Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How is AAP different?

Tarannum’s life hadn’t been easy. She had been through it all; having had to do odd jobs to bring food to the worn out mat in her little jhuggi every night; having been burnt up to her face, while making her first meal for the family, while her parents had been out; having being married off to a man who beat her up every night, and having to put up with in-laws who never let her forget the worst day of her life.
It had been an unusually quiet and peaceful night and Tarannum had decided to pay a long overdue visit to her friends at the Women’s Shelter, next to the Jama Masjid. She rarely visited the shelter that had helped her survive in the years of her youth, these days. She had been growing short on both patience and funds, these last few days, and this place promised her more of both. She would spend some time here and they would provide her a meal and a concrete roof over her head-what more could she ask for? She took a deep breath and stepped on the step leading to the Masjid with a wistful smile, already feeling younger, and remembering the lost days of her youth, if only she could feel like this every day….
Fire! Everywhere!
She ran past the gathered masses. She could see her jhuggi burning in the distance, with great alacrity. Somehow she knew her son was trapped inside. She couldn’t even recognize which home was hers. Her five year old son, Sartaj, had died in the fire that had destroyed nearly all the slums near hers. 
The boy was charred to death in the fire. “The government promised us compensation two years ago”, she informed the Public Grievances Head, Ms Swati Maliwal, at the Janta Samwad. She had written multiple letters to the then Delhi Government, for the past two years requesting for compensation that had been promised to her. “I have two infant daughters, my husband is in jail and my father has no money left. I don’t want my remaining children’s lives to get ruined!” she cried. “The government is not letting me forget the past; I have to re-live it every, single day, running from one department to the next, for the past two years! I need the money to start my life afresh, away from that cursed colony!” A lifetime of frustration streamed down her face, in the form of tears. “Please, do something”, she now begged us, with a desperation that chilled us to the bone.
From that day, Tarannum came each week to the Janta Samvad, to learn the progress of her case. And each week, the light in her eyes burnt a little brighter, the smile on her face, grew a little warmer. The case was being closely followed by the Public Grievance Monitoring System (PGMS) and had now reached the DC’s office from the Revenue Department. Finally, after another two weeks, she was accompanied to the SDM by one of PGMS officers. The SDM asked her to bring two witnesses with her and to sign some papers. That was it. When she finally received the compensation, she was shocked that the PGMS of the current Delhi government had accomplished in one month, what the previous government had been unable to do in the past two years.
She came back to the Arvind Kejriwal’s house then, her eyes shining with unspeakable gratitude. Instead of thanking us, she surprised us by saying, “I knew you would get our work done. The day your volunteers brought us food and shelter after the fire, I knew that you would help us."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Being on places - Tourism?

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Kahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Kahoots with someone. 

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there. 

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family and work. 

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore. 

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often. 

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm. 

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older. 

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the
adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get! 

I may have been in Continent, but I don't remember what country I was in.  It's an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there. 

Sent by Prakash Bhartia 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A visiting Card could be dangerous

Share with everybody you know, particularly your wife, sisters, daughters, nieces, mother, female friends and colleagues.
At a petrol pump, a man came over and offered his services as a painter to a lady filling petrol in her car and left his visiting card. She said nothing but accepted his card out of sheer kindness and got into the car. The man then got into a car driven by another person.
As t
he lady left the service station, she saw the men following her out of the station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realised that the odour was on her hand; the same hand with which she had received the card from the person at the service station.
She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do something at that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn repeatedly to ask for help.
The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes after she could finally catch her breath.
Apparently, there was a substance on the card that could have seriously injured her.
This drug is called 'BURUNDANGA'. (Not known To People So Far but
sufficient Information Is available in the Net) and it is used by people who
wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal from or take advantage of
them. This drug is four times more dangerous than the date rape drug and is transferable on a simple card or paper.. So please take care and make sure you don't accept cards when you are alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a card when they offer their services.
Yes .. Such Incident Can Happen With Everyone ..
Be Safe

Sunday, June 21, 2015

An Unforgettable Conversation Between A Man And An Engineer In Train

An Indian Army soldier and a software engineer met in Shatabadi Express and here is an interesting conversation that transpired between them:
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdhi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!!
He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.
“Are you from the software industry sir,” the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.
“You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized. ”
“Thanks,” smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockily built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.
“You people always amaze me,” the man continued, “You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside.”
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naive ness demanded reasoning not anger. “It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.”
For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. “It is complex, very complex.”
“It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid,” came the reply.
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. ”
Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing.”
He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point.
“Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centers across the country.
Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?”
The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination.
“You design and code such things.”
“I used to,” Vivek paused for effect, “but now I am the Project Manager.”
“Oh!” sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over,
“So your life is easy now.”
This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, “Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work.
Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality.
To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday.”
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth.
“My friend,” he concluded triumphantly, “you don’t know what it is to be in the Line of Fire”
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.
“I know sir…. I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire…….”
He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.
“There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night.
The enemy was firing from the top.
There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom.
In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive.”
“You are a…?”
“I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment.
But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier.
On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker.
It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself.
He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded… ….his own personal safety came last, always and every time.”
“He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir….I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire.”
Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop.
It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valor and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes.
The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.
“It was nice meeting you sir.”
Vivek fumbled with the handshake.
This hand… had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.
It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
PS:- The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation’s highest military award.

When the Centre will not allow government to function

The BJP is lucky: it couldn’t have found a more able abettor than the Congress-appointed lieutenant-governor, Najeeb Jung. Whenever Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tries to get a job done, the L-G thwarts it pronto. It’s clear the L-G has an agenda: to prevent the AAP government from functioning. It appears equally clear the directives are coming from the Centre.

It’s no secret that the BJP and the AAP hate each other’s guts. As a consequence, it’s the people who are paying the price. But they’re not fools, they’re not going to continue to be scapegoats. After all, it’s they who gave both these parties the dream majority they hadn’t even imagined, one in the Lok Sabha, the other in the Assembly. And in this instance, they know exactly what game is being played.

Now we have the (now former) Delhi law minister being hauled over coals for faking degrees. Okay, so Jitender Singh Tomar lied. Punish him. Strip him of his portfolio. From all accounts, Smriti Irani and Rahul Gandhi, among many others who got away, also bluffed about their academic achievements. Clearly bad form, but not a criminal act, surely, warranting a midnight arrest by a posse of cops? What about every third sitting MP who, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms, has a criminal record?

We cannot condone a government that deliberately jeopardises governance. It seems there’s also an element of class discrimination here. The AAP mostly represents the lower and lower middle-classes, basically, ordinary folk, after the intellectuals vaporised along with Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. For this support base, what matters is bijli-sadak-paniroti-kapda-makaan. Preventing the government from working goes against the right of these citizens to access their needs. It is they who give parties a majority, and they who can sink them. If the BJP thinks its game-plan will finish the AAP, it should think again because it might well be sinking its own ship.

Deputy Editor
(This article was published on June 17, 2015)

TIME-BOUND JUSTICE - What is the cause of Court backlogs.

By Shailesh Gandhi
Former Central Information Commissioner.

There is considerable talk of Judicial Accountability in the nation, but it does not address the key parameter of time-bound justice. Two in three persons who are in prisons are under trials, most of whom may not have committed any crime. Right to speedy Justice which has been recognized by the supreme court as a fundamental right is violated daily in the courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. I decided to take a look at the issue by looking at the data with the objective of trying to estimate the number of judges required to achieve this. Data has been taken from the Court News in the tag Publications) on the supreme Court website for twenty quarters from January 2009 to December 2013

I noted the new cases instituted in each quarter, disposal and the pending cases in the Supreme Court, High Court and the District & Subordinate Courts. Using simple arithmetic it is possible to get the number of months  (pendency in each Quarter by dividing the pendency with the number of cases disposed ( rows 15, 35 and 56 in the excel sheet). This shows that the average pendency should be 10, 31 and 18 months from the Supreme Court to the Subordinate Courts. Most anecdotal perceptions are that it takes much longer.

The average vacancies in the three levels are 12% for the Supreme Court, 30% for the High Courts and 20% for the Lower Courts. When citizens are suffering acutely because of the huge delays in the judicial system, there can be no justification for such high levels of sanctioned positions being vacant. The dates of retirement of judges are known in advance and hence the selection process could start even six months in advance, so that there may be no vacancy. If all positions had been filled promptly, and these judges had disposed cases at the same rate as the existing ones, the average pendency for the three courts would have been less than 0 months for the lower courts and the Supreme Court (cell V20 and V61). This would have been about 9 months in the High court (V40).

This indicates that if the principle of First in First out (FIFO) could be strictly followed, and no vacancies kept, this may be the time for a case to go through the Courts. This would not be feasible completely; but there can be no justification for many cases taking more than treble the average time in the Courts. The Courts should lay down a discipline that almost no case could be allowed to languish for more than double the average time taken for disposals. Presently the listing of cases is being done by the judges, with partial resort to computers and no human being can really do this exercise rationally, given the mass of data. It would be sensible to devise a fair criterion and incorporate this in computer software, which would list the cases and also give the dates for adjournments based on a rational basis. This is essential if we are serious about Article 14 of our constitution which guarantees equality before law. Certain categories of cases may be given priority, based on a criterion, not the individual or the lawyer. As an example, it may be logical to have all bail applications decided in a week, but then the poorest would also get bail in a week, not only Salman Khan. Cases which must be taken up urgently would be decided by a pre-determined category. This would result in removing much of the arbitrariness, and also reduce the gross inequity based on money power. If FIFO is accepted, all vacancies filled and the principle that 95% of all cases must be disposed within treble the average time is accepted, the maximum time at the three Courts would be 9 months, 21 months and 9 months. If the number of sanctioned post for High Courts was increased by a small number, all these Courts could deliver justice in less than 9 months. There may be a few exceptional cases which may take longer. Some people argue that there is a big difference in the nature of the cases. However, over a large number of courts and cases, the large variations due to different cases would even out and can be used to compare or find possible solutions. Besides the evaluation is based on 20 Quarters over five years, and appears to show some consistency.

My suggestions based on the above are given below:
1. Courts must accept the discipline that over 95% of the cases will be settled in less than treble the average pendency.

2. The listing of cases should be done by a computer program, with judges having the discretion to override it in only 5% cases for very urgent matters. Such a program should be developed with the inputs and judges and lawyers. It is necessary to understand that the present system is completely arbitrary and the principle of First In First Out would be fairer than the current one. Besides in 5% cases the judicial override could still function.

If these are followed, most cases would be disposed in a court in less than a year and justice and equity delivered in the courts.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Emergency Can Repeat, Warns LK Advani. First Experiment Delhi, Says Arvind Kejriwal

NEW DELHI:  BJP leader LK Advani has said that he fears a repeat of the Emergency as "forces that can crush democracy have become stronger" in India, in remarks that are being interpreted by rival parties as a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Advani ji is correct in saying that emergency can't be ruled out. Is Delhi their first experiment?" tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose government is locked in an ugly power tussle with the Centre.

In an interview to The Indian Express published on Thursday, Mr Advani said: "At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger."

He was speaking on the 40th anniversary next week of the 1975 Emergency, when the Congress government jailed opposition leaders and imposed severe curbs on the media.  

"I do not say that the political leadership is not mature. But because of the shortcomings, I don't have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again," said the 87-year-old BJP veteran, adding, "I do not see any sign in our polity that assures me, any outstanding aspect of leadership. A commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking."

The comments have been seized by critics of the BJP and PM Modi.

"LK Advani is a senior politician so it is clear where the needle of suspicion is. We have seen the authoritarian streak in the Modi government," said Left leader Sitaram Yechury.

The Congress' Tom Vadakkan saw the comments as a clear denunciation of PM Modi's leadership.

Mr Advani, who had once tried unsuccessfully to persuade his party against picking Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, was assigned the role of mentor and kept out of decision-making soon after the party took power last year.

"Advani ji was referring to institutions rather than pointing towards any individual," said BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar.

"He (Advani) is quite senior in age and experience. So he can talk to Modi. I don't think he intends any message to Modi through the interview," said MG Vaidya, a leader of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ADR urges Maharashtra Cabinet to repeal the amendment to the CrPC

Citizens now require sanction from ‘Competent Authority’ before filing an FIR against MLAs and bureaucrats from Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Cabinet recently amended a provision of the Criminal Procedure Code to prevent filing of an FIR against a 'public representative' without the sanction of a Competent Authority i.e. the Speaker of the Assembly in case of MLAs and of the Chief Secretary in case of a bureaucrat. The decision is also applicable to elected representatives of panchayats and municipalities[1].

According to Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of Association for Democratic Reforms, "This decision of the Maharashtra cabinet goes directly against Article 14 of the Constitution of India which guarantees 'equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws' to "any person within the territory of India.' This decision obviously gives 'greater protection' to MLAs and bureaucrats, and therefore makes them 'more equal' than ordinary citizens."

According to analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms of affidavits submitted by MLAs from Maharashtra at the time of election in 2014, 165 (57%) of the MLAs had declared criminal cases. Out of these 51 (31%) MLAs had declared cases where charges had been framed. Among all legislative assemblies in India, Maharashtra is second highest after Jharkhand in the proportion of MLAs with criminal cases. 3 MLAs had declared cases related to murder and attempt to murder while 11 MLAs declared cases related to crimes against women, 3 MLAs declared cases related to causing communal disharmony, 14 MLAs with cases of robbery and dacoity and 9 MLAs with cases related to kidnapping.

Even in the recent local body elections in Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, out of 105 winners analysed, 17 had declared criminal cases out of which 13 had declared serious criminal cases. In the Vasai Virar City Municipal elections, 17 (17%) out of 102 winners declared criminal cases wherein 12 had serious cases. While this amendment to the CrPC is not applicable to Members of Parliament, it is important to note that criminality even among MPs of Maharashtra is alarmingly high, wherein 31 (65%) out of 48 MPs have criminal cases.

In view of such grave statistics regarding the composition of the Maharashtra Assembly and Municipalities, further restricting the power of filing an FIR against an elected representative would bode ill not just for legislature but for the very fabric of democracy in the country. This decision limits the accountability of elected representatives and bureaucrats and shields them from the application of law and justice. Elected representatives are repositories of public trust and the sanctity of their position in the legislature can only be upheld through scrutiny and accountability.

Association for Democratic Reforms urges the Maharashtra government to repeal the amendments made in the CrPC as it goes against the basic tenet of the constitution i.e. equality before law and discourages common citizens to raise their voice against legislators and bureaucrats indulging in corrupt or unlawful activities.
For more information on the criminal and financial background of Maharashtra MLAs and winners of the recent local body elections in Navi Mumbai and Vasai Virar City Municipal, Maharashtra, please refer to the following reports;
1. Analysis of Criminal and Financial background details of Newly Elected MLAs in Maharashtra - http://adrindia.org/research-and-report/election-watch/state-assemblies/maharashtra/2014/winners-report-analysis
2. Analysis of Criminal and Financial background details of Winners in Navi Mumbai Municipal Election 2015 - http://adrindia.org/research-and-report/election-watch/local-bodies/maharashtra/2015/analysis-criminal-and-financial-0
3. Analysis of Criminal, Financial, Education, Gender and Other Background Details of Winners - Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation Elections 2015 - http://adrindia.org/research-and-report/election-watch/local-bodies/maharashtra/2015/analysis-criminal-financial-0

Adulteration of Food - How to detect

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Act on graft complaints against officials within 60 days: PMO

Posted on June 12, 2015 from Delhi, National ι Report #5498

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for a crackdown on corruption, his office has directed all central departments on time-bound action within 60 days to enforce the “rule of law”.
Ministers have been told to sanction prosecution or order disciplinary action within 60 days against officials found to have indulged in act of corruption or misconduct respectively, after a vigilance inquiry.
“The direction is that all such cases be cleared immediately and there should not be any pendency of such cases beyond 60 days,” sources said.
All corruption cases or complaints that have been dangling in departments for reference to the vigilance section are also to be sent for inquiry within the deadline so that an outcome against the alleged offenders is identified and implemented accordingly.
The directive introduces a new norm for officials manning sensitive posts. Sources said each department would have to identify desks handling secret or confidential issues on national and economic security, and annually rotate officials handling them on a pre-decided date.
In sectors and services where public interface is high or which impact the daily affairs of the masses, the direction is that there should be zero-overhang of licence or other applications beyond a prescribed time period.
The PMO has also instructed officials to identify and crack down on areas where middlemen were suspected to be operating, especially in the municipal and urban development sections.
Who is the PMO fooling?
On the one hand, the BJP is doing all that is possible to scuttle investigations by the ACB in Delhi and on the other hand it is taking action which seems to act against corruption.
These are all red herrings.
The elephant has two sets of teeth, one for eating and the other for show.
The above are the teeth to show off.
We have earlier seen what action Modi has taken in Gujarat against corruption.

Is the Nestle episode as flash in the pan or are we a nation of crooks?

Indian regulators’ findings that samples of Nestlé SA Maggi instant noodles contained impermissibly high levels of lead stunned middle-class consumers this month. But long before India yanked the product off store shelves, U.S. food-safety inspectors had deemed hundreds of made-in-India snacks unfit for sale in America.
Data on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration show that it rejected more snack imports from India than from any other country in the first five months of 2015. In fact, more than half of all the snack products that were tested and then blocked from sale in the U.S. this year were from India. Indian products led the world in snack rejects last year as well.
Mexico, a much larger trading partner of the U.S., was second in terms of rejections this year, followed by South Korea. China — whose exports to the U.S. are worth ten times as much as India’s — was a distant eighth.
And it’s not just snack foods. The U.S. FDA has rejected all sorts of imports from India, including everything from cosmetics to drugs to ceramics.
So why did the Indian snacks fail the U.S. FDA tests?
The reasons vary from problems in packaging and labeling to alleged contamination. The FDA website says Indian products have been found to contain high levels of pesticides, mold and the bacteria salmonella.
In one colorful description this February of a product from the western state of Gujarat, which the FDA identified only as “snack foods not elsewhere mentioned,” it said it blocked the import as it “appears to consist in whole or in part of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food.”
While India’s national food-safety watchdog doesn’t monitor exports, it has been rushing to test everything from soups to pastas to instant noodles sold domestically in the wake of the Nestlé findings.
Sales of Nestlé’s Maggi noodles were officially blocked across the country last Friday, after the Food Safety and Standards Authority said it found them “unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.”  Nestlé on Thursday challenged the ban in court and said its own tests hadn’t detected elevated levels of lead, as authorities alleged.
Heightened concern over the safety of processed food in India has pushed the Indian authorities into a testing frenzy. But its chief says he doesn’t have the manpower or facilities to check the millions of packaged products that fill the kitchen cabinets in the world’s second-most populous nation.
“Food-safety is a very sensitive thing in developed countries,” so countries like the U.S. have better food-safety infrastructure, said Yudhvir Singh Malik, the chief executive of the authority.  “A lot of that sense is still to come in developing countries.”
Most Indian snacks rejected by the FDA this year were from the Nagpur-based food company Haldiram’s. Among the rejected Haldiram’s products were some sugar candies and salty Indian snack mixes. The FDA said on its website that it rejected the Haldiram’s products because it found pesticides in them.
A.K. Tyagi, a senior-vice president at Haldiram’s, said its food “is 100% safe and complies with the law of the land.” Discrepancies, he said, arise because food-safety standards differ in India and the U.S. “A pesticide that is permitted in India may not be allowed there. And even if it is, they may not allow it in the same concentration as it is here,” he said.
Indian baked snacks also had troubles getting into the States. Out of 217 imported baked products rejected by the U.S. FDA so far this year, more than half were made in India. One of them was a biscuit pack manufactured by India’s largest biscuit-maker, Britannia Industries Ltd.
On its website, the FDA said the packaging of the product didn’t list all ingredients and failed provide consumers adequate nutrition information. Britannia, in response, said it didn’t authorize the shipment.
“Britannia exports to the U.S. only out of U.S. FDA registered factories in India and meets product/labeling standards,” the company said in an email. “These may be instances of shipments made by independent exporters based out of India.”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why is the Modi government playing with the health of the Delhi residents?

For those who don't know --the MHA or ministry of home affairs has a deptt for the union territories. Since Delhi is a quasi state and the biggest union territory and the most important as it is the nation's capital, there is a seperate deptt within the MHA just for Delhi controlled by a specific Joint secretary. All funds for the MCD are routed through this Delhi deptt of the MHA.

The MCD has 22000 ghost employees who seem not to exist. We had found a similar situation in the Bombay Municipal Corporation after 2000 civic elections as on paper there were supposed to be 1 BMC employee for every 100 citizens of Bombay(population 1.8 crore, BMC staff strength 1.8lakh)-- I think at that time the population was 1.2 crore and staff strength was shown as 1.2 lakh. 

The story must be the same all over India. Even in the Police deptt, there are a lot of ghost employees (satyamev jayate video on police reforms--ex DG BSF Prakash Singh who fought for implementation of National police commn reports via the Supreme court said this). The railways which is overstaffed many times over has a lot of politically appointed ghost staff because it has traditionally been the easiest to loot. 

The defence ministry's super secretiveness shield also lends it to the possibility of superfluous ghost staff whose pension and perks may be going to unknown areas--therefore OROP is not being implemented,The defence ministry controlled Ordnance factory board, defence security corps and other bodies must be surely having lot of such ghost employees because traditionally everything related to the ministry is covered under the official secrets act and other legal cloaks of being beyond public scrutiny.

That is the state of affairs in our country at present but we don't talk about these glaring issues. Also the most important pillar of the democratic form of govt-- the judiciary's supreme court still functions for only 5 days a week, 6hours a day for only 180 days a  year--the rest of the time they are on paid holiday. Even among the 180 working days, a lot of judges and staff take vacations --so the number of working days effectively comes down much more. YET WE SEEM TO BE IGNORANT OF SUCH CRUCIAL FACTS and feel THAT remaining UNAWARE of all this is better.

BUT I FEEL we must make more people AWARE of such crucial facts --because when the light of KNOWLEDGE comes, then ignorance and apathy are swept away and positive change happens. WE MUST STRENGTHEN THE POSITIVE FORCES IN OUR OWN SMALL WAY by bringing AWARENESS and not IGNORING the systemic deficiencies--The world will change FASTER if we do our bit.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is the LG there to carry out the wishes of the People or to take orders from the BJP - Narendra Modi?

Amidst one-sided and blown-out-of-proportion English and Hindi media coverage/badgering, it seems like AAP is just fighting fire after fire.

The BJP-led Narendra Modi Government on an AAP Minister in the nation’s capital makes unconstitutional, violent and political arrests, and the media just calls it "what the minister deserved". Shocking? No. Sad? Yes.

The politically motivated Delhi Commission for Women headed by an ex-Congress MLA wakes up after years to make media spectacles of the personal lives of AAP leaders and MLAs instead of working to prevent child sexual abuse, implementing the Vishakha guidelines and protecting the rights and empowering marginalized women and girls in Delhi. Surprising? No. Shameful? Yes.

The Lieutenant Governor takes no interest in the lives of Delhi’s citizens: electricity supply-side shortage, water-level reduction, deteriorating schools, defunct hospitals or the corruption affecting every sector and strata of society. The problems of Delhi are all for Kejriwal to solve without any help but transfer postings of civil servants which are a huge revenue source and the appointment of a pliant head of the scarily best-functioning AAP-led Anti-Corruption Branch whose powers have repeatedly been curtailed by the BJP government are suddenly asserted as his eminent domain. Curiously enough, this starts as soon as the CNG Fitness Scam files are opened which implicate the LG himself. Rather interesting line of questioning to follow? No! The reportage is "Kejriwal starts his anarchy again!”. Period.

Think about it: Wouldn’t it be great if the BJP-selected LG showed such decisive resolve and pro-activeness in transforming service and amenities delivery of electricity, water, education, health and social welfare? Our guess for why he doesn’t do it is that there are no monetary or political gains to be made from improving people’s lives. And so, even as Arvind Kejriwal is abused on a daily basis on television, newspapers and sometimes your drawing rooms based on the media reports you consume, he will fight to solve the problems of your lives, not transfer postings. We may democratize power cuts and water shortages but we have already their improved total availability and are planning for the long haul. We are working to make our citizens healthy by reforming our hospitals and keeping our city clean and pollution-free. We have the only MLA, Gulab Singh Yadav, who sends his child to a government school because we are your political representatives, not your political masters. Our children will benefit or suffer from the same education that we give to you. Provides for a better commitment contract than speeches, no? Finally, we are a party that believes in Swaraj. Not just in idea, but practically! We will not give you good governance. We will give you the government.

Still, the time is not far away when there is a news story break that says: "AAP MLAs buy chips and Coke without a receipt! They must have disproportionate assets! Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in cahoots with the VAT mafia! Arrest this tax defaulter!” Just kidding! Actually, maybe not smile emoticon

All this when BJP MPs make bigoted hate speech. All this when Shri Narendra Modi's Cabinet consists of rape-accused "absconding/missing" Nihal Chand and creative false election affidavit writer Smriti Irani who forgets the degrees she earnt and puts Ivy League Schools to shame. All this at a time when our PM’s law and order or marital history is not even up for discussion on television. Are we ostriches or humans?

AAP gets slander and abuse from the BJP and its media amplifiers and loudspeakers for not showing moral fortitude. Yes, this is the same political party that currently houses in Parliament: 4 murderers, 10 persons who attempted murder, 7 robbers and 3 kidnappers telling the party whose Law Minister resigns till his name is cleared after an unconstitutional, unwarranted and farcical arrest takes place for a matter that is subjudice, to show “moral fortitude”. It seems like their version of the Oxford English Dictionary must have weird word-definitions.

One third of the BJP in Parliament has criminal cases against them. Will they be arrested or prosecuted? Don’t be silly!

The BJP has 97 MPs with criminal charges. Will they be arrested or prosecuted? Don’t be stupid!

The BJP has 61 MPs with serious criminal charges like rape and murder. Will they be summoned by the courts or by the police? You must be dreaming!

Forget each and every state, but 21 Ministers of PM Narendra Modi’s National Cabinet face criminal charges and 11 of them face serious criminal charges like rape and murder! At least they, the principled co-workers of our self-proclaimed anti-corruption crusader aka the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will, at least be questioned? All of them live in Delhi and work in Delhi? Can the Delhi Police not show the same bravery it did to arrest Shri Jitender Singh Tomar, the AAP MLA and ex-Minister?


How stupid of you to think that the Police is an investigative agency that respects the Court and conducts independent, honest and professional enquiries and stops when the Court reprimands it for conducting a farcical exercise against AAP. It is a tool that the State and more importantly, the reigning political party use to break down voices of protest, honesty and revolution! They don't break the opposition like the Congress because they need to repay the favours of protection that the BJP received for 10 years. Quid pro quo in its purest form. Live with it!

However, we knew this when we got into the system and as we attempt to clean it. Nobody said it would be easy. But it is doable and possible if one has the right intentions and puts all their efforts in the right direction. This work has already begun in Delhi.

Rest assured, we are not going away from our duty or shirking our responsibilities. Instead of worrying about the news being created and fabricated about us, we are creating news by delivering on our promises and fulfilling our manifesto! We wake up daily and think about what promises in our manifesto haven’t been fulfilled and work on it instead of looking at an atlas and thinking about which countries haven’t been visited smile emoticon We are changing lives on the ground and not on the television screen. We are working hard at changing the paradigm of governance and making Delhi, India's first happy, inclusive, prosperous, modern, hi-tech corruption-free city!

Relax! Vested political, media and business interests will go after us and call us names. Just tune them out! Judge us for the work on the ground.

In the meantime, it’s getting late. Turn that television off and watch this before you sleep: an awesome moment from the elections when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made a great bet and won smile emoticon

Dear Aam Aadmis and Aurats: Happy 4 months of winning the election that will change India forever! Thanks for giving us the chance to help us change the system of governance, government and politics! We will never waste the faith that you have reposed in us. For we are you, the Aam Aadmi. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sacking Delhi The Centre’s attempt to amend the Constitution is disgraceful


The heat and dust over the appointment of the chief secretary in Delhi raises two important—and related—issues. First, the nature of relationship between chief minister and the lieutenant-governor with regard to non-reserved subjects. The second, which is even more fundamental, is the manner and method of amendment of a constitutional provision by the Centre.

On May 15, Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung appointed Shakuntala Gamlin as chief secretary of Delhi despite the CM expressing strong reservations. Jung issued an order dir­ecting the Principal Secretary Services, governm­ent of Delhi, to appoint Gamlin. The AAP government cla­imed that the lieutenant-governor cannot byp­ass the elected government, as doing so would be in con­travent­ion of Article 239AA of the constitution.

Article 239AA clause (3)(a) lays down that the legislative assembly of the government of NCT shall have powers to make laws in respect of matters enumerated in the state list or in the concurrent list except matters with respect to entries 1, 2 and 18 of the state list. Thus, three entries with reg­ard to public order, police and land have been excluded from the purview of powers of the legislative assembly. This is the only material point of difference between the powers of the Delhi assembly and other full-fledged state legislative assemblies.

Clause 4 of Article 239AA further mandates that there shall be a council of ministers to aid and advise the lieutenant-governor in exercise of his functions with respect to which the legislative assembly has the power to make laws. It further provides that the lieutenant-governor can act in his discretion only in relation to matters over which the legislative assembly has no powers to make laws.

India’s Constitution has adopted a parliamentary system of democracy. The Supreme Court has consistently held that in India as in England, the executive has to act subject to the control of the legislature. The president and the governors have been made formal heads of the executive and real executive powers are vested in the ministers of the cabinet.

The lieutenant-governor of Delhi thus wears two hats, one as the head of the executive in relation to matters over which the legislative assembly has power to make laws. In this capacity he can only function as a formal or constitutional head and is bound by advice offered by the council of ministers. His  second role pertains to the reserved subjects, namely public order, police and land (entries 1, 2 and 18 of the state list). With regard to these the L-G acts on the directions of the Centre, in his capacity as administrator. The council of ministers cannot interfere with the functioning of the L-G in respect of reserved subjects.

It is clear on reading the Constitution that the curtailment of powers of Delhi’s ministers can exist in regard to these three entries only. Appointment of the chief secretary can be covered by none of this triad: public order, police or land. The confusion seems to have been created deliberately by the central government to embarrass and obs­truct the functioning of the government. The reason is not far to seek. After having suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of an upstart party, the Centre chose this unconstitutional method to rub their nose on the ground.

The second act of the central gov­ernment is indefensible. It does not even admit of any argu­m­ent, ambiguity or confusion. There is not even a fig leaf to cover their act of amending the Constitution by a mere notification. Article 368 of the Cons­titution vests the power of amendment of the Constitution on Parliament and prescribes a detailed procedure for it. Apart from that, a constitutional bench of the SC has further limited the power of amendment even by Parliament with regard to the basic str­ucture of the constitution. Democratic governance is the most fundamental structure of the Constitution and yet the Centre not only chose to negate the democratic structure but also chose an administrative procedure to amend the Constitution.

To my utter shock, the notification dated May 21 added a fourth exclusion to the three exclusions enumerated in the Constitution. This fourth new exclusion, termed as ‘services’, is added to clause 3 of Article 239AA by a mere notification. The acts of the Centre suggest its autocratic, dictatorial and undemocratic streak. They are not only high-handed and a crude attempt to derail democracy, but is a denial of democracy to the people of Delhi.

(Senior advocate of the Supreme Court, K.T.S. Tulsi is a member of the Rajya Sabha)


PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, has filed a new petition to central health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, demanding that disciplinary action must be taken within two weeks against three top MCI members, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Sudipto Roy and Dr. Vinay Aggarwal, as recommended last year by the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) for helping disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, regain the prestigious post of World Medical President (WMA) president-elect. As PBT reported earlier, the three senior MCI members (Kumar/Roy/Aggarwal) went before the world medical body and made a false claim that all charges against Desai were dropped by the Indian authority and based on these false claim, Desai was selected as WMA president-elect for 2016. Desai is still free on bail and waiting for his criminal trial to start in at least two separate CBI cases for serious charges of bribery and corruption.
After PBT lodged several complaints before different fora, then MCI-CVO, Mr. H.K. Jethi, conducted a full investigation and found Drs. Kumar/ROY/Aggarwal guilty for “unethical conduct’ and recommended last October to MCI president Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta, another well-known close associate of Desai, that disciplinary action should be taken against the three MCI members who are also holding top posts in important MCI Committees and thus, have strong influence over the healthcare regulatory system. The PMO directed for “prompt” redressal of PBT’s allegations last December and even the Health Ministry sent an “urgent” letter to MCI president on 19th March, 2015 asking for immediate action in this matter (see Health Ministry letter below), but MCI president has remained absolutely silent till now. Our repeated pleas to MCI for disciplinary action against Drs. Kumar/Roy/Aggarwal and to write to WMA for removal of Desai from the post of WMA president-elect. We also wonder why the Health Ministry has also remained aloof for so long to go after corruption in MCI. PBT has given two weeks time to the Health Minister after which they may move the court for justice.