Daily Archives: June 19, 2011

Muslim Karnataka Minister asks Muslims to back anti-cow slaughter Bill

Note: This is an old news item but it is relevant. Both communities should be mindful of each others’ sensitivities and realize that they can prosper in an environment of mutual trust, respect and harmony.

-Moderator

 

February 20th, 2010, 8:51 pm (The Hindu)

HASSAN, Karnataka: Minister for Wakf and Minorities Welfare Mumtaz Ali Khan has
called upon Muslims in the State not to oppose the Bill banning cow
slaughter.

The Minister said he too would not oppose the Bill as only 30 per cent
of Muslims consumed beef. Moreover, the Bharatiya Janata Party
Government was committed to improve the lot of the minorities, even
though they had been used as vote-bank by the Opposition, he said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Dr. Khan said the State
Government was committed to providing financial assistance to all
those who stood to lose their livelihood following the Government’s
decision on the ban. The Minister said that Chief Minister B.S.
Yeddyurappa would increase the allocation for minorities welfare from
Rs. 186 crore to Rs. 300 crore. The funds would be used for the
overall development of minorities in the State, he said. The literacy
rate among Muslims would also be increased to help them secure
employment, he said.

Let Sonia come clean on Foundations she heads

Sonia Gandhi is associated with following Foundations and Trusts as either Chairperson, President or a Trustee. First three are multi billion rupees entities funded by tax payer money.

(1) Rajiv Gandhi Foundation- Chairperson

(2) Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust- (title not clear- web site shows  Mr. K.M. Pareeth as the chairperson)

(3) Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund- Chairperson

(4) Swaraj Bhavan Trust- President

(5) Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital Society- President

(6) Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust- Trustee

(7) Nehru Memorial Museum and Library- Member

Since  Sonia’s henchmen are too eager for Ramdevji to declare source of funding for all his trusts ad businesses, we  expect Sonia Gandhi, as a leader of the ruling combination and a prominent national figure, to come clean on this and set an example by Posting the  Details of Assets, Accounts, Black Money Donations to the her Trusts, on their respective websites.

Call Off the Global Drug War- Jimmy Carter

New York Times

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

By JIMMY CARTER

Published: June 16, 2011

Atlanta

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

The commission’s facts and arguments are persuasive. It recommends that governments be encouraged to experiment “with models of legal regulation of drugs … that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.” For effective examples, they can look to policies that have shown promising results in Europe, Australia and other places.

But they probably won’t turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about anexplosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Ga. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 17, 2011, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: Call Off the Global Drug War.

Our black money is here, not in Switzerland

This is an interesting observation. Economics is not my field so I cannot judge the arguments made here. Perhaps, some one of the stature of Dr. Subramanian Swamy can shed light on this.
By Swaminathan SA Aiyar in The Economic Times
Baba Ramdev’s financial naivete is only to be expected. But I am astonished that the media endlessly repeats the myth that enormous hoards of black money are lying in Swiss banks.

Only financial illiterates will leave their money in Swiss banks offering very low interest rates (sometimes under 1%). To maximize their gains and hide their cash trail, savvy crooks route their money through various tax havens, and then seek the assistance of financial managers to maximize gains.

Financial managers will suggest a variety of assets from shares and bonds to real estate, aiming for annual returns of 10-20%. When such high returns are available, only novices will leave their money in bank deposits with very low returns.

This is obvious from the details disclosed of Indian-owned accounts in the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein. Of the 26 Indian accounts unearthed, some were owned by NRIs, and only 18 looked taxable. These had received inflows of just Rs 39 crore over two years, some of which may have been legitimate earnings abroad. This suggests that even if the Swiss bank secrecy is broken, relatively modest sums may come to light.

The government is signing agreements with many countries to access more information on foreign bank accounts. The very signing will warn crooks to transfer their funds to chains of corporations in lightly taxed places ranging from Liechtenstein to Cayman Islands and Mauritius to Bermuda. Once laundered through a dozen corporations in a dozen tax havens, money becomes white.

Some businessmen may park large sums temporarily in Swiss banks pending better deployment. Some politicians may not yet be financial savvy and may be content keeping large sums in Swiss banks. These will be exceptional cases. The bulk of black money abroad is in financial assets across the globe.

Where exactly? Nobody knows. But one of the best places in which to invest money is India, not Switzerland or the US or any western destination. Housing prices in the US doubled after 2000 and that was called a bubble, but housing prices in India rose almost ten-fold. Declarations by politicians of their assets show a huge preference for real estate over all other assets.

The Dow Jones index in New York is barely higher today than in 2000, but the Bombay sensex is up six-fold. Interest rates on Indian government bonds are 8% against 3% in the US and Germany. Clearly India is one of the best investment destinations in the world. Income tax rates today are modest and there is no tax on dividends and capital gains.

So, enormous sums of black money that once went abroad have returned in white form over the last two decades. These flows may have helped the Indian economy grow faster. They have certainly helped push up land and stock prices to dizzy heights, and election spending too.

India now gets $60 billion annually of remittances from NRIs, and up to $50 billion from portfolio inflows. A significant part of this must be black money returning as white. Some inflows come as NRI bank deposits in India.

Sonia Gandhi takes her role seriously

According to Lok Sabha web site, Sonia Gandhi is a trustee of Jaliawala Bagh National Memorial Trust.

It seems that she has misunderstood her role. Perhaps, she feels that as a trustee of the “memorial”, she has to repeat Jallianwalla Bagh type atrocities on the Bharatiya people from time to time, so that the “memory” remains alive! May be that is why she ordered that infampus attack on Baba Ramdev and his followers on the night of June 4-5.

Jallianwala was perpetrated in 1919 by a foreigner drunk mad with absolute power. Almost 100 years later, history was repeated.

 

 

Trustee, Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust;

Source: Lok Sabha

http://india.gov.in/govt/loksabhampbiodata.php?mpcode=130

Sonia Gandhi’s Profile on Lok Sabha web page

Following profile of Sonia Gandhi does nto clarify, if she attended college or even passed high school.

She has not mentioned her nationality, profession or permanent address.
Detailed Profile: Smt. Sonia Gandhi on Lok Sabha web page of GOI –

Name    Smt. Sonia Gandhi
Constituency from which I am elected    Rae Bareli
Father’s Name   Late Mr. Stefano Maino
Mother’s Name   Mrs. Paola Predebon
Date of Birth   12/9/1946
Birth Place     Lusiana, Vicenza, (Italy)
Maritial Status Widow
Date of Marriage        2/25/1968
Spouse Name     Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi
No. of Children No.of Sons:1       No.of Daughters:1
State Name      Uttar Pradesh
Party Name      Indian National Congress
Permanent Address
Present Address 10, Janpath,New Delhi – 110 011Tels. (011) 23014161,
23012656
Email id        soniagan@sansad.nic.in
Educational Qualifications      (i) Three years course in foreign languages
(English & French) completed in 1964 at Istituto Santa Teresa, Turin,
Italy (ii) Certificate in English from Lennox Cook School, Cambridge,
U.K. completed in 1965
Profession
Positions Held
3/1/1998        President, Indian National Congress
3/2/1998        Chairperson, Congress (I) Parliamentary Party (CPP)
1/1/1999        Elected to 13th Lok Sabha
1/2/1999        Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha
1/3/1999        Member, General Purposes Committee
5/14/2004       Re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha ( 2nd term)
6/5/2004        Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance
6/6/2004        Chairperson, National Advisory Council
1/1/2007        Resigned from 14th Lok Sabha
2/2/2007        Re-elected in a bye-election
1/1/2009        Re-elected to 15th Lok Sabha (3rd term)
1/1/2010        Appointed Chairperson of the (re-constituted), National
Advisory Council
Special Interests       Protection of the environment; Indian handlooms,
handicrafts, Indian classical and tribal art & music; conservation of
oil painting.
Favourite Pastimes and Recreation       Reading and gardening
Countries Visited       Widely travelled
Other Information       Chairperson, (i) Rajiv Gandhi Foundation,

(ii) Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust;

(iii) Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund;
President, (i) Swaraj Bhavan Trust;

(ii) Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital Society;

Trustee, Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust;

Member, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Source: Lok Sabha

http://india.gov.in/govt/loksabhampbiodata.php?mpcode=130

Sonia Gandhi: Annexation Through Technicalities- Arun Shourie

Though this article is more than 10 years old, it is very relevant today; it sheds light on how Sonia Gandhi has lied, broken laws and looted the country- Moderator

September 13, 1999

The day I entered Indiraji’s household I became an Indian, the rest is just technical — that is Sonia Gandhi’s latest explanation for not having acquired Indian citizenship till fourteen years after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi.

First the facts. Surya Prakash, the Consulting Editor of The Pioneer, has documented these in detail. Sonia married Rajiv on 25 February, 1968. Under section 5(c) of the Indian Citizenship Act she became eligible to register herself as a citizen ofIndiaon 25 February, 1973. She chose to continue as a citizen ofItaly. She applied for Indian citizenship only ten years later, on 7 April, 1983.

A foreigner seeking Indian citizenship has to state on oath that he or she has relinquished his or her citizenship of the original country. This requirement was all the more necessary in the case of an Italian citizen: under Italian law, an Italian taking citizenship of another country continues to retain his or her Italian citizenship. Sonia Gandhi’s application did not have the requisite statement, nor did it have any official document from the appropriate authorities inItaly. The omission was made up in a curious way: the Ambassador of Italy stepped in, and wrote to the Government saying that Sonia Gandhi had indeed given up her citizenship ofItaly. He did so on 27 April, 1983. Sonia got her citizenship forthwith — on 30 April, 1983.

Another nugget Surya Prakash has unearthed is that while Sonia became a citizen on 30 April, 1983, her name made its way to the electoral rolls as of 1 January, 1980! In response to an objection, it had to be deleted in late 1982. But sure enough, it was put back on the electoral roll as of 1 January, 1983. She hadn’t even applied for citizenship till then.

All technicalities! If any ordinary person were to proceed in the same way, he would be up for stern prosecution.

Maruti was one of the most odious scandals connected with Mrs Indira Gandhi and her family. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice A C Gupta recorded that, though she was at the time a foreigner, Sonia Gandhi secured shares in two of their family concerns: Maruti Technical Services Pvt. Ltd. (in 1970 and again in 1974), and Maruti Heavy Vehicles (in 1974). The acquisition of these shares was in contravention of the very Act that Mrs Gandhi used to such diabolic effect in persecuting her political opponents, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973. Just another technicality!

But the Mother of Technicalities, so to say, is to be found in the way Sonia Gandhi, without having any known sources of income, has become the controller of one of the largest empires of property and patronage inDelhi. The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library and Museum is one of the principal institutions for research on contemporary Indian history. It is situated in and controls real estate which, because of its historical importance, cannot even be valued. The institution runs entirely on grants from the Government of India. Sonia Gandhi has absolutely no qualification that could by any stretch of imagination entitle her to head the institution: has she secured even an elementary university degree, to say nothing of having done anything that would even suggest some specialization in subjects which the institution has been set up to study. But by mysterious technicalities she is today the head of this institution. So much so that she even decides which scholar may have access to papers — even official papers — of Pandit Nehru and others of that family, including, if I may stretch the term, Lady Mountbatten.

Real estate, only slightly less valuable, has been acquired on Raisina Road. The land was meant to house offices of the Congress. A large, ultra-modern building was built — the finance being provided by another bunch of technical devices which remain a mystery. The building had but to get completed, and Sonia appropriated it for the other Foundation she completely controls — the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The Congress(I) did not just oblige by keeping silent about the takeover of its building, in the very first budget its Government presented upon returning to power, it provided Rs 100 crores to this Foundation. The furore that give-away caused was so great that the largesse had to be canceled. No problem. Business house after business house, even public sector enterprises incurring huge losses, coughed up crores.

The Foundation has performed two principal functions. The projection of Sonia Gandhi. And enticing an array of leaders, intellectuals, journalists etc. into nets of patronage and pelf.

But the audacity with which the land and building were usurped and funds raised for this Foundation falls into the second order of smalls when they are set alongside what has been done in regard to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.

This Centre was set up as a trust in 1987 by a resolution of the Cabinet. The Government of India gave Rs. 50 crores out of the Consolidated Fund of India as a corpus fund to this Centre. It transferred 23 acres of land along what is surely one of the costliest sites in the world –Central Vista, the stretch that runs between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate — to this Trust. Furthermore, it granted another Rs. 84 crores for the Trust to construct its building.

The land was government land. The funds were government funds. Accordingly, care was taken to ensure that the Trust would remain under the overall control of the Government of India. Therefore, the Deed of the Trust provided, inter alia,

  • Every ten years two-thirds of the trustees would retire. One half of the vacancies caused would be filled by the Government. One half would be filled by nominations made by the retiring trustees.
  • The Member Secretary of the Trust would be nominated by the Government on such terms and conditions as the Government may decide.
  • The President of India would appoint a committee from time to time to review the working of the Trust, and the recommendations of the committee would be binding on the Trust.
  • No changes would be made in the deed of the Trust except by prior written sanction of the Government, and even then the changes may be adopted only by three-quarters of the Trustees agreeing to them at a meeting specially convened for the purpose.

Now, just see what technical wonders were performed one fine afternoon.

A meeting like any other meeting of the trustees was convened on 18 May, 1995. The minutes of this meeting which I have before me list all the subjects which were discussed — the minutes were circulated officially by Dr Kapila Vatsyayan in her capacity as the Director of the Centre with the observation, “The Minutes of this meeting have been approved by Smt Sonia Gandhi, President of the IGNCA Trust.”

What did the assembled personages discuss and approve? Even if the topics seem mundane, do read them carefully — for they contain a vital clue, the Sherlock Holmes clue so to say, about what did not happen.

The minutes report that the following subjects were discussed:

1: Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship Scheme and the Research Grant Scheme.
2: Commemoration volume in the memory of Stella Kramrisch.
3: Sale of publications of the IGNCA.
4: Manuscripts on music and dance belonging to the former ruling house of Raigarh in M P
5: Report on the 10th and 11th meetings of the Executive Committee.
6: Approval and adoption of the Annual Report and Annual Accounts, 1993-94.
7: Bilateral and multilateral programmes of IGNCA, and aid from U N agencies, Ford Foundation, Japan Foundation, etc.
8: Brief report on implementation of programmes from April 1994 to March 1995.
9: Brief of initiatives taken by IGNCA to strengthen dialogue between Indian and Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China.
10: Documentation of cultural heritage of Indo-Christian, Indo-Islamic and Indo-Zoroastrian communities.
11: Gita Govinda project.
12: IGNCA newsletter.
13: Annual Action Plan, 1995-96.
14: Calendar of events. 15: Publications of IGNCA.
15: Matters relating to building project.
16: Allocations/release of funds for the IGNCA building project.

There is not one word in the minutes that the deed of the Trust was even mentioned.

This meeting took place on 18 May, 1995. On 30 May, 1995 Sonia Gandhi performed one of technical miracles. She wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources informing him of what she said were alterations in the Trust Deed which the trustees had unanimously approved. Pronto, the Minister wrote back, on 2 June, 1995: “I have great pleasure in communicating to you the Government of India’s approval to the alterations.”

The Minister? The ever-helpful, Madhav Rao Scindia. And wonder of wonders, in his other capacity he had attended the meeting on 18 May as a trustee of the IGNCA, the meeting which had not, according to the minutes approved by Sonia Gandhi, even discussed, far less “unanimously approved” changes in the Trust Deed.

And what were the changes that Sonia Gandhi managed to get through by this collusive exchange of two letters?

  • She became President for life.
  • The other trustees — two-thirds of whom were to retire every ten years — became trustees for life. The power of the Government to fill half the vacancies was snuffed out.
  • The power of the Government to appoint the Member Secretary of the Trust was snuffed out; henceforth the Trust would appoint its own Member Secretary.
  • The power of the President of India to appoint a committee to periodically review the functioning of the Trust was snuffed out; neither he nor Government would have any power to inquire into the working of the Trust.

A Government Trust, a Trust which had received over Rs. 134 crores of the tax-payers’ money, a Trust which had received twenty three acres of invaluable land was, by a simple collusive exchange of a letter each between Sonia Gandhi and one of her gilded attendants became property within her total control.

The usurpation was an absolute fraud. The Trust Deed itself provided that no amendment to it could come into force — on any reasonable reading could not even be initiated and adopted — without prior written permission of the Government. Far from any permission being taken, even information to the effect that changes were being contemplated was not sent to Government. An ex post “approval” was obtained from an obliging trustee.

That “approval” was in itself wholly without warrant. Such sanctions are governed by Rule 4 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961. This Rule prescribes that when a subject concerns more than one department, “no order be issued until all such departments have concurred, or failing such concurrence, a decision thereon has been taken by or under the authority of the Cabinet.” Other departments were manifestly concerned, concurrence from them was not even sought. The Cabinet was never apprised.

The rule proceeds to provide, “Unless the case is fully covered by powers to sanction expenditure or to appropriate or re-appropriate funds, conferred by any general or special orders made by the Ministry of Finance, no department shall, without the previous concurrence of the Ministry of Finance, issue any orders which may… (b) involve any grant of land or assignment of revenue or concession, grant… (d) otherwise have a financial bearing whether involving expenditure or not…”

And yet, just as concurrence of other departments had been dispensed with, no approval was taken from the Finance Ministry.

The Indian Express and other papers published details about the fraud by which what was a Government Trust had been converted into a private fief. Two members of Parliament — Justice Ghuman Mal Lodha and Mr. E. Balanandan — began seeking details, and raising objections.

For a full two and a half years, governments — of the Congress(I), and the two that were kept alive by the Congress(I), those of Mr. Deve Gowda and of Mr. I. K. Gujral — made sure that full facts would not be disclosed to the MPs, and that the concerned file would keep shuttling between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Law.

As a result, Sonia Gandhi continues to have complete control over governmental assets of incalculable value — through technicalities collusively arranged.

A latter-day Dalhousie — annexation of Indian principalities through technicalities!

 

http://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/19990913.htm

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