(Last Updated on : 27-02-2019)
Founded in December 1961 by the erstwhile Chief Minister of West Bengal
, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray
, the United News of India or Univarta was started as an English news agency. The commercial operations of the news agency
were started from 21st March, 1961, but eventually over the years, the United News of India with its Univarta, a Hindi
news service became one of the multi-lingual news services in the world. In the year 1992, it started its Urdu news service and hence became the first news agency to provide Urdu
History of United News of India or Univarta
With the collapse of the United Press of India in 1958, some leading newspapers
along with the Press Trust of India
felt the need of a second news agency. This led to the formation of the United News of India or Univarta under Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray, sponsored by 8 leading newspapers The Hindu
, The Times of India
, The Statesman
, Amrita Bazar Patrika, Hindustan Times
, Hindustan Standard, Deccan Herald and Aryavarta.
During the initial period, the United News of India or Univarta had to use old United Press of India tele- printers that were rusted due to disuse since 1958. And by the end of 1975, the company increased its capacity from 13 tele- printers to 408. Earlier, the news agency had 5 staff members when it started its operation, but the number expanded to 697, with 139 journalists, 392 non-journalists and 166 stringers by the end of 1975.
The United News of India or Univarta introduced many innovative methods like the introduction of a weekly backgrounder service for current topics which was well-documented, with in-depth background knowledge. In 1970, it gave a new dimension to the field of agricultural journalism by introducing the United News of India agriculture
news and feature service. By this time, the news agency had acquired a reputation for fast and accurate coverage of all major news events in India and abroad in all areas, including politics
, business, economics, entertainment
, and stock markets etc. The service also provided subscribers with a rich choice in features, interviews and human-interest stories.
During the period of emergency under the governance of Indira Gandhi
in 1975, a decision was made to form a single entity by merging the 4 tele- printer news agencies of India. In 1976, the United News Agency or Univarta was merged with Press Trust of India, Hindustan Samachar and Samachar Bharati to form a new identity called Samachar. But a year later in 1977, the Samachar was made to split and the merger of all four agencies was undone and on 1978 the United News Agency or Univarta was revived again along with the other 3 news agencies.
The United News of India had entered into collaboration agreements with several foreign news agencies, including Reuters and DPA, whose stories are distributed to media
organisations in India. They also have news exchange agreements with Xinhua of China, UNB of Bangladesh, Gulf News Agency of Bahrain, and WAM of the United Arab Emirates, KUNA of Kuwait News Agency, ONA of Oman and QNA of Qatar.
Governance of United News Agency or Univarta
Registered as a non-profit company under section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, the United News Agency or Univarta is owned by the group of newspapers that have bought shares to run them. There is a Board of Directors which is headed by a chairman, who is the main authority in policy making of the news agency.
The news offered by United News of India or Univarta is not only of human interest but also aims at developmental proceedings in the long run of the nation.