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Vyapam Scam: The Indian Game of Thrones

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By Prerna Grewal

Amongst one of the biggest scams in India, the Vyapam Scam is gradually bringing India’s own Game of Thrones level of politics to light. Being labelled as one of the most sinister scams in the country’s history, it’s something that would make an intriguing plot for a movie or a novel. But something that has scope for existence only within the realms of fiction is indeed being witnessed in reality. It might perhaps rather end up serving as an inspiration for various fictional adaptations.

Ironically, the Vyapam Scam has had echoes in fiction even before it came to light. Amongst the various methods adopted for cheating in the examinations conducted by Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (also known as Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam) and Medical Council of India, the model of an already enrolled student seated between aspiring applicants in order to allow them to copy answers, resembles the model adopted for securing admission in the much acclaimed Bollywood comedy Munnabhai M.B.B.S.

Reports and investigations over time have brought the involvement of a wide network of politicians and officials to the surface. Former education minister Laxmikant Sharma, Governer Ram Naresh Yadav, ex officer on special duty to governer Dhanraj Yadav and Deputy Inspector General RK Shivhare are a few names that stand out amongst this integrated web of corruption. The Congress party has also been alleging Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being involved in the scam. At the same time, it must also be noted that the scam started during Digvijaya Singh’s term as the Chief Minister.

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India Today journalist Akshay Singh who was investigating the scam and the Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose medical college, Arun Sharma, are amongst the latest additions to those found dead under mysterious circumstances. Various figures have cropped up in regards with the number of dead people associated with the scam. While official accounts put the number of deaths at 25, unofficial estimates of deaths vary from 44 to 156, depending on who is making the claim.

As reported by The Wire, “A majority of those who died are from the Chambal region straddling Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the dead were in the age group of 25-30. They were either students, who had fraudulently secured admission to medical colleges after paying hefty sums to touts of the PEB’s bosses, or job aspirants who benefited from the manipulation of recruitment tests”. The phrase “Danse Macabre”, meaning the dance of death, is literally finding manifestation in the contemporary reality.

The entire scenario raises several questions- Is it possible to untangle this mass web of corruption? Does one have heroes like Beckett and Castle to reveal the climax of this real life crime thriller? Is having heroes enough to arrive at a conclusion in a situation where people from all rungs seem to be involved? With reports of state level politicians being involved, why hasn’t a CBI enquiry been approved till now? Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, otherwise frequently active on Twitter, silent about this scam?

Like various other scams, big or small, petty politics that’s witnessed every second day is nothing more than a recurrent manifestation of trivial aspirations, greed and self-interest of a large number of people. History can offer numerous instances of devastation by the dominance of one or all of these traits. Memory, however, easily obliterates past and cloaks it with current needs and ambition. One wonders if the negative aspects of history will ever stop repeating themselves. One wonders and is almost convinced that dream of an idyllic reality will always be a dream. Good and bad, white and black, reward and punishment – there is no perfect distribution and disintegration of these categories. It is indeed a grey world.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Stern On Intensifying India-Korea Economic Relations

India features among the top 10 trade partners of South Korea and is the sixth largest export destination for S Korean goods with the trade volume reaching $21.5 billion in 2018. 

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Noting that this was his third interaction with the Korean business leaders in 12 months, Modi said: "Negotiations to upgrade the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) have been fast-tracked to achieve the bilateral trade target of $50 billion." Pixabay

Making a call to intensify the India-Korea economic relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday urged more Korean businesses to turn their attention towards India.

“I wish to see more and more Korean businesses turning their attention to India,” Modi said.

Addressing the India-Korea Business Symposium, Modi who is on a two-day official visit to South Korea, said India has become one of the most open countries for foreign direct investment (FDI), recording $250 billion inflow in the past four years.

India
Highlighting the sound fundamentals and that the Indian economy is on its way to become a $5 trillion economy soon, Modi said no other large economy in the world has grown at 7 per cent year after year.
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Noting that this was his third interaction with the Korean business leaders in 12 months, Modi said: “Negotiations to upgrade the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) have been fast-tracked to achieve the bilateral trade target of $50 billion.”

India features among the top 10 trade partners of South Korea and is the sixth largest export destination for S Korean goods with the trade volume reaching $21.5 billion in 2018.

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Trade Groups Claim, American’s Detention Is A Potential Moment For Russia. Pixabay

“Not just trade, in terms of investment also we are seeing a positive turn. Korean investments into India have reached a cumulative figure of almost $6 billion,” the Prime Minister said.

Noting that the South Korean National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) has opened its India office in Bengaluru to facilitate Korean startups in India, the Prime Minister said both the countries have decided to set up a future strategy group (FSG) and a centre for research and innovation cooperation.
Also Read: Trade Groups Claim, American’s Detention Is A Potential Moment For Russia
Highlighting the sound fundamentals and that the Indian economy is on its way to become a $5 trillion economy soon, Modi said no other large economy in the world has grown at 7 per cent year after year.

India, he said, has jumped to the 77th spot on the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” rankings on the back of reforms and is determined to break into the top 50 next year. (IANS)