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Top 5 Scams That Rocked 2010

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By Tanaya Singh:

Here’s the end to one of the most adventurous years in terms of both, white and black, the good and the bad.  At the dawn of this gigantic era, when everybody else is talking about the resolutions and future promises, let’s take a look back and peep into the grey areas; a few things that will hopefully be solved and should not be repeated. Read on and have a glimpse of the 5 scams that rocked 2010.

A. Raja; The main accused in the 2G Spectrum Scam

1) 2G Spectrum scam:

You talk of the biggest, the most talked about and the most baffling scams in India, this will undoubtedly top the list. Bet every person is hoping that nothing bigger than it happens, and this one remains at the crown position even ten years from now. In 2008, 2G spectrum licences were issued to private telecom companies at throwaway prices.  By selling away the scarce airwaves at cheaper rates on a first come first serve basis, the then telecom minister Mr. A. Raja, cost the exchequer billions of dollars. The major telecom players, who got the spectrum with the exception of not following the norms, were Swan Telecom and Unitech. The conventional auction process was not brought into picture this time, and Raja ignored the demands of TRAI to auction the spectrum at market rates.

The end of his deeds was his resignation from the post of telecommunication minister. And as if the case was not already all hot and spices up, we saw the entry of Ms. Niira Radia with her memorable tapes. A lobbyist by profession, her telephonic conversations were taped by the Indian Income Tax department. These tapes trapped her of being a part of the 2G spectrum planning and other criminal wrongdoings. This brought in a lot of journalists, industrialists and ministers into the dirt. Basically one big puddle of mud filled in up with people from all the imaginable fields involved. If we quote Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Swan got a license for Rs. 1537 crore, sold 45% stake to Etisalat for Rs. 4200 crore, Unitech Wireless got a license for Rs. 1661 crore and sold 60% stake for Rs. 6200 crore, thereby causing an overall loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the government. Now, with the opposition shouting and the prime minister offering to appear before Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, we can only wait for the result.

Suresh Kalmadi

2) Commonwealth Games Scam:

The beauty of the show, Rahman’s song, winning medals, successful organization, the colours and the praises, none of these are enough to dominate or cover up the actual financial blunders behind the Commonwealth Games in India. A grand opening and an exquisite closing, with lucrative winners did obviously bring a smile on our faces. But nobody has forgotten the plight of the country a few months before the game, and nobody’s blind to the situation coming next. The sports ministry, then headed by Mr. Suresh Kalmadi is guilty of corruption in offering various tenders, payments to non existing parties, high prices and plotted delays in execution of contracts. While the estimated amount washed away is somewhere around 8,000 crore, CBI had to raid Mr. Kalmadi’s premises when it was out that some important documents with details of game deals have gone missing. As the probe goes on, this filth has tainted the image of India at the global front too because the depravity was travelling along with the baton.

Julian Assange

3) WikiLeaks Exposé:

Nobody could make the term “whistle blowers” as famous as Mr. Julian Assange. No concern about the source, just news, the truth and pure awareness is what WikiLeaks wants. It defines itself as “an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks.” On one hand Afghan war diaries and Iraq war logs came in front of the world and shook the foundations of the concerned parties, and on the other hand India saw our Gandhi family coming into picture. “Mrs Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” became a very talked about phrase obtained from a 2007 cable. Rahul Gandhi was criticized all over India for voicing his fears regarding the Hindu extremists in front of the American ambassador. It’s like a source of national and international gossip, the gossip being totally political.

4) Adarsh Housing Scam:

The land reserved for war widows and veterans of Kargil war, was taken by politicians, bureaucrats and army personnel. That’s the one line description of a scandal that perfectly portrays greed, insensitivity, schemes and fraud. Other than being allocated to the wrong people, the high rise in Colaba locality of Mumbai has also breached the environment ministry rules. The scam led to the replacement of Mr. Ashok Chavan by Mr. Prithviraj Chavan as the Maharashtra chief minister, under the shadow of loads of talks and discrepancies. On the way of being uncovered, it is being found that there are many layers to this concentric case. The Defence Minister said that all those who are found guilty in the case will not be spared. Let’s hope his words are true.

Citibank

5) Citibank Fraud:

As the final icing on the cake of mud and dirt, Citibank gave every Indian a reason to sigh and ask “how could that go unnoticed?” The hero behind this scene is Mr. Shivraj Puri, working as the relationships manger with Gurgaon branch of Citibank. Puri lured investors into a fake scheme having very high interest rates. This was done with the help of forged circulars from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). He opened a joint account in the names of Prem Nath, Sehna Prem Nath, and Deeksha Puri. Huge transactions had been made in this account according to initial investigations. Once the vulnerable clients were tempted for want of a lucrative scheme, Puri put their money in places of his interest. He came into light when the bank started receiving complaints from various clients about a scheme which was non-existent for the bank.

2010 brough India a fair share of tough times. While we had presidents visiting, the prince speaking and glory expanding on our motherland, we also had unlimited spheres to fight. So much so, that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in need of more staff for proper probing. The New Year resolution for the country this time should surely be to clean up the mess and start afresh.

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  1. suresh

    stop these scams

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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