News Wrap


The top four information technology companies—Cogni zant, TCS, Infosys and Wipro—have hired about 35% less in 2016-17, compered to 2015-16. Wipro experienced the biggest drop among the IT recruiters. Even as business models shift towards digital and automation, the hiring slowdown comes amidst an overall slowdown in the IT sector. A few large clients, especially in the financial services vertical, are either shifting software development and maintenance work to their own captive centres, or insourcing work that is considered as a strategic priority. During large technological shifts, such changes are natural. Growth in the IT sector has been affected by the bunching up of different banks and companies in favour of insourcing. Lower attrition rates, resulting in lower replacement hiring, has caused a decline in hiring. The average attrition rate in the IT companies has fallen to 11.9% (2016-17), from 16.2% (2015-16). Utilisation rates have similarly improved with about 77.7% utilisation (2016-17), compared to 75.4% (2015-16). Hiring is done keeping in mind the evolving client demand.

Voices of Dissent
Members of India’s right-wing student group All India Students Council (ABVP) have ties to the Hindu Nationalist Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organisation, to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi also belongs. In recent months, the powerful student organisation has become the self-appointed conscience-keeper of the Indian nation, combing campuses and conferences, to stultify critical voices, that it regards as unpatriotic. In the past two and half years, it has disrupted campus events discussing caste, Kashmir, the death penalty and religion. The group complains to the police and politicians about what it calls anti-national conferences and even hands over video recordings of speakers to TV studios. ABVP’s membership has grown from 2.2 million members in 2013 to over 3.5 million.

In the first week of November 2016, the Union Government of India moved to take off NDTV India for a day, because it felt the channel was ‘‘indiscrete and violated rules’’ in its coverage of the Pathankot terror attack. Since 2005, 28 such orders, of which 21 such orders under the Congress government, banning TV channels from one day to two months, have been issued. The channels had been found violating the cable TV rules and programme code guidelines.

Hindu temples in Bangladesh
Over allegations of disrespect shown to Islam on Facebook, at least twenty Hindu Temples in Bangladesh have been vandalised, since the last five months. Panic triggers among the minority Hindu community in the Muslim-majority nation. Temples in Brahman-baria district’s Nasirnagar were vandalised on 30 October 2016. Over 100 houses of Hindu in the area have also been looted. Two temples in adjacent Habihganj’s Madhabpur also came under attack. The Nasirganj incident started with a Facebook post by one Rasraj Das from Harinberh village, under Haripur Union Parishad. Police immediately detained Rasaraj, after the allegations of blasphemy. Protests against Rasraj’s post were called under the banner of ‘Ahle Sunnal Wal Jammat’ in Habibganj district headquarters, and Nasirganj. In fresh attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, unidentified miscreants set ablaze around a dozen Hindu houses in November 2016, and damaged four temples in central Brahmanbaria district’s Nasirnagar area. On 03/04 December 2016, a Hindu temple was vandalised, and three idols of deities destroyed in northern Netrokona Sadar upazilla of Pabna district. There were smashed bits and pieces of the Sharifpur Kali Temple in Aminpur, along with broken idols of deity Kali and Shiva.

Shanty Town in Calis
African migrants were living in a squalid refugee camp in Calais (France), as they tried in vain to smuggle themselves in Britain. End October 2016, several thousand migrants were despatched aboard coaches to some 450 hostels around France, after Europe’s largest Shanty Town, the Jungle Refugee Camp in Calais, was dismantled. Military-style operations removed and destroyed the Calais Refugee Camps. French officials had circulated in the camps that it was dangerous for the migrants to stow away aboard lorries to Britain. 14 have died in the attempt in 2016. Some migrants, particularly those with some English, are convinced that in Britain it is easier to find work, than in France, where identity papers are routinely demanded. Many refugees claim to have friends or family in the United Kingdom. The migrants left the Calais Jungle in groups of around 50, paired by nationality, to a processing shed, for offer of a choice of various destinations in France, including the Chateau de Montlaville and autumnal vineyards of Chardonnay. The Chateau can take up to 40 migrants. Chardonnay has a cafe, but no shops, let alone a supermarket. The average age of the 190 inhabitants is 60 to 70, and many are hostile to the idea of hosting refugees.

Vol. 49, No.31, Feb 5 - 11, 2017