Samarth Bansal

Samarth Bansal

Samarth Bansal is a data journalist based in New Delhi, with a keen interest in politics and public policy.

Articles by Samarth Bansal
People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing WhatsApp Inc's logo in this arranged photograph in London, UK.(Bloomberg)
People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing WhatsApp Inc's logo in this arranged photograph in London, UK.(Bloomberg)

Fighting fake news: Decoding ‘fact-free’ world of WhatsApp

Hindustan Times | By Samarth Bansal and Kiran Garimella
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2019 10:17 AM IST
Misinformation Ecosystem: From outright falsehoods and misleading data to bigotry and hate, everything is circulated in the closed encrypted world of WhatsApp.
Nineteen-year-old Ayush Anand Malik, an engineering student from Dewas, will vote in his first general elections this year.(HT Photo)
Nineteen-year-old Ayush Anand Malik, an engineering student from Dewas, will vote in his first general elections this year.(HT Photo)

For this first-time voter, there is no other place like India

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2019 03:07 PM IST
First-time voter Ayush Anand Malik doesn’t support caste-based reservation, and believes all religions are equal.
The telecom department promised to set up security testing labs by 2013 in order to test for bugs in network equipment, but they are still not in place, officials familiar with the matter said.(HT File Photo)
The telecom department promised to set up security testing labs by 2013 in order to test for bugs in network equipment, but they are still not in place, officials familiar with the matter said.(HT File Photo)

India’s invitation to Huawei for 5G trials sparks concerns: Insufficient security safeguards plague telecom sector

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 30, 2018 08:41 AM IST
If a firm inserts backdoor into hardware—which is the concern being flagged over invitation to Huawei to take part in 5G trials—it is difficult to protect telecom security, say experts.
The Indian government has proposed draft amendments to a law governing online content which, if passed by parliament, would require social media platforms to trace the originator of a message, use “automated tools” to proactively detect and remove “unlawful information” and set up a business entity in India.(PTI)
The Indian government has proposed draft amendments to a law governing online content which, if passed by parliament, would require social media platforms to trace the originator of a message, use “automated tools” to proactively detect and remove “unlawful information” and set up a business entity in India.(PTI)

‘China model of censorship’: Proposal to trace online content sparks concern

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 25, 2018 05:13 PM IST
Only a few weeks ago the Australian govt had passed a similar law that forces tech companies to hand over encrypted messages
Union minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the Congress saying it is crying foul over powers created by it when it was in government.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Union minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the Congress saying it is crying foul over powers created by it when it was in government.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Govt already had power to intercept, monitor, say officials

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Rajesh Ahuja and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 22, 2018 07:58 AM IST
The outrage over authorising 10 agencies to lawfully “intercept, monitor and decrypt” information through a “computer resource” seems misplaced because these agencies already had this power under the IT Act, according to current and former government officials.
Facebook logo. Image for representation.(Reuters File)
Facebook logo. Image for representation.(Reuters File)

Rajasthan an exception, Facebook popularity doesn’t ensure win

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 14, 2018 10:52 AM IST
A Hindustan Times analysis of Facebook data shows that Rajasthan was the only state where the leaders of the party that won also captured the most engagement on the social media platform.
The numbers highlight the importance of Facebook as India gears up for what some consider will be an election that is fought as much on the dusty streets of Bharat as on the social media platform.(REUTERS)
The numbers highlight the importance of Facebook as India gears up for what some consider will be an election that is fought as much on the dusty streets of Bharat as on the social media platform.(REUTERS)

Whom can political parties reach on Facebook and why it matters

New Delhi, Hindustan Times | By Arjun Srinivas and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON NOV 29, 2018 08:35 PM IST
Indian Facebook users are skewed towards specific demographics. A Hindustan Times analysis of anonymous and aggregated data from Facebook’s advertising portal shows that the bulk of the platform’s Indian users are men, under the age of 30 and live in urban clusters. National averages further hide the massive state-wide differences.
During his first visit to India, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said the country would be the next big growth frontier for Twitter.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
During his first visit to India, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said the country would be the next big growth frontier for Twitter.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Using US polls insights to prepare for India elections, says Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Vidhi Choudhary and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON NOV 15, 2018 08:57 AM IST
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said they are mainly learning from what happened in the 2016 US elections, the Mexico elections and the 2018 midterm elections. They have also built models to identify where people are trying to game the system.
An HT investigation has revealed that regional language social media platforms such as ShareChat, with 50 million registered users, and Helo, with at least 5 million estimated registered users, are rife with misinformation and political propaganda.(Getty Images/Picture for representation)
An HT investigation has revealed that regional language social media platforms such as ShareChat, with 50 million registered users, and Helo, with at least 5 million estimated registered users, are rife with misinformation and political propaganda.(Getty Images/Picture for representation)

Fake news and hate speech thrive on regional language social media

Hindustan Times | By Samarth Bansal and Snigdha Poonam
UPDATED ON NOV 14, 2018 12:58 PM IST
From lies to hate speech, platforms like Sharechat and Helo face the same issues for which WhatsApp, Twitter are facing scrutiny.
Of the 115, only two industries have almost equal proportion of men and women: Primary and Secondary Education has 46% men, while Human Resources has 51%.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Of the 115, only two industries have almost equal proportion of men and women: Primary and Secondary Education has 46% men, while Human Resources has 51%.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Gender gap in Indian formal sector worse than global average, LinkedIn data shows

By Arjun Srinivas and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON NOV 14, 2018 07:23 PM IST
Every industry sector in India employs more men than women. Moreover, the gender gap among Indian professionals is worse than the global average in every sector.
A day after the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed sharing of Aadhaar data with private entities, companies don’t have clarity on what the ruling means for their business.(AFP/File Photo)
A day after the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed sharing of Aadhaar data with private entities, companies don’t have clarity on what the ruling means for their business.(AFP/File Photo)

Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar leads to confusion in private sector

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
PUBLISHED ON SEP 27, 2018 11:23 PM IST
Some argue it is now impossible for private companies to use Aadhaar data at all; others say Aadhaar can be used as long alternatives are made available to customers.
The UIDAI collects demographic and biometric data of an individual during enrolment.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
The UIDAI collects demographic and biometric data of an individual during enrolment.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

Data is secure, some information not private: Supreme Court

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
PUBLISHED ON SEP 26, 2018 10:34 PM IST
The court expressed trust in UIDAI’s systems and said that the Central Identities Data Repository — the central database where biometric and demographic data are stored — is secure.
Disagreements over Aadhaar data security and its implications for privacy continue. Whether Aadhaar is fully secure or fundamentally flawed depends on where one stands.(HT File Photo)
Disagreements over Aadhaar data security and its implications for privacy continue. Whether Aadhaar is fully secure or fundamentally flawed depends on where one stands.(HT File Photo)

From data security to use of biometrics: Here’s everything you need to know about the Aadhaar case

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON SEP 26, 2018 09:37 AM IST
UIDAI says database is fully secure while experts argue this is a very limited view of data security.
BJP Chief Amit Shah addressing media after their victory in North Eastern States Elections at BJP Headquarters, DDU Marg in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, March 03, 2018.(HT Photo)
BJP Chief Amit Shah addressing media after their victory in North Eastern States Elections at BJP Headquarters, DDU Marg in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, March 03, 2018.(HT Photo)

Number of BJP MLAs in the northeast have increased 15 times in last five years

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Gurman Bhatia
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2018 11:49 AM IST
Between 2013 and 2018, the number of BJP legislators in the eight states of the region increased fifteenfold — from nine in 2013 to 140 in 2018, an analysis of election data by the Hindustan Times shows.
Thirty per cent men consume alcohol while only 1% of women do, data from the fourth round of National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) shows.(Parveen Kumar/HT Archive)
Thirty per cent men consume alcohol while only 1% of women do, data from the fourth round of National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) shows.(Parveen Kumar/HT Archive)

How we get high: These 9 charts reveal smoking and drinking habits of Indians

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Roshan Kishore
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2018 10:15 AM IST
National Family and Health Survey data reveals how frequently Indians drink, what alcohol they prefer and more.
An average Indian family puts away almost half of its total spending on food items, data from the fourth round of National Family and Health Survey reveals(Thinkstock)
An average Indian family puts away almost half of its total spending on food items, data from the fourth round of National Family and Health Survey reveals(Thinkstock)

From meat and fish to vegetables: These 9 charts show how India eats

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Roshan Kishore
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2018 04:02 PM IST
NFHS-4 report shows that daily food consumption has not changed much over last decade, but there has been a decrease in daily consumption of vegetables
Children wear air masks as they attend a demonstration to spread awareness about the effects of air pollution in Delhi.(PTI)
Children wear air masks as they attend a demonstration to spread awareness about the effects of air pollution in Delhi.(PTI)

What we know and what we do not know about pollution in India

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Hemang Kumar
UPDATED ON JAN 03, 2018 07:12 PM IST
Narendra Modi visited 14 countries in 2017.(AFP Photo)
Narendra Modi visited 14 countries in 2017.(AFP Photo)

PM stays on the move: Three charts that show how Modi travelled in 2017

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2017 08:36 AM IST
Official data on PM Modi’s visits from the PMO website shows that the number of days Modi spent abroad has decreased over the years.
BJP supporters celebrate the party’s win in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)
BJP supporters celebrate the party’s win in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Gujarat election results: Rural-urban divide behind BJP’s big Saurashtra setback

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Roshan Kishore and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 20, 2017 10:18 AM IST
Gujarat election results show the Congress outdid the BJP in the 2017 assembly polls in the Saurashtra region, where nearly 75% seats fall in the rural belt.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a felicitation function before the party's parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a felicitation function before the party's parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI Photo)

Gujarat election results: Had PM Modi not led BJP’s campaign, its hopes would have taken a hit

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Roshan Kishore and Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2017 03:00 PM IST
From reacting to Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark to his shrill rhetoric about Pakistan’s interference in the Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s polemics put the Congress on the defensive.
BJP workers celebrate their victory in the assembly elections near the party office 'Kamlam' in Gandhinagar on Monday.(PTI)
BJP workers celebrate their victory in the assembly elections near the party office 'Kamlam' in Gandhinagar on Monday.(PTI)

Gujarat election results: Make no mistake, the contest in Modi’s home state was really close

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Roshan Kishore
UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2017 12:11 PM IST
The Gujarat election results show ‘none of the above (NOTA)’ has polled more votes than the victory margin in 30 assembly constituencies.
HT Image
HT Image
A view of the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Delhi.(HT File Photo/Arvind Yadav)
A view of the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Delhi.(HT File Photo/Arvind Yadav)

Getting Rs 1 crore-plus paycheck is a distant dream for most IIT grads

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2017 07:53 AM IST
Salaries vary significantly with departments. The crore-plus salaries were bagged only by students of computer science and engineering.
Political analysts say the change was a result of the realisation that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s personal attacks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi had probably backfired in the Punjab and Goa and elections.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)
Political analysts say the change was a result of the realisation that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s personal attacks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi had probably backfired in the Punjab and Goa and elections.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

From daily tirade to radio silence, how Kejriwal stopped Modi-bashing on Twitter

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal and Gulam Jeelani
UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 11:42 PM IST
Since April this year, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tweets have not mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi by name at all.
Rahul Gandhi has gained more than one million followers between July and September 2017. (HT file photos)
Rahul Gandhi has gained more than one million followers between July and September 2017. (HT file photos)

How Rahul Gandhi is challenging Narendra Modi on Twitter, winning eyeballs

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2017 03:59 PM IST
People retweeted Rahul Gandhi more than PM Narendra Modi and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.
The union minister of law and electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad att the launch of Hackathon in New Delhi in September this year. The participants were urged to use the open data from government wbsite to develop apps.(HT Photo.)
The union minister of law and electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad att the launch of Hackathon in New Delhi in September this year. The participants were urged to use the open data from government wbsite to develop apps.(HT Photo.)

India has data, but who is going to figure it out

By Samarth Bansal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 22, 2017 07:43 AM IST
The government portal launched in 2012 has failed to hit the bullseye as the data is either outdated or the officials don’t update the information on time.
There serious problems with India’s public health statistics.(iStockphoto)
There serious problems with India’s public health statistics.(iStockphoto)

From missing data to unreliable numbers, India’s statistical ecosystem needs an overhaul

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON SEP 21, 2017 10:15 AM IST
The data that does exist is sometimes unreliable but is used anyway because there is no alternative. Several important data sets are released with a huge time lag. Others are missing granular district-level estimates
IStudents at IIT-Kanpur allege their freedom of movement is restrained by security guards(HT Photo)
IStudents at IIT-Kanpur allege their freedom of movement is restrained by security guards(HT Photo)

In IIT-Kanpur, students are upset over security ‘overstepping’ limit, allege harassment

Hindustan Times, Kanpur | By Samarth Bansal
PUBLISHED ON SEP 08, 2017 04:56 PM IST
Students at IIT-Kanpur allege their freedom of movement is restrained as guards arbitrarily pick on them and threaten them with punitive action.
A woman goes through the process of eye scanning for Unique Identification (UID) database system at an enrolment centre at Merta district in Rajasthan February 21, 2013.(REUTERS)
A woman goes through the process of eye scanning for Unique Identification (UID) database system at an enrolment centre at Merta district in Rajasthan February 21, 2013.(REUTERS)

Privacy upheld as fundamental right: What term means for you, what’s govt view

Hindustan Times | By Samarth Bansal
UPDATED ON AUG 24, 2017 02:18 PM IST
What is individual privacy? How does the government view it? Is it only for elites?
Students at Vaish College of Engineering, which is one of the oldest private engineering colleges in Rohtak.(HT Photo)
Students at Vaish College of Engineering, which is one of the oldest private engineering colleges in Rohtak.(HT Photo)

BTech and bust: Why Indians rush to be engineers when there are no jobs

Hindustan Times | By Samarth Bansal, Rohtak/new Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2017 06:40 PM IST
Engineering students are seeing the degree as a path towards a government job as they regard it better in terms of security, starting pay and perks.
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