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Category: Swarna Bharat Party

SBP commends Supreme Court’s initiative to re-examine same-sex relationship

Copying below a press release issued today by Swarna Bharat Party. Please share this widely.

National Press Release – to be released across India
4 February 2016 – for immediate release

SBP commends Supreme Court’s initiative to re-examine same-sex relationship

Swarna Bharat Party, India’s only liberal party, commends the Supreme Court’s decision to re-examine the question of same-sex relationship and hopes the Constitutional Bench will quash Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises homosexuality.

SBP president Vishal Singh said in a press note that this provision violates the principle of equality and liberty guaranteed to every citizen by India’s constitution.

From the scientific perspective, homosexuality has long been proven to have a significant biological (i.e. genetic) component. Criminalising homosexuality is a throwback to the time when ignorant prejudice ruled the world.

In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld this obnoxious section of the IPC. The party believes that was an inappropriate decision. A government can have no role in people’s bedrooms in matters of consensual sex. Section 377 is a direct assault on citizens’ liberty and privacy. Such a perspective on human behaviour is inappropriate in a day and age when India must actively promote the scientific attitude so it can prosper on the foundations of scientific knowledge.

Mr. Singh further said that SBP stands firmly on the side of activists who have fought to decriminalize gay sex. SBP hopes the Supreme Court will soon hear the curative petition and determine to abolish this blight on human dignity and liberty.

Mr. Vishal Singh also outlined the party’s position on an important related issue. Gay couples that wish to live together in a marriage-like relationship, should legally be able to do so. It may be inappropriate, however, to term such a relationship as ‘marriage’, to distinguish it from traditional heterosexual marriage.

Mr. Singh also noted that it may be inappropriate to give such form of cohabitation the right to bring up adopted children. However, the party is committed to an evidence-based approach and believes that a detailed assessment of evidence, with the best interests of children in mind, should inform the country’s final position on this issue.

Ends

Notes for Editors
SBP is India’s only liberal party, committed to defending liberty and promoting prosperity.

Contacts:
Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), Spokesperson, +91 9860991205
Vishal Singh, President (Bengaluru), President, +91 9920613669
Madhusudhan K. (Hyderabad), Joint Secretary, +91 9885496473

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Prohibition is no solution to alcohol abuse, says SBP President

I’m sharing a press release issued by Swarna Bharat Party today. [http://swarnabharat.in/blog/read/prohibition-is-no-solution-to-alcohol-abuse-says-sbp-president]

If you agree with this approach, please consider joining/ supporting SBP (http://swarnabharat.in/).

Please forward this as widely as you can.

Press release published by SBP today, 1 February 2016

Committed to liberty, Swarna Bharat Party (SBP) denounces prohibition or excessive restrictions on the sale of alcohol by some States. Some of these States treat rich Indians or foreigners differently, with alcohol allowed to be served in five star hotels. Such arbitrary policies imply that some Indian citizens are less responsible than others, that such Indians are fit to vote but unfit to make responsible decisions on the question of alcohol. This two-tier approach harks back to India’s colonial era. It also begs the question why alcohol is allowed to be manufactured in India in the first place.

In a press note issued by the SBP President, Mr. Vishal Singh noted that “Prohibition has been a disaster wherever it has been attempted. The evidence is overwhelming – from across India and the world – that prohibition is never realised in practice. Instead, illicit liquor and crime receives a fillip, including smuggling from nearby non-prohibition States. This causes governments to lose essential tax revenues, even as taxpayers pay more to deal with the consequences of increased crime and corruption.”

Moreover, Mr. Singh pointed out that such restrictions are a direct attack on the promise of liberty assured by the Preamble to India’s Constitution. No doubt, the Directive principles enjoin the State to impose prohibition on the ground that “intoxicating drinks … are injurious to health”. However, SBP believes that the merits and demerits of alcohol need to be constantly reviewed in the light of new scientific evidence. A Constitution is not the place to make public policy.

Even if alcohol were proven to be injurious to health, a government would not necessarily have a role. A government’s role must be limited to addressing any harm that people cause others, for example, driving when intoxicated or domestic violence, not harm they may choose to cause themselves.

Chanakya’s Arthashastra details how alcohol can be regulated. But India’s own history and that of other free countries can also provide useful insights. One way is to tax liquor, keeping in mind that if desi liquor is taxed heavily, the poor may switch to illicit, often toxic, liquor. Breath tests of drivers should be regularly undertaken, with revenues generated from fines defraying the cost of these tests. Those who harm others should be made to pay; not those who use alcohol responsibly.

Mr. Singh noted that excessive consumption of alcohol by someone in the privacy of their home can sometimes become a social issue. Social organizations should provide scientific information to the community on the harms of excessive drinking. SBP will also disseminate such information through its social outreach efforts.

Mr. Singh re-iterated that “A government’s job is to defend the liberty of every citizen, while addressing the harm caused by any irresponsible exercise of liberty. SBP’s manifesto outlines mature and well thought-out regulatory approaches on all aspects of public policy. The recent alcohol ban in Kerala, the proposed ban in Bihar, and existing bans or significant restrictions in Gujarat, Mahrashtra and other parts of India should be immediately reviewed.”

=Ends=

Contacts:

Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), Spokesperson, +91 9860991205

Vishal Singh (Bengaluru), President, President, +91 9920613669

Madhusudhan Kolachina (Hyderabad), Joint Secretary, +91 9885496473

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Republic Day greetings. Swarna Bharat Party’s new website launched. Accepting members and donations.

My email to a number of people a moment ago:

===

Dear Friend

Swarna Bharat Party (SBP), India’s only liberal party, congratulates everyone on the auspicious occasion of the Republic Day, when India’s liberal constitution came into effect in 1950.

Today we must all pledge ourselves to the key objective of liberty that is embedded in the Preamble of India’s constitution. It is the reason we wanted freedom from British rule – so we could live our lives as a free people. But unfortunately, the idea of liberty has long since been destroyed by successive governments in India. Today, India is one of the most unfree nations in the world on almost all comparative benchmarks.

SBP is committed to your liberty and prosperity. SBP believes that India’s colonial governance arrangements, weakened further by socialist policies, have dramatically exacerbated corruption and inefficiency in government. We no longer have basic things like security, property rights and justice.

SBP is committed to the total reform of India’s governance system, as detailed in its manifesto. No other party has any idea of the reforms India needs in order to become – once again – the greatest nation on earth.

SBP was registered by the Election Commission as a political party in mid-2014. We are launching our new website today. Please visit http://swarnabharat.in.

We invite you to join the party. Please visit the website and register either as a member or volunteer. You can become a lifetime member on payment of a nominal fee of Rs.100. Please also donate liberally to the cause of liberty and good governance in India.

SBP is your party, your platform to fight for your freedom and to transform India’s governance.

[This message has been published here: http://swarnabharat.in/blog/read/swarna-bharat-party-launches-new-website-on-republic-day ]

Please pass on this message widely to your friends.

Regards
Sanjeev Sabhlok

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Position of the Swarna Bharat Party on One Rank One Pension (OROP)

SBP has had an internal discussion (some research is still underway) and consulted fairly widely.  The Sone Ki Chidiya agenda is being amended to reflect the SBP position. [Download the agenda from here]

The following current text has been superseded:

Till the broader machinery of government is restructured, reformed and recalibrated, we will include a member from the armed forces in the Pay Commission. This is a temporary measure however, since going forward we will institute an entirely separate pay system for the defence forces to deal with issues specific to the armed forces. The new system would deal with the right incentives and accountability, in addition to cadre review, emoluments and questions often raised, such as about any minimum tenure as commanding officer as condition for promotion. (We believe in merit-based processes. Duration of tenure does not always lead to competence.)

Also, separately, SKC agenda states (and will continue to state): “A wide range of other reforms, including the end of all pensions and replacement with general contributions to a public superannuation scheme, will be introduced. Transitional arrangements and grandfathering clauses will ensure that no current entitlement is reduced.” [This para text will continue to remain in the agenda]

== SBP POLICY==
For the liberty of Indians to be ensured, we need a very strong defence force. Whatever is necessary needs to be done to ensure that India is able to attract a continuing flow of high quality talent into the armed forces.

We will immediately establish a separate Pay Commission for the armed forces that financial compensation for our soldiers is sufficient to attract the best talent and ensures a highly selective process of promotions. In particular, it would be expected that senior defence personnel are paid on par with senior management in the private sector. There will, however, be no link between salaries in the armed force and civilian sector, particularly since all senior civilian officials will be on short term contracts, with salaries negotiated based on need.

One of the things that matters to potential recruits is what happens to them after their retirement (which is generally at a relatively early age in the defence forces). The party believes that pension must not be a right, and people must personally save for their old age requirements.

To create such incentives, we will ensure that standard requirements are imposed to ensure that an amount (say, 10 per cent or higher if so chosen by the employee) of employee’s salaries is compulsorily deposited into private superannuation funds that can be managed as desired by the employees. No funds will be allowed to be withdrawn from such superannuation funds without a critical exigency or achieving the retirement age (say, 60 years).

As such, our party will draw a firm line on all new hires, who will not receive any defined benefit pension, but shall instead receive annuities based on their contributions during their active service/employment.

There would, however, be a fixed and defined pension for war widows. Also, all retired defence personnel will be able to transition to other jobs (since there will be no tenured civil service, and all jobs will be open to competition at all times). They would not receive any pension initially but if they fail to get any job after trying, they shall be provided a veterans supplement.

For all defence forces recruited under a defined pension model, the pension system would be equalised. In effect, we will have One Rank One Pension for the Defence forces. Equalisation shall not apply to any other government services’ or PSUs’ defined pensions.

The party would like to offer support for OROP, fully aware that this is going to be extremely expensive to the country. The issue is a result of bad policies in the past, and fixing it by directly equalising pensions is not the most efficient option. However, the decision has already been taken by the BJP government and we believe the government will find funds to deliver this policy. We would like to link the OROP support with the hope that all concerned will actively support a much wider range of governance system reforms, e.g. the abolition of IAS and all other tenured services; the abolition of pensions for all new recruits; and radical restructuring the defence forces to reduce intake at the lower levels (soldiers) and increase the use of technologically competent people who can use robotics, drones, and other high-tech equipment.

SUMMARY

SBP supports OROP but only as an exception and a one-off case; and because BJP government has committed to it.

Going forward, however, we want a radical reform of the entire pay and pension system of the entire bureaucracy and armed forces.

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