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India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Freedom Team

14 qualities of an outstanding leader – by Marvin Bower of McKinsey

I've extracted the following from this article:

1.       Trustworthiness:  Anyone seeking to be a leader should always tell the truth, if for no other reason than it is simpler.

2.       Fairness: This means not using authority carelessly. The requirement should not be unnecessary, too difficult, or impossible in the time given.

3.       Unassuming behaviour: Leaders can never be hypocritically humble. They are simply unassuming in their behavior. Casualness and informality contribute to a leadership culture.

4.       Leaders listen: Paying close attention, but also asking brief, nonleading questions. They learn much of importance this way.

5.       A leader is open-minded: Self-assurance can be a plus, but excessive self-assurance leads to egotism and even arrogance; it certainly closes minds.  Ensuring that people are free to speak their minds in a full, free exchange of thought.

6.       Sensitivity to people: A leader can’t motivate or persuade constituents or others effectively without having some sense of what’s on their minds.  He pays attention to everyone he deals with every day. Leaders are polite, considerate, understanding, and careful that what they say to someone is not dispiriting.

7.       Sensitivity to situations:  Conduct a searching, sensitive, and intuitive investigation of situations.

8.       Initiative, initiative, initiative:  Initiative is one of the most important attributes of any leader. The important thing is to keep alert for opportunities. “Nothing in this world happens except at the initiative of a single person.”

9.       Good judgment:  Judgment is the ability to combine hard data, questionable data, and intuitive guesses to arrive at a conclusion that events prove to be correct. Judgment includes the capacity to appraise the potentialities of co-workers and opponents. Following fads reflects bad judgment.  The leader seeks out people with good judgment among his network.

10.   Broad-mindedness:  Tolerant of varied views  and inclined to condone minor departures from conventional behaviour. Adaptable, and flexible. Undisturbed by little things, willing to overlook small errors, and easy to talk with.

11.   Flexibility and adaptability:  Ready to consider change and willing to make changes when most agree they are needed.

12.   The capacity to make sound and timely decisions:  A sound decision by a leader depends largely on his or her ability to think and to seek advice from others. Allowing time to digest issues almost always brings new options from which to choose.

13.   The capacity to motivate:  The capacity to move people to action, to communicate persuasively, to strengthen the confidence of followers.

14.   A sense of urgency: The leader invariably set the pace. People like to work where “things happen.” 

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Minutes of the 5th annual conference of the Freedom Team of India, held in Chandigarh

I'm unable to access the FTI website (a temporary glitch), so instead of first publishing these minutes there, I'm publishing them here. I'll shortly publish these minutes there, as well.

Download (in Word) from here.

I'd like to thank everyone who participated and to those who prepared the minutes.

=== PHOTOS ARE NOT PART OF THIS WEB BASED PRESENTATION==

Minutes of the FTI Fifth Annual Conference,

February 15 and 16, 2014 (Chandigarh)

Venue – Hotel Sun Park, 40.5 milestone Chandigarh-Shimla, NH-22

Initial interaction (February 14 evening) @ Hotel Sun Park

Members present

Dipinder Sekhon

Suneeta Dhariwal

KK Verma

Bimadraj Sinha

Ashok Malik

Pallav Mukherji

·         Members introduced and connected with each other.

·         Dr Munish Raizada (ex. FTI, now AAP) came with one of his friend and interacted with the FTI members. He remembered his association with FTI and expressed his gratefulness towards FTI for shaping him what he is today.

Press Coverage

15 Feb 2014

·         A lady from a PR agency came along with TV crew at 12.30 PM and videographed the ongoing discussion for 5 minutes. Recorded portions included KK Verma, Sureshan, Ram Atri and Balraj Malik.

·         Another TV crew came at 2.30 PM with portions from conversations with Ram K Atri, Kamal Sharma and Balraj Malik recorded.

16 Feb 2014

·         The annual conference ended with a press conference followed by lunch at Hotel Pallavi at 12.30 PM for all members of the press and conference participants.

·         The press conference was attended by approximately 40 journalists from around 20 different channels of print and TV media attended.  The press was addressed by Suneeta Dhariwal, KK verma, P sureshan, Balraj Malik, Anil Sharma and Ram K Atri.

·         The proceedings came in many newspapers and on TV.

·         Various updates regarding Freedom Team of India including the work of Sanjeev Sabhlok and his book Breaking Free From Nehru were discussed.

·         QA session was the most attractive part of the press conference. We discussed how we are going to improve India’s governance, make legal system effective and eradicate poverty.

·         Journalists were very curious to know about this new outfit and almost most of them felt good that something like this is happening in the country, and that a new hope exists with good policy and well organized leadership. At a time when people are fed up with socialist ideologies of AAP and double talk of Arvind Kejriwal, the liberal ideas of FTI were well appreciated. It was felt that a new hope has been generated by this well organized leadership platform.

·         Freedom Team of India got highlighted.

·         From media coverage (more on FTI website).

Day 1 (February 15)

Members present

1.       KK Verma

2.       Suneeta Dhariwal

3.       Kamal Sharma

4.       P Sureshan

5.       Ram Atri

6.       Pallav Mukherji, Architect-Urban Thinker, Chandigarh

7.       Siddhant Singh

8.       Ashok Malik

9.       Sanjay Seth

10.   Balraj Malik

11.   Bimad Raj (potential member SB Party)

12.   Sanjeev Sabhlok (on telephone from Australia)

Meeting started at 9.30 (Due to late arrival of members)

·         Welcome by K.K.Sharma and K.K.Verma

·         Housekeeping (emergency exit, washrooms, tea-coffee arrangements and timelines)

·         KK Verma introduced the new executive members at FTI. Members were informed that there will be no other committee apart from the executive committee which will take all need-based decisions.

·         KK Sharma briefed on the clean-up of the FTI membership drive and that what exists now is more representative of the activities and active energy at FTI.

·         On Membership drive – Sanjay Seth talked about limits of voluntarism, need of a secretariat support for an active push for FTI activities and member engagement. More efforts required from existing members.

·         Delhi chapter is working well – others are requested to start such meetings.

·         The purpose of FTI - being a leadership factory is being realized with Somnath, Munish and Shantanu - though no more at FTI but are examples of the FTI platform’s success. FTI has to prove its mettle with its own outfit SBP in the years to come. It needs to cross serious challenges.

Further discussion on members base, activities and momentum

The active role of pivots Sanjeev Sabhlok, KK Verma, Supratim, Sureshan, Ajay Anand, Vishal Singh, Suneeta Dhariwal, Ram Atri etc. was recognized as the reason behind continuing energy at FTI.  It was also raised that personal commitments of members are coming in way of active membership recruitment drive.  In absence of fulltime members, with high dependency on volunteer efforts and with no office, no fixed responsibilities can be divided and accountabilities ensured. That is one reason for weak member engagement, new member engagement and a attendance at the National conference.

·         New website was up, Forums are not working but Google groups are on.

·         Membership fees- decided to continue with the same amount and appeal for payment of dues.

·         Siddhant, who is not a graduate yet, but his case can be considered up, he has been asked to apply.

FTI Funds and Fund raising

·         Need for resources for office, full time secretarial assistance and various periodic activities. KK Verma’s residence is still operating as office of FTI, SKC and SBP. He needs support.

·         Ram Atri contended that we have to ask for it as we have done in the past and were successful with crowd fund sourcing for Shantanu’s visit, Policy competition, Uttarakhand efforts, SBP advertisement, etc. Contributions, donations will come when called for. 

·         Further, as our membership goes up, so will membership fees.

·         KK Sharma pointed that we need to have regularity and certainty in funds rather than one time or on-call donations because expense needs would be regular with office setup.

·         Group agreed that an office will be put in place and call for donation/contribution will be issued and regular follow-ups will be done by the office. R K Atri will drive this mission.

·         Need for secretariat people – depending on that we can decide range of activities.

·         Sanjay Seth suggested and the group agreed to explore the option of each serious member contributing Rs. 1 Lakh as donation to FTI, the interest on which would be used to fund regular activities. KK Sharma and Ashok Malik also committed. An interesting option came up where a fixed deposit (say of 1 Lakh) will remain in the name of donor in the bank and interest can be redirected to FTI. Ram Atri pointed that he would be willing to contribute 11000 one time donation rather than the FD route. Pallav quoted Rotary club example of membership cards/tickets/draw of various denomination and sell it through members. KK Sharma will explore various systems of loaning and donations and propose on FTI GB.

Sanjeev called up from Australia and stressed the need to spread the freedom word and what FTI stands for (rule of law, good leaders’ platform, and systems/governance), why FTI is different, need for our speakers, outreach, being result focused, framing/contributions to policies, leadership development. He cited understanding with Navbharat party and that we may be called upon to support Varun Arya who has good networks and is contemplating a major move. Though he is not in FTI but may use the SKC platform and for all reasons he is with us. Ram Atri was requested to update on forthcoming Nation Building meet.

Policy competition

·         It was suggested that winners be awarded in the nation building meet proposed in March 2014.

·         The balance funds can be utilized for the next policy competition which should be a regular event.

·         It was also proposed to publish and distribute a summary of the winners’ contribution at the March Nation Building and other meet/forums with FTI logo. This should help cement our credentials as policy experts. Policy competition’s winner’s contribution should be sent as email to all members at SKCF and FTI.

·         Pallav suggested a FTI splash in newspaper (full page inserts) city by city with such news/ accomplishments if we want to get noticed.  Pallav will check for Chandigarh and propose to FTI. The idea was agreed to as workable but more on this front could happen when there is more activity and funds at FTI.

Uttarakhand flood relief work

·         Special mention was made to laud the efforts of Ram Atri, KK Verma along with his family members and team at Delhi.

·         Ashok Malik suggested that we post RTI for Uttarakhand relief and he agreed to lead the effort.

·         It was deemed important that we publish the accounts of this effort.  Sureshan is leading on this matter. Distribution of remaining money should be undertaken on priority as weather improves.

Raising funds

·         Membership fee from 2012-13 [Status update] – no update, treasurer or information not available. Supratim to update.

·         Projects to raise funds (e.g. Information pack for FTI to be prepared – Needs to be thrown open on GB for volunteers. Initial effort to be put in by KK Sharma- will prepare a 4 pager A5 size booklet with summary of activities, salient info, alumni etc.

Full time office

·         Funding – discussed separately above. Need to identify the right person, requirements from the person and structure of supervision. Sanjay Seth will explore options and propose solution. Till some permanent arrangements are made, KK Verma has agreed that his house can be used as working office of FTI, SKCF and SBP.  He is to be provided with necessary support.

FTI documents

·          “What Freedom Means to Me” – FTI publication. It is an intellectual job, lot of reading; discussing, brain storming, editing etc. will be required. One of the longest pending jobs. Fundamentally, the language of liberalism has to be translated into an easy language for understanding like the socialist language. People need to be shown the reason/logic in their language and understanding. Part timers have found it difficult; will be taken up later when we have an able office hand. We can also look to have interns (Political Science, Sociology graduates) working on this at a nominal honorarium.

·         Ongoing improvement of SKCF reform agenda – Most members have not gone through. Agenda available through email etc. Members should go through and suggest improvements.

·         Policy Handbook – detailed policies to be drafted – Slow process. Policy competitions and piloting effort from members required. Voluntary part timing makes it difficult.

·         Public report on FTI: Summary of what FTI has done since inception, including crediting all key people for their contributions?…. Job was considered best done by Sanjeev Sabhlok.

Outreach efforts

·         Website and Social media – Member efforts and sharing etc. needs to go up. Members need to write more and share publicly. Anubhava to appraise on Forum problem and possible solutions.

FTI members who are contesting in 2014

·         Not key strategy but some members may wish to gain experience

·         Possibility of escalation of efforts being considered.

·         Issue left to individual discretion. FTI members can only contest from approved (broadly liberal) parties.

Review of current status (including of the SKC Federation) and next steps

Flood relief work

·         Accounts and any follow up action-

·         Sureshan will formalize Tax related issues. He will go to the GB and request people with voter ID cards registered in 8 different states.

Office in Delhi

·         Experience and follow up action – discussed above, funding mechanism also discussed. Presently the house of KK Verma is earmarked as office of FTI, SKCF and SBP.

Plan to hold policy-related meetings

·         Potential -try to hold one in 2014 with SKCF partner. No organization presents to make a commitment. Also need a project manager to lead this effort.

SKC reform agenda

·         Discuss the agenda and suggest key improvements (to be offered to all parties (including NBDP) in 2014).   KK Verma had brought one copy of latest “agenda for change” which was shown and finally given to Mr Pallav Mukherjee. No other member seemed to have read this in totality or had any contrarian views on any portion.  It was intimated that agenda for change is available online and can be accessed through email, websites etc. Members should go through these documents, distribute among friends and suggest improvements.

SKC strategies for 2014

·         Ram K Atri and KK Verma energized efforts during the Uttarakhand activities. National branding happened. Need to sustain. Need an office. Need momentum. Need support (time and effort) of other FTI members. Voluntarism seems to have been stretched. KK Verma and his family members worked hard for last many months to ensure that this relief work goes on. Their effort needs support and recognition. Need belief in the concept of FTI and SKCF. All members to work focused to take the idea of FTI and SKCF forward.

·         Need to think of ways to hold the government to account (e.g. citizens' government/ shout. do type effort)…. Pallav suggested that there are RTI Federation state units which can be approached for help. Shouting needs people. Organisation strength- first need.

·         Preparation of reform bills…. Need initiative of existing FTI members.

·         Develop a media strategy and key spokespersons who speak on current issues in the media…..Need a standing spokesperson. Qualities- well versed, well-spoken, confident, one on whom FTI GB would have confidence.  KK Verma and P Sureshan volunteered.

Other thoughts/ actions/ action plans?

·         KK Verma remarked that FTI/SKCF and related efforts are single person/effort dependent whereas we need a more wider participation with time bound plans. Members participation in various activities remain important.

·         Ram Atri-  Ishwar Dayal (industrialist and publisher) wants to start off a leadership institute (not affiliated to any political party) Ram will take up further with Sanjeev.

·         Pallav Mukherjee suggested – Chandigarh cinema halls vacant, we can get a team of experts talking about excess electricity bill charging (two month advance) in one of those halls.  May be we can invite Gurcharan Das or personalities who are known and can be identified with …. Pallav ready to lead one such effort in Chandigarh. Suneeta will help.

·         Pallav suggested we can follow the concept of Parliamentary education organization. E.g. take up issue of how additional work hours can be spent by Municipal Corp for interaction with people. People need to put pressure. Pallav will put some ideas on FTI/cGov facebook page.

·         KK Verma requested Sanjay Seth to share his experience about Japanese culture and how it could be beneficial to Indians in Indian environment. He appraised the group on why Japan is successful and what lessons can India draw from there. Suggest Sanjay to post a summary of his talk.

·         Ram Atri shared an update on forthcoming Nation Building meet in March 2014 – will be more action oriented, process of identifying people is on. 11 committees of 11 people each will work extensively on various aspects identified through last conference and ongoing efforts. Varun Arya a key figure in the proceedings. Will support a party closest to the entire proposition.

DAY 1 (February 15) – Cultural Evening

Time – 5.30 PM to 8 PM

Venue – Bharat Vikas Parishad Bhawan (India Development Council building), Sector 12A, Punchkula, Punjab.

Highlights –

It was jointly organized by Sarokar, an initiative of Ankit Dhariwal Memorial Trust (ADMT) with Ms Suneeta Dhariwal as founder trustee. This program was second in series for Social Awareness for Indian youth.

This was organized in association with Freedom Team of India (FTI) and Sone Ki Chidiya Federation (SKCF). It is believed that enhancing social awareness and building leadership platform is the main objective of this event. It achieved its objective.

Two speakers – one Mr P Sureshan and other Mr Kamal Sharma delivered a talk on leadership and integrated India – Challenges and opportunities. KK Verma delivered a vote of thanks. A special thanks was extended to Suneeta Dhariwal who took all the pain to conceive, plan and execute such a nice event. The initiative of Mr Bimadraj from Ideabulls was also applauded.

Cultural evening witnessed a very well performed Brazilian Dance and Music by Brazilian Artist Ms Simon Da Silva Novaes, Popularly known as Mony Moon in entertainment industry. Around 100 local people attended the evening program and appreciated the effort of FTI and SKCF.

Women TV channel was launched by Chief Guest Mr Prasad. Dr Vidya Kumari from Delhi became its first member. Ms Suneeta Dhariwal explained that this channel will work extensively to ensure women empowerment and show various women issues.

Ms Suneeta Dharwal worked very hard to ensure success of this evening program. Her effort was lauded by everyone present there. It was felt that members of FTI need to broaden its scope and activities through local organizations and local issues. It was good to see that so many local organizations took part in the program.

The program was followed by dinner jointly managed by Bharat Vikas Parishad and Freedom Team of India.

DAY 2 (February 16)

Members present

1.       KK Verma

2.       Suneeta Dhariwal

3.       Kamal Sharma

4.       P Sureshan

5.       Ram Atri

6.       Anil Sharma

7.       Siddhant Singh

8.       Ashok Malik

9.       Sanjay Seth

10.   Balraj Malik

11.   Mahendra Dhariwal (late arrival)

12.   Ms. Anita Jangra (late arrival)

13.   Bimad Raj  (late arrival)

·         It was a plenary session of Swarna Bharat Party, started at 9.15 AM.

·         Sureshan appraised about the 5 Feb meeting (Sureshan, KK Verma) with ECI regarding SBP. ECI discussed and suggested changes to be made by 10 March- complete necessary amendments/corrections (like symbol requirement) in the constitution. Sureshan, KK Verma and Balraj Malik to make necessary efforts and ask for team support wherever required.

·         KK Verma suggested that we have an SBP constitution; all members were requested to have a look into and start following the ideas and principles in spirit. He further appraised about the AGM of SBP conducted on 10 Jan 2014 at C-79, First Floor, South Ex Part 2, New Delhi – 110049. It was attended by KK Verma, Ram Atri, Sureshan, Ashok Malik, Balraj Malik, Gaurav, Pushpender Rana, Anil Sharma (Vidoconf).

·         Plenary session of SBP decided on few essential activities. As discussed during AGM at New Delhi, plenary session of SBP reiterated the formation of various committees –

  1. National Executive members
    1. Dipinder sekhon
    2. Ram K Atri
    3. K K Verma
    4. P Sureshan
    5. Prem sabhlok
    6. Suneeta Dhariwal
    7. Kamal kishore sharma
    8. Anil Sharma
    9. Supratim Basu
    10. Vishal Kumar Singh
    11. Ashok malik
    12. Balraj Singh malik
    13. B Kulwan
  2. National Council members
    1. Party officer bearers
    2. Members national executive
    3. State president
  3. State president
    1. Bihar                      –              Abhisek Singh                    Mob-09386737788
    2. Haryana               -              Sunita Dhariwal
    3. Karnataka            -              AR Patil
    4. Maharashtra      -              To be decided by Supratim Basu
    5. Tamil Nadu         –              Vijay Anand
    6. MP                         -              Ajay Anand
  4. Formation of important committees-
    1. Grievance redressal
      1. Kamal Kishore Sharma
      2. Ashok malik
      3. Balraj Malik
    2. Disciplinary process
    3. P Sureshan
    4. K K Verma
    5. Kulwant
    6. Code of conduct (FTI) – One page document will be prepared.
    7. P Sureshan
    8. Prem Sabhlok
    9. Anil Sharma
    10. KK Verma
    11. Anupam Srivastava
    12. Akshay Shah
    13. Ram K Atri
    14. P Sureshan
    15. K K Verma
    16. KK Verma
    17. Balram S Malik
    18. Amit K Sharma
    19. Finance and audit
    20. Media and communication policy
    21. Administrative management requirements
    22. Training requirements
  5. Lifetime membership Fees of Rs 100/- (Rs 11/- in special cases) is extended to 31 Mar 2014.
  6. Membership drive – Membership forms (4 pages) are to be prepared and printed (approx 1 lacs).  KK Verma will get this printed.
    1. Schemes – Party members who take initiatives to make new members will be given incentive like administrative charges, conveyance charges etc amounting to 50% of collection.
    2. Camping, picnic or get-together – Will be decided later. Members are requested to take initiatives and plan. Party may help financially as well as morally.
  7. ID card for members – It will be designed and printed (Approximately 500 copies) – KK Verma to organize this.
  8. Campaign committee
  • Ram K Atri
  • Balraj S Malik
  • P Sureshan
  • KK Verma
  • P Sureshan
  • Ashok Malik
  • Supratim
  • KK Verma
  • Kulwant
  • Supratim Basu
  • Dipinder Sekhon
  • Vishal Kumar Singh
  • Balrak S Malik
  • Suneeta Dhariwal
  1. Party Office bearers
  • Anil K Sharma
  • Ram K atri
  • Suneeta Dhariwal
  • Kamal K Sharma
  • Balraj S Malik
  • Supratim Basu
  • Ashok Malik
  • Vishal Kumar Singh
  • Akshay Shah
  1. Candidate selection
  2. Party spokesperson
  3. Central working committee (CWC)
  4. Any other points – Nil

·         Sanjeev Sabhlok’s effort appreciated

·         Sureshan informed that SBP Registration will happen…how to LAUNCH? However KK Verma intimated that plenty of efforts and work needed to pursue the case of registration and then follow the constitution. The party work is a serious job and we all need to be proactive to work as per constitution of SBP. Suggested to launch at March Nation building meet where some political parties will also be there. Ram Atri to explore.

·         KK Verma suggested that we must decide about candidate for 2014 election and from now on we should start identifying candidates (KK Verma) for 2019 right away.

End piece

The entire group applauded the effort of KK Verma and Suneeta Dhariwal. Many thanks go to Executive committee members including Supratim, Ajay and Vishal for their kind support. It was appreciated that Anil Sharma came from London.  Although this was a unique conference, it was felt that the it was one of weakest in terms of attendance . Participating members spent thousands of rupees to come but felt some setback due to poor participations from FTI members.

For the next conference, discussions:

1.       It was observed that participants were not adequately aware about the agenda. It is felt that all members should play active role in ensuring success of such big events.

2.       In Chandigarh, other than Suneetaji, no one took part. The local chapter needs to be sufficiently large to organise the entire event.

3.       Minimum 20 numbers confirming and committing their presence is necessary for an annual meeting.

4.       Executive committee members must compulsorily attend. Those not attending should have a valid reason.

It was felt, while facing the tough questions from journalists, that some key good people were missing from FTI’s side. It is important for all old members to remain committed and participate in such emerging opportunities.

Written, compiled and edited by:

Kamal K Sharma,

KK Verma,

Suneeta Dhariwal and

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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Sardar Hukum Singh fought for our liberty in the Constituent Assembly against anti-free speech provisions

In India's Constituent Assembly Sardar Hukum Singh advocated ABSOLUTE freedom of speech (article 13 referred to in the speech became the final article 19)

==

 Sardar Hukum Singh (East Punjab: Sikh): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:

"That clause (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of article 13 be deleted."

Sir, in article 13(1), sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c),they give constitutional protection to the individual against the coercive power of the State, if they stood by themselves.

But sub-clause (2) to (6) of article 13 would appear to take away the very soul out of these protective clauses. These lay down that nothing in sub-clauses (a),(b), (c) of article 13 shall effect the operation of any of the existing laws, that is, the various laws that abrogate the rights envisaged in sub-clause (1) which were enacted for the suppression of human liberties, for instance, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the Press Act, and other various security Acts.

If they are to continue in the same way as before, then where is the change ushered in and so loudly talked of?

The main purpose of declaring the rights as fundamental is to safeguard the freedom of the citizen against any interference by the ordinary legislature and the executive of the day.

The rights detailed in article 13(1)are such that they cannot be alienated by any individual, even voluntarily. The Government of the day is particularly precluded from infringing them, except under very special circumstances.

But here the freedom of assembling, freedom of the press and other freedoms have been made so precarious and entirely left at the mercy of the legislature that the whole beauty and the charm has been taken away.

It is not only the existing laws that have been subjected to this clause, but the State has been further armed with extraordinary powers to make any law relating to libel, slander etc. It may be said that every State should have the power and jurisdiction to make laws with regard to such matters as sedition, slander and libel.

But in other countries like America it is for the Supreme Court to judge the matter, keeping in view all the circumstances and the environments, and to say whether individual liberty has been sufficiently safeguarded or whether the legislature has transgressed into the freedom of the citizen. The balance is kept in the hands of the judiciary which in the case of all civilized countries has always weighed honestly and consequently protected the citizen from unfair encroachment by legislatures.

But a curious method is being adopted under our Constitution by adding these sub-clauses (2) to (6). The Honourable Mover defended these sub-clauses by remarking that he could quote at least one precedent for each of these restrictions.

But it is here that the difference lies, that whereas in those countries it is the judiciary which regulates the spheres of these freedoms and the extent of the restrictions to be imposed, under article 13, it is the legislature that is being empowered with these powers by sub-clauses (2) to (6).

The right to freedom of speech is given in article 13(1)(a), but it has been restricted by allowing the legislature to enact any measure under 13(2),relating to matters which undermine the authority or foundation of the State; the right to assembly seems guaranteed under 13(1)(b), but it has been made subject to the qualification that legislation may be adopted in the interest of public order–13(3). Further under 13(4) to13(6), any legislation restricting these liberties can be enacted "in the interest of the general public".

Now who is to judge whether any measure adopted or legislation enacted is "in the interest of the general public" or "in the interest of public order", or whether it relates to "any matter which undermines the authority or foundation of the State"? The sphere of the Supreme Court will be very limited. The only question before it would be whether the legislation concerned is "in the interest of the public order". Only the bona-fides of the legislature will be the main point for decision by the Court and when once it is found by the court that the Government honestly believed that the legislation was needed "in the interest of the public order", there would be nothing left for its interference.

The proviso in article 13(3) has been so worded as to remove from the Supreme Court its competence to consider and determine whether in fact there were circumstances justifying such legislation. The actual provisions and the extent of the restrictions imposed would-be out of the scope of judicial determination.

For further illustration we may take the law of sedition enacted under 13(2). All that the Supreme Court shall have to adjudicate upon would be whether the law enacted relates to "sedition" and if it does, the judiciary would be bound to come to a finding that it is valid. it would not be for the Judge to probe into the matter whether the actual provisions are oppressive and unjust. If the restriction is allowed to remain as it is contemplated in 13(2), then the citizens will have no chance of getting any law relating to sedition declared invalid, howsoever oppressive it might be in restricting and negativing the freedom promised in 13(1)(a). The "court" would be bound to limit its enquiry within this field that the Parliament is permitted under the Constitution to make any laws pertaining to sedition and so it has done that.

The constitution is not infringed anywhere, and rather, the draft is declaring valid in advance any law that might be enacted by the Parliament–only if it related to sedition. Similar is the case of other freedom posed in article 13(1) but eclipsed and negatived in clauses (2) to (6).

It may be argued that under a national government, the legislature, representative of the people and elected on adult franchise, can and should be trusted for the safe custody of citizens' rights. But as has been aptly remarked, “If the danger of executive aggression has disappeared, that from legislative interference has greatly increased, and it is largely against this danger that the modern declarations of fundamental rights are directed, as formerly they were directed against the tyranny of autocratic kings."

The very object of a Bill of Rights is to place these rights out of the influence of the ordinary legislature, and if, as under clauses (2) to (6) of article 13, we leave it to this very body, which in a democracy, is nothing beyond one political party, to finally judge when these rights, so sacred on paper and glorified as Fundamentals, are to be extinguished, we are certainly making these freedoms illusory.

If the other countries like the U.S.A. have placed full confidence in their Judiciary and by their long experience it has been found that the confidence was not misplaced, why should we not depend upon similar guardians to protect the individual liberties and the State interests, instead of hedging round freedom by so many exceptions under these sub-clauses?

Sir, I commend this amendment to the House.

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Resuming regular membership of Freedom Team of India after a 5-month sabbatical

From early August 2013 I took a long break from direct FTI work.

In the meanwhile, FTI managed to continue to evolve. 

I did actively implement FTI's political strategy (e.g. Rule of Law Front/ Hope Summit) and have evolved it till the point when a significant advance is likely to be announced in the liberal political space in India in the coming days.

I will now revert to FTI more actively to help strengthen it from within.

FTI remains as relevant as ever before, even as some of its members (e.g. Shantanu Bhagwat) have left to join AAP which leads to their automatic termination of FTI membership.

FTI's relevance relates to the fact that India continues to face a shortage of good leaders. More particularly, it faces a severe shortage of leaders committed to liberty and truth. AAP is not committed to either of these, so FTI members can't join AAP. (Just like they can't join Congress or BJP, etc.)

But FTI members can join Lok Satta Party, Swarna Bharat Party, Swatantra Bharat Party and Navbharat Party (and possibly Jago Party – but that has to be confirmed).

We still need to find 1500 top class leaders in India. That long term project is not going to end on any given day. It will be a constant, never-ending project of rejuvenation of India.

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Sandeep Shelke understands why government schools must be privatised. Very few get this basic point.

I had a small discussion regarding school vouchers on FB and a good friend agreed that school vouchers are a good idea and cited studies which have shown vouchers 'work'.

But then I pointed out that these studies don't really represent the basic concept behind the voucher system – that the government should completely withdraw from managing school education.

Then stepped in Sandeep Shelke with some of the clearest statements on the subject.

Recall that I had introduced you to Sandeep Shelke of Pune (and member of the Freedom Team of India) here.

"IT IS CITIZENS WHO CREATE THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT THE OPPOSITE"

[Click for larger image - extract from FB]

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The evolution of Somnath Bharti as a leader – a review of the past three years.

Prompted by some questions from someone, I've written some thoughts on Somnath's evolution as a leader. 

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I had resigned from the IAS in January 2001 with a view to reforming India's system politically. To cut a long story short, after various efforts and learnings I started the Freedom Team of India (FTI) in December 2007 to promote liberty and world-best economic and governance policies, with a key focus on identifying and building values-driven leaders who will contest elections. We had a slow but steady growth. 

Somnath and Vikram Buddhi

Somnath Bharti impressed me with his work for Vikram Buddhi (http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/03/the-vikram-buddhi-case/) and later joined Freedom Team of India in 2010. When everyone had forgotten Vikram, Somnath stood by his side. He stood for idea of liberty and against oppression of an Indian by the USA.

Somnath and IAC

Somnath had become close to Arvind Kejriwal during this period and represented IAC in the Commonwealth Games corruption case. 

Somnath and my meeting with Arvind Kejriwal

Through Somnath I met Arvind Kejriwal in February 2012 and recommended that he join politics. Arvind did join politics later but choose an entirely different path (of socialism). Somnath was happy to let people know my role in motivating Arvind Kejriwal to join politics. On 5 May 2012 he wrote to a friend, with a copy to me:

"Sometime back, I had organized a meeting of Sanjeev with Arvind Kejriwal who was persuaded then by Sanjeev to look for political solution of corruption. I don't know if it is that persuasion or something else but as you know Arvind and his team announced their will of contesting the election 2014."

Somnath and Gurcharan Das

At one stage, I introduced him to Gurcharan Das (we went on a walk, together) and this is what Somnath wrote on 3 March 2012:

"I am sure that Gurcharan will play a more active and pivotal role in bringing a liberal govt in power at the center in addition to what he through his talks and writings is already doing. To make this possible, his presence in our monthly meetings will go a long way. I have startd reading his book "India Unbound" and my request for his active involvement in our work, more like a mentor, draws strength from his book. "  

I'm not sure if Somnath finished Gurcharan's book. My understanding about Somnath is that he is not very clear about ideology. That is not surprising. Although FTI has a requirement that anyone who joins it should commit to the principle of liberty it takes time (often years) for most FTI members to understand the implications of this principle.

Somnath has been generally busy with his job and other engagements, so he has not had time to interact actively regarding policy and principles as much as many other FTI members have. I do know that he has read much of my book, Breaking Free of Nehru, but he has not asked me questions about it. There was a brief discussion we had on education policy, once.

Somnath's FTI membership and AAP

Regarding political party involvement, FTI members are supposed to get active in politics. FTI approves parties that are broadly liberal, for its members to consider joining. FTI has also created Swarna Bharat Party in June 2013 to progress its political goals. After AAP was formed, its policy positions were not clear enough. Somnath told me that Arvind doesn't have any ideology but stands for 'whatever works'. That was not very promising. But Somnath became more influenced by Arvind during mid-late 2012.

When Somnath wanted to join AAP in later 2012 he took my consent (during a long one hour phone call) which I gave on the condition that he'd influence Arvind Kejriwal - who holds extremely regressive economic beliefs. 
 
I recall during my long phone conversation in late 2012 that I told him that Arvind is speaking in populist language and such an approach will harm India. To that, Somnath responded that according to Arvind populist policies are needed to get votes, and after power is obtained, good policies can be introduced. I cautioned him against such an approach since the means and ends must match. Instead, I advised him to try to influence Arvind in the right direction. 
 
Somanth told me that although he is not yet part of Arvind's inner circle, he would try his best to influence him. At that I agreed to his joining AAP and informed FTI accordingly on 27 November 2012: "Although Somnath has joined AAP (he spoke with me and I agreed he should do so), I'd be very reluctant for FTI members to support AAP at this stage."
 
Unfortunately, Somnath was unsuccessful in changing Arvind and, instead, seems to have fallen into Arvind's and Yogendra Yadav's ideological trap of socialism that includes subsidies and anti-business policies. [See further details below - some of this may simply be political compulsion].
 
In early 2013, the Freedom Team of India resolved to remove anyone who was member of AAPFTI members are currently only eligible to join Lok Satta Party, Navbharat Party and a couple of others. 
 
Interactions since he joined AAP
I have been in touch repeatedly with Somnath since he joined AAP, including in April 2013 when Somnath met me in Delhi while I was running a 2-day Governance Reforms conference at the Indian Institute of Public Administration
 
Subsidies
Recently, Somnath told me that his views on subsidies had been misrepresented.  He told me that he never said that AAP would give subsidies to reduce the power tariff. But then AAP went and announced subsidies for power. I wrote about this here: http://sabhlokcity.com/2014/01/i-do-hope-you-didnt-lie-to-me-somnath-bharti-you-should-now-resign-from-aap/

Somnath's "raid"

As you are aware, I have strong concerns about the reported behaviour of Somnath in recent times, and accordingly, even if he had not joined AAP, he would likely have been at least suspended, if not removed, from FTI for trying to take "justice" into his own hands. His excellent work (Vikram Buddhi, CWG corruption case, etc.) does not exempt him from the rule of law. Further, there are various policy solutions to the prostitution etc. problems of Khirki which do not involve arresting people. One FTI member meet him just a couple of days ago and had detailed discussions re: the raid. I don't deny there is a problem in Khirki, but the way to fix it is not the way Somnath has pursued.

SUMMARY

I suspect Somnath was never very clear about ideology but is basically a liberal. He is, however, unable to influence Arvind in any meaningful way. I think Somnath is handicapped by the party's "inner circle"
 
Everyone on FTI is expected to be ambitious. All members are focused on contesting elections. Somnath has seen a short-cut to power, and in that process has compromised significantly on what he wants for India. 
It is my hope that Somnath will resign from socialist AAP, make amends for his recent reported actions (some of which might – subject to court orders – involve his going to jail for a while), and return to the liberal fold to further progress his journey as a leader. I believe people can make mistakes but in the end everyone must be encouraged and prompted to become a great leader. We can't permanently penalise those who – like Somnath - have taken up the battle on behalf of India, so long as they are ready to continuously learn and improve. I continue to hold the belief that one day young people like Somnath will learn the right way to help India.
 
The Freedom Team of India will continue its efforts to find and build leaders. Many of its leaders are preparing to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to promote libety. We hope many others can be identified and developed in the coming years. 
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