#India – Govt has no plans for National Health Bill #WTFnews


PIB RElease, March 22, 2013

The Government has no plans to introduce National Health Bill. In order to
provide relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide
campaign in the name of “Jan Aushadhi Campaign” has been initiated by the
Department of Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with the State Governments,
by way of opening up of Jan Aushadhi Generic Stores in the Government
Hosptials to supply of generic medicines through Central Pharma Public
Sector Undertakings, to make available quality generic medicines at
affordable prices to all. So far, 149 Jan Aushadhi Stores have been opened
in different States/UTs in the country as on 28.02.2013.

Further, under the provisions of the Drugs (Prices & Control) Order, 1995
(DPCO, 1995), the prices of 74 bulk drugs listed in its First Schedule and
the formulations containing any of these scheduled drugs are controlled.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixes or revises prices of
scheduled drugs/formulations as per the provisions of the DPCO, 1995. In
respect of drugs not covered under DPCO, 1995 i.e. non-scheduled drugs,
manufacturers fix the prices by themselves without seeking the approval of
the Government/NPPA. However, the trend in prices of non-scheduled drugs is
monitored and suitable action is taken by NPPA where price increase is more
than 10% in a period of one year on moving basis.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy -2012 (NPPP-2012) notified on
07.12.2012 provides all the manufacturers/importers manufacturing /
importing the medicines as specified under National List of Essential
Medicines 2011(NLEM-2011) shall be under the purview of price control. The
objective of NPPP-2012 is to put in place a regulatory framework for
pricing of drugs so as to ensure availability of required medicines
essential medicines” at reasonable prices.

The Government is also providing support to the States under the NRHM for
providing free Generic Drugs in Public health facilities. States have been
encouraged to bring out essentials Drugs lists (EDL) facility wise and
Standard Treatment Guidelines to promote safe and efficacious drug use.

This information was given by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare
Shri AbuHasem Khan Choudhuryin written reply to a question in the LokSabha
today.

 

Shame! Andhra Pradesh in the eye of the #Aadhaar card scam #UID


 | March 23, 2013

AP-leads-in-Aadhaar-fraud-postnoon-news

A clause meant to ensure no one was left out of Aadhaar has become the keystone of a major scam.

Trust us to spin a scam out of anything. One more blotched job on Aadhaar card Abhiyan has come out. Putting a big question mark on its credibility, the Lok Sabha on Thursday was informed that gross misuse of the Biometric Exemption Clause by Aadhaar enrolment officers at the national level had forced the UIDAI to cancel 3,84,237 cards. This means an unspecified sum has found its way to private pockets. Earlier, several complaints regarding Aadhaar card had been reported. AP is on top with the highest number of this scandal.

What is biometric exemption clause?

When performing a biometric scan, the details of a set of physical aspects of the applicant are taken into record — fingerprints, iris scans, facial features, etc. This, however, is exempted in rare cases for people with physical disabilities and whose professions (commercial labourers, miners) make it difficult to record biometrics. As an alternative, photographic records of their absent biometrics (damaged irises, absent fingers, smoothened fingers with no record of prints) are recorded along with demographic details of the applicant. This system of inclusion, absent among other civil supply cards like the ration card, was what the government believed to be a “fool proof” inclusion of all sections of the public — until things went wrong, that is.

What went wrong and how?

After nearly 50,000 Aadhaar cards remained undelivered, authorities at the UIDAI got suspicious. All of them turned out to be cards granted under the Biometric Exemption Clause. Investigations by the UIDAI revealed that Andhra Pradesh alone contributed to the highest number of fake cards, with 2.3 lakh out of the total 4.1 lakh generated here under this scheme. AP had recorded a total 48.8 lakh registrations for the Aadhaar card last year.

Some agencies entrusted with the enrolment centres realised that they could ‘grant exemption’ for any applicant at a nominal price. In Hyderabad alone, the price varied from `50 to `200. Enrolment officers played a game for this and made a pile.

One Aadhaar card enrolment officer from Warangal, on condition of anonymity, said it was a fast and cheap way of making money. “Some people who did not want their biometrics would approach us with a deal. We would slot them under the biometric exemption category and exclude their biometrics from being recorded. This could be photographically manipulated. We received money in return for the business,” he said. Shortly after the regional UIDAI realised that something was wrong, this enrolment officer was relieved of his duties and the cards issued from his office were cancelled.

Aftermath

Shortly after the lid blew off this scam, the government hastened to cancel these enrolments and made amendments to its policy, but it was too late. Other such instances were reported in Jharkhand, UP, Maharashtra as well. It was found that only 22,195 of the total 4.1 lakh Aadhaar cards generated under this clause were genuine. Another 7,000 registrations came under investigation.The UIDAI instructed all enrolment agencies not to grant biometric exemption without prior permission of a senior officer, preferably a government official. But then, the truth is, that too can be managed. Officials from the regional office of UIDAI, Hyderabad were unavailable for comment.

But as an RTI activist says, it’s an irony that the scheme implemented for removing corruption, was in itself, flawed and even corrupt. Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu says, “The whole Aadhaar is a farce. It was implemented without any proper study on the reliability of technology. There is corruption in a scheme that is supposed to eliminate corruption from other schemes.”

 

 

About 4 lakh #Aadhaar cards cancelled #UID


200 px

 

PIB RELEASE- MARCH 20, 2013

Cancellation of Aadhar cards under Biometric Exception clause

As on date, 384237 Aadhar numbers have been cancelled under Biometric exception clause. In keeping with UIDAI’s commitment to achieve zero failure to enroll, the enrolement client application has the provision to enroll persons with biometric exceptions. It was however noticed that this provision was misused by some operators to enroll residents who are not falling in the category of biometric exceptions. A scrutiny of all biometric exception enrolments was necessitated and this has led to the cancellation of 384237 Aadhar numbers.

This information was given by Shri Rajiv Shukla, the Minister of state for Parliamentary affairs and Planning, in written reply to a question in the Loksabha today.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE—WGHR STATEMENT ON ARMED FORCES (SPECIAL POWERS) ACT


WGHR STATEMENT ON
ARMED FORCES (SPECIAL POWERS) ACT

New Delhi, 27 August 2012 – When the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special
Powers Bill was introduced in the LokSabha in August 1958, MP Mahanty of Dhenkanal
raised a point of order stating that “we cannot proceed with this Bill unless certain
constitutional obligations imposed under article 352(1) of the constitution are fulfilled” as
certain parts of the bill directly come under emergency provisions of the Indian Constitution.
The then Union Home Minster Mr. G. B. Pant justified the bill arguing that “the local
Government may make use of the army, if it so chooses in the manner provided in this
Bill, and can use the army only for this limited purpose, and thereafter the ordinary
processes of law are to be followed”.
Today, 54 years have gone by “the ordinary processes of law” is yet to replace the “special
powers” in many part of the country. In fact the application of the “special powers” has been
steadily spreading ever since. The “disturbed areas” confined to only the Naga Hills in1950s
spread to Lushai Hill in1960s, to Tripura and Imphal valley in 1970s, Brahmaputra valley and
Punjab in 1980s and Kashmir valley in 1990s. In these areas, the fundamental rights such as
the right to life, the right to a fair trial, the right to remedy and reparation, the right against
torture and the right against arbitrary detention (as well as a series of economic, social and
cultural rights) have been consistently violated.
The exercise of special powers have also gone way beyond the “limited purpose” that the
Home Minister proposed as the military stationed in the ‘disturbed areas’ embarks upon its
mission to “win the hearts and minds” of the population. Over and above the usual leveling of
football grounds or organizing medical camps, the military civic action programmes are now
intruding into academic seminars and religious ceremonies! The prolonged application of this
Act has not only institutionalized militarism and a climate of impunity but has also alienated
the public and fuelled a cycle of violence, increasing insurgency rather than dampening it.
The resistance against AFSPA is no longer confined to opposition parties or civil society but
many official bodies including the Union Home Ministry’s Committee to Review the Armed
Forces Special Powers Act (2005), the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2007)
and the Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir (2007)
have all recommended its repeal.
AFSPA has come up prominently during the second review India’s human rights record in the
Working Group on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council in May
2012 and several recommendations were made:
1. Repeal AFSPA or adopt the negotiated amendments to it that would address the
accountability of security personnel, the regulation concerning detentions as well as
victim’s right to appeal in accordance to international standards (Slovakia);
2. Review AFSPA to align it with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and other international standard (Switzerland); and
3. Carry out an annual review of the AFSPA aiming to gradually reduce its geographical
scope (France).

4. Guarantee effective access to justice in cases of human rights violations committed
by security forces personnel with regard to the use of torture (Spain).
5. Implement effective judiciary proceedings making possible the bringing to justice
security forces personnel who have committed human rights violations (France)
This is not the first time that the issue of AFSPA is raised in the UN forum, it came up during
the first UPR review in 2008 and earlier almost all the major human rights treaty bodies of the
UN have exposed how AFSPA violates a series of universal human rights standards and
have recommended its repeal.
Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, in her report
presented to the UN Human Rights Council (March 2012) following her official visit to India in
January 2011, highlighted the plight of Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike since
2000 demanding the repeal of AFSPA and recommended that “The National Security Act,
the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Unlawful Activities Act, the Jammu and Kashmir
Public Safety Act and the Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act should be repealed”.
Prof. Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions who also made an official visit to India in March 2012, also describes AFSPA
“more intrusive than it would be the case under a state of emergency, since the right to life is
in effect suspended, and this is done without the safeguards applicable to states of
emergency”. The then Union Home Minster Mr. P. Chidambaram, promptly stated in the
media that his Union Home Ministry has already recommended amendments to AFSPA, but
a final decision on the matter is pending with the Cabinet Sub Committee on Security. The
Defence Ministry, it has been reported, is blocking the proposed amendment. In this context
it is interesting to note that the Government of India’s interlocutors’ report on Jammu and
Kashmir, made public in May 2012, has also recommended the review AFSPA and went on
to urge the Defence Ministry to consider how to respond “positively” to the issue.
WGHR strongly urges the government of India to utilize this opportunity of the UPR process
at the UN Human Rights Council to repeal AFSPA as recommended by numerous countries.
Such an act from the Government would be consistent with India being a democratic nation
that claims to comply with its constitutional mandate and international human rights
commitments. ■
____________
For more information, please contact Mr. Babloo Loitongbam (+91 9862008838) or Ms
Vrinda Grover (+91 9810806181)

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN – a national coalition of fourteen human
rights organisations and independent experts – works towards the realisation of all civil, cultural,
economic, political and social human rights in India and towards holding the Indian government
accountable to its national and international human rights obligations. For information on WGHR,
please visit: http://www.wghr.org

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