Indian law entitles contract workers to be paid as much as permanent workers should their jobs be similar, said Anoop Kumar Satpathy, a fellow at the VV Giri National Labour Institute in Noida, near New Delhi. Most contract workers aren’t aware of that right, allowing employers to pay less to temporary workers, Satpathy said. The number of licensed contract workers across India almost doubled to about 1.5 million last year from 773,849 in 2000, according to the Labor Ministry’s latest annual report.
In the past few years, workers at factories belonging to Rico, Honda and Hero have gone on strike demanding higher pay and permanent employee status for contract employees. In 2008, the managing director of Graziano Trasmissioni India Ltd. was beaten to death after a group of dismissed employees turned violent, police said then. Indian police are narrowing their search after arrest warrants were issued for 11 union leaders, including Ram Meher, president of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, for their roles in starting this month’s deadly riot, a police official said last week. The company and Indian police have denied allegations about the hiring of bouncers.
2 Journalism as the new villain (The New York Times) It sounds improbable. Last week seven former executives at News International, the British newspaper division of News Corporation, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, were charged in connection with the phone hacking investigation, after years of denials. If this happened in any other industry — the banking sector during the financial crisis, the oil companies after the BP spill, or Blackwater during the Iraq war — you would expect to see a full-court press by journalists seeking to shine a light on a corrupt culture allowed to run amok.
Now would seem to be journalism’s big moment to turn that light on itself, with deeply reported investigative articles about how things went so wrong: the failures of leadership, the skewed values and the willingness of an industry to treat the public with such contempt. But because it is the news business and the company in the sights is News Corporation, the offenders are seen as outliers. The hacking scandal has mostly been treated as a malady confined to an island, rather than a signature event in a rugged stretch for journalism worldwide.
But journalism’s ills don’t live exclusively on Fleet Street or stop at British shores. While American newspapers don’t publish in the hypercompetitive landscape that played a role in the tabloid excesses in Britain, the growing ecosystem of Web and cable news shares many of the same characteristics and, all too often, its failings. Economic pressures have increased the urgency to make news and drive traffic, even as budgets have been cut and experienced news professionals tossed overboard.
The news media often fail to turn the X-ray machine on themselves because, in part, journalists assign a nobility to the profession that obscures the flaws within it. We think of ourselves as doing the People’s work, and write off lapses in ethics and practices as potholes on the way to a Greater Truth. The public isn’t buying. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, in 1985, 34% of the respondents thought stories contained inaccuracies. As of 2011, that figure had almost doubled to 66%.
Part of the reason the public has lost confidence in our product is that it sometimes does not merit it. If journalism is losing its way, that’s a story that needs to be told over and over.
3 India power sector a joke (The Guardian) The worst blackout to hit India in more than a decade left 350 million people in seven northern states without power for more than eight hours on Monday. The capital, Delhi, as well as the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir were all affected. "Spiderman found drunk and unconscious on Delhi pavement. Why? With no power comes no responsibility," said one tweet.
For India's middle classes, the first they knew of the power cut was when they awoke drenched in sweat as their air conditioning units failed. But for the hundreds of millions of Indians who live below the poverty line, regular electricity is a far-off dream.
In 2011, 289 million people – 25% of India's population – had no access to electricity. In rural areas that figure rises to 33%, according to a report from the Indian government in 2011. India's power supply is so insecure that even a stray pet can plunge millions into darkness. On Saturday, a cat leapt into a Delhi grid station and was electrocuted, causing a fire that left parts of east Delhi without power for 24 hours.