Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Friday, 11 September 2020 18:23

CM graces Manipur Startup Conclave 2020

IT News

Imphal, Sept 11:

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh handed over a total monetary assistance of Rs. 525.09 lakh to 272 StartUp beneficiaries at the Manipur StartUp Conclave - 2020 organized by the State Planning Department at City Convention Centre, Imphal today. Those who received assistance included eight beneficiaries in StandUp category, five in Revenue Stage and 259 in Idea Stage of the scheme.

Manipur StartUp scheme was launched in 2017-2018 to build a strong eco-system for nurturing startups with an aim to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. Three rounds of selection of beneficiaries have been conducted so far since 2017-18 and provided benefit to 877 StartUps. A beneficiary can avail up to Rs. 1 crore with 30% subsidy depending on the scale of their business. 

Speaking at the occasion as the Chief Guest, N. Biren Singh said that there is no dearth of talent and competence in the State. Manipur StartUp was introduced to extend assistance and encouragement to hardworking young entrepreneurs. They had gained the much needed impetus in their business ever since the scheme was introduced in 2017, he said and added that he is pleased to see that many local entrepreneurs are able to enter the global platform now after receiving assistance from the State Government through the scheme. 

Expressing satisfaction about the good understanding being maintained between the Government and different banks in this regard, the Chief Minister said that it is due to this understanding that Manipur has been able to improve its economy in the past three years and a half. Apart from StartUp, N. Biren said, these banks are kind enough to provide different loans to hundreds of hard working and deserving people on State Government’s request. That’s how the present Government has been able to build up a sound eco-system within a short span of time, he observed. 

Informing that the State Government is planning to provide bank loans to around 20,000 vendors whose business had been adversely affected by the prolonged lock-down, the Chief Minister urged the banks to expedite the process so that the vendors may restart their vending activities soon. Mentioning further about Manipur StartUp, he said that applicants need not have any tension about closing dates from this year onwards because applications would now be received the whole year. New applications for the 4th Round will be opened very soon. It will serve as an opportunity to those, who have returned from outside the State leaving their job due to COVID-19 pandemic, to set up their own business units here, the Chief Minister said. 

N. Biren Singh also informed that the Civil Secretariat Complex located at Chingmeirong would be completed soon. For this, the Chief Minister said, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has agreed to provide Rs. 150 crore. With the financial assistance from the same corporation, a guest house would also be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 260 crore at Old High Court complex, he said and added that an Art and Culture complex would also be set up on the State’s land recently retained at Gurgaon (Haryana). The Chief Minister also said that construction of a new Manipur Bhawan at Dwarka in Delhi would begin soon. 

Textiles, Commerce and Industries Minister Th. Biswajit, CAF and PD Minister Karam Shyam, Water Resources Minister Letpao Haokip, Public Health Engineering Minister Losii Dikho, Agriculture Minister V. Hangkhanlian, Forest and Environment Minister Awangbow Newmai and State Planning Board Deputy Chairman S. Rajen were also seated on the dais as dignitaries. MLAs, Chief Secretary and other high ranking officials of the State Government also attended the function. 

Manipur StartUp has four categories (i) Revenue (ii) Idea (ii) Entrepreneurs Support Scheme (ESS) and (iv) Stand Up Manipur (added in 2019-20 to promote first time venture of SC/ST/OBC/women/Minority/ differently-abled entrepreneurs). 

Case studies of 20 Revenue StartUps/companies before funding 2017-18 and after funding 2019-20 under Manipur StartUp revealed that these companies have generated direct employment to more than 917, increased its customer outreach to 196,720 from 69,596 and increased its revenue from Rs. 7.41 crore to Rs. 24.60 crore. New business registration in Manipur (VAT & GST) has also increased from 5080 in 2015 to 16381 in 2019 with a percentage increase of 222% as per Ministry of MSME report (2018-19).

Thursday, 10 September 2020 18:37

‘After Whisky, Driving Risky’

IT Desk
Imphal, September 9:

“Wettest Dry State” is the title given to Manipur owing to its present scenario of availability of booze although being a dry state. It is an open secret that booze both IMF and local made are available in all nooks and corner of the state. From time to time, crackdown on vendors selling booze is seen on news either on some higher authorities whim or some other reasons best known to them. There are allegations from different sections of the people that, the Government cannot touch those black marketers doing in huge amount and volume, as they are connected with some powerful people and have huge amount of money to bribe their way out. So, how far is this whimsical crackdown on some sections fruitful?
The other day, saw a billboard at the heart of Imphal city with the slogan “After Whisky, Driving Risky” which I reckon is put up by the Traffic Police. So what does this mean? Does it mean, booze is now legal in Manipur? The billboard speaks a thousand words about the present scenario in Manipur.
It would be better to remove the Dry State tag if booze are going to be available in the Black market at a hefty price. There are many allegations of some black marketers selling adulterated booze, produced in Manipur and some neighbouring state. Also, there have been incidents of Police nabbing such illegal liquor producing unit in Manipur. Adulterated booze poses a grave danger to one consuming it, whether taken in large quantity or little. There have been news about people dying from adulterated booze in different parts of the country. If the authority think they can stop all sale of Alcohol in Manipur, it is okay to continue with the Dry State status whereas if the authority cannot control the sale of alcohol in the Black market, it would be wise to remove the Dry state status and let the people have quality and genuine products instead of risking the lives of many.

Thursday, 10 September 2020 18:36

Non Positive

With the rise of COVID-19 cases in Manipur and the government still sticking to local transmission claims despite having the characteristics of community transmission, there are many speculations doing the rounds in social media and among people. One of the most discussed topics in recent days is the Medical report of COVID-19 test done by some private diagnostic centre and private hospitals. Many speculate that the diagnostic centres and the private hospitals are minting huge amount of money in the name of rendering public services by providing COVID-19 test.
It has been said wisely, there’s no smoke without fire and the smoke we see today may be the product of negligence by some technicians of the diagnostic centre and hospitals in question or other reasons, which is best known to the parties involved. Recently, there was news about the test result of a person having two results of COVID-19, one having Negative result and another having Positive result on the same day. This is not acceptable in any way and can be term as pure negligence on the side of the party performing the test of the individual. Also, taking in view of the Stigma and discrimination meted out to COVID-19 positive people in Manipur, it is a serious concern for the person involved mentally. Heads should have rolled instead of sending out a press release and justifying the result. It has become a norm in Manipur to send out a press release after some wrong-doing justifying the act.
Also, earlier there were some hospitals providing COVID-19 test using Rapid Antigen Test and providing test result summarizing as “test result based on real time reverse transcriptase PCR technology”, which is deception at its best to the unsuspecting public. Or, are the technicians involved in performing such test are ignorant about the difference between the two tests? If so, the hospital in question is not fit to render such service to the public, employing such technicians and the staff involved. Also if it were an act of deception whether knowingly or unknowingly by the private hospitals, it doesn’t go well in this time of pandemic. In these difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic, they should be extra careful on rendering their services.
The government, mainly the Department of Health needs to monitor from time to time the services being rendered by the private parties. If there are any complaints received from any section of the public, they should be proactive in addressing the grievances of the public, after all they are there for the public. Any act of negligence or deception relating to medical services should be dealt sternly instead of staying silent by the health department and the concerned parties whether diagnostic centres or hospitals, should stop this whole thing of justification and clarification on their wrong-doings, instead should work on to prevent such thing from happening and appropriate action should be taken up.

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 11:51

MPSC 2016: Social Media Mob Injustice

Pauliansaun Touthang, MA

New Delhi

What do we understand by the term mob justice?  Mob justice can be defined as an action where a large or an angry crowd tried to give justice by themselves with very bad consequences. There can be many reasons for mob justice. However, the explanation behind these actions is not justified by rational legal frames. The reason for irrationality is due to the mob mentality as people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis.

Often mob justice is understood as mob lynching, mob violence etc. But the concept of mob justice is not limited to the physical act of violence the mob. It actually originates from the minds and can be seen through the act of violence or the use of words in social media. This is one of the areas which many of the medias and news channel are using in order to infuse a certain idea or form a certain opinion into the minds of the people.

Mob justice in the form of violent actions are often seen and heard. The government too had taken various steps to curb the incidents of mob violence. In 2018, the Supreme Court described lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy”. The Court exhorted the Centre and State governments to frame laws specifically to deal with the crime of lynching. The Court also laid down certain guidelines to be incorporated in these laws including fast-track trials, compensation to victims, and disciplinary action against lax law-enforcers. The Manipur government came up first with its Bill against lynching in 2018. Many of the provisions and clauses are directions to the police in order to tackle the issue of mob violence.

One of the main psychological factors behind mob justice is Jeremy Bentham's principle of utilitarian moral theory. The main principle of utilitarian moral theory, the principle of utility, states that “the right action is the one that produces the most overall happiness”.And the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation. Based on this whether the action of the mob is legally right or wrong as long as it produces overall psychological happiness of the maximum people, there is a tendency to feel that it is right.

The grave problem with the mob justice is not only in the violent act itself. Many a times the victims of the mob violence turn up innocent. Many end up losing their lives. The very reason of mob justice, i.e., to deliver justice becomes an injustice to many innocent lives. These mob injustices are even more prone in social media mob justice. During the olden days’ life was at a slower pace. We had time to give things more thought before we share it to someone else. But with the development in communications technology through social media, people tend to react quicker with their emotions.Social media is a great tool, but with great power comes great responsibility. Whether we are supported or not, it is easy to say in social media that we all hate racists, homophobes and bullies. But, sometimes, lives have been ruined, literally in a matter of seconds, by those who have been wrongfully accused of misdeeds on social media.

Shame is not a new social tactic.Shame isn't bad in and of itself. It's how we wield it that counts. It's how outrage culture can spin almost any story, even factually incorrect ones, into a terrible force. What about truly innocent people, who were misidentified or misrepresented, only to have the internet mob grab their metaphorical pitchforks and chase after them? The goal of online shaming is only to destroy the person.

This collection of naysayers may be completely well-intentioned, but could be making decisions and forming opinions based on irrational thought. Once this groupthink sets in, an “us versus them” attitude can dominate any discussion. When members of the group don’t want to dissent for fear of rejection, the mob mentality will prevail.When people have formed an opinion about something, it can be very hard for them to change their minds. Our own personal biases, feelings and even life circumstances can have a major impact on how we process information.

In the case of MPSC 2016 some group of MPSC aspirants came up with the idea of a better and transparent MPSC. Prima facie the concept is charismatic and enchanting for the general public. It is in sync with the rise in the contemporary anti-corruption movements across the globe. Since almost everyone had, atleast once,been a victim of corruption, the goal of achieving a transparent and corruption free MPSC was captivating. And people gets driven by emotions in support of the cause.

Many of the irregularities in the conduct of MPSC was highlighted. Cropped images of answer scripts were widely circulated in social media as well as in print medias. This made the general public to form an opinion that ‘there are illegalities’ in the exam. And since MPSC being an organization, with officers who are posted or deputed temporarily and with the ‘…not during my tenure’ attitude, was not affected much with all these allegations. Or, may be it was a ploy by some aspirants, not to rub the MPSC on the wrong side, so that they will not bear the consequences during the re-examinations or interviews.So, the social media activists had to find someone else to prey upon. With this the selected 82 candidates who were serving as officers in the government became the soft target of the social media activist. Since the 82 serving officers were bounded by various government rules and guidelines against the use of media, they became the most suitable punching bag for the social media mob. Without any concrete evidences they were publicly shamed and tagged as ‘Huranba 82’, ‘corrupt officers’, ‘thieves’ etc. The truth that they may have got the job through illegal means or they may be innocent, is the job of the CBI to find out.But, what was the point of social media shaming and calling names just to gain support of the social media mob? Is it a social media justice or social media injustice?The presumption of innocence which is a is the legal principle that one is considered "innocent until proven guilty", is gravely violated in such cases.

Nevertheless, it is only the CBI investigation which the 82 terminated officers which can bring justice before the whole world, so that any innocent terminated officer can move on with their lives without such social perceptions. Irreparable damages may had been caused by then. Their lives, careers and dignity would have been destroyed. But better late the never it is hoped that the CBI and the Court will one day deliver justice to all the innocent candidates. And let's just hope that no innocent person, in future, falls victim to the same blunt weapon for no reason other than bad luck.

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