the palace. (From Wikipedia)

In an attempt to explore this continuing legacy, the article will take a close look at swastika and briefly present its history, while also exploring some of its meanings.

WHAT IS SWASTIKA, WITH REFERENCES TO THE RIG VEDA?

Swastika is “a cross in which the arms are bent at a right angle in the same relative direction”

~ Penguin dictionary of archaeology

The Sanskrit word swastika has its root in As, forming the word Asti, which means existing, being, or the essence of existence. The other word Su means good, well being, or benign; and the two together gives us Swasti, which means a valued existence, or the essential self-sustaining dharma or righteousness.

This enigmatic symbol, as Edward Thomas tells us in his ‘The Indian Swastika and Its Western Counterparts’ (1880) paper after examining its varying manifestations across the globe, all point to the primitive notions of a symbolic representation of the sun’s movements, associated with wheel like projections of the sunrays and its rolling movements. The ancient Chaldeans, who were initially located in the southeastern corner of Mesopotamia (9th to mid-6th centuries BCE—the proto Celtic phase in Europe), in their studies of what is now termed as the astronomical sciences, started drawing the sun as a circular outline, which soon had a four wheel or a cross inserted within it. This crossbar later evolved and elaborated to form the new designs that we are more familiar with now. Interestingly, Vishnu Purana (ref: Wilson’s translation, v. ii, pp. 246-7) also compares the sun’s movements to that of a wheel. Rig Veda too refers to the sun’s movements as a wheel, “He the impeller, the chief of charioteers (Pushan), ever urges on that golden wheel for the sun” and “the twelve wheeled spoke of the true sun revolves around the heavens and never decays …” (ref: Rig Veda—Wilson’s translation ii p. 130). Verse 10.35 in Rig Veda portrays the cyclic movement of Agni (Swastagni), and the entire sutra goes on describing the Sun’s movement holding the “wheel” of dharma (Cosmic causation and law) standing for what is right and auspicious for all living beings.

The uniqueness of this primitive sign lies in the fact there is a clearly visible geometrical tension in its shape, where we find that it is an equal-sided cross that can be rotated at 45 degrees either to the right (clockwise) or to the left (anti-clockwise. The clockwise turning position known as dakshinavarta is believed to symbolise the sun’s energy, while the anti-clockwise turning position known as vamavarta represents the moon and feminine energy. Another popular form of swastika is the spiral type known as tetraskelion (from the Chaldean culture), where the three spiral arms create an illusion of cyclic movement. When the arm ends are made to touch each other this spiral form (tetraskelion) takes the shape of a wheel, which in turn is an astronomical sign symbolising cyclic movements of all cosmic bodies. The triskelions, as per the scholars, are swastikas in continuous motion, also representing continuous cosmic re-generation and the continuity of life. It is visual imagery for the harmony and balance in life and nature’s changing seasonal cycles; and in Rig Veda: 7.97-10 we find Rishi Vasistha (one of the Saptarishis), talking about the repetitiveness of cosmic sustainability. The Rig Veda, which can be said to be among the world’s oldest documents on cosmological sciences, mentions swastika many times. This recurrent use of the word shows not only the pre-eminence of the symbol but also makes it evident that the ancient rishis who had composed the verses saw it as more than just a symbol.

In Rig Veda 3.30.16 and 3.58, the swastika is shown to stand for the crossed double vajra or viśvavajra, symbolising thunderbolt (which was later copied to create the Greek cross Fleury).

Again in RV 4.53.3-4 swastika is seen in an imagery form depicting the transformation of the power of the Sun into the power of the seer, with arms extending towards the four cardinal directions and engulfing all space. The cross-like space concept is also seen in ancient Persian literature (Achaemenid times), which was copied later to form the Islamic chahar bagh concept.

In the RV 3.54.11 and other verses Sun is the golden-handed, all beholding, and all-embracing Savitri, evident in the term ‘Savita Sarbatati’, which means the divine sun rays has powers for creating Life (Left oriented swastika associated with feminine power and Tantra) and a Pacifier (Right oriented swastika associated with Yoga). The two forms of swastikas (left and right oriented) in the 10th chapter of the RV: 10.36.14 merge to form a square, and that along with the deities of the four cardinal directions give us the framework of the Vastu-Purusha-Mandala, the basic foundation diagram for any Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temple or building architecture.

Interestingly within Hinduism, swastika is also seen as the cross, which symbolises the Supreme Consciousness (Brahman) and His creation, while the four bent arms define the four purushartha—Artha (wealth), Dharma (righteousness), Kama (love), and Moksha (liberation). It is a moving wheel, denoting a world that is constantly changing while remaining fixed on Brahman (centre point). The swastika is also associated with the Seven Sages or the Saptarishi (Ursa Majoris/the Great Bear) that are a group of celestial bodies forming a constellation. It is believed that the Saptarishis are eternally revolving with the fixed aim of establishing Dharma – “Tad Vishnu param padam” (Polaris is the Dhruvapadam—RV: 10.82.1-2; Srimad Bhagabadgita: 5.22.17).

In terms of archaeological evidence from the Indian subcontinent, swastika motif has been found from Pre-Harappan times, as for example, on a potsherd from Rehman-Dheri (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province). Seals dated around 2100 B.C.E showing swastikas have been found from the Mohenjodaro site, while the motif is frequently seen on ornaments and beads found from various sites of the Sindhu-Saraswati civilisation; including on pottery from the Shahi-Tump site (Baluchistan). The Navdatoli site beside the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh (chalcolithic culture) has also yielded varying forms of the swastika symbol on pottery; while paintings of the swastika motif have been found from the Ganga Yamuna doab area sites (on painted grey ware, denoting Iron age culture). Potteries and sherds depicting swastikas from Sonkh (Mitra period, 2nd century B.C.E); to tablets, coins, and seals from Mathura belonging to the Kushana period (1st century CE), the swastika motif has remained a constant in Indian art from pre-historical to the historical era without any break, and still continues to remain a religious symbol even today, the postmodern era.

Besides the Vedic verses and pre to historic representations of the swastikas, we find mention of the symbol in our epics too. In Ramayana, we find the mention of the swastika motif as carved in relief on a boat that carried Sri Rama; while in Mahabharata there is the famous Swastika Vyuha (maze) or the Chakra-Vyuha as a part of artillery war in the Kurukshetra battle. Swastika also played an important role in Jainism and Buddhism throughout history and remains an important part of their religious and cultural practices. Even today swastika remains an essential part of most rituals associated with the Indic religions, and in astrological and astronomical (jyotishsastra) studies in India. This is because the symbol stands not only for truth (dharma), auspiciousness, and a perfect Cosmic balance within the spiritual, natural, and philosophical realms; it has also become an integral part of more tangible aspects, such as trade, battles, daily rituals, etc.

It is mind-boggling to study the evolution of swastika in various parts of the world, from ancient America to Europe, and the different Asian countries. It is equally mind-boggling to see its connections not only with the various aspects mentioned in this article, by also with thermodynamics (torques), various branches of genetics, engineering, electro-magnetic circuits, and the list just goes on. This article is just the tip of the iceberg, and the idea came to my mind from a Facebook and Twitter post that I had made, which brought about various reactions, which made me realise that many people aren’t aware of the origins and Vedic meanings associated with this symbol. There were various arguments where people contended that while drawing a swastika the lines cannot be crossed, as it is inauspicious to do so. Rigidly taught to do so owing to later period modifications stemming from lack of understanding, these argumentative dialogues just fall flat one when explores the ancient world and realises that swastika started its journey as a simple cross that symbolised the Sun’s movement, and alternatively, Brahman and His creation.

The author is a well-known travel, heritage and history writer. Views expressed are personal.

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WE HAVE A STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY AT JINDAL BRICKS: LAKSHAY JINDAL

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX, Lakshay Jindal spoke about his company Jindal Mechno Bricks in great detail.

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Lakshay Jindal, Director & CMO, Jindal Mechno Bricks recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Lakshay spoke about his company Jindal Mechno Bricks in great detail. Excerpts:

Speaking about his company Jindal Mechno Bricks, especially his role in it, Lakshay said, “I oversee marketing and awareness campaigns run by the company. I also help setup distributions across the country. Jindal Mechno Bricks, or more popularly, Jindal Bricks is a machine-made brick and tile manufacturing company. We started in 1972 with hand-made brick manufacturing and in 1996 we shifted to machine-made brick manufacturing. We have a plant, highly advanced plant, in Delhi NCR. We are currently one of the largest manufacturers of machine-made brick and tile with production capacity of over 200 tons per day.”

When asked about the strength of his company, Lakshay shared, “We have a state of the art facility at Jindal Bricks with machines imported from various parts of Europe Italy, Spain and Germany. What is does is, we are able run production 365 days of a year unlike our counterparts. Another very important thing that we boost at Jindal Bricks, is our ability to innovate throughout past few decades. We have been launching new product categories at Jindal Bricks. We have increased the variety product one offer, each category and improve the product itself. We don’t stop there. We welcome customized requests from manufactures of other material need, designers, architects and real estate developers. All in all, we are trying to adapt new trends and advance our self technologically.”

Talking about cost-selling aspects of the bricks used in related products, Lakshay said, “It is not an ordinary brick by any means or standard. In fact, it is the ultra-light brick with doubled the compressive strength than an ordinary brick. Buyers gets 10% saving in steel and concrete. On top of that, these are face bricks. These are not suppose to be painted or plastered. This means you save both- your time and money, by not using the materials and again and the recurring costs that comes along. One of the main features of our production, in fact, all product category is that we have brick and loop tile. We offer multiple colours in it and all natural-no chemicals or pigments added, so the products are completely eco-friendly. In fact these colours are achieved by mixing various clays procure from different parts of the country and exposing them to the right temperature. Another thing is the thermal and sound-insulation that it has, so our products are engineered to have excellent thermal and sound-insulation, which means lower air-conditioning business somewhere and lower heating in winters. All in all, I mean at Jindal Bricks, we are able to deliver highly durable product with zero maintenance, that is saving you money until the rebuilding task.”

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IS CHANDIGARH ADMINISTRATION FLOUTING ADMINISTRATIVE RULE REGARDING SACS PROJECT DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT?

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“The second wave was quite challenging for Chandigarh. It was challenging not due to its scientific characteristics but due to the irrationality and incompetency of Director Health Services. This is not what we are claiming, this is what the whole city has suffered during the second wave but Chandigarh Administration only sees those who do their flattery and feel no hesitancy flouting all rules while appointing a non-deserving candidate for the administrative post, says a group of UT Cadre doctors on the condition of anonymity while meeting with The Daily Guardian. 

This agitation is because UT Administration is going to give the post of Project Director State AIDS Control Society (SACS) to Dr Amandeep Kang, who is going to retire from the post of Director Health Services in two days. As per UT Cadre Doctors, this particular post is not reserved for Punjab or Haryana doctors. It is for UT Cadre doctors. The UT Administration has been flouting this administrative rule previously as well while appointing Dr Vanita Gupta on this post on goodwill. This time as Dr Kang has good terms with certain IAS officers of UT Administration this post is being given to her without checking her deserving credentials. 

In a letter to the Chief Vigilance Officer, UT Cadre doctors stated that the post of Project Director AIDS is of SMO level and is being occupied continuously by Dr Gupta, a deputation from Punjab even after her retirement in 2015 after completing 58 years of her lawful service. However, under which rules the Chandigarh Administration has been allowing her to continue at this post by extending her tenure in continuity to date despite her having turned 65 years? No serving doctor of UT Chandigarh has been allowed to hold the said post. This is an administrative post with all perks and more so there is no provision to hold the administrative post under the service rule of Punjab after retirement but still, she is allowed to continue on contract without even advertising which should be done as per Chandigarh Administration policy. 

An enquiry should be held to bring the facts on record and also assess the loss to the government by paying her illegally as she is ineligible, UT Cadre doctors wrote in the letter. 

 The post is for serving officers of UT cadre and of SMO level and not for a retiree as approved in the rules of NACP (National AIDS Control Programme), moreover, the latest NACP is to be seen. It is humbly requested that equal opportunity is required to be given to UT Cadre doctors at par with deputationists and not to a retiree who is depriving others after having served her tenure.

This will end the step-motherly treatment being given to us who are few, they wrote. If required, it can be advertised as per the policy of the UT Administration. Please do justice by enquiring the facts and not just marking to the department of AIDs or Health as all are hand in gloves and like always our request will fall on deaf ears and the undeserving who has already lived life shall be milking the department illegally, they concluded.

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HARYANA GOVT AND POLICE EYE SUSPICIOUS ELEMENTS IN LEAKAGE OF CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS

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Suspected employees are on the radar of police in leakage of confidential documents in Home Minister’s offices after an employee of the office was arrested here on 24 September 2021. In this series, it is learnt that few of the employees were in contact with the arrested accused of leaking documents and in wake of this, they may be called to be a part of the ongoing inquiry. One of the senior officials said that the government and police are eyeing such suspected elements. Amid the ongoing scenario, the accused was produced in the court and has been sent for one day remand on Saturday to facilitate to completion of the investigation. 

Thus, the issue is just being considered the tip of the iceberg as the accused had joined the service a few years ago and one of the senior officials said that many senior employees may be asked to participate in the investigation. The government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that no further security breach takes place. it is worth mentioning that employees of the Haryana Secretariat can not be transferred to any other department or any branch outside as they belong to a particular cadre. 

Chandigarh police is inquiring into all aspects of the matter as the Home Minister Anil Vij had come up with a strict attitude ordering the Chief Secretary to file an FIR against the accused employee namely Kapil, a resident of Rohtak district. Amid this, it came to light that following the complaint by the Chief Secretary of Haryana, Vijay Vardhan, Chandigarh Police filed an FIR against the accused under section 409 which is a non-bailable offence. Besides, the Official Secrets Act, 1923 also has been added to the FIR.

While reacting to the issue, Manohar Lal, the Chief Minister of Haryana, said the government would take stern action against those employees involved in breaching the norms. Besides, we are committed to providing corruption-free administration

In continuation to mentioned above, Official Secrets Act, 1923 states that if an official fails to take reasonable care of, or so conducts himself as to endanger the safety of the sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, secret official code or password or information, he shall be guilty of an offence under this section. It is pertinent to mention that it is a non -bailable offence. On of the official said that the inquiry is going on and the police officials continue to checking the data found in the mobile of accused. 

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PUNJAB CM CALLS EMERGENCY MEETING ON FARMERS’ ISSUES

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday convened an emergency meeting of the newly re-constituted Council of Ministers in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha in protest against the three farm laws. The Council of Ministers passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the farmers and their demands.

Terming these laws as anti-farmers and anti-food security, Channi said these laws are a potent threat to the livelihood of farmers and their future generations. Making a firm resolve, the Chief Minister said that the earlier resolutions passed by the State Assembly in support of the state farmers’ demand to repeal these black laws should be conceded by the Government of India forthwith without any further delay.

Notably, the state government had earlier also categorically reiterated its commitment to the Resolutions passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on 28 August 2020 and 20 October 2020 emphasising that all the genuine demands of the farmers must be accepted and urged the Government of India to “repeal the Farm Laws as Agriculture is a State Subject under the Constitution of India, and to make MSP a statutory right.”

It welcomed the Supreme Court order staying the central legislations as an acknowledgement of the concerns of the farmers of Punjab who are protesting against the Farm Laws, and recognition of their pain and anguish.

Expressing solidarity with the victim families of farmers who have lost lives during the ongoing agitation against farm laws, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to win over their confidence as the Congress government has always stood firmly in support of their demands from day one when the Government of India thrusted these laws upon them.

He asked all the Ministers to personally visit the houses of the deceased farmers to deliver the appointment letters for government jobs to their family members. He said nearly 155 such appointment letters are ready and the same should be delivered to them within a week. He also asked the Chief Secretary to ensure verification of other remaining such cases expeditiously so as to complete the process of giving government jobs to the eligible next of kin.

Taking cognisance of the widespread resentment amongst the farmers for getting inadequate compensation in view of their land acquired by the various government agencies, Channi directed the Chief Secretary to explore ways and means to rationalise the quantum of compensation to be awarded to the farmers to their satisfaction.

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