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India! I dare you to be rich

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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)

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 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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Eliminating corruption from the Indian real estate sector #1

Arvind Kejriwal has not accepted my wager that he can't eliminate corruption from the real estate sector in India, 

But in the meanwhile a few friends and colleagues have mentioned a number of solutions which could potentially eliminate such corruption.

To them I've responded that instead of speculating on such options, India is best advised to study successful systems and master the detailed incentives at work (this is more complex than merely looking at system on the surface).

I'm doing to outline a solution in the next few blog posts, then compile it into a single document (possibly a booklet in due course). Given the enormous amount of material to cover, I'm going to be brief and will leave out considerable detail.

INTRODUCTION

Indian real estate (land transfer, land record mutation, payment of stamp duty) is mired in corruption and generation of black money. Almost all transactions are under-quoted (on average not more than 60 per cent, and in most cases not more than a third of the value of the land) is disclosed.

Only a small amount is paid through bank cheques, the rest is paid in cash. Transactions can sometimes involve Rs100-500 cr in cash. Everyone involved knows about the under-declaration of value (which costs the state huge amounts in lost stamp duty), so the government functionaries are paid in cash to keep them ‘happy’.

There is another issue: benami ownership of land. When this is all added up, it becomes clear that real estate is not just a source of corruption: where significant development value/potential exists, major mafias have come into being in league with the machinery of government.

Why is a lower value declared? Because it lowers:
1) stamp duty payable by the buyer. (Buyers have an incentive to keep the value just high enough to be consistent with their "official" income or known sources of income. Not too high. This allows them to launder a part – but not all – of their black money. This incentive acts as a floor. If someone has an official income of Rs.3 lakhs per year and pays Rs.1 crore in cheque for a property, income tax authorities would be entitled to suspect the transaction, so it is shown for Rs.20 lakhs); and
2) capital gains tax for the seller.

What will be needed to address corruption and loss of stamp duty revenues is a radical reshaping of the governance system, the relevant regulation and the technology of land records and transfer. The solution involves developing systems that check and balance each other through the private sector acting as an agent of the government (through appropriate regulation). It involves stringent regulatory requirements of disclosure of value, failure to comply with which can send these agents into trouble. It involves land record systems that are independent and entirely free of human intervention, passing through private certification processes at each step. And it involves an independent government managed land tax collection agency and (separate) valuation agency that is specialised in determining/confirming value. These changes are extremely complex, and each involves putting in place incentives to ensure quality within each sub-system.

Even assuming we have got these right, there remains the issue of transitioning to this system from India’s current system.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CORRUPTION

For there to be corruption or falsification of taxes, there has to be an opportunity and there has to be an incentive. In the case of real estate, both exist.

The opportunity exists because the buyer and seller assemble directly in front of a real government functionary. They are literally face to face, in a way. Their statement of the value of the sale is treated as authentic regardless of the obvious incentives to under-quote.

The incentive exists because at least two of the three parties are likely to strongly favour under-quoting: generally the buyer and government functionary, but sometimes the seller and government functionary. The probability of both buyer and seller not having the incentive to underquote is almost zero.

India has a system that in many ways resembles the Torrens system. In this, the main record of ownership of land is maintained in a manual database in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, with a fully certified copy of the database used by the Lot Mandal to update records at the local level. 

The system, therefore, is broadly acceptable, but there is something missing which means that a (somewhat) similar system in Victoria works without corruption but the Indian system is marked by severe corruption.

I’ll discuss some details of such a system in the next blog post/s.

 

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The argument that the Seralini paper was retracted due to Monsanto’s influence is not proven

Agricultural journalist Devinder Sharma (with a Master’s degree in Plant Breeding & Genetics) has objected (on Facebook) to my sharing the recent retraction by Elsevier of a controversial Gilles-Eric Séralini GMO paper that purported to show serious harm of GMO maize.

In doing so, Devinder Sharma referred me to Seralini's objection to the retraction and wrote:

Sorry, it was not a fake study. The retraction of the scientific paper has been done at the behest of a Monsanto person who has not joined the editorial board of the journal. It is a case of 'revolving door'.

My initial response to Devinder Sharma was the following:

Devinder Sharma, thanks for this. I've not had time to intensively review both sides of the case. However, this article that I chanced upon identifies a key problem in the use of the type of rat – one which spontaneously develops tumours. Let me review the two sides of the story and revert. In any event, any one single study is never conclusive in science. Thousands are needed. In most health matters, such as the effect of salt on blood pressure, one or two "extreme" studies are expected out of sheer random chance. (Tests of significance are about ruling out statistical errors, but can never rule out entirely).

In relation to food and health matters, scientific truth takes a very long time to get established, since effects are small and hard to distinguish from confounding factors. For instance, after a review of 2000 studies, the Scientific American found no significant correlation between salt intake and blood pressure. Initial studies that strongly linked "excessive" salt intake to high blood pressure were incorrect. Similar "no-effect" findings exist in relation to cholesterol.

In regard to GMO effects on health, there have been thousands of studies but nothing problematic has been statistically proven – yet. In my view, it is quite possible for any single empirical study to fall into statistical error, even if it was well designed.

Seralini defends his methodololgy on the ground that:

 

If the Séralini experiments are considered to be insufficient to demonstrate harm, logically, it must be the same for those carried out by Monsanto to prove safety. Basically, all previous studies finding adverse effects of GE crops have been treated by regulators with the attitude: only those studies showing adverse effects receive a rigorous evaluation of their experimental and statistical methods, while those that claim proof of safety are taken at face value. All studies that reported no adverse effects were accepted as proof of safety regardless of these manifest (but deemed irrelevant) deficiencies of their methods.[Source]

Unfortunately, I will not find time to review the original literature in this field. So in this case I'm doing what I don't normally recommend – to list the authorities who oppose the Seralini study.

I agree that my conclusions based on this method may well be wrong, since science does not need numbers or authorities in order to be right. However, from the retraction by the journal, as well as the fact that numerous scientists and regulators have rejected the Seralini study methodology, I am willing to conclude that the Seralini study was flawed.

The source of the following information is Wikipedia.

1) Kings College London Professor Tom Sanders: According to him, since Sprague-Dawley rats are susceptible to mammary tumors when food intake is not restricted, data should have been provided about how much food the rats were fed (as well as the presence of fungus in the feed, another confounder). Sanders also wrote of this study, "The statistical methods are unconventional … and it would appear the authors have gone on a statistical fishing trip.

2) Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University and food safety advocate: "'[I] can’t figure it out yet….It’s weirdly complicated and unclear on key issues: what the controls were fed, relative rates of tumors, why no dose relationship, what the mechanism might be. I can’t think of a biological reason why GMO corn should do this…..So even though I strongly support labeling, I’m skeptical of this study.'"

3) University of Calgary Professor Maurice Moloney, among others, went on record wondering why there were so many pictures in the study, and in sympathetic news reports about it, of treated rats with horrific tumors, but no pictures of the rats in the control group.

4) Germany: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment VP Reiner Wittkowski said in a statement, ""The study shows both shortcomings in study design and in the presentation of the collected data. This means that the conclusions drawn by the authors are not supported by the available data."

5) Canada: A joint report by three Canadian regulatory agencies also "identified significant shortcomings in the study design, implementation and reporting.

Similar conclusions were reached by:

6) French HCB and the National Agency for Food Safety, the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie. Six French national academies (of Agriculture, Medecine, Pharmacy, Science, Technology and Veterinarians) issued a joint statement – "an extremely rare event in French science"[54] – condemning the study and the journal that published it.[53] The joint statement dismissed the study as 'a scientific non-event'.

7) Denmark: the Technical University of Denmark,

8) Australia: Food Standards Australia New Zealand,

9) Brazil: the Brazilian National Technical Commission on Biosafet

10) European Union: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).The conclusions of the EFSA evaluation were:

The study as reported by Séralini et al. was found to be inadequately designed, analysed and reported…The study as described by Séralini et al. does not allow giving weight to their results and conclusions as published. Conclusions cannot be drawn on the difference in tumour incidence between treatment groups on the basis of the design, the analysis and the results as reported. Taking into consideration Member States’ assessments and the authors’ answer to critics, EFSA finds that the study as reported by Séralini et al. is of insufficient scientific quality for safety assessments.

CONCLUSION

I can conclusively state that Devinder Sharma's view that "retraction of the scientific paper has been done at the behest of a Monsanto person" is not substantiated. This was not just one person opposing the study, but a vast number of scientists and regulators.

I would like to see the Seralini study independently replicated using robust methodologies. If Seralini is right his study WILL be confirmed, and we need to know.

But at this stage there is no reason to believe that the Seralni study was methologically sound.

The case against GMO has not been made.

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Modi, Mansi Soni visited her mother in your unsafe city only on 11 and 12 August 2009. So why did you spy on her for over 35 days?

Modi's Ahmedabad is EXTREMELY UNSAFE FOR WOMEN.

Or at least that's the import of the letter from Mansi Soni's father. This utter lack of safety for women made Pranlal Soni seek special security from Modi for his daughter Mansi during her mother's gall bladder surgery in Ahmedabad [Sanjiv Bhatt has uploaded the Hospital discharge report here).

The operation was on 11 August 2009. Admission was at 10:09 am.

Mansi Soni presumably was going to be extremely unsafe when she left the hospital at night to go to her hotel. She was not told she was being provided "security".

Security was provided to her "discreetly" – spooky people watched her from a distance. That's how Modi provides "security" to his friend's daughters.

Of course, security was needed only for a couple of hours on the way to the hotel on 11 and 12 August.

Thereafter, on 13 August, Mansi's mother was discharged.

Everyone was thereafter supposed to flee unsafe Ahmedabad.

But Mansi Soni did not flee unsafe Ahmedabad. She hung around.

Indeed, she had direct access to Modi's house and it is alleged by Pradeep Sharma that she stayed for two nights in Modi's house in early 2006.

One PSO for Mansi for two hours each night on 11 and 12 August was ALL that Modi should have provided – assuming he had actually received a request for Mansi's "safety", and assuming his Director General of Police has publicly admitted to everyone that Ahmedabad is SO UNSAFE that NO woman can safely reach her hotel from the hospital without being attacked or molested on the way.

This throws up an important question: What is Ahmedabad's crime rate against women? How many women are molested daily while travelling at night by taxi/autorickshaw from the hospital to the hotel? And if Modi can't even ensure a modicum of safety for women in the city, what qualifies him as a future leader of India?

We know that Modi is excellent at killing Muslims. He also seems to have a particularly poor capacity to protect women.

But hold on! There is a further twist to this man's capacities.

Modi is telepathic.

Modi knew that Mansi's father would call him for her "protection" FOUR DAYS BEFORE he actually called her. Four days before her mother needed to be admitted in hospital. 

Modi had already arranged "discreet security" for Mansi Soni in advance – from at least 4 August 2009.

Very nice telepathic man, is this Modi. Very caring of his friends. He has so many spare policemen twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do that he can provide security to ONE woman for more than a month (this went on till at least 10 September 2009) – when it was only needed for two hours each for two nights.

But there is a glitch. Modi only provides security if you know him. Without that, you are extremely unsafe in Ahmedabad. Particularly if you are a woman travelling by taxi from a hospital to a hotel.

Given this information, can Modi please give us his personal phone number so we can all request him personally for this Rolls Royce security that commences BEFORE it is needed, and continues WELL AFTER it is no longer required?

And it is "discreet". No one will ever come to know that it is being provided. Unless the tapes and recordings are leaked by some naughty policemen in due course.

And, of course, his HOME MINISTER has so much time on his hands (when he is not organising the killing of innocent Muslims) that he is busy monitoring the "security" of these special women on a regular basis.

Very nice people, these two : Modi and Amit Shah.

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Modi, please release “Godhra Incident of 27/02/2002-An Intelligence Analysis” – unless you have something to hide

Sanjiv informed me on FB that "The Government of Gujarat is conveniently supressing a contemporaneous Report prepared by the State Intelligence Bureau in March 2002".

So what is this report?

Apparently its title is: Godhra Incident of 27/02/2002-An Intelligence Analysis.

What's the background of this report?

Here's some news coverage:

He [Sanjiv Bhatt] said as DCP in-charge of Internal Security at SIB, he had obtained all the phone call records for various areas in Gujarat, including Godhra Town, for 26th and 27th February 2002; as well as of certain high dignitaries including the Chief Minister for 27th and 28th February 2002.

"I had analysed the said call-records and also interacted with certain eyewitnesses and sources, in an attempt to understand the real nature of events that led to the incident of burning of the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra," Bhatt said.

"The said analysis and research was internally documented in SIB as "Godhra Incident of 27/02/2002-An Intelligence Analysis", completely demolished the so-called `Conspiracy Theory` and brought out the real nature of events that had led to the incident," he added. [Source]

ALSO

Bhatt, a Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in-charge of Internal Security in 2002, maintains that some of these documents would throw light on the dubious role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, other ministers, police officers, etc.

These documents include control room records, telephone call details, movement diaries of top police officials and an internal document of SIB, authored by Bhatt and titled 'Godhra Incident of 27-02-2002: An Intelligence Analysis'.

Bhatt's letter also reveals that Commission had last month declined his request, saying it had no power to do so. The decision was conveyed to him by a letter on December 30. [Source]

I'm curious about this now.

Sanjiv Bhatt baiters have been asking why he suddenly piped up in 2009. I had analysed this allegation and found that Bhatt had nothing to explain. He was just a diligent officer doing his (often secret) work.

But if Sanjiv Bhatt had only recently become an "anti-Modi" officer, then his 2002 report/s should have been PRO-MODI. So Modi should have nothing to fear.

So, Modi, WHY ARE YOU OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE? Let us all see this report.

Seems you have something to hide.

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For info of “Hindu” fanatics: the cow (Bos primigenius) is related to pigs and goats, NOT to humans

I'm constantly being told that "Hindu’s worship and treat as mother". This argument is used to justify violence.

First, this statement is incorrect. Cows that can't produce milk were regularly eaten in India, as I've CONCLUSIVELY demonstrated. It

Second, I don't worship the cow despite being MORE Hindu in many ways than most "Hindus" for I follow many key recommendations of the Vedas (e.g. openness of mind, scientific attitude), Chanakya and Charvaka. As a tolerant, critical thinking human whose key ideas are in many ways determined by the philosophies of ancient India, I'm MORE Hindu than many "Hindus" ignorant of their own history/tradition/literature. Not only do I NOT worship the cow, I eat all kinds of meat, including beef, in the tradition of the entire ancient Indian (Hindu) community

I agree that all animals that we eat must be treated humanely. That doesn't mean we should start worshipping animals. That doesn't make sense. Remember that biologically a PIG is closely related to a cow (Bos primigenius).Let our beliefs not make us TOTALLY STUPID as a nation. Let's keep our minds clear so we can understand the truth.

If a cow is to be treated as the "mother" of humans, why not pigs? If we are to worship a cow, why not a pig?

In general I don't recommend worshipping ANY animal.

[click for larger image]

Hindu’s worship and treat as mother

 

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