India and Our People Deserve Better, Stop Advertising to Toxic Channels’

Open letter

We are a group of former officers of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in different capacities. We have come together as a group known as the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG). This group does not support any political party but believes in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.

In the normal course, when we observe a flagrant violation of the principles embodied in the Constitution, we write letters or make open statements pointing this out to the concerned governments and to constitutional/statutory bodies. However, upholding the principles of the Constitution is not a function of governments alone. All of us, as individual citizens as well as members of various organisations in the country – social, political, professional or business – have a duty to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution and to follow these principles both in our work as well as in our personal lives.

Unfortunately, in recent times, we see growing discord and distrust among the people of the country and a steady erosion of democratic values with long term consequences for everyone.

Today, we are addressing this open letter not to the government but to an equally important segment of society, viz. the various companies, business houses and corporates in the country. These entities, responsible for wealth creation in the country, have not, we believe, been doing their bit in upholding the rights and freedoms spelt out in the Constitution. Sadly, an impression has gained ground that these bodies have preferred to look the other way even as a rising tide of hatred and divisiveness threatens the very foundations of our society.

Many well-established corporates have shown no hesitation in advertising their products on media channels which have made it a practice to ramp up their viewership by spewing hatred, creating divisions on the basis of religion and caste, manufacturing false narratives and making criminals out of law-abiding people. It is possible that these corporates have not given sufficient thought to how their acts have unwittingly strengthened the forces which divide the nation through deliberate false propaganda.

Our Constitution, as we know, guarantees fundamental rights to each and every one of its citizens. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth. It is a matter of concern for all of us that several media channels have gone against this fundamental right on a regular basis and yet receive advertisements from many companies.

Channels which communalise the spread of COVID-19, allege that the UPSC has allowed Muslims to ‘infiltrate’ the higher civil services and dub sensitive advertisements about communal harmony as “Love Jihad” are unfortunately patronised by many corporates. Corporates often go by apparently doubtful TRP numbers to decide their policy for advertisements. It is certainly time to look beyond such technical considerations.

Advertising on channels which spread divisiveness is bad not only on moral grounds but bad for business as well. As several economists and social scientists have pointed out, investments tend to wither when there is unrest. And that is, unquestionably, what has been happening in India. India’s investment as a percentage of the nominal GDP has declined from 41.2% in Sept 2011 to 21.4% in June 2020. Many other growth parameters have been on a downward spiral too. Distrust, fear and uncertainty hurt not just the fabric of society but business as well.

In the midst of this gloom, a few corporates stand out like shining beacons: they have taken a stand against advertising on media channels which foment hatred and disharmony. We commend them for their initiative and courage. We also fervently hope that other corporates will follow their example. To all companies, business houses and corporate bodies we would like to say: let not any of your actions, even inadvertently, help forces that create discord and ill-will amongst our people.

This country and its people deserve better. It is time to show, through both substantive and symbolic acts, that we uphold the principles of our Constitution and are committed to the peace and prosperity of all our citizens.

SATYAMEVA JAYATE

Anita AgnihotriIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
Salahuddin AhmadIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
Shafi AlamIPS (Retd.)Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI
K. Saleem AliIPS (Retd.)Former Special Director, CBI, GoI
S.P. AmbroseIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
G. BalachandranIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
Vappala BalachandranIPS (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
Gopalan BalagopalIAS (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
Chandrashekhar BalakrishnanIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
T.K. BanerjiIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
Sharad BeharIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
Aurobindo BeheraIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
Madhu BhaduriIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Portugal
Pradip BhattacharyaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development & Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt. of West Bengal
Ravi BudhirajaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
Sundar BurraIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
R. ChandramohanIAS (Retd.)Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi
Rachel ChatterjeeIAS (Retd.)Former Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
Anna DaniIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
Vibha Puri DasIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
P.R. DasguptaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
Nareshwar DayalIFS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Pradeep K. DebIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
Nitin DesaiIES (Retd.)Former Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, GoI
Keshav DesirajuIAS (Retd.)Former Health Secretary, GoI
M.G. DevasahayamIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
Sushil DubeyIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Sweden
K.P. FabianIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Italy
Arif GhauriIRS (Retd.)Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom (on deputation)
Gourisankar GhoshIAS (Retd.)Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
Suresh K. GoelIFS (Retd.)Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
S.K. GuhaIAS (Retd.)Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, GoI
H.S. GujralIFoS (Retd.)Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab
Meena GuptaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
Ravi Vira GuptaIAS (Retd.)Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
Wajahat HabibullahIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
Sajjad HassanIAS (Retd.)Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
Siraj HussainIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Agriculture, GoI
Kamal JaswalIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
Najeeb JungIAS (Retd.)Former Lieutenant Governor, Delhi
Rahul KhullarIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
Ajai KumarIFoS(Retd.)Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
Brijesh KumarIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
P.K. LahiriIAS (Retd.)Former ED, Asian Development Bank & Former Revenue Secretary, GoI
Aloke B. LalIPS (Retd.)Former Director General (Prosecution), Govt. of Uttarakhand
Subodh LalIPoS (Resigned)Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
B.B. MahajanIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Deptt. of Food, GoI
Harsh ManderIAS (Retd.)Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
Aditi MehtaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
Sonalini MirchandaniIFS (Resigned)GoI
Noor MohammadIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
Avinash MohananeyIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim
Deb MukharjiIFS (Retd.)Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
Shiv Shankar MukherjeeIFS (Retd.)Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Pranab S. MukhopadhyayIAS (Retd.)Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
NagalsamyIA&AS (Retd.)Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
Sobha NambisanIAS (Retd.)Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
P.G.J. NampoothiriIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
P. Joy OommenIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
S.K. PachauriIAS (Retd.)Former Director General, National Productivity Council, GoI
Amitabha PandeIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
Mira PandeIAS (Retd.)Former State Election Commissioner, West Bengal
Alok PertiIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
R. PoornalingamIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
V.P. RajaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
K. Sujatha RaoIAS (Retd.)Former Health Secretary, GoI
M.Y. RaoIAS (Retd.)
Satwant ReddyIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI
Vijaya Latha ReddyIFS (Retd.)Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
Julio RibeiroIPS (Retd.)Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
Aruna RoyIAS (Resigned)
A.K. SamantaIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police (Intelligence), Govt. of West Bengal
Deepak SananIAS (Retd.)Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
G. SankaranIC&CES (Retd.)Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal 
N.C. SaxenaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
A. SelvarajIRS (Retd.)Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI
Ardhendu SenIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
Abhijit SenguptaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
Aftab SethIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Japan
Ashok Kumar SharmaIFoS (Retd.)Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat
Ashok Kumar SharmaIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
Nav Rekha SharmaIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Indonesia
Raju SharmaIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
Tirlochan SinghIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, GoI
Narendra SisodiaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
A.K. SrivastavaIAS (Retd.)Former Administrative Member, Madhya Pradesh Administrative Tribunal
Sanjivi SundarIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport, GoI
Parveen TalhaIRS (Retd.)Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
Thanksy ThekkekaraIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Minorities Development, Govt. of Maharashtra
P.S.S. ThomasIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
Geetha ThoopalIRAS (Retd.)Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
Hindal TyabjiIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
Jawed UsmaniIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Information Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh
Ashok VajpeyiIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi
Ramani VenkatesanIAS (Retd.)Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

Read full article at https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/9/19567/India-and-Our-People-Deserve-Better-Stop-Advertising-to-Toxic-Channels

0 CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment