Citizens' Issues
India puts more pressure on Switzerland to share bank info

Switzerland had refused to share information about the accounts mentioned in the so-called ‘HSBC list’ which India had received from France through a bilateral treaty

India has strongly objected to Switzerland’s denial of information about the account details of certain Indians at HSBC’s Swiss bank branches, in whose cases “incriminating evidence of tax evasion” have been found in the country.


In a strongly-worded letter to his Swiss counterpart, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has also warned that an effective exchange of tax-related information was 'extremely important' for economic co-operation between the two countries and Switzerland must honour its 'rights and duties' agreed to in their bilateral Direct Tax Avoidance Convention (DTAC).


This is Chidambaram’s third letter to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf within four months on this matter and he again reiterated that India would continue to take a position at the global forum about Switzerland lacking legal and regulatory framework for an effective exchange of information.


Chidambaram also said that the interpretation made by Switzerland that it cannot share information as per India’s request was not in accordance with international standards.


Switzerland communicated its decision against sharing the information through a letter dated 7th April to Chidambaram, pursuant to which India has now stepped up its pressure on the European nation, which has been long perceived as a major safe haven for alleged black money stashed by Indians and other foreign nationals due to its strong banking secrecy laws.


Under global pressure, Switzerland has agreed to ease its banking secrecy laws in recent years and it also signed a revised tax treaty with India in 2011 to facilitate greater flow of information about alleged black money.


However, it has refused to share information with India about the accounts mentioned in the so-called ‘HSBC list’ which India had received from France through a bilateral treaty.


However, it has been widely reported that France had received that list after data was stolen by a disgruntled HSBC employee in 2011 and those names eventually found their way to tax authorities across the world including India.


Saradha investors block trains in West Bengal

Investors were protesting as they failed to get money following the Saradha scam

Hundreds of people who had invested in Saradha and suffered due to the scam, on Friday blocked rail traffic in Sealdah rail section in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district.


Picketeers blocked rail traffic at several places in the Sealdah-Ranaghat, Sealdah-Bongaon and Sealdah-Barasat section for several hours.


Rail traffic was disrupted before the police cleared the lines following which train movement resumed, superintendent of rail police, Sealdah, Utpal Laskar said.


The investors were protesting as they failed to get money following the scam.


Book Review: Good Medicine by Patrick Holford

 A nutrition-based approach to health that offers safe remedies for 75 health conditions

Most of us depend on the modern healthcare system, comprising pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and medical practitioners. From simple medicines, like antibiotics, to new drug discoveries and improvements in surgical procedures, lives are getting saved and overall human lifespan is getting longer, thanks the modern healthcare system. But, there is a dark side to it. As eminent cardiologist Dr BM Hegde has been highlighting in Moneylife for years, commercial motives have permeated the system that was, at one time, supposed to be noble in its objectives. Pharma companies are bribing researchers, academics and doctors to push their new products; five-star hospitals are exploiting their patients in every way possible; and many doctors simply do not give enough thought before prescribing medicines.

In the words of Patrick Holford, author of Good Medicine: “In truth, so-called modern medicine has been hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry and many doctors, unwittingly, have lost the real art of medicine and communication, and spend much of their time simply dispensing drugs. Some spend more time looking at their computer than looking at you! We have now reached the crazy position where people who are not sick are being prescribed drugs at vast expense to the taxpayer, only to suffer significant side-effects as a result. What is more, in the US, medical intervention has become the fourth leading cause of death. If we had accurate figures for all countries, the same may be true where you live. Thousands die from medical drugs, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, experience adverse side-effects. Here is just one example: taking statins to lower your cholesterol increases your risk of diabetes by up to 25 percent, and creates memory problems and muscle aches, but it does very little to reduce your risk of heart disease if you didn’t have it in the first place. The vast majority of drugs intended for long-term use and ‘management’ of chronic conditions don’t pass the first law of good medicine, which is: first do no harm.”  

What is the way out? While we cannot do without the modern healthcare system, we need not be blind to its problems either. Popping pills, taking shots and going under the knife are options we should keep for serious ailments. Meanwhile, we should do two things: prevent diseases and try milder options when we do fall ill—through a combination of natural products and supplements.
The basic premise of this book is that “the vast majority of health conditions you are likely to suffer from in life, especially the chronic diseases, are primarily the result of too much ‘bad stuff’ and not enough ‘good stuff’. As Hippocrates, (c.460-c.377bc) had pointed out more than 200 years ago: “When enough sins (against nature) have accumulated disease suddenly results.”

“Such sins include poor diet, a lack of exercise, stress, poor posture, smoking and drinking, pollution, lack of sunlight, insufficient sleep, and a lack of love and fun.” Once your body is afflicted by disease, however, simply addressing those problems would not eradicate all your health issues, argues Holford. “You would need a great deal more of the good stuff and virtually none of the bad stuff to rebalance your health and to undo the damage.”

Seems sensible; but this is not the way modern medicine works. By and large, it works to suppress the symptoms. It blocks some function or the other of the body to ‘set right’ a body that has already deviated from the nature’s design. For instance, doctors try to control acidity and reflux by blocking the production of stomach acid. Asks Holford: “Would you rather restore your health by conforming to your body’s natural design or gamble on taking a hi-tech drug that has been designed to block some part of your body’s natural chemistry?”

“Real freedom, health and happiness come from conforming to your natural design, not trying to cheat it. Drugs are not, by their very nature, part of the body’s natural design. Of course, there is a role for short-term medication, such as antibiotics, and life-saving operations, but this should be a small part of medicine, not the mainstay.”

The mainstay should be a combination of natural remedies and supplements like vitamins and minerals. The author is not a doctor. So, where does he get the confidence to propose his cocktail of remedies? “I believe in good science and you’ll find that every remedy and recommendation made in this book is based on good science. It is proven and works.” Holford is a nutritionist and the author of 30 books, translated into 20 languages, selling a million copies. In 1984, he founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, “an independent educational charity, with his mentor, twice Nobel Prize-winner, Linus Pauling, as a patron.”

This book does not propose alternatives. It works with the range of proven medicines and strongly advocates the right diets and supplements to help the body regain its natural balance. For instance, if your problem is arthritis, the best foods are oily fish, red onions and garlic, turmeric, olives, berries, and vegetables of dark colours. The worst foods are sugar and refined carbohydrates (promotes inflammation), dairy products, meat and coffee. The right supplements are omega-3, glucosamine, multivitamin-minerals and vitamin C. The book is arranged alphabetically by condition, starting with acne and ending with weight gain & obesity. It also recommends the right diet for perfect weight and blood and sugar control. A very useful book that should find a place in every home.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)