#India- How to get justice from errant service or goods providers ? #mustshare #RTI


RAJ PRADHAN | 01/04/2013 12:50 PM | Moneylife.com 

Redressal of consumer complaints can entail approaching the insurance ombudsman, the consumer courts and even taking help of social media, RTI and police complaints. There are options available today to build pressure on errant service or goods providers so that they do the needful

 

A letter from Mohan Siroya, chairperson of the Consumer Complaints Cell, gives three examples of consumer power success using the help of the insurance ombudsman, Right to Information (RTI), social media activism and police complaints. Today, justice will be served if you are persistent in your efforts to pursue the errant service or goods provider. Aconsumer court may not be able to help in the absence of the postal address, but alternate means exists.
Case 1: A senior citizen was hospitalized in Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai. New India Assurance Company refused to pay the claim of Rs12,148 submitted in August 2010. It argued about the lack of the original hospital bill/receipt, even though the insured provided documentary proof of having submitted the same. The insurer wrote a letter to the hospital asking for certain documents, including the hospital bill. It was but natural for the hospital to write the word ‘Duplicate’ on the bill as the original was already issued at the time of discharge. The insurer refused to accept this and declined to reimburse the claimed amount.
In the complaint to the insurance ombudsman, there was a claim of not only the claim amount but also‘compensation’ for undue delay in not settling/refusing to settle the claim on a flimsy or false ground and deliberate “mental torture” caused to a senior citizen. The ombudsman passed an award granting not only of the claimed amount, but also a penalty of Rs2,000, directly favouring the complainant in settlement within three working days, failing which  a fine of Rs500 would be payable  by the company for each day of delay. Usually, the ombudsman does not levy penalty, but it did in this case on the insurance company for wrongful delay and refusal.

Case 2: A consumer had purchased two heaters, which were offered cheap on the Deal92.com website as an online transaction. The online payment was made through a credit card. When the consumer received the ordered goods they were found in broken and in non-usable condition. The consumer protested on the only ‘email’ address available demanding either the replacement of goods or refund of entire paid amount. There was no response even after reminders. The National Consumer Helpline was unable to take the complaint for redressal in absence of any postal address of Deal92.com. Mr Siroya took recourse of putting this complaint on social networking websites. That defiled their name and potential customers were cautioned. The aggrieved consumer was also advised to raise a formal dispute to deny the payment made to the online merchant and treat it as a fraudulent transaction. This was done and a temporary credit was given in his account. This was further refurbished, when a complaint was filed with the cyber cell regarding this online fraud and praying to ban the seller’s website. That made Deal92.com to act. They refunded the entire amount to the same credit card account.

Case 3:  As a consumer activist, Mohan Siroya had filed a case at the MIDC police station for having received a threat on his mobile in May 2010, “threatening me to stop lodging complaints against the companies for Consumer Cause and Protection”. This particular case he was referring for the company “Fedders Lloyd” against which a complaint was sent by him to the then Union minister for civil supplies and consumer protection, Sharad Pawar. Another non-cognisable (NC) complaint was filed by him in the MIDC police station against a firm called “Modern Tech Services” for having failed to give the contracted service for second year of the contract. Mr Siroya tried to contact the firm’s office and proprietor but all the listed phones were not working/not in existence. A written notice was sent by Mr Siroya to the postal address printed in the contract/letter head. It transpired that now in that premises some other business, by some other party, was carried out. Mr Siroya filed a complaint of cheating and fraud for having failed to give the contracted service or refund of 50% of paid amount against the firm, whose address was now ‘Unknown’.
The police was requested to find out the person in whose account the cheque/ money was paid and his whereabouts. Mr Siroya made an application under RTI to know the progress. It came in mere two words “Under Investigation”. He then appealed to the First Appellate Authority (FAA) for specific “status/progress” of investigations made, besides complaint of delay in providing information. The FAA also simply ordered “As earlier informed Under Investigation”. The order reached Mr Siroya beyond 45 days of appeal date, thus another violation of the Act without giving any reasons for delay.
Mr Siroya went in for a second appeal to the SCIC (State Chief Information Commissioner), who within five months, heard his appeal. On the eve of hearing date, a police constable personally came to his home to deliver a letter that said, “In first NC, the police filed a case against one Mr Gupta under Section 504, 506 of IPC.” The second NC complaint against Modern Tech Services was of civil nature and I should go to the civil/consumer court,” Mr Siroya said.
In the hearing, the SCIC upheld delays under the Act and also for suppressing the available investigation progress/report on record. The Authority also agreed with the interpretation that in absence of a party whose whereabouts are unknown, is covered under ‘Fraud’ and thus the police is supposed to take cognisance of the same.
The SCIC further gave two specific directions—to summon the SPIO (State Public Information Officer) in person to explain “Why penalty under Section19 (8) (g) and Section 20 (1) should not be levied on him”, failing which orders will be passed under Section 20 (2)”. “Another landmark relief for me was that the concerned offices should furnish me an opportunity to inspect the information so far available on record on all such files free of charge. After two days, police started investigating about the address of the payee through the banking channels,” Mr Siroya stated.
The police machinery worked overtime, gave Mr Siroya updated information in both the cases, one through the CBI, as Fedders Lloyd Co was from Delhi. The other one they traced through the banking channel in Mumbai and made him to refund Rs1,000 in cash.

Obama Deports Record Number of Immigrants, Using Scary Private GEO Group to Get the Job Done


The largest deportation prison in the U.S. is a former jail in the hyper-corrupt City of Adelanto, California, where public officials are often criminals.
March 31, 2013  |  alternet

This article was first published by Not Safe for Work Corporation.

Last year, the federal government deported roughly 400,000 people, the highest number of deportations in U.S. history.

A generous portion of these poor saps came through a brand new private processing and detention facility located in the remote and fairly unpopulated High Desert of California. Operated by Geo Group — remember that name — the prison is now the largest immigrant detention center in the Golden State. And it’s located only a few miles my house, on the edge of a miserable little suburb city by the name of Adelanto.

Adelanto means “progress” in Spanish.

According to the town’s official biography, Adelanto was founded by Earl H. Richardson, inventor of the first electric iron, the Hotpoint. His outfit, the Hotpoint Electric Heating Company, later merged with GE and churned out electric irons by the hundred of thousands. The invention made Richardson rich. It also gave the kindly old bespectacled gentleman visions of grandeur. His dream: to buy land way out in the Mojave Desert, lay the foundation for the first master-planned community in Southern California and sell it off piece by piece to veterans returning from trenches of World War I.

For some reason, the vets had no interest in living hundreds of miles from civilization, preferring instead to convalesce in bungalows on the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica. But Adelanto wasn’t a total loss for Richardson. World War II broke out, and the federal government took a bunch of land off his hands to build what would later become the George Air Force Base. Adelanto remained a military support settlement until the base closed in 1992.

The city has grown since then, tripling in size since the late 1980s. Now, Adelanto is a cheap suburb of Victorville. There’s no shape or organization to it, no master planning in sight—just patches of subprime subdivisions, apartment complexes and warehouses scattered in the desert. All that growth didn’t bring prosperity; it only accelerated the city’s slide into corruption, poverty and violence.

In 1997, Adelanto’s police chief was convicted of embezzlement and sent to jail. That same year, one police officer was convicted of child molestation, while two otherswere found guilty of beating and torturing suspects in their custody. In one case, they hauled someone in on a drug offense, attempted to beat a confession out of him and, when the guy started bleeding on the floor, made him lick up his own blood. One of the officers — Thomas Boyd Chandler — then threatened the suspect that he’d be shot and buried in a hole in the desert if he squealed to anyone about the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him in custody. To drive the point home, Chandler took a bullet from his gun. “This bullet has your name on it,” he warned.

Despite a shakeup, in 1998, both Adelanto’s sitting mayor and the city attorney were convicted felons. And a grand jury investigation found evidence of election fraud and rampant corruption.

“This is one of the most crooked places on Earth,” said 20-year resident Roger Ayers told the Associated Press in 1998. The AP article noted that the town had a bingo parlor and a strip club, but no restaurants or supermarkets.

Adelanto was also being infiltrated by the Taiwanese mafia, which was operating an ammunition factory in the area.

Here’s the Associated Press again:

Federal and county law enforcement officials have questioned the opening of J.J. Ammo Inc., a bullet factory with connections to China. A principal in the firm, Wah Nien “Johnny” Chiang, is a Taiwan native who authorities say is tied to Asian organized crime. “We’re well aware of Johnny Chiang and that he’s making ammunition out in Adelanto. We’re not sure why,” said Sgt. Tom Budds, who heads the Asian organized crime unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Chinese-Taiwanese mafia churning out bullets in Adelanto? I guess anything’s possible out here on the frontier of SoCal’s suburban sprawl.

Today, of the 32,000 people who call Adelanto home, nearly 60 percent are Latino and a large number of those are undocumented. Per-capita income is just under $12,000—nearly three times lower than California average. One out of every three people live under the poverty line, and 5.4 percent of the population is what the good folks at the census bureau classify as “institutionalized.” Which is just a bureaucratic way of saying that one out of 20 Adelanto residents is currently rotting in jail—at a rate that’s five times higher than the national average. That’s not surprising: until recently Adelanto had been home to three prisons: one county, one city and one private.

After the real estate bubble popped, Adelanto teetered on the verge of bankruptcy. By 2010, the city was essentially out of money, and had only $100,000 in its reserve fund. On top of everything, California started releasing nonviolent prisoners to relieve the state’s overcrowded penitentiary system. And that meant Adelanto was on the verge of losing a major source of revenue: a city-owned minimum security facility that housed state inmates and brought in nearly $2 million in pure profit. But there was a way out…

As luck would have it, a private prison company called Geo Group happened to be in the market for a detention facility located in Southern California.

California might have been downsizing its prison population, but the federal government was ramping up its deportation operations and needed private contractors to handle the logistics of housing and processing immigrants. Geo Group—the second-largest private prison company in America, with roughly 60 facilities and 40,000 souls under its care—was always eager for more business, and Adelanto’s prison was exactly what it needed to get in on the action.

In 2010, Adelanto sold its prison to Geo Group for lump payment of $28 million. As part of the deal, Adelanto helped the new buyer secure a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for which the city negotiated an additional payout of $50,000 a year from Geo Group.

Geo quickly expanded the facility to hold 1,300 inmates, making it the largest private deportation center in the state California. It projected an annual revenue stream of $42 million (at a rock bottom rate of $99 per detained immigrant per day). And according to its cushy contract with ICE, Geo was guaranteed a 75-percent minimum occupancy rate, meaning that the feds agreed to pay the private prison company $36 million a year to run its Adelanto facility, whether it contained immigrant detainees or not. All this, of course, is being funded by hardworking American taxpayers.

Remember Adelanto’s majority Latino population, a large number of whom are undocumented? Now, they suddenly find themselves living in the shadow of the largest deportation center in the state, dedicated to concentrating and kicking out people just like them. A speeding ticket is enough to initiate deportation these days, and it doesn’t matter if the immigrant has children or family here: recent stats show that a quarter of people deported are parents with children who are U.S. citizens.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Geo Group’s Adelanto project was still in the works when I lived out here in 2009, so last week I decided to take a drive out and see how the finished product looks.

It was right around sunset time, and everything was awash in an orange-red light radiated out from behind the San Bernardino Mountains. Geo’s Adelanto facility is located on Ranchero Rd, on the western edge of Adelanto. Just one block past the prison, the asphalt ends and the street turns into a dirt road that disappears into the desert on horizon.

The road leading to the prison was mostly empty. A big rig or a truck rumbled past once in a while. Warehouses flanked the prison complex. There was some sort of pump substation across the street, and a big cluster of high-voltage transmission cables and transformers a little farther down. A gentleman’s club sat on a lot behind the prison, in sight of its fortified courtyard. Two dancers stood out back by the club’s service entrance, smoking and looking out at the brightly lit detention center in front of them. Other than that, there was nothing but desert scrub and Joshua trees for miles around.

At first I passed the prison completely, mistaking it for a cluster of warehouses. It was only when I saw the high metal fence surrounding an outdoor area lit up with blinding flood lights that I realized what I was looking at.

I doubled back and parked on the side of the road across the sprawling prison complex.

There were a couple of blue “Geo Group” signs. Shuttle busses of various sizes were clustered in a side parking lot. A dozen or so cars were parked in the lot out front, and two or three people were slowly walking toward the main entrance.

If I didn’t know otherwise, I never would have guessed that I was looking at the largest deportation facility in California. It could have been anything: a distribution hub, a warehouse or a large office complex. Hell, it could have even passed for a community college.

Unlike the imposing slab structures of federal prison complex a couple of miles to the east, the bland nondescript facade of Geo’s detention facility masked its brutal function, and gave no indication about the dark and bloody history of the company that ran it.

Y’see, Geo Group isn’t just any private prison operator. It started life as a subsidiary of the Wackenhut Corporation, the shady quasi-government security company founded in the 1950s by former FBI agent and fervent McCarthyite George R. Wackenhut.

Wackenhut packed his company with rightwing generals, John Birch Society leaders and future leaders of the military-security establishment, including William Casey and Frank Carlucci. He fashioned Wackenhut Corp into a modern version of the Pinkerton Agency, providing various security and espionage services to both the government and private clients.

It has defended U.S. Embassies all across the world, protected domestic nuclear facilities and currently guards our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In the 1960s, Wackenhut spied on antiwar activists, infiltrated protest movements and compiled dossiers on 2.5 million suspected dissidents. Mining companies hired Wackenhut goons to serve as strikebreakers.There’s even a good chance Wackenhut was involved in transferring chemical weapons from the U.S. to Saddam Hussein in 1990, as reported in a 1992 SPY Magazine investigation titled “Inside the Shadow CIA.”

“It is known throughout the industry that if you want a dirty job done, call Wackenhut,” a retired FBI special agent William Hinshaw told SPY. In the 1980s, George Wackenhut opened up a new subsidiary, the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, to take advantage of new and exciting lucrative business opportunity: private prisons.

We can go down a deep rabbit hole chasing Wackenhut’s spook connections. But the main thing to note is that the company feeds on and profits from military conflict, social unrest, economic hardship, paranoia and fear. And its private prison operations are simply the newest outgrowth of that business model.

With Wackenhut’s history as a violent rightwing paramilitary organization, it’s track record in prison management quickly became littered with corpses, broken bodies and rape victims. It racked up such a bad rep that the company was forced to change its name from Wackenhut to Geo Group.

There are too many incidents to list here. But a recent Department of Justice investigation into Geo’s Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility near Jackson, Mississippi, gives a glimpse of the kind of conditions inmates face in Geo’s for-profit prisons.

Here are few tidbits, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Guards frequently doused young men with pepper spray as a first response, rather than a last resort. Youths were routinely sprayed simply for refusing verbal commands, such as failing to remove their arms from food tray slots while locked in their cells – something they sometimes did to get attention for medical emergencies… .

… Fights were common, occurring almost daily. Cell doors could be easily rigged to remain unlocked, allowing youths to leave their cells and enter others at will. Guards were often complicit in attacks. Weapons were readily available. Emergency call buttons in the cells didn’t work… . In addition, guards “frequently and brutally react to low-level aggression” – such as using profanities or reacting too slowly to an order – by “slamming youth head first into the ground, slapping, beating, and kicking youth,” the DOJ found…

… Some guards apparently saw their charges as sexual prey. Sexual misconduct between staffers and youth occurred on a monthly basis – “at a minimum,” the DOJ found. But GEO did little or nothing to prevent it, other than firing those caught in the act – like the female guard who yelled “close the door” at another guard who saw her engaged in intercourse with a youth in a medical department restroom…

… Violence by youths and guards wasn’t the only problem. Neither were the gang affiliations of some guards. Or the grossly inadequate medical and mental health care. Or the proliferation of drugs and other contraband. Or the lack of educational and rehabilitative programs. Or the wild overuse of pepper spray on passive youths.

Indeed, the DOJ found that sexual abuse – including brutal youth-on-youth rapes and “brazen” sexual misconduct by prison staffers who coerced youths – was “among the worst that we have seen in any facility anywhere in the nation.”

Geo Group is very aware just how much it depends on a harsh, punitive criminal and immigration laws for survival.

Here’s how Geo described its position to investors in a 2012 10K filing:

In particular, the demand for our correctional and detention facilities and services, electronic monitoring services, community-based re-entry services and monitoring and supervision services could be adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws. For example, any changes with respect to the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, sentenced and incarcerated, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Similarly, reductions in crime rates could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities. Immigration reform laws which are currently a focus for legislators and politicians at the federal, state and local level also could materially adversely impact us.

Geo Group is candid about all this. It has to be: In 2011, the company depended on the deportation of immigrants for 14 percent of its business. Something like 88 percent of its $1.6 billion in revenues that year came from federal and state government agencies. And that’s what so troubling about President Barack Obama’s promise to enact “meaningful” immigration reform. After Obama took office, Geo’s stock price rebounded from a low of about $10 a share in 2009 to nearly $33 in January 2013, tripling over the course of Obama’s first term. And here’s the frightening thing: the stock price didn’t even budge last week, after Obama announced his intent to push through immigration reform by the end of spring this year.

This means one of two things: Either the multibillion dollar hedge funds and private equity firms that own 97% of Geo Group’s stock don’t know what they’re doing. Or they know exactly what they’re doing, and are confident that — despite the bipartisan rhetoric around a kinder, gentler, less deporty immigration system — Geo Group’s deportation facility in Adelanto is still looking forward to a long, prosperous future.

Yasha Levine is an editor for eXiledonline.com. He is the author of the book, The Corruption of Malcolm Gladwell (2012).

 

More than 200 Lathore arson victims return home after 1 year


TNN | Apr 1, 2013, 02.06 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: It was homecoming for the 218 Dalit arson victims of Lathore in Balangir district as they returned to their colony from the relief camp on Sunday. They moved to the newly-constructed houses, built under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), in presence of chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes P L Punia.

Official sources said 40 houses in the Dalit colony were allegedly torched by upper caste people following a scuffle between the two communities on January 23, 2012. While 21 houses, which were completely gutted, were replaced by IAY houses, constructed at a cost of Rs 2.10 lakh each, the remaining 19 were repaired to ensure early return of the affected families.

Punia, who was here to unveil a statue of B R Ambedkar at the colony, said the state government is yet to provide basic facilities to victims. “Along with the houses, we had appealed to the government to provide electricity, water connection, roads and toilets in the colony. I will take up the issue with the authorities concerned to ensure proper facilities at the earliest,” he said.

During his visit to Lathore last year, Punia had accused the district police of not restraining the perpetrators from causing damage to property of the Dalits. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also served notice on the state government seeking a report on the incident within four weeks.

Punjab: 6-Year Old boy Singed With Cigarette Butts by Father #Torture #WTFnews


Patiala | Apr 01, 2013, Outlook

A six-year-old boy was allegedly singed with cigarette butts and slashed with a shaving blade by his father who inflicted injuries all over his body.

The harrowing tale of torture was narrated by the child himself in a local court, hearing a divorce case of his parents.

The court was shocked and dismayed to see injury marks on the body of the child and ordered the police to get the child medically examined in the local Government Rajindra Hospital.

The child told the doctors yesterday that his father Baljit Singh inflicted injuries all over his body.

There were about 16 blade cut marks on different parts of his body, doctors said, adding his back had burn marks caused by cigarette butts.

The parents of the child had filed a divorce case and the court had earlier given custody of the child to the father.

It also directed the accused that the child would be allowed to meet his mother once every month.

When the boy insisted on meeting his mother, Singh was so annoyed that he started torturing the child.

A case has been registered against the accused Baljit Singh at the Patiala Sadar police station under various sections of the IPC, police said, adding, efforts are on to arrest him.

 

Relief marks shutting of #Vedanta unit #goodnews


31 March 2013

shivani chaturvedi, Statesman

CHENNAI, 31 MARCH: The closure of the Thoothukudi unit of Sterlite Industries yesterday has brought great relief to environmental activists of Tamil Nadu and residents of Thoothukudi (formerly known as Tuticorin).

The copper smelter plant owned by Sterlite Industries has affected the livelihoods of the fishermen, farmers and other sections of the population through unprecedented level of pollution.

Mr Vaiko, the leader of the MDMK, has been campaigning for the closure of this polluting unit since 1997.

The closure of the Thoothukudi unit of Sterlite Industries comes just two days before the apex court is to deliver its verdict on an appeal filed by the Sterlite Industries challenging the 2010 order of the Madras High Court directing the closure of the unit on a petition filed by Mr Vaiko and others. They had complained to the court that the unit was discharging noxious effluent which devastated the entire environment by polluting sea, land and air in the region.

The plant has been closed following the order issued by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in reply to the complaint by the town’s residents that the sulphur dioxide emitted by the company was much higher than the permissible levels. Since 23 March this year, people in and around Thoothukudi have been complaining of suffocation, sneezing and burning sensation in the eyes due to large scale discharge of sulphur dioxide.

However, a press note from the company claimed that the plant adhered to the highest standards of environment, health and safety practices.

The factory, which began production in 1996 has an installed capacity to produce 4,00,000 tonnes of copper per year. It has a regular workforce of 1,000 and 3,000 contract workers.

Steam being let out of Kudankulam is due to tests, says NPCIL…. Really ?


    

Chennai: India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) said on Monday that only steam was being let out of the first unit of theKudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) as part of tests.

“As a part of commissioning tests of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, the steam relief valves on the steam lines are being tested. These tests are conducted only during the day and only steam, or water vapour, is released as part of the tests,” said RS Sundar, KNPP site director.

KudankulamNuclearPlant_APDisputing NPCIL’s stand, M Pushparayan of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) told IANS: “For the past three days we heard loud noises from the plant. Thick black and white smoke emanated from the plant and there was a strong stench.”

He said that in 2011, KNPP had carried out similar tests, but this time the noise and the stench was much more.

The PMANE will lay siege to the NPCIL employee’s residential colony near Kudankulam on 3 April, protesting the indifferent attitude of the government towards the people and their demands, Pushparayan added.

NPCIL, India’s atomic power plant operator, is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from Chennai, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000-MW each reactors.

KNPP is an outcome of the inter-governmental agreement between India and erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction only began in 2001.

Pushparayan said there were contradictions about the plant and its commissioning date.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the plant will be operational in April while NPCIL’s website mentions the date as May 2013,” he said.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/steam-being-let-out-of-kudankulam-is-due-to-tests-says-npcil-681243.html

 

Setback to Chhattisgarh health care services


SUVOJIT BAGCHI, The Hindu, March 30, 2013

Private hospitals refuse treatment under government insurance schemes

The Chhattisgarh government has had to accept yet another setback while trying desperately to rope in private players to strengthen public health care services.

At least 20 major private hospitals have refused to provide treatment under the Chief Minister’s health insurance scheme — Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana (MSBY). Reportedly, they are also not following guidelines to provide treatment under the national health insurance scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), and are charging money from the patients.

Hospital owners claimed that the insured amount paid for treatment of the patients below poverty line (BPL) under RSBY is “very low.” In addition, introduction of a scheme for the people above poverty line (APL) under MSBY will “seriously damage business and thus will affect services.”

State health officials, hospital management and representatives of insurance companies and Third Party Administrators (TPA) held a meeting on Thursday. According to local news reports, Director, Health Services, Dr. Kamalpreet Singh, said rates had already been “upwardly revised” under RSBY and MSBY after consultation with private hospitals.

Under the new list, 272 categories of treatment, commonly called ‘packages,’ were increased by four to 200 per cent. Another 22 packages had been added and the new list will be applicable from April 1. However, major private players are not happy with the revised rate list and refused to implement the insurance schemes in their hospitals. The move angered the government and the health department has decided to de-panel the hospitals, the sources said.

Earlier this month, the government faced a setback while trying to introduce the policy of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in public health facilities. No private diagnostic centre had come forward to set up radiology and laboratory facilities in the two most underdeveloped divisions with high percentage of rural population — Bastar in south and Surguja in north Chhattisgarh following governments directives.

The Chhattisgarh Government’s Directorate of Health Services had to seek fresh bids for newly aligned divisions. According to the sources, while a good number of applications were filed for affluent divisions such as Raipur and Bilaspur, not receiving a single application for the poorer divisions illustrate the private players’ reluctance to acknowledge health care as a social service. However, the proponents of Chhattisgarh’s public-private venture in health care were optimistic about its future, even after these recent rounds of setbacks.

 


  • Major private players are not happy with the revised rate list
  • Government to “de-panel” hospitals that refuse to cooperate

 

#India – Panchayat cuts off girl’s hair in public for allegedly eloping #Vaw #WTFnews


The police has registered a report against 16 people for being part of a tribal panchayat which punished a girl recently, for allegedly eloping, by cutting off her hair in public.

March 30, 2013
BETUL (MP), Agencies

The tribal panchayat at Chikhlar village situated about five kilometres away from Betul district headquarters also punished the girl’s uncle for allegedly eloping with her, by making him run around with a garland of shoes and a grinding stone tied to his chest.

Though the girl aged about 18 pleaded that her uncle had kidnapped her from the village market, the tribal panchayat allegedly did not listen to her pleas and insulted her.

The villagers vociferously have protested against the police action yesterday before the Superintendent of Police (SP) office here, demanding that the report be withdrawn.

They also justified the action of their panchayat as it was their “tradition”.


Representational pic

Terming the panchayat’s decision as illegal, the police said that a case has been registered and a further probe is on.

So far, 13 persons have been arrested and released by the police on a personal bond and a search is on to trace the remaining three culprits.

The police had intervened following a tip-off by an anganwadi worker and the girl’s family members spoke out against the panchayat diktat.

Her uncle who has been accused of eloping with her three months ago, was married, with two children.

He returned to the village on March 19 after which the local tribal panchayat met on March 20 to issue the diktat, police sources said.

#India- SC rejects Novartis’s patent plea for cancer drug Glivec #goodnews


Vidya Krishnan , livemint

Court says Glivec does not meet any standard of ‘novelty or inventiveness’ to qualify for a patent

First Published: Mon, Apr 01 2013.
Shares of Novartis India fell as much as 7% after the Supreme Court judgement. The stock later recovered a bit to trade at `577, down 3.64%, at 11:18am.
Shares of Novartis India fell as much as 7% after the Supreme Court judgement. The stock later recovered a bit to trade at `577, down 3.64%, at 11:18am.

Updated: Mon, Apr 01 2013. 11 54 AM IST
New Delhi: Swiss drug maker Novartis AG’s seven-year battle to win an Indian patent for its blockbuster anti-cancer drug Glivecended on Monday with the Supreme court dismissing the company’s appeal.
In its ruling, the apex court said that Novartis’s “application for patent on the beta-crystalline salt does not meet any standard of novelty or inventiveness”, and therefore the company cannot be given any patent for this drug.
Shares of Novartis India Ltd fell as much as 7% after the Supreme Court judgement. The stock later recovered a bit to trade at Rs.577, down 3.64%, at 11:18am.
The judgement has provided clarity on the so-called evergreening and incremental innovation by pharmaceutical companies in order to retain patents.
Reacting to the ruling, Anand Grover, senior counsel appearing for Cancer Aid Patients Society, said: “It is a very good day for cancer patients. We are very happy. It is a myth spread by the company that judgement will affect research and development expenditures by companies—these companies want to make money without innovation.”
“The court noted that the product—beta crystalline—was known prior to 1995 through an earlier patent Novartis held. The implication of the judgement is that the Indian provision has been completely upheld and patents would be granted only for genuine inventions and litigative patenting will not be allowed,” said Pratibha Singh, an intellectual property lawyer who appeared for Cipla.
The ruling has been keenly followed across the world by pharmaceutical companies, humanitarian aid organizations and generic drug manufacturers as it will have far reaching implications on access to life-saving essential drugs under patents.
After a series of decisions that have gone against the big drug makers with respect to intellectual property rights in the past year, Paul Herrling, Novartis’s head of tropical disease research had said on Wednesday that the company is prepared for a negative response.
The case over patents for Glivec—a blockbuster anti-cancer drug made by Novartis—reached the courts when India denied patent for it in 2006 as the drug wasn’t considered a new molecule, but an altered version of one that had already been in the market for around 15 years. Basel-based Novartis had challenged the rejection of its patent application for Glivec by the Indian patent office and subsequently by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
Further, the company had challenged India’s interpretation of section 3 (d), which relates to what constitutes a new molecule, essentially to ensure that companies to not extend patents by simply modifying an already existing drug without any consequent changes in therapeutic effects.

 

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