Huffington Post has removed Sonia Gandhi from list of richest leaders, where it appeared at 12th place with a wealth of $ billion
HuffPost World that compiled a list of the 20 richest world leaders currently in power based on available data, had removed the name of Congress president and United Progress Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi from the list.
In an updated post about the list of world’s richest leader, the editor of Huffington Post wrote on its website last evening stating, “Sonia Gandhi and the former emir of Qatar Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani have been removed from this list”.
“Gandhi was originally included based on a listing on a third party site which was subsequently called into question,” he said without giving name of the third-party site.
“Our editors have been unable to verify the amount, removed the link, and regret any confusion,” the Huffington post said, four days after it listed Gandhi as the 12th richest world leader putting her asset to $2 billion.
The Congress Party had questioned the authenticity of such a figure by Huffington Post. “If Huffington Post would stick to huffing puffing, then I think they would do a much better job for themselves. Because if you do put out these absurd and ridiculous things out in print, then you only open yourself to be made a laughing stock. I would not even like to dignify with a response,” said Manish Tewari, minister for Information and Broadcasting (MIB) yesterday in New Delhi after the list was released.
Read this first person account of the six year battle of Madhavi Shajhir (name changed), a bright chartered accountant, whose only mistake was to believe that the Code against harassment actually works
While the media is pre-occupied with the Tarun Tejpal case and the alleged sexual harassment by Justice AK Ganguly, it is important to know that for many victims, even those who are smart, highly educated and work for global consulting companies with claims to an international code of sexual harassment, the survivor ends up a victim all over again, bogged down by expensive and debilitating litigation, a promising career in the shambles and subject to defamation. Are we really seeing a new awakening? Or are women kidding themselves? Read this first person account of the six year battle of a bright chartered accountant whose only mistake was to believe that the Code against harassment actually works…
I speak as my silence has only benefited the perpetrators. I speak as the system that I believed to be an enabler of justice delivery has been a disappointment. I speak as those who believe that everything is all about money, it is not.I speak as the title on a business card comes with a responsibility to speak against the wrong without fear of retaliation. I speak as it is not about one case but many others who have been silently fighting their battles for years despite all odds. I speak as those who call this turning point should ask themselves - How?
I speak as my son can cope and can appreciate my fight. When asked on his birthday, what he wanted as a gift, he said “I want my mother back”.
I find misleading news items and defamatory comments and attacks from those who are seen to be champion of women's rights on TV channels and on sexual harassment panel, therefore, it is time to speak up.
I speak to let the young girls who dared to speak up know that there are others who are also fighting a legal battle for years. You may lose your job but not your voice and face. Hang in there! There is a change but any transition is chaotic and painful. It challenges the status quo.
Some important facts
I was served a copy of a bulky petition at 7pm, a day before and National Commission for Women (NCW) was probably serviced in Delhi, on 27 November 2013 itself. The Court granted stay on 27 November 2013 till 16 December 2013.
I will reply to the petition to present the factual position. This is also evident from the earlier proceedings of 2008 in Bombay High Court (HC) which runs into 700 pages and submissions made to NCW. It also includes the expose of the sabotage, tampering, threat and dereliction of duty by a member of the Maharashtra State Women Commission (MSCW) in October 2010.
This matter is also under inquiry by the Women and Child Ministry. To avoid further embarrassment, MSCW filed an affidavit in 2010 that it had no-objection if NCW completes the inquiry. In this proceeding, KPMG, NCW and MSCW were respondents. The liberty was granted by the Bombay High Court to pursue the matter with NCW. The State had not filed any response on it's compliance of the Supreme Court order in case of Medha Kotwal and it had no real response. Hence, the earlier petition was withdrawn to facilitate the inquiry by NCW, which would not be possible had the matter continued to be sub-judice. In any case, MSCW has been headless since 2009.
If NCW can enforce attendance of Tehelka managing editor and staff in a matter of weeks as has been the case in other complaints, should it take six years for a complaint to be inquired?
The Supreme Court (SC) took a mere 15 days to inquire but there are cases of this nature which await justice for years affecting the woman's fundamental right to life and liberty.
Whilst the Company was quick to terminate my services after I sought an inquiry into indecent conduct and advances, inappropriate and suggestive mails and resultant reprisal, the perpetrators were allowed to resign in 2013 despite the Company being aware of the facts, evidence and material in their custody and also the manner in which the inquiry was sought to be obstructed for five years. It was highlighted to its international counterpart, also.
In an earlier letter dated December 2006, the Company have stated that “I have no right to seek justification for termination and they are under no obligation to give any explanation”.
KPMG Ethics Committee responded in early 2007 that it is beyond their jurisdiction. This is a question that forms part of the scope of Inquiry referred to as Exhibit T in the earlier order dated July 2008 of the High Court.
KPMG alleged bias against India Centre of Human Rights (ICHR) in its petition in Bombay High Court in 2008. The member from ICHR recused voluntarily and the High Court has stated in the order in KPMG petition that “We find no prima facie material placed on record to substantiate the contention about bias attitude on the part of the members of the inquiry committee in the matter of inquiry which is in progress by the Commission. Hence no interim relief."
There was no bias alleged against Majlis. The HC order was challenged in the Supreme Court in September 2008 alleging fresh bias against Majlis, which was referred to as an organisation that was co-founded by Flavia Agnes and its members are trained and honed by euphoric beginning of the feminist consciousness of that era.
However, based on material on record, the Company's conduct should not be questioned by any authority. Should the perpetrators be the Judge and prosecutor?
I do not understand if the Company is guided by the definition of sexual harassment under IPC or Vishaka or by its own code of ethics that it is expected to follow which should be of higher standard? Is the issue not about morality and expected behaviour at workplace? And especially when the Company itself preaches clients on corporate governance and ethics compliance!
Was I wrong in interpretation of global code of conduct?
I hear reactions that why did Nirbhaya board that bus? Why did the Tehelka journalist get into the lift with the man?
I have often asked myself ‘why did I join this Company believing its global code of conduct and what it said on the website?’
It’s after all my fault and error of judgement.
I did not apply for a job in this Company. I was approached by them through a head-hunter after a thorough diligence of my credentials and capabilities. I joined the Company believing its global code of conduct and an expat CEO who was involved in the hiring. In March 2006, a new CEO took charge. I would have expected a more responsible response from the Board. KPMG Ethics Committee looked the other way citing that it is not within their jurisdiction.
It is altogether another matter that a class action suit is filed by several women employees against KPMG LLP in USA for systematic gender harassment and discrimination in 2011. I was with them only for 14 months but the women who are the plaintiffs in USA have long service tenure with them.
KPMG counsel is quoted by media as having stated that I have gone to various forums including Cyber Crime Cell and Crime Branch. I was subject to cyber defamation since October 2007 and being vilified and defamed without any basis. What was I expected to do?
I have been subject to devious means to disrepute my character, intimidate, threaten, etc.
All the evidence and sequence is on record of the NCW and police as part of the statements recorded. I am surprised that having inspected and noted all the documents last week, such statements are being released in the media with clear intent to malign my image.
The police acted on my complaint to get a Magistrate Court order to block the defamatory posts only in December 2012 and also lodged a FIR against the websites. Initially, they had closed my complaint in 2010 as civil case without informing me. It is also a matter of fact that KPMG was the knowledge partner of the Mumbai Police in cyber initiatives. KPMG partners with Mumbai Police to launch a mobile app for women to reach out in time of crisis. What an irony! They want women in public space to reach out for help but fail to hear the voice within their own workplace.
Incidentally one of the defamatory websites is funded by a public trust registered in the US, which is funded by a techie. After reading the news on cyber supari by Cobrapost, I am not so surprised.
Also, that I went to the police. This argument had been thrashed. Civil and criminal proceedings can go in parallel and the High Court Judge also commented on 23 July 2008 that she is free to invoke whichever legal remedy she wants. The Judge had also remarked that there being no subsisting relationship of employer and employee, it cannot direct me to appear before their Vishaka Committee. The Judge had also asked the pleader why the Commission can not issue ex-parte report if despite summons they were not willing to depose.
Dodging the Issue
KPMG has positioned the case as if everything arose after my complaint to the Commission four months after the termination. This is incorrect and all the evidence in this regard forms part of proceedings before the Commission and also the earlier WP of 2008. It has been dodging all inquiries as regards it’s compliance with Vishaka and for discrediting me and my requests for an inquiry as an employee even as all evidence and witness are in their custody.
NCW's inquiry through a new panel was reported in Times of India news item of 1 February 2013. It has been in public domain.
I do not quite understand why there is so much of emphasis on taxonomy.
Did the victim say sexual assault or rape or sexual molestation or indecent advances or inappropriate/ objectionable behaviour or embarrassing to my modesty, etc? The victim is always cautious in choice of words as she herself is reconciling to what she endures and how to express it when there is no defined procedure and committee and no woman partner. She wants to keep her job. It is also about how her family would cope given that she has a child to look after as a single parent.
Even if the victim says either or more of the words, does it not ring a bell in the mind of the CEO to at least set up an inquiry as per Vishaka Guidelines and for Board members to ensure its compliance even after requests for an Inquiry are made? Why the cover up when the staff manual itself says this -
“It will be the responsibility of all partners to ensure a safe working environment for employees.
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour whether direct or implied. This will include physical contact or advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non- verbal conduct of sexual nature. The firm prohibits such behaviour against its employees by any of its employees, vendors or clients.
You may *speak* to your reporting partner, staff partner or HRD professionals. The firm will ensure that all such cases are dealt with sensitively and appropriate action is initiated. All such cases will remain confidential so that the victim is able to function properly without fear of reprisal.”
Initial efforts to object met with casual responses that it was banter and I should chill. It soon followed with an email that read "Gents and Ladies (I have been reminded such a gender exists too!!!).” It transformed into more acute and direct forms and gestures that were indecent, inappropriate, coloured, suggestive annoying and embarrassing. It compelled me to seek change of performance manager that happened merely on paper. I continued to be reprimanded and subject to more embarrassment, humiliation and reprisal, in the hands of those against whom I had complained.
How can the CEO be expected to prevent or redress when the understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment seems to be unclear?
How does one interpret when the termination letter signed by the CEO states that I had joined them on August 2006 when the petition says that I had joined them on 19 September 2005?
By his own admission in an affidavit in earlier proceeding in the HC, the Vishaka Committee was set up only in June 2007. So, their story begins thereafter... The period of service is blanked out.
But for the investigating officer of Mumbai Police who took mirror image of the laptops, it was all over.
While framing Vishaka guidelines, the Court relied upon international jurisprudence and India’s obligation as signatory to CEDAW. In a similar case of gender harassment and discrimination against KPMG US, the Judge has refused to quash the class action plaint.
Is speedy justice a privilege only when the media exposes and public protests?
How about some fun
Someone shared this link. For those who take no offence...Enjoy!
For those who take offence, your options are: scream - Spare me!
Record the incident on your mobile even if there is a CCTV as that can be tampered, write a public email which cannot be deleted, use the KPMG mobile app to reach out to the Police, and do resign lest you get terminated on false charges, and later character assassinated.
While market-based pricing can potentially reduce pricing for two-third essential medicines, there are far too many loopholes to reduce your chemist bill. OPPI has taken an exception to Moneylife DPCO 2013 loopholes article. Here are OPPI views along with our counterviews
According to the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO) 2013, the ceiling price of essential medicines is fixed based on the simple average of the prices of all brands of that drug that have a market share of at least 1%. The national list of essential medicines (NLEM) lists 348 bulk drugs, which are sold as 650 formulations. Out of the 2,000 related brands considered for ceiling price calculation of the 348 essential drugs, only about 900 brands had to reduce their prices due to DPCO 2013 even when the market is estimated to have 50,000 brands. TheDPCO itself covers only 14%-17% of the Rs75,000 crore pharma market, which means only a small subset of the market will be impacted.
Out of this 14%-17 % (about Rs 11,000 crore), only about half around Rs 6,000 crore actually experienced price reduction, which means only a small subset (about 7%-8% of the pharma market) of the market has been impacted. For this small subset the price reduction is around 22% that is around Rs1,320 crore. In terms of net profit decrease spread over 10,000 companies this is almost small change.
Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) had written to Moneylife stating that the article (Read -Medicine prices: DPCO loopholes will deny cheaper essential drugs–Part2) was incorrect or ill-informed; therefore be misleading to your readers. Moneylife has responded to OPPI views giving its counterview. Read first part
Here are the remaining points raised by OPPI:
Experience shows that manufacturers producing medicines under price control, in this case the drugs in National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2011, are likely to stop making them and migrate to other medicines of the same chemical class as these other equivalent drugs are not in the NLEM 2011 and therefore, out of the purview of DPCO 2013
OPPI view - DPCO 2013 clearly articulates how it will ensure that manufacturers do not migrate away from essential medicines. As per DPCO 2013, Para 21 and Para 17 precisely tackle this concern.
Moneylife counterview - Para 17 and 21 are toothless from past experience. Firstly, you cannot compel a manufacturer to make something when there is no market for it and/or it is not viable. Will the government subsidise the production or assure off-take at a remunerative price? Secondly, a manufacturer simply makes more of the combinations as there is a market for it and less of the single ingredient NLEM as there is a smaller market. One does not have to stop making a scheduled drug as there is a much smaller market for it too. How can the government dictate to the manufacturer when he is already making both single ingredient and combinations?
Some of the examples of such manipulation already done in the past are as follows - Aciloc-RD of J Chemicals (where the price-controlled ranitidine was replaced with omeprazole); Cetrizet-D of Sun Pharmaceutical (price-controlled pseudoephedrine replaced with phenylepherine), Normet of Emcure (price-controlled norfloxacin replaced with ofloxacin) and Brakke Suspension of Franco-Indian Pharmaceuticals (price-controlled ciprofloxacin replaced with ofloxacin). The brand name was never changed in the above-mentioned cases.
Why does DPCO 2013 not say upfront that all therapeutic equivalents (that is not only atorvastatin but also rosuvastatin, simvastatin, all statins...) will be under price control? Since the DPCO 2013 does not say so and they have now maintained in the Supreme Court in an ongoing case that if they do so the pharmaceutical industry will be affected, they cannot have different stands for different cases. The government has opted for the worst of a free market ideology and the worst of a control regime which will make the consumers lose.
DPCO has given leeway of 10% price increase every year
OPPI view I - This increase is only a provision in case of schedule drugs but this has to get an approval from DPCO. By providing this allowance, the government seeks to ensure that any abnormal increase in input costs are taken care of and production levels of essential drugs are maintained at required levels.
Moneylife counterview I - There is nothing in Para 20 to the effect of getting approval etc which says: “The government shall monitor the maximum retail prices (MRP) of all the drugs, including the non-scheduled formulations and ensure that no manufacturer increases the maximum retail price of a drug more than 10% of maximum retail price during preceding twelve months and where the increase is beyond 10% of maximum retail price, it shall reduce the same to the level of 10% of maximum retail price for next twelve months.”
Para 16 (2) of the DPCO 2013 says: “The manufacturers may increase the maximum retail price (MRP) of scheduled formulations once in a year, in the month of April, on the basis of the wholesale price index with respect to previous calendar year and no prior approval of the Government in this regard shall be required.”
It is clear from this that as no prior approval is required from the government for an increase in prices of scheduled formulations, which means defacto automatic to the same extent as the WPI. It will allow every drug and dosage under price control – not only market leaders – to increase prices without prior approval of the government. In addition for drugs outside price control –that is the non-scheduled formulations, Para 20 (1) allows 10% increase every year.
OPPI view II - Also the rise in WPI of all medicines from 2005 to 2012 has only been ~3% annually. Compared to this, the rise in WPI of all commodities has been ~8% and that of manufactured products has been ~6%.Therefore DPCO 2013 sets a threshold beyond which prices cannot be increased along with a suitable mechanism to check the increase, by linking it to WPI. Also as per RBI reports, the WPI has grown at a CAGR ~6.6% from FY05 to FY12.
Moneylife counterview II - “If raw materials, that is active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) increase more than WPI - and different APIs increase at different rates, some much more than WPI and some less than WPI - the DPCO 2013 does not have a provision accordingly. One is also allowed a 10% increase, as mentioned above, for non-scheduled formulations whereas WPI increases less as per your own statement. So why not stick to actual cost based pricing?”
Patented drugs are not accessible and hence should be automatically considered for granting compulsory license
OPPI view - Automatic consideration of compulsory licensing will be contrary to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Article 31 (b) of which India is a signatory.
Moneylife counterview - We have not said anything about “should be automatically considered for granting compulsory license”. Only said “Para 32 of the DPCO 2013 lists cases eligible for exemption from price regulation for five years: drugs that have a product/process patent in India.” Read Medicine prices: DPCO loopholes will deny cheaper essential drugs–Part2 Now that OPPI has mentioned about TRIPS, here is our view - Doha agreement - Automatic means specifying clearly conditions where the compulsory license will be awarded - inter alia the Doha agreement says:
The TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent Members from taking measures to protect public health. Accordingly, while reiterating our commitment to the TRIPS Agreement, we affirm that the Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.
In this connection, we reaffirm the right of WTO Members to use, to the full, the provisions in the TRIPS Agreement, which provide flexibility for this purpose....Each Member has the right to grant compulsory licences and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted.