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Category Archive: Public policy

Questions about Singapore’s national/ public wealth fund Temasek

A few months ago I made some notes regarding Singapore's authoritarian economic liberalism. This model has attracted a lot of attention recently (including in The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait  and Adrian Wooldridge).

A recent article in Foreign Affairs touted the Tamasek model. The authors of the article are publishing a book on this topic, soon: The Public Wealth of Nations.

However, more interesting than the article were some of the comments, which set off a bit of a search for the truth about Temasek.

Let me highlight key sections of the main article, first.

On average, governments are mismanaging their public assets. Many economists see these inefficiencies as arguments in favor of privatization. But privatization comes with its own risks: crony capitalism, corruption, and dysfunctional regulation. Luckily, there is a third way: governments can assign the task of professionally managing their assets to National Wealth Funds.

National Wealth Funds are the perfect compromise: they keep public assets under government ownership while simultaneously preventing undue government interference. The state appoints the auditors and the board responsible for the portfolio, and decides which assets should be sold when sufficiently developed, but it cannot influence how the fund itself is managed. This strict separation guarantees that politics will not get in the way of good asset management. When governments control public commercial assets, opportunities for better management are ignored or fall prey to political meddling, clientelism, and corruption.

National Wealth Funds also enable governments to consolidate their commercial assets, which allows professional managers to create an integrated inventory and business plan for the assets as a whole. The world’s leading National Wealth Fund, Singapore’s Temasek, established in 1974, boasts an average annual return of 17 percent, a track record that would be impressive even in the private sector.

Now for the comments which interested me quite a bit.

Charles

If you are going to hold up Temasek as a model you must mention that the CEO for the last 12 years has been the Prime Ministers wife. She gives no interviews and has never written the letter in their annual report. Hardly a model of accountability. Further the 17% annual IRR since 1974 is largely due to their historical practice to government transfer of assets at very low valuations which Temasek then takes public and public market value. If transferred at market value the returns would be much lower as they have been since 2002. While the disclosures are selective and self serving at least there are some.

nickwilde

Absolutely right. Temasek never gives meaningful IRR figures. Despite its glossy annual reports, it is effectively impossible for any outsider to assess how it is performing from year to year. What you can do is look at the many large investments it has made over the last 10 years that have gone badly wrong. If you look at its record in banking alone, it has lost billions on Barclays, BoA and is now suffering the headlong fall in StanChart's share price. This poor record is replicated in other sectors. There is no accountability and, of all the experienced candidates who could have been appointed to run it, the most qualified was, by an extraordinary co-incidence, the Prime Minister's wife. Having stepped down once for presiding over a disastrous series of investments, she was reinstated and remains in office. Lucky Singapore. This is a very superficial article which appears to show no understanding of the subject.

Charles 

Question is whether the IRR figures are audited.

The Temasek financial disclosure is completely irrelevant because they only show the Temasek Group accounts which purposefully muddle up the Temasek Holdings accounts with those of all their portfolio companies thus rendering the entire set of accounts useless. And how about those footnotes? Not.

They use the concept of beating their cost of capital or Wealth Added as their primary metric for performance. However for the last 12 years in total that number is negative so they have destroyed capital while they have increased head court dramatically. This is in spite of taking dubious actions to lower their cost of capital by adjusting down their Market Risk Premium which no be else does. They now are so embarrassed by their performance they hardly even mention WA and bury it in the back pages excluding it from the Chairmans letter and all the full page ads they take out.

Also they tout the principal of no WA, no bonus yet the people there are still getting paid a bomb and the Temasek parking lot is full of very expensive, shiny new cars. Where is the oversight.

I've explored further and this is what I find:

Why sovereign funds are a bad idea: Should India Set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund? It’s a Bad Idea

Some mess-ups by Temasek.

Research paper: A Brief Research Note on Temasek Holdings and Singapore: Mr. Madoff Goes to Singapore.

The summary of this paper is provided here. In brief, the idea that Tamasek has achieved 17 per cent return over 35 years is refuted vigorously. 

Temasek controversies.

MY CONCLUSION

Singapore is a secretive place. One cannot rely on public reports of the way its national fund is managed. There is need for significant caution while considering this model/option. It has significant benefits but these seem to come at a high cost.

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Further thoughts on the jurisdiction of international courts re: Modi’s alleged genocide

A couple of months ago I had expressed a view that Modi – while without any doubt (in my mind) DIRECTLY INVOLVED in the Gujarat massacre of hundreds of innocent people – cannot be tried by any international jurisdiction for these crimes.

I wrote "let Indians fix this issue.They have the capacity and power to do so through the democratic and parliamentary process".

This raised a strong email discussion after which I have not had time to pursue further. In the meanwhile an Australian court has also taken cognizance of Modi's crimes.

I am reliably informed that I am wrong to object to international courts taking up the Modi crimes issue. Unfortunately, I have no time to review this material but to make sure I don't lose this info, let me post an email conversation I had, so others can join in, if they have the time.

Given the continuing destruction of justice in India (e.g. Nanavati's final report) and the TOTAL IMPOSSIBILITY of the victims of premeditated riots getting any justice in India, there may well be a case for considering international jurisdiction. India is not a Third World banana republic. It is far below that – in many ways worse than Chinese totalitarianism. The pretense of 'democratic' institutions probably doesn't cut much ice when your family /relatives have been massacred and the "justice" system absolves the main killers.

 I've not finalised my view on this, and would appreciate your thoughts. 

===EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE ON THIS TOPIC, TO DATE===

SA

When he was summoned for his heinous acts committed against humanity you are saying the US  court has no jurisdiction to do so When a state(INDIA) fails to prosecute  him for his murderous crimes in the guise of defending a democratically elected leader it is quite natural that he will face music when he lands in a country(USA) where the people have freedom for nailing the criminals  You know crime against humanity is punishable in all countries You cant raise the frivolous objection stating he committed in India not in the US Crime is crime Mr Sanjay You know the daughter of the unfortunate man who was cut into pieces is residing in Delaware Please put yourself in the situation of the cruel victim"s relative Then you will realize you cant shed tear for Modi 

MY COMMENT

The only jurisdiction US might have in relation to crimes committed against its citizens is through treaties with other countries. Any aggrandizement by US to assume powers over incidents occurring in other countries is ultra-vires. That's pure colonisation.

It is up to Indians in India to fix Modi. Let India awake.

SA

To me it is an  over simplification of a grave issue Crime against humanity is punishable in every nook and corner of  democratic world There is no aggrandizement or whatsoever as you inferred 
The Supreme Law of the United States of America that is the US constitution is applicable to those who are in that land The summons is issued not by the political organ in the US Had the issue been irrelevant the court wouldnot have issued summons 
Hypothetically you would  condone  Hitler in case he was caught in India stating India has no jurisdiction for the genocide happened in the cobcentration camps You would say India should extradite him to Germany Interpreting conventions in this way will defeat the very purpose of the law against criminals This is not a case of one country trespassing to other country's domain A person accused of genocide is to be indicted by the court irrespective of the nationality or geographical boundary India let him go scot free Just because he has people's mandate his crimes should be extenuated ? Sadly you experience a vicarious feeling wrongly assuming  that embarrassment to Modi  is an affront to all Indian Let us argue out our differences

MY COMMENT

India is a democracy. We ought to be able to fix our problems internally. It will be ridiculous if a court in India starts passing judgement on every "genocide" occurring in the world. For that there is the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Countries are sovereign. India's sovereignty is not available to question by USA.

Instead of depending on US court, fix India's systems.

SA

Mr Sanjeev I cant disagree more Genocide is a crime against humanity All democratic countries" constitutions espouse the notion of penalising the perpetrators of the genocide.When any of those  democratic institutions fails it is quite natural that others intervene to catch the transgressors When human rights are challenged in any country the onus of protecting the rights of the  oppressed lies on other democratic countries Mr Sanjeev Why do you mix this cardinal principle with the notion of patriotism .Sadly Indian institutions failed in nailing Modi He put his feet in a country which  people all over the world fathom as the citadel of the human rights Dont you agree the USA is the world"s oldest democratic country dating back to 1776 when the 13 states declared independence and eventually gave the British a mighty whoopin'.Since then, for 238 years, every leader has been elected and there have been no kings, no queens, no military juntas, no conquerors and no dictatorship

Our strength lies in finding just how far we can push the boundaries of Democracy. Hearing people like you it  turns out it's pretty stretchy Mr Sanjeev

MY COMMENT

Please go read the laws re: genocide and how it is to be tried/ proven. It is not up to individual countries to do so. At least that's my understanding. Why don't you send me the relevant laws which authorise genocides to be dealt with by individual countries and I'll review.

SA

Mr Sanjiv please throw light on the areas where you have not trotted  before 

Universal jurisdiction allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accused's nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity. Crimes prosecuted under universal jurisdiction are considered crimes against all, too serious to tolerate jurisdictional arbitrage.So please dont raise the frivolous objection stating that Modi can be tried only in India 

The concept of universal jurisdiction is therefore closely linked to the idea that some international norms are erga omnes, or owed to the entire world community, as well as the concept of jus cogens – that certain international law obligations are binding on all states. 

The concept received a great deal of prominence with Belgium's 1993 law of universal jurisdiction, which was amended in 2003 in order to reduce its scope following a case before the International Court of Justice regarding an arrest warrant issued under the law, entitled Case Concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium).[2] The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 reduced the perceived need to create universal jurisdiction laws, although the ICC is not entitled to judge crimes committed before 2002.

According to Amnesty International, a proponent of universal jurisdiction, certain crimes pose so serious a threat to the international community as a whole, that states have a logical and moral duty to prosecute an individual responsible for it; no place should be a safe haven for those who have committed genocide crimes against humanityextrajudicial executionswar crimestorture and forced disappearances.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 28 April 2006, "Reaffirm[ed] the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocidewar crimesethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" and commits the Security Council to action to protect civilians in armed conflicts

n 1993, Belgium's Parliament passed a "law of universal jurisdiction" (sometimes referred to as "Belgium's genocide law"), allowing it to judge people accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. In 2001, four Rwandan citizens were convicted and given sentences from 12 to 20 years' imprisonment for their involvement in 1994 Rwandan genocide.An arrest warrant issued in 2000 under this law, against the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was challenged before the International Court of Justice in the case entitled ICJ Arrest Warrant Case. The ICJ's decision issued on 14 February 2002 found that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the question of universal jurisdiction.

In September 2005, Chadian ex-President Hissène Habré (dubbed the "African Pinochet"). was indicted for crimes against humanity, torture, war crimes and other human rights violations by a Belgian court. Arrested in Senegal following requests from Senegalese courts, he is now under house arrest and waiting for (an improbable) extradition to Belgium.Neither Chadian citizens nor Rwandan citizens were up in the arms against this indictment citing colonisation or ultra vires 

States can also in certain circumstances exercise jurisdiction over acts committed by foreign nationals on foreign territory. So the united states can exercise jurisdiction over acts committed by Modi on foreign territory 

MY COMMENT (TO AN INTERNAL TEAM)

Does anyone know about this issue – universal jurisdiction? In my view Modi can't be tried by a US court, but looks like this gentleman thinks otherwise. Unfortunately, I don't have time to review the entire literature so will be glad to hear from anyone who knows.

SB

The commentators are largely correct:

The ICC has universal jurisdiction for certain crimes, under certain conditions:

"The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt)[2] is an intergovernmental organization andinternational tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocidecrimes against humanity, and war crimes and it may one day be able to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Councilor individual states refer investigations to the Court. The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC's foundational and governing document. States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. Currently, there are 122 states which are party to the Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC."

Source: Wikipedia, emphasis mine

Following countries have either signed and not ratified or not signed at all:

 

India keeps very good company, as you can see from the list above.
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In Europe, Serb leaders have been prosecuted and jailed under the aegis of the ICC/ICJ. In Africa, Rwandan, Congolese, Sudanese and Libyan leaders have been tried at the ICC (both in-absentia and in-person). In Asia, the trials in Cambodia against the former Khmer Rouge leaders have been held under ICC aegis.

More recently, Bangladesh constituted its war crimes tribunal on the lines of the ICC procedures – although, it has been primarily a domestic affair, prosecuting the collaborators during the 1971 liberation war.
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The United States, in some/many matters, behaves more like an empire rather than a single, sovereign country – on the basis of a couple of laws passed by US Congress/Senate, supported by US courts and actively prosecuted by its enforcement/spy agencies (primarily, FBI but supported by the CIA), the US has given itself absolute, extra-territorial jurisdiction, for crimes committed against US citizens, residents or interests.

Thus, the US can (under its laws) and does "abduct" people from other countries to face trial in its courts in criminal matters – rendition (legal or otherwise) is not a reason for an US courts to throw out a case.

Based on what I remember or what I have read, the US went down this route after the hijacking of an Italian cruise liner, Achille Lauro in 1985 by the terrorist wing of PLO – a wheelchair-bound American was shot in the head and thrown overboard by the terrorists, when they lost control of the situation. The US sent Navy seals to raid the ship, but by the time they arrived, the terrorists were on a plane to Libya. US fighter aircraft forced the plane down on an US base in Italy, but the Italians claimed jurisdiction and took custody of the terrorists. Later, an Italian court freed all the terrorists (forget the grounds) and they decamped to West Asia.

The US then came up with extra-territorial renditions as their preferred solution.

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In support of Judith Sloan’s critique of the Commonwealth Treasury’s policy mettle

When I came to Australia in late 2000, I received an interview call from the Commonwealth Treasury (CT). They were about to send me the air ticket for an interview in Canberra. But by then my son had been given a scholarship by Melbourne Grammar School (supposedly one of the best private schools in Melbourne), so I decided to stick to Melbourne and declined the interview offer. I was to join, soon after, the Victorian Government's largest regulator, and later, the Victorian Treasury. In retrospect, this was a good decision.

I've had occasion to interact with the CT on a few matters. I won't go into details since doing so will breach the public service code of conduct. But from my vantage point as close observer of numerous economic debates and based on published papers and policies of the CT, I am able to write in support Judith Sloan's critique of the CT

Let me detail Judith's concerns.

1) The CT does not focus on the prosperity of all Australians

To understand this point, we fist need to understand Amartya Sen's deplorable confusions. The disastrous Human Development Index adopted by the even more confused UNDP was his "contribution". Mixing up social and economic variables using subjective weights can never be justified. This is mumbo-jumbo; pure nonsense. The Victorian Treasury's vision is uni-dimensional: a prosperous future for all Victorians. Period. Per capita real GSP is the key measure in such an approach. People can buy wellbeing IF they have money. The government's job is to enable and support the ability of the people to earn money.

But from Judith's analysis, it appears that the CT uses a mushy way of thinking (perhaps in the Sen tradition?):

It is quite difficult to pinpoint the exact start of the decline. My feeling is that the adoption of the mushy, confusing and unhelpful wellbeing framework in the late 1990s marked the beginning of the Treasury's loss of prestige. "The wellbeing of the Australian people" remains one of the core elements of Treasury's strategic framework. Where, once upon a time, Treasury essentially focused on maximising per capita gross domestic product, there are now five elements of wellbeing, some contradicting each other. These elements are: opportunities, distribution, sustainability, the level and allocation of risk, and the complexity of choices. [Sanjeev: What do these terms mean!! ] The real problem with using five ill-defined criteria to judge policy is that without some explicit weighting of the five factors, virtually any decision can be justified. [Sanjeev: No, Judith, these non-economic terms are pure nonsense, in the same category as the meaningless term 'social justice'. Multiplying nonsense with 'weights' can never create sense.] Sure, a policy will reduce per capita incomes, but just look at the improvements to sustainability. It is heaven on earth for the Greens.

As economics professor Jonathan Pincus notes, "any decision made by Treasury can be justified by (the wellbeing framework) unless it can be shown to worsen wellbeing in all five dimensions". The framework relies on the subjective (and political) value judgments of Treasury officials to weight the five dimensions of wellbeing. Of itself, this politicises decision-making within Treasury. [Source: Treasury's fall from grace started with wellbeing, Judith Sloan, 13 November 2012, The Australian]

This serious muddle-headedness apparently started in around the mid-1990s (HDI was created in the early 1990s and soon became a joke among real economists). It is possible that had I joined the CT in 2000 I'd have been a misfit and left it, long ago. 

2) The CT recruits Keynesians and lefties:

This is news for me: a shocking disclosure from Judith, today:

The Treasury has leaned left for some time. Potential graduate recruits, for example, have been asked for their views on the pricing of carbon dioxide emissions and the value of stimulus spending to deal with economic downturns. The “correct” answers have been pretty obvious. This bias and the perceived politicisation of the Treasury, more generally, have to be eliminated." [Source: John Fraser will face challenges to restore Treasury’s reputation, Judith Sloan, 15 November 2014, The Australian].

If what Judith is saying about Treasury recruits is true, this is a sure way to ruin any prospect of objective, sensible economic policy advice

3) The CT's approach prevents it from looking objectively at data

Then there is this third critique – that the CT uses subjective, rosy glasses while looking at data:

Another example of Treasury's loss of status and respect is reflected by comparing the first edition of the Intergenerational Report released in 2003 and the one released in 2010. Originally commissioned by Peter Costello when he was treasurer to highlight the fiscal implications of the ageing of society, the first edition was a solid piece of work. The 2010 edition, which was brought forward by Wayne Swan, is a complete embarrassment.

It is an overly long, verbose document that spends most of its time praising the government for its current policy stance, even though the focus of the report is 40 years out. It even includes a ridiculous chapter on climate change and the environment, a topic that quite rightly was not included in the previous editions. What the reports also demonstrate is that Treasury is completely incapable of forecasting basic variables such as labour force participation, even a few years out. (This point could be applied more generally to the credibility of Treasury's modelling.)

If you read the first report, you would conclude that we will all be "rooned". The second one (2007) was a bit more upbeat about our prospects, but the last gave the impression that, because of the outstanding and far-sighted policies of this government, everything will be fine. [Source: Treasury's fall from grace started with wellbeing, Judith Sloan, 13 November 2012, The Australian]

EXAMPLES OF BAD POLICY ADVICE

I have been frequently disappointed with the macro-economic (and even micro-economic) policies advocated/ supported by the CT. Judith points out a few examples:

  • The CT's approach to taxation of ­employee share ­options
  • The CT's design/ advocacy of the mining tax
  • The CT's approach to changes to the fringe benefits tax
  • The CT's modelling of the impact of pricing carbon
  • The CT's "contrived modelling of the impact of the government’s stimulus spending spree in response to the global ­financial crisis that, according to Treasury, “saved” 200,000 jobs. The Treasury also tried to argue that the countries that had boosted government spending the most were least affected by the GFC. It turned out that the Treasury had cherry-picked the countries for inclusion in its analysis. When a comprehensive list of countries was included, the relationship fell away."

In my view, the CT's advice has badly damaged Australia's prospects in the coming decades. The Rudd 'stimulus' was a disaster. Any attempt to justify it should rank in the category of NONSENSE/ quackery of the sort that Keynes spouted, e.g.

"If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. [Keynes, “General” Theory (and other crap)]

[Indeed, combining Keynes and Sen would be the surest way to destroy any society’s future prospects, almost as certainly as using Marx’s ideas] 

Stephen Anthony wrote last year about the shortage of brain power in the CT [Source: Treasury needs more brainpower and less of the touchy-feely, Stephen Anthony, AFR, 29 April 2013]. I don't think this is a brain power issue. Brain power (IQ) is of no use without the right way to think. That's why high IQ people throughout mankind's history (till around 1700) achieved nothing, while ordinary people with the right thinking since 1700 have achieved wonders.

The CT's problems seem to stem from a fundamental failure to understand economics.  Let me I quote (genuine Nobel Prize winner) Ronald Coase and hope that the CT will pay heed to one of the greatest economists of all time:

Economics thus becomes a convenient instrument the state uses to manage the economy, rather than a tool the public turns to for enlightenment about how the economy operates.  [SourceRonald Coase, Saving Economics from Economists, Harvard Business Review, December 2012]

My advice to the CT, for whatever it is worth, is this:

1) Try to understand the process of the price system and how this process balances the self-interest and local information (including budget constraints) of all people on this planet, simultaneously. 

2) Try to understand, therefore, how your interventions will invariably distort the price system and reward rent-seekers and frauds at the expense (very often) of hard-working savers and workers. 

3) Finally, try to understand that governments necessarily play the game of politics, marginal seats and lobby groups. Their game, while essential to a liberal democracy, also imposes costs and damages society in many ways. Democracy is not costless. But we are not in this game. Our job is to limit the damage caused by government interventions, not exacerbate it.

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The BARBARIC vegetarians of India and their brutal (criminal) treatment of “cow mothers”, “bull fathers” and “calf brothers”

This article: "Dark and dairy: The sorry tale of the milch animals" is an eye-opener – that cattle bred for meat is far more likely to live a humane life than its milk-producing counterparts. Also see this: The Dairy Industry: Sanctioned Rape.

Things never add up in India. On the one hand we have a culture of "masculinity" with extreme barbarity against women – e.g. against the female child (mass killings of infants by the "Hindus" are rife), and massive levels of violence against women. On the other hand, we make claims to be "non-violent" and oppose "cow slaughter". We also claim that the cow is our "mother" (and therefore the bull our "father" and male calves our "brothers").

The article raises a fundamental question: Which is better? To kill an adult animal that has led a good life in the open painlessly for meat or to cut short that animal's life itself when very young, to prevent that animal from living?

The answer, I'm sure would be simple: FAR BETTER to be allowed to live a natural life and to be painlessly killed for meat when old, than to be prevented from living altogether.

These are the kinds of crimes against animals committed in India – which has one of the world's worst records regarding animal rights and protection.

1) Killing male calves: preventing them even from living a life.

Most male calves are either sent for slaughter or let loose to starve. he economic undesirability of male cattle is evident in the gender imbalance — 64.42 per cent female and 35.57 per cent male in cattle, and 85.18 per cent female and 14.8 per cent male in buffalo. The slaughter of male calves — whether intentional or incidental — is integral to milk production.

2) Preventing young calves from drinking THEIR OWN MOTHER'S milk

Calves, male and female, are separated or significantly restricted from accessing their mothers three to four days after birth. This separation is traumatic for both mother and calf, but leads to a 15-30 per cent increase in milk availability for humans. Following separation, calves are mainly fed on milk substitutes and are allowed only limited suckling. The mother’s milk is instead diverted for human consumption.

The above idol is purely mythical and this NEVER happens in India. No calf (including female) is allowed to drink its mother's milk. As usual, there is HUGE deception, chicanery and hypocrisy among the barbaric vegetarians.

We call the cow our "mother" but displace the cow's ACTUAL role of mother.

3) Forcing shut the mouths of starving male calves, who try to cry plaintively for their mother

Like human mothers, cows produce milk to nourish their babies. In the dairy industry, calves are stolen from their mothers immediately after they are born so that the milk meant for them can be consumed by humans. Their mothers cry out in vain, calling to their lost young ones. During PETA’s investigation of the Indian dairy industry, we found male calves whose mouths were tied shut with ropes so that they couldn’t cry out when they were hungry. These babies are then left to die a slow, agonising death in a corner. Once or twice a week, a haath gaadi wala comes by and picks up the dead bodies and sometimes dying calves and takes them to be skinned for calf leather.  

4) Castrating bulls without anaesthesia, whipping, etc.

 Some are used as draught animals where they are subject to castration without anaesthesia, nose-roping, whipping and hard labour [pulling massive weights] until they are old and weak. At that point, they are sent for slaughter or abandoned. 

(Note the bull being forcibly laid on the ground with people sitting on top of it. The machine used is surely painful enough:

5) Abandoning to eat plastic and garbage

The following are abandoned to eat plastic/garbage:

- unproductive cows whether young or old

- old bulls that can't be used anymore

There is also HUGE environmental harm caused by the dairy industry, but I won't go into that here.

I won't go here into the brutal ways by which these animals are transported and slaughtered. ALL THESE ACTIONS WOULD BE CRIMINAL in any civilised society, but in India this is business as usual.

And these "holier-than-thou" vegetarians preach to the rest of the world about how "holy" is their "mother cow".

Forsooth! Have SOME shame.

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Keywords

Brutality against animals in India, animal rights, animal protection, PETA, RSPCA, cruelty to animals, dairy industry cruelty in India

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Need to make Indian municipalities legally liable for public safety

Loknath sent a copy of his recent email to the Pune Municipal Corporation. I thought this should be published. It highlights the need for making municipalities LEGALLY liable for public safety. People who have lost lives/ been injured due to negligence by municipalities must number in the hundreds each year, if not in the thousands. Their representatives must have the right to sue these municipalities for damages.

From: Loknath Rao 

Date: Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 10:32 PM
Subject: Murder threats by PMC
To: cp.pune@mahapolice.gov.in

Dear Responsible officers,

 
I am not sure if there is a provision to lodge an FIR online in the state of Maharashtra where I reside. Any case I don't have the time and energy or the capability to come to the nearest police station that I could not manage to figure out using my limited awareness. 
 
I wish to lodge a complaint against the Senior officials of PUNE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION. The allegation is the offices of the PMC have left a death hole, unattended right on a busy motorable road since several months now at ITI Rd, Pushpak Park, Aundh Pune, Maharashtra 411007, The location is right right in front of Deutsche Bank. 
 
Could your offices please lodge a charge of "attempt to murder of drivers, children, women and pedestrians" against the concerned offices of Pune Municipal Corporation ? 
 
Please let me know the updates. I do not really know or want to know who manages Pune Municipal corporation and whether or who they are answerable to. As far as I am concerned their works have resulted in a near death situation for me and perhaps a CERTAIN DEATH for other people in the future. This constitutes as case of not just negligence of duty but a CONSCIOUS attempt to systematically KILL the people who pay your bills.
 
i have attached a picture for your perusal. Assuming someone does not die of accident, he/she will certainly die of septic.
 
Many Thanks 

 

 

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Although not a major system reform, a VERY good decision by Modi government re: RTI. Three cheers.

Narendra Modi government takes RTI to another level: All replies to be put online]

Need I say more?

There are FIVE RTI applications (prepared by me) lodged regarding Ramdev

I now hope that all five replies will go online very soon.

Either way, I'll put them online. 

Well done, Modi government.

Now someone needs to lodge an RTI regarding the Sugnyaben Commission. What has it investigated since it was first established?

Let's put as many RTIs to put all questions regarding Modi's involvement in the 2002 riots in the public domain. I've got a lot of questions. Happy for someone to write to me – I'll provide the material for various RTIs.

ADDENDUM

I am informed on FBDecision taken by UPA, being implemented by the new govt… Notification was made in 2013..

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