World
Major earthquake jolts Nepal

The India Meteorological Department official said that the epicentre was in Nepal and the tremors were felt in north and east India

 

An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale jolted Nepal on Tuesday, an official said here.
 
The India Meteorological Department official told IANS that the epicentre was in Nepal and the tremors were felt in north and east India, including Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow and Jaipur.
 

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Is transparency a hindrance to good governance?
We need to put pressure on various institutions, in the implementation of the RTI Act, so that they restrain from constricting our right, ensure a transparent process of selection for Commissioners and work for the adequate disposal of cases at the Commissions
 
The RTI Act has caught the imagination of people and the way it has spread is being appreciated and admired around the world. A great change has come in India in the last decade in the power equation between the sovereign citizens of the country and those in power. This change is just the beginning and if we can sustain and strengthen it, our defective elective democracy could metamorphose into a truly participatory democracy within the next one or two decades. We have just begun this journey towards a meaningful Swaraj. I believe media-visual, print and social, - and RTI have all been a fortunate heady mix. They have the potential of actualising the promise of democracy. However there are also signs of regressive forces which could stymie these promises.
 
I will refer to the two biggest dangers to RTI:
 
1. Most established Institutions are unhappy with RTI. When the power equation changes between those with power and the ordinary citizen, resistance is to be expected. Everyone in power generally feels transparency is good for others, whereas they should be left to work effectively. It is implied that transparency is a hindrance to good governance. 
 
The former Prime Minister,- harried by the uncovering of various scams by RTI,-said at the Central Information Commission’s convention in October 2012: “There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information the disclosure of which cannot possibly serve any public purpose.” The present Prime Minister has taken a preemptive action by not appointing a Chief Information Commissioner at all to render it dysfunctional. The bureaucracy is also hardening its stand and in most cases it has realised that the Commissioners are not really committed to transparency. This coupled with the long wait at the Commissions and the reluctance of the Commissions in imposing penalties is slowly making it difficult to get sensitive information which could aid citizens to expose structural shortcomings or corruption. A former Chief Justice of India said in April 2012, “The RTI Act is a good law but there has to be a limit to it.” I am amazed at the suggestion that there should be a limit to RTI beyond what has been laid down in the law by Parliament in terms of exemptions. Any interpretation beyond what is written in the law will be a violation of Citizen’s fundamental right to information. We have travelled some distance away from the statement made by a seven judge bench of the Supreme Court of India in S. P. Gupta v. President of India & Ors. (AIR 1982 SC 149) “There can be little doubt that exposure to public gaze and scrutiny is one of the surest means of achieving a clean and healthy administration. It has been truly said that an open government is clean government and a powerful safeguard against political and administrative aberration and inefficiency”.  
 
2. A greater danger comes from the selection of Information Commissioners as a part of political patronage. Most have no predilection for transparency or work. Their orders are often biased against transparency and in many places a huge backlog is being built up as a consequence of their inability to cope. Consequently, a law which seeks to ensure giving information to citizens in 30 days on pain of penalty gets stuck for over a year at the Commissions. Most of these Commissioners do not work to deliver results in a time-bound manner and lose all moral authority to penalise PIOs, who do not work in a time-bound manner. Commissioners are slowly working less and less. In the Central Information Commission six Commissioners had disposed 22,351 cases in 2011, whereas in 2014 seven Commissioners disposed only 16,006 cases! Civil society and media are rightly critical of the government for not appointing the balance four Commissioners, but at the current rate of disposal eleven Commissioners will not dispose over 25,000 cases a year. In 2014 CIC received 31000 cases and presently has a pendency of over 38,000 cases. It is evident that at this languorous pace of working RTI will slowly become like the Consumer Act, - mainly in existence for the Commissioners. Citizens must wake up from their slumber and focus on getting commissioners who will dispose over 6,000 cases each year and give clear signals that they will not tolerate tardiness from Public Information Officers or Commissioners.
 
Eternal Vigilance is the price for democracy. We have a very useful tool to make our democracy meaningful and effective. It will work and grow if we struggle to ensure its health. We need to put pressure on various institutions so that they restrain from constricting our right, ensure a transparent process of selection for Commissioners and work for the adequate disposal of cases at the Commissions. If we are lazy this right will also putrefy.    

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COMMENTS

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

While I fully agree with the author on the contentious way in which the RTI Act is being implemented, the empowerment mechanisms of the Information Commissioners at the State and Central Government levels are poor. We should demand first the empowerment and also ensure that the posts are not looked at as bastions for the retired bureaucrats. Statutory powers of the Information Commissioners have to be specific and enforceable. Those who fault on timeliness for providing the demanded information, as long as it is available, shall be punished with certain pre-fixed boundaries. Let us also at the same time not mistake transparency for nudity. There will be certain aspects like those in defence that could damage the interests of the nation once the information is let lose. We have to exercise restraint where necessary.

D S Ranga Rao

2 years ago

"..........to put pressure on various institutions.........." But how? And who cares? Let's not be euphemistic. By now, it must be clear to us that we, the people of India, are once again betrayed in preferring tweedledee(BJP) to tweedledom(Cong). How can they be expected to abide by the laws of the land when they themselves have bluntly refused to come under the ambit of the RTI Act, 2005?

Herbalife: 'I Thought I was Going to Make it Big'
Former distributor says a class-action settlement isn't going to help a majority of recruits who lost money
 
Eric Rodensky was working hard driving trucks for a company that distributes candy and groceries to convenience stores, but the long hours weren’t yielding enough pay to make ends meet. Then Rodensky heard an ad on the radio by Fox News host Sean Hannity about earning income from home. 
 
During the ad, Hannity read a testimonial from a woman who said she had earned a hefty income in her first month with this business opportunity. Hannity advised listeners to go to a website with the vague name of “income at home” to learn more. Rodensky was intrigued. He’s also been a big fan of Hannity.
 
“I trusted him,” said Rodensky.
 
So he went online and visited the website, which offered what seemed to be an easy way to earn substantial income. It seemed like a perfect opportunity. Just what he needed. Something that could help him pay his bills. Something that would allow him to someday move out of his small apartment, maybe even get a nice car.
 
  
Although he didn’t know it at the time, the “income at home” business opportunity Hannity was talking about was for Herbalife, a California-based nutritional supplement MLM company that touts high incomes and luxurious lifestyles for affiliates who purchase products each month and recruit new members to their teams.
 
Hannity never mentioned Herbalife and the income at home site didn’t either, but that website (which is no longer online) led Rodensky to another site, Online Business Systems (OBS), which was a lead generation site of potential recruits for Herbalife.
 
Rodensky signed up, putting $2,000 on his credit card to purchase enough products to qualify for maximum income potential. But none of the promised prosperity happened. In fact, Rodensky lost money in his Herbalife venture — most distributors do. And now he is one of more than a dozen distributors who are objecting to a proposed class-action settlement pending in California.
 
The settlement would give a majority of distributors in the class — who purchased up to $3,745 worth of products from Herbalife between 2009-2014 — just $20 or less. Those who purchased $750 or more worth of products in at least one year are eligible for additional compensation. In exchange, distributors affected by the settlement would be essentially banned forever from any further suits against the company and Herbalife would be allowed to continue business as usual. Today, a federal court judge based in Los Angeles will hear arguments regarding the fairness of the settlement, which affects not only Rodensky but also potentially more than a million distributors.
 

READ: TINA.org’s argument about why the settlement is unfair

 
Rodensky and more than a dozen other distributors who are objecting contend that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and they were doomed to fail. The company, which earned more than $4.9 billion in revenue in 2014, is being investigated by the FTC and SEC, and is at the center of a Wall Street battle initiated by Pershing Square hedge fund activist Bill Ackman who made a $1 billion bet against it. Ackman is alleging Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and is urging regulators to take action. Several state attorneys general and the Department of Justice are also looking into the company.
 
‘I thought I was going to make it big’
 
Rodensky said he didn’t know what a multi-level marketing company was before becoming involved in Herbalife. Though he viewed the company’s average gross compensation statement, which showed in 2012 that 88 percent of distributors earned nothing from Herbalife, he was paying more attention to the testimonials from distributors who said they earned enough money to quit their jobs — distributors such as Shawn Dahl who owned Online Business Systems. In a 2010 video OBS sent Rodensky as part of his “decision” package, Dahl, who was in the “Chairman’s Club” at Herbalife, talks about earnings of $30,000 a month and his jet-set lifestyle.
 
“I was so excited. I thought I was going to make it big,” Rodensky said. “I thought this was the big break I was looking for.”
 
Rodensky signed up to be a supervisor and also purchased a list of 20 potential recruits from OBS for $100. He started a website and posted fliers around his community to advertise Herbalife products and the business opportunity. But neither got much of a response. He also called the list of potential recruits, but none of the phone numbers he called panned out.
 
“When I called, it was a dead end number, or they didn’t want to talk to me, or no one answered,” he said.
 
Rodensky said he spent about $6,000 in total on his Herbalife venture, but never made a dime.
 
“I was working my butt off,” he said. “They told me if I failed I didn’t try hard enough, but they also said it was so easy even a caveman could do it.”
 
Settlement is no help 
 
Rodensky said he was involved in Herbalife for about six months before he called it quits in 2012. As he sat in his studio apartment in a small Connecticut town one recent day recounting his experience, he pulled a plastic tub from his closet that was filled with remaining Herbalife products. The tub contained vitamins, protein powders and nutritional supplements. It was the second of two tubs filled with unsold products. For a while, Rodensky, who suffers from colitis, was taking the supplements hoping they would help him feel better. But his health didn’t improve and the process for returning the products to Herbalife was onerous, he said, so he decided to just throw the products in that bin out.
 
When he heard about the class-action settlement through a notice he received in the mail, he said he thought he’d finally have a chance to recoup his losses. But when he found out there would be no serious repercussions for the company or significant compensation for a majority of distributors who lost money, he decided to object to the settlement.
 
Rodensky’s losses were not the highest listed among the objectors. Some of the objecting distributors said in court filings that instead of making six-figure incomes, they lost more than $100,000. Rodensky said he would like to see more robust action against Herbalife. But it’s not just about the money for Rodensky.
 
“I had a dream of working from home and having plenty of money and paying off all my bills and instead of paying off all my bills, I had to go to my parents for help. This isn’t fair. They played me for a fool,” said Rodensky, who is 43. “… I think they should pay up. And I think some people should go to prison.”
 
TINA.org will continue to update readers on the settlement and the Herbalife investigations. More information on MLMs and pyramid schemes can be found here.
 
 

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COMMENTS

???? ?????

6 months ago

he must be a complete idiot if he decided to just throw it.... i started to eat HLF more than 6 years ago - and still happy about it... i do not sale it. it's not so easy as that loser thought...

MOHAN

2 years ago

AMWAY MADE FALSE HEALTH CLAIMS FOR NUTRILITE DAILY PILLS: UP COURT

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/amway...

REPLY

Rene E Porcile

In Reply to MOHAN 2 years ago

Thanks MOHAN !!!
As you can see India regulator's move against misleading advertisements by the food firms.
And HERBALIFE has no problem there or anywhere in the world. The FTC already slapped GNC and other in 2014 for false advertisement - and HERBALIFE was not included!!!

Scott Johnson

In Reply to Rene E Porcile 2 years ago

Not yet. Of course, there's plenty of highly ranked HLF distributors making outrageous medical claims, so it's not as if HLF is innocent.

Rene E Porcile

2 years ago

Herbalife's return policy:

Herbalife will buy back any unsold product from a resigning member - for up to 1 year from the date of purchase.

Herbalife will even pay for the return postage. Just call FedEx and products are picked up from your home or office for FREE.

REPLY

Scott Johnson

In Reply to Rene E Porcile 2 years ago

Just because Herbalife is willing to take back products (and the distributor must quit in order to return products) doesn't mean it isn't a scam, it just means they are trying to look legitimate, but Herbalife is actually a scam.

Rene E Porcile

2 years ago

False statement >> "a California-based nutritional supplement MLM company that touts high incomes and luxurious lifestyles for affiliates who purchase products each month and recruit new members to their teams."

Please, show everyone where Herbalife states where a member can make an income. If you have no such link...then you are lying!
Herbalife is a business opportunity where members efforts, business knowledge, hard work, ethics, etc earns them the right to make an income. Just like any sale job or business venture.

REPLY

David Steedson

In Reply to Rene E Porcile 4 months ago

Rene Porcile is a scammer from Herbalife. Here's a link of HIM making false income claims. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_comments/2006/07/522418-07771.pdf

Scott Johnson

In Reply to Rene E Porcile 2 years ago

Herbalife has many upper level distributors who make these statements, and many of these people sit/have sat on the Herbalife corporate Board of Directors. Since Board members have a corporate fiduciary duty, then by definition these statements came from Herbalife.

Scott Johnson

2 years ago

Herbalife operates very similar to Amway, the largest MLM scam on the planet, and there are hundreds of Amway copycats. Read about them here, forward the link to all non-Amway people you know, so they don't get scammed, and encourage them to do the same. When enough people know, these scams will collapse: http://www.StopTheAmwayToolScam.wordpress.com

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