social media

In Jharkhand, an arrest over a parody video of Chief Minister Raghubar Das raises questions

Sarabpreet Singh spent eight days in jail for a meme that featured the chief minister, a Bollywood song and a mint commercial.

Sarabpreet Singh, a 28-year-old entrepreneur in Ranchi, is still perplexed about how he had to spend eight days in jail for a meme of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das that he had created for April Fool’s Day. Singh was arrested on April 3, on the basis of a complaint filed the same day by Perfetti Van Melle India Limited, makers of Mentos mints, whose advertisement campaign was the inspiration behind his parody video. But what he still has not figured out is how the police landed up at his home, enquiring about him and speaking to his neighbours, on April 2 – a full day before the complaint was filed.

Singh – who runs a job internship portal and another one dealing with digital signatures as well as a digital studio – had posted the 32-second video on his blog, Made in Ranchi, on his Twitter handle @madeinranchi and his Facebook page on April 1. Singh said he tweeted it with the hashtag #AprilFoolsDay, suggesting it was a prank. The clip shows footage of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state’s chief minister in the Assembly yelling “Saale, mircha lag raha hain” [colloquially, ”you are feeling jealous”] juxtaposed with footage from a Bollywood film song with the lyrics “mirchi lagi” (feeling jealous). In between, the video plays voice overs of the Mentos advertisement.

On April 3, the police registered a first information report based on Perfetti Van Melle India’s complaint. To Singh’s surprise, the first information report was registered not against him or any individual but against the tweet. The FIR, police complaint and court documents – all accessed by Scroll.in – identify the case as “State v/s a Twitter account link http://twitter.com/madeinranchi/status/980348068846485504”.

Singh’s Twitter handle was suspended on April 5, with no reason given. He was released on bail on April 10. His arrest sparked a debate on freedom of expression in Ranchi and a Facebook campaign, #FreeSarabpreet.

A screenshot of the post shared on Twitter on April 1.
A screenshot of the post shared on Twitter on April 1.

‘Rogue display of authority’

The charges against Singh include cheating, impersonation, committing fraud, causing public mischief and defamation under the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Copyright Act, the Trade Marks Act and the Information Technology Act.

In the police complaint, Perfetti Van Melle India mentions infringement of its trademark and copyright. It also states that the accused sought to “demean and denigrate honourable and respectable chief minister and other political dignitaries of the state of Jharkhand”.

Several lawyers Scroll.in spoke with questioned the defamation charge, pointing out that the complainant in this case is the company and not the chief minister or any political figure, and that the company has not specifically alleged that the parody video hurt its reputation. They said the other penal offences invoked in the case are also dubious.

“The charges in this case do not follow the letter and spirit of the law,” said Delhi lawyer Tara Narula. “Typically, charges under the Trade Marks Act are attracted in cases of large-scale infringement. In a case of this kind, where the use of the brand name is neither for gain nor malicious, the police action and eventual custody is inexplicable and rare.”

Bidit Deka, who also practises law in the national capital, said, “This rogue display of authority by exploiting penal provisions for gratifying egotistical cravings is regretful. The video is unmistakably a parody, meant for sarcasm purposes. It will be interesting to see the contents of the final report of the police.”

Manav Kumar, a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property cases, said the Copyright Act has room for such sarcasm. “The law says, a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of criticism of review of that work or some other work for reporting some current event does not lead to infringement of copyright.”

Sharaddha Kerketta, the officer in charge of the Cyber Police Station in Ranchi tasked with the investigation, told Scroll.in the case cannot be discussed at this point.

The world of memes

This is not the first time in India that a meme has landed its creator in trouble.

A meme is an activity, concept, catch phrase or a piece of media that spreads, often as mimicry or for the purpose of humour, from person to person through the internet. It could be an image, a video or text, or a combination of all this.

In July, the cyber cell of the Mumbai Police had registered a first information report against comedy sketch group All India Bakchod for a meme that used Snapchat’s dog filter on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“There is definitely a lot of risk involved when the parody features any person or enterprise that is influential,” said Rahul Bhattacharya, founder of the Quick Reaction Team that produces experimental videos on the internet. “The risk is much higher for content producers who are small players in the market. They do not have the resources to defend themselves in such cases.”

According to Bhattacharya, some enterprises that produce memes have small-term revenue models. They offer their services to social media users who want their Facebook pages, Twitter handles and Instagram accounts to be popular. This is how it works: they create content that the social media users post and as the content goes viral, the users get more followers. Decisions regarding the type of content to invest in depends on what is popular in meme networks at any point of time.

However, for Sarabpreet Singh, money is not the objective behind his meme project. “The idea is to use such creative ventures as a gateway to other avenues such as stand up gigs and bigger projects that are sponsored by companies,” he said. Singh quit a corporate job in Mumbai in 2016 to invest all his time in his startups.

Singh said the template for his memes is usually based on television commercials, such as Mentos’ “Aam Zindagi versus Mentos Zindagi” in this case. Perfetti Van Melle India started this campaign in 2007 and announced fresh investment for new advertisements under this concept in 2015.

“There are hundreds of such commercial templates that are popular in the meme networks,” said Singh. “Some of the most popular ones at this point are based on TV commercials of Drake and Trivago. One has to constantly keep tabs on social media platforms to understand which advertisement template is trending at what point.”

Days after his release, Singh found himself in front of the camera. A non-governmental organisation had approached him for a short video story of his case. “But my prime concern is getting my phone and gadgets released at the earliest,” he said. “They are still with the police.”

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.