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Category: India

Thomas Szasz’s fears about the GROSS misuse of psychiatry – and India’s new Mental Healthcare Act 2017

You might be aware of Thomas Szasx, about who’s work I have written a number of blog posts earlier (see this).

Basically, Szasz revolutionised psychiatry across the world and tried to prevent the gross encroachment by dishonest government psychiatrists on basic liberties of the people.

Someone sent me material in which this article of 2015 in Outlook was cited. The article is an interview with Vikram Patel of London:

Well, being admitted under a magistrate’s order based on the current mental health act to a mental hospital is one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone in this country can experience: your basic rights to liberty and dignity are taken away from you, and you are likely to find yourself in a colonial- era asylum, in crowded and insanitary living quarters, locked away and forgotten by society.

This act (India’s Mental Health Act 1987) has been repealed in April 2017 and replaced by the Mental Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (gazette notification).

The issue with the previous act was the spurious issue of Reception Orders (see this study). Reception Orders are basically detention (arrest) orders. [This is a good slideshow on the Mental Health Act 1987.]

I’ve quickly scanned google and come across a some positive reviews of this act. However, the same review cites some remaining concerns.

I’d like to find out more, whether whether psychiatrists in India are being brought under leash by the new Act.

I am informed that Section 102 of the 2017 Act (below) can still be used by unscrupulous officials. The relevant section states:

102. (1) When any person with mental illness or who may have a mental illness appears or is brought before a Magistrate, the Magistrate may, order in writing––

(a) that the person is conveyed to a public mental health establishment for assessment and treatment, if necessary and the mental health establishment shall deal with such person in accordance with the provisions of the Act; or

(b) to authorise the admission of the person with mental illness in a mental health establishment for such period not exceeding ten days to enable the medical officer or mental health professional in charge of the mental health establishment to carry out an assessment of the person and to plan for necessary treatment, if any.

If you know much about these two Acts, please let me know how the new Act deals with human freedom.


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Inner workings of yet another typical corruption scam in India (this one in Panjab). And its history includes attempted murder.

If you recall, I had posted some allegations against a senior IAS officer of Panjab here a few months ago. I am keenly and personally aware of the person against whom these allegations have been made. I have no doubt that these allegations have a strong element of truth in them.

In the meanwhile, one of the persons who knows more about this (and related) matters has got in touch with me. For obvious reasons I will not name this person.

Now, there are two key players to be discussed at this state in this case:

a) Gurinder Singh, contractor

Recall that the allegation which I published stated: “In Irrigation through his favourite contractor Gurinder Singh he started giving contracts of Irrigation and drainage of highly exorbitant prices which led to windfall gains for him and his family.”

Well, THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED. Just a couple of days ago, Tribune announced that Gurinder Singh had been arrested.

An inquiry has reportedly found that senior government officers misused their official positions in connivance with Gurinder Singh over the past seven-eight years, thereby causing a huge loss to the state. They allegedly twisted rules, drafted tailormade terms for e-tendering, besides leaking secret information to Gurinder as regards development works worth Rs 1,000 crore. These works were allotted to him at “10% to 50% higher rates” as compared to departmental rates.

Note that the allegation on my blog and this finding by the inquiry match pretty well. I’m only surprised they did not find the direct link with this senior IAS officer.

[Update: More details regarding Gurinder Singh, published in Indian Express on 20 August 2017]

b) xxx, Superintending Engineer

Note that I’m not naming this person since his name is not yet in the public domain. However, the Tribune notes: “Some other officers/engineers/officials of the department had also been reportedly booked”.

I reliably gather that this xxx is facing arrest as part of this inquiry.

Now, I understand that this xxx has been implicated in attempted murder in the past. There are wheels within wheels.

Many others have already been named by The Tribune. I hope all names will be published soon.

There is a long standing CHRONIC and ENDEMIC culture of corruption in Panjab. I will share with a few people who matter. But I have no hope of any justice being received by anyone in India. The corrupt (and murderers) will continue to flourish. Amarinder Singh can do NOTHING about it since he is merely copying the existing system.

Let me repeat what I’ve always said: Even if some of these people are actually put behind bars, this is NOT going to change the culture of corruption one bit.

You need systematic reform, else expect corruption (and murder, to defend corruption) to continue unabated in India.

Join SBP and FIGHT – or forever hold your peace.

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Amitabh Kant continues to provide entertainment to India

This is a placeholder post for keeping a tab on India’s crown joker. (See my previous post on him).

Amitabh Kant does, sometimes, surprise with his apparent support for liberty. For instance, “Hand over schools, colleges, jails to private sector: Amitabh Kant“.

But we have to remember that if a monkey hits typewriter keys at random for an infinite amount of time it will create everything, including works of William Shakespeare.

Does Amitabh even know what he just said? Can anyone show me any book he has written on the logic that might underpin this? And does he know that the Modi government is one of the most socialist and Luddite governments we have ever had?

But in the same breath (in the same news report) he says:

“Private sector has performed very badly. Private sector in India is most irrational, insensitive I have seen”.

Actually, India’s private sector is one of the best in the world, operating in conditions where there is total chaos and lawlessness – created by arrogant statist IAS officers like Amitabh and by ultra-corrupt Ministers across the country.

But Amitabh has numerous other rants to his credit. For instance:

I challenge any other country to show they are more open than India  [Source: India Is The Most Open Economy In The World: Amitabh Kant]

He is happy for government to squander crores of rupees on his interventionist ideas:

He added that the government was going to spend Rs 340 crore in next few months’ time to promote digital transaction.

Various incentive schemes were announced to promote digital payments such as ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and ‘Digi Dhan Vyapari Yojna’, he said, while assuring that the merchants would not be harassed by tax official by way of scrutiny of the previous years of books of accounts. [Source]

And he is apparently a “futurist” greater than Kurzweil:

By 2020, India Will Make Debit Card, Credit Card, ATM Machines Technologically Redundant: Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog

Physical banks will perish in the next 5-6 years: Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant 

Note that he is not talking here about cryptocurrency, either. If he knew anything about cryptocurrency, I could have excused him. But this is just one more of his half-baked rants.

He has numerous other pearls of wisdom on “smart cities” and many other things, such as his mindless defence of demonetisation. I’ll add them when I find time. But if you have time, please share them in the comments section.


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The ultra-puerile, nonsensical “good people” theory of governance

Key comments from my FB post here. The “good people” theory of governance is the most obvious sign of someone’s ignorance about basic economics and governance. This theory is typical not only of the socialists but of the thousands of half-baked “economists” and “liberals”.


India’s problem is the design of its governance system and policies. If people don’t understand this point, they can be as honest as they like and they will totally fail to change anything.

Half baked ideas continue to flourish. No takers for serious work, that will involve a lot of thinking and understanding.


It takes ENORMOUS intelligence to create good institutions, which neither you have a clue about nor most Indians. I’ve not seen one single writing of yours which shows how to create good institutions in India.

Hence the delusion that “good” people can do anything good for the country.


Just like LKY is not a “good” people alone, so also the leaders of Australia are not “good” people alone.

It takes ENORMOUS sense and competence to design good institutions. 99.99999 per cent of Indians have no policy competence or sense and hence cannot design good institutions.

You may be a “good” people yourself but will be entirely useless to India unless you understand this point that governance is a science, not some random thing that any “good” person can do.

Then you will need to start studying how good institutions in India must look like. Then work out a transitional path.

If you are interested, all this is already explained in BFN + SBP manifesto.

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