Odisha opposes construction of Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh


Odisha Government asks Planning Commission not to grant revised investment clearance to the controversial multi-purpose project

The site where the proposed dam will be built in Polavaram. File PhotoThe site where the proposed dam will be built in. File Photo

Bhubaneswar, Jun 1 (PTI): Strongly opposing construction of Polavaram dam in neighbouring  government today asked the Planning Commission of India not to grant revised investment clearance to the controversial multi-purpose project.

“As the matter is sub judice in the Apex Court, it will be prudent to wait till the judgement is given as the project parameter and estimates may change,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Stating that the Odisha government has filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s environmental clearance, Patnaik pointed out that the state administration also opposed to the R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement) clearance accorded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MOTA).

“The state government has prayed the apex court to declare both the clearance null and void,” the Chief Minister said.

Patnaik also said that no public hearing was conducted in the affected Malkangiri district of Odisha.

“Instead, the public hearing was conducted in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh,” he said adding that the environmental clearance granted by the MoEF in favour of Polavaram project was set aside by the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA).

The NEAA also directed to conduct public hearing in the affected areas of Odisha and Chhattishgarh, the Chief Minister said in the letter to to Planning Commission.

However, the orders of NEAA were challenged by the government of Andhra Pradesh in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

The AP High Court has issued an interim order on 31 December 2007 suspending the orders of the NEAA until further order.

 

 

Out of shadow, PPPs at last come under RTI ambit


DoPT issues guidelines providing for suo motu disclosure of all information relating to PPPs under RTI Act

 
Prasanna Mohanty | New Delhi | April 17 2013, Governance Now
In a dramatic turnaround, the union government has now opened up public-private partnership (PPP) projects to public scrutiny.
The move comes in the wake of a fresh set of guidelines issued by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) on April 15. Till now any information sought through the RTI Act was stonewalled not only by the union government but also the state governments.
DoPT guidelines make it clear that “all information relating to PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain” henceforth suo motu, as per provisions of section 4 of the RTI Act.
This will gladden the hearts of all those fighting for accountability and transparency in the way PPP projects are being implemented in the country. Most big-ticket projects in the infrastructure sector, like roads, ports, airports, power, water supply, irrigation and telecommunication are being carried out under the PPP model. And for a while PPP projects are being seen as “public money for private profit”.
Social activists have been fighting for years to get information about PPP projects in vain. The fight that started in January 2011, with RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak approaching the CIC to get information about PPP projects, has succeeded in breaking down the wall.
DoPT’s guideline of April 15 says: “If public services are proposed to be provided through a public private partnership (PPP), all information relating to the PPPs must be disclosed in the public domain by the public authority entering into the PPP contract/concession agreement. This may include details of the special purpose vehicle (SPV), if any set up, detailed project reports, concession agreements, operation and maintenance manuals and other documents generated as part of the implementation of the PPP project.”
It adds: “Further, information about fees, tolls, or other kinds of revenue that may be collected under authorization from the government, information in respect of outputs and outcomes, process of selection of the private sector party may also be proactively disclosed. All payments made under the PPP project may also be disclosed in a periodic manner along with the purpose of making such payments”.
The stumbling block
In issuing guidelines for suo motu disclosures, the guideline admits that “the quality and quantity of proactive disclosure is not up to the desired level” and a part of the problem is that certain provisions of the RTI Act “have not been fully detailed”, and that in case of some “there is need for laying down detailed guidelines”.
Seen as the biggest stumbling block, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the planning commission, has publicly opposed every attempt to throw PPPs open to RTI by stating that it would inhibit private investment. He also contended that since PPPs are contracts with private entities they don’t come under the purview of the RTI Act.
The planning commission is the nodal body for PPPs.
Things took a turn for better when CIC wrote to the planning commission in January 2011 and sought modifications within PPP agreements to ensure public disclosure of details related to infrastructure projects being funded by the public exchequer. The DoPT supported CIC, but instead of legal changes suggested that the planning commission should draft the PPP agreement in a way that allows the government agency to disclose information on behalf of the private entity.
The planning commission opposed this and referred the matter to the law ministry.
In March 2011, Ahluwalia issued a statement clarifying his position. The statement said: “It is further clarified that concession agreements are executed by the respective ministries and not by the planning commission. So far as the planning commission is concerned, it has published several model concession agreements (MCAs) for PPP projects. These MCAs provide for full disclosure of the concession agreement, the maintenance manual, the maintenance programme and maintenance requirements in respect of each project.
“Where an MCA is followed, any person can obtain certified copies of these documents from the respective concessionaires.” (emphasis added)
But even after this statement, Ahluwalia publicly opposed throwing open PPPs to provisions of the RTI Act.
But DoPT set up a task force to look into the issue. In August 2011, the task force, which included civil society activists, favoured suo motu disclosure. The report was then referred to the PMO.
Apparently, after the PMO’s clearance, DoPT issued the guidelines on April 15.

 

#India – Food Security Bill is affordable


REETIKA KHERA, The Hindu
The subsidies meant for the poor are always under attack, while the rest are able to retain their privileges.
The additional allocation in grain and money terms will neither distort the grain market nor place a burden on the fisc.
Many recent commentators have portrayed the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) as an “unbearable burden” on the exchequer. The facts, however, do no substantiate the claim.
The NFSB has been trashed from time to time in the English dailies. For instance, Business Line (March 21, 2013) published an article titled “Food Security Bill will torpedo Budget”.
Another national daily claims that the Bill has a “fundamental flaw” that places “an unbearable burden” and “distorts agriculture” (Indian Express, March 19, 2013). Quite often, the claims are partly due to a misconception that the government is making new financial and grain commitments under the NFSB.
In fact, the NFSB does little more than turning into legal entitlements pre-existing food security schemes such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme, Public Distribution System (PDS) and maternity entitlements.
UNJUSTIFIED FEARS
Some commentators have said that it is precisely the legal commitment that will lead to problems in the future — for example, the fear of the emergence of a government monopoly in the grain market. This fear is not borne out by the facts.
Under the PDS, ICDS and MDM, the government currently allocates about 58 million tonnes of grain. To meet this commitment, the government currently procures about 30 per cent of grain. The NFSB commits 62 million tonnes, i.e., an additional 4 million tonnes.
The Budget of 2013-14 allocates Rs. 31,000 crore for two children’s food schemes — school meals and the ICDS which reaches children under six. The Budget allocation for the food subsidy in 2013-14 is Rs 90,000 crore.
According to our estimates, the food subsidy will increase from Rs 80,000 crore (in 2012-13) to Rs 1,11,221 crore, under the NFSB.
Thus, the NFSB implies an increase of just over Rs 30,000 crores in financial terms and 4 million tonnes in real (grain) terms.
Can India afford this? Speaking at a panel discussion at IIT Delhi in February, Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said “it would be dishonest” to say that we cannot afford the Food Bill, and that the subsidies that we need to target are those enjoyed by the middle classes (e.g., fuel).
Speaking at the same discussion, Amartya Sen made a pertinent point — that the reason why it is more difficult to reduce subsidies enjoyed by the middle classes (fuels such as LPG, petrol and diesel) is that the beneficiaries of those are more vocal than the rural poor or children under six who benefit from the food subsidies.
DOUBLE STANDARDS
This point is well illustrated by the events following last year’s Budget. The Budget 2012-13 announced a 1 per cent excise duty on unbranded jewellery and doubled custom duty on gold to 4 per cent. Gold is the country’s second biggest import, after crude oil. This burden on the current account deficit was an important reason for doubling the customs duty.
Following this, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation and others initiated a strike which went on for 21 days. They argued that the industry, including the “large” number of people it employs, and buyers of gold, would suffer. A massive media campaign was launched, following which the Finance Minister withdrew the excise duty.
According to the revenue foregone statement presented along with the Budget 2013-14, the revenue foregone from the gold and diamond industry for the previous financial year was Rs. 65,000 crore.
Such tax breaks are often justified on the grounds of the employment potential of the gems and jewellery industry. According to Invest India, a website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “The sector provides employment to around 1.8 million people. In the next five years, the sector is expected to create additional employment for around 1.1 million people.”
According to the National Sample Survey Organisation, 2009-10, the size of the Indian workforce is between 430-471 million persons. If the gems and jewellery industry employs 3 million people as per the Ministry’s target, this would be 0.7 per cent of the workforce.
An industry that employs less than one per cent of the Indian workforce is currently enjoying tax benefits amounting to Rs 65,000 crore (nearly 20 per cent of all revenue foregone). The Food Bill will benefit 67 per cent of the population at an additional cost of Rs 30,000 crore, yet it is said that it will “torpedo” the Budget.
NOT ENOUGH
If anything, the NFSB does not go far enough. The NFSB tabled in Parliament in December 2011 included special provisions for the destitute and other vulnerable groups (e.g., community kitchens and social security pensions).
These have been discarded in the version cleared by Cabinet on March 19, 2013. In many rural areas, the Block is already too far to go to complain, yet for violations of rights under the NFSB, grievance redressal only begins at the District level.
Viewed in this comparative perspective (for example, it is approximately 1 per cent of the GDP), few can question the affordability or desirability of the NFSB. In absolute terms it is not a small amount. One might argue whether such expenditure is worth it, given the “fact” that the programmes in its ambit, for example, the PDS, are “dysfunctional” (Indian Express, March 19, 2013).
However, recent data from the National Sample Survey of 2004-05 and 2009-10 suggest that while the functioning of the PDS is far from perfect, we do need to update our “facts”. In joint research with Jean Drèze, we show that the implicit subsidy from the PDS eliminates 18 per cent (14 per cent) of the “poverty gap” — or the difference between the poverty line level of income and the median income (or monthly per capita consumption expenditure) of poor households — among poor rural (urban) households.
Again, there are marked inter-State contrasts — in Tamil Nadu the corresponding figure is 60 per cent and in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh it is nearly 40 per cent.
The real question then is not whether India can afford to have a right to food but as the Food Minister said in a recent interview, “Can we afford not to?”
(The author teaches economics at IIT, Delhi.)

 

UIDAI mum on #Aadhaar cards for Prime Minister, Sonia #UID #WTFnews


TNN | Mar 8, 2013,

UIDAI mum on Aadhaar cards for Prime Minister, Sonia
The RTI activist demanded to know if Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, other parliamentarians and Union Cabinet ministers possessed Aadhaar cards, UIDAI failed to provide details.
HYDERABAD: A recent RTI query to theUnique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) for information on whether India‘s ‘top brass’ possessed Aadhaar cards, has come back without any response. The RTI query was filed by city activist Rakesh Reddy.
While Reddy, under the Act, demanded to know if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia GandhiUIDAI chairmanNandan Nilekani, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other parliamentarians and Union cabinet ministers possessed Aadhaar cards, the department concerned failed to provide details. The information was cited as “personal” and, therefore, withheld.

“The excuse is silly. I will go in for an appeal to acquire it,” the activist said adding, “Under section 8 (1) (j), one can exempt giving information if it is personal without any public interest. But in this case this exemption would not apply as I just asked if they had enrolled or not and did not ask for any further personal information“.

Explaining the reason for filing the RTI query, Reddy said, “A Union minister had recently said that Aadhaar cards are only for beneficiaries. It is surprising he feels he is not a beneficiary despite benefitting from the state. If they believe in this initiative, the leaders have to be role models by registering for the Aadhaar card first. This only reflects the hypocrisy of our lawmakers and shows that they have the least regard for this initiative.”

He demanded that the salaries and even the attendance of the parliamentarians be linked to Aadhaar card.

 

UID – #Aadhaar Number Linked Cash Transfer A Surreptitious Plan To Buy Votes


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

By Gopal Krishna

 

19 October, 2012
Countercurrents.org

 

New Delhi: Biometric data based 12 digit Unique Identification (UID)-Aadhaar Number linked welfare schemes is being bulldozed with 2014 elections in mind with the ulterior motive of altering voting behavior of the citizens by creating a ‘universal identity infrastructure’ linked to ‘unified payment infrastructure’.

 

Ahead of next parliamentary elections, with the launch of 21st crore UID-Aadhaar Number and Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery (AESD) on October 20, 2012 contemptuously ignores Parliament, Parliamentary Committee, National Advisory Council and eminent citizens and the lessons from the belated report from Planning Commission’s Group of Experts on Privacy dated October 16, 2012. What is evident is that there is an open war declared on sensitive personal information like biometric data which includes finger prints, iris scans, voice prints, DNA samples etc. The fact is a centralized electronic database of citizens and privacy, both are conceptually contradictory.

 

The launch exercise of October 20, 2012 stands exposed because it is officially admitting that UID-Aadhaar is mandatory contrary to what was claimed at its launch in Maharashtra on September 29, 2010. The creeping of voluntariness into compulsion through threat of discontinuance of services has been roundly castigated by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha headed Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.

 

A revealing Policy Research Working Paper titled ‘Conditional Cash Transfers, Political Participation, and Voting Behavior’ brought out by World Bank in October 2012 “provides empirical evidence to support the notion that political participation and political views are responsive to targeted transfers.” It notes that in Colombia, “During the 2010 presidential election voters covered by FA (large scale conditional cash transfer) not only voted more often, but also expressed a stronger preference (around 2 percentage points) for the official party that implemented and expanded the program… Another possible explanation is that FA (large scale conditional ash transfer) was strategically targeted and motivated by clientelism and vote buying.” The paper can be downloaded here (PDF)

 

On its website Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) continues to claim that UID-Aadhhar is ‘voluntary’ and not ‘mandatory’. The million dollar question which Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Nandan Monohar Nilekani need to answer is: how can Aadhaar be deemed ‘voluntary’ if service delivery is being made dependent on it. This is a grave breach of public trust. This is a deliberate exercise in deception. The proposed ‘electronic transfers of benefits and entitlements’ through ‘Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of the beneficiaries’ is crafted to make it mandatory. The claim “Each Aadhaar number will be unique to an individual and will remain valid for life. Aadhaar number will help you provide access to services like banking, mobile phone connections and other Govt and Non-Govt services in due course” is fraught with creating a platform for convergence of government and corporate sector as is aimed by the ‘Transformational Government’ project of World Bank’s eTransform Initiative launched in partnership with Governments of South Korea and France and six transnational corporations like Gemalto, IBM, Intel, L-1 Identity Solutions (now part of Safran Group), Microsoft and Pfizer.

 

This scheme is unfolding despite the fact that Parliament has not passed the National Identification Authority of India Bill (NIAI), 2010 proposed by the Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. It is noteworthy that Sinha headed Parliamentary Committee in its report to the Parliament has rejected UID and biometric data collection terming it as an illegal and an unethical project.

 

Corroborating citizens’ concerns, the Parliamentary Committee has noted that the government has “admitted that (a) no committee has been constituted to study the financial implications of the UID scheme; and (b) comparative costs of the aadhaar number and various existing ID documents are also not available.” The Committee expressed its anxiety that, the way the project had been run, “the scheme may end up being dependent on private agencies, despite contractual agreement made by the UIDAI with several private vendors.”

 

The parliamentary rejection of this scheme came in the aftermath of the Statement of Concern issued in the matter of world’s biggest data management project, Unique Identification (UID) /Aadhaar Number scheme and related proposals like National Intelligence Grid by 17 eminent citizens led by Justice V R Krishna Iyer. The NIAI Bill, 2010 which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 3, 2010 after the constitution of the UIDAI and appointment of Nilekani as its Chairman in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister without oath of secrecy. The Bill sought to provide statutory status to the UIDAI which has been functioning without backing of law since January 2009. At present UIDAI is functioning without any legislative mandate.

 

One day ahead of the launch of UID in Nandurbar District of Maharashtra on September 29, 2010, the statement of eminent citizens had asked for the project to be put on hold till a feasibility study was done, a cost: benefit analysis undertaken, a law of privacy put in place and the various concerns of surveillance, tracking, profiling, tagging and convergence of data be addressed. None of this has happened till today. The Parliamentary Committee endorsed these concerns and recognised that the project cannot carry on till this is set right. Many countries UK, China, USA, Australia and the Philippines have abandoned such identity schemes.

 

Nilekani, as a member or chairperson of multiple committees of several ministries, has been trying to push for the adoption of the UID, and for the re-engineering of current systems to fit the does not meet the requirements of the UID. There have been attempts to withdraw services such as LPG and other essential commodities if a person has not enrolled for a UID. The state governments and citizens have been kept in dark about the harmful ramifications of the world’s biggest data management project and how it linked with hitherto undisclosed other proposed legislations and initiatives. The UID number and related proposals pose a threat to both civil liberties as well as our natural resources like land as is evident from Land Titling Bill and Nilekani’s book that aims to create a common land market to reduce poverty.

 

Nilekani’s promotion of Hernando de Sotto’s book ‘The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else‘ through his own book Imagining India arguing that national ID system would be a big step for land markets to facilitate right to property and undoing of abolition of right to property in 1978 in order to bring down poverty! Nilekani and the UPA government should be asked as to explain the inexplicability of such assumptions.

 

Notably, such UIDs have been abandoned in the US, Australia and UK. The reasons have predominantly been: costs and privacy. In the UK, the Home Secretary explained that they were abandoning the project because it would otherwise be `intrusive bullying’ by the state, and that the government intended to be the `servant’ of the people, and not their `master’. The Supreme Court of Philippines struck down a biometric based national ID system as unconstitutional on two grounds – the overreach of the executive over the legislative powers of the congress and invasion of privacy. The same is applicable in India.

 

Not surprisingly, the Parliamentary Committee observes, “The clearance of the Ministry of Law & Justice for issuing aadhaar numbers, pending passing the Bill by Parliament, on the ground that powers of the Executive are co-extensive with the legislative power of the Government and that the Government is not debarred from exercising its Executive power in the areas which are not regulated by the legislation does not satisfy the Committee. The Committee are constrained to point out that in the instant case, since the law making is underway with the bill being pending, any executive action is as unethical and violative of Parliament‟s prerogatives.” The committee also observed that a National Data Protection Law is “a pre-requisite for any law that deals with large scale collection of information from individuals and its linkages across separate databases. It would be difficult to deal with the issues like access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of data bases and securing confidentiality of information etc.“

 

In a significant development following rigorous deliberations, an Indian development support organization founded in 1960, Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) disassociated itself from UID Number project which was being undertaken under Mission Convergence in Delhi. Withdrawal of IGSSS that works in 21 states of the country merits the attention of all the states and civil society organisations especially those who are unwittingly involved in the UID Number enrollment process. In its withdrawal letter IGSSS said, “we will not be able to continue to do UID enrolment…” It added, it is taking step because ‘it’s hosted under the rubric of UNDP’s “Innovation Support for Social Protection: Institutionalizing Conditional Cash Transfers” [Award ID: 00049804, Project: 00061073; Confer: Output 1, Target 1.2 (a) & Output 3 (a), (b)]. In fact we had no clue of this until recently when we searched the web and got this information.’

 

It is clear that both Mission Convergence and UIDAI have been hiding these crucial facts with ulterior motives. The letter reads, “IGSSS like many other leading civil society groups and individuals are opposed to conditional cash transfers and the UID will be used to dictate it.”

 

The Parliamentary Standing Committee considered the NIAI Bill, 2010 presented its report to the Parliament on December 13, 2011. The reported rejects biometric data based identification of Indians. The report is a severe indictment of the hasty and `directionless’ project which has been “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose”. Even the functional basis of the Unique Identification Authority of India UIDAI is unclear and yet the project has been rolled out. The Standing Committee found the biometric technology `uncertain’ and ‘untested’. As early as December 2009, the Biometric Data Committee had found that the error rate using fingerprints was inordinately high. In a recent interview to the press, the Director General and Mission Director of the UIDAI had admitted that fingerprints are likely not to work for authentication. The error rate could end up excluding up to 15% of the population. It has also come to light that even iris scan keeps changing and is unreliable. Yet, the UIDAI has gone on with the exercise. Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) had appeared before the Parliamentary Committee to give its testimony on the UID BIll.

 

“I would have liked to make an additional point about the perspective Adhaar reflects vis-a-vis governance of our country and the conduct of our society. The only inference one can reasonably draw is that the votaries of this idea expect the Indian state to perpetually or for a long time remain in the ‘mai-baap’ role, personally taking care of each of its needy children. Why else would we want to spend so much money on a device only meant to enable the ‘mai-baap’ to correctly identify its children?” said Deep Joshi, member, National Advisory Council (NAC) in a message. Other NAC members like Aruna Roy has also been vociferously opposed to centralization of governance through schemes like UID. Clearly, the views of these members too have been ignored.

 

Besides influencing the voter preference, once the Planning Commission’s Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) of 600 million citizens is ready by 2014 and the related National Population Register (NPR) of the remaining 600 citizens is ready it will emerge as a potential threat to minority communities of all sorts by some regime which finds them unsuitable for their political projects.

 

So far the entire political class has remained insensitive to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights about violation of the right to privacy and citizens’ rights. The case was heard publicly on February 27, 2008, and the unanimous decision of 17 judges was delivered on December 4, 2008. The court found that the “blanket and indiscriminate nature” of the power of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples, and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offenses, failed to strike a fair balance between competing public and private interests and ruled that the United Kingdom had “overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation” in this regard. The decision is nonappealable.

 

Unmindful of this, in India, National databank of biometric data is unfolding which is proposed to be linked to electoral database amidst the political myopia of political parties in the face of the onslaught of the foreign biometric and surveillance technology companies. The only saving grace has been Parliamentary Standing Committee that has taken on board studies done in the UK on the identity scheme that was begun and later withdrawn in May 2010, where the problems were identified to include “(a) huge cost involved and possible cost overruns; (b) too complex;(c) untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security measures, which would result in escalating the estimated operational costs.”

 

It may be recalled that S.Y. Quraishi, the previous Chief Election Commissioner had sent a dangerous proposal to Union Ministry of Home Affairs asking it “to merge the Election ID cards with UID”. Such an exercise would mean rewriting and engineering the electoral ecosystem with the unconstitutional and illegal use of biometric technology in a context where electoral finance has become source of corruption and black money in the country. This would lead to linking of UID, Election ID and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which is not as innocent and as politically neutral as it has been made out to be. It is noteworthy that all EVMs have a UID as well. In the meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that voter registration in Manipur is happening using biometric data. This makes a mockery of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on UID which notes that “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information of individuals without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament”.

 

Opposition parties at the centre and in the States appear to be feigning ignorance about these attempts at re-plumbing the electoral ecosystem and a complicit section of civil society seems guilty of practicing ‘the economics of innocent fraud’.

 

The results of the October 2012 World Bank paper find that “voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents”. The UID-Aadhaar and unified payment infrastructure proposed is an act in designing political mechanisms to capture pre-existing schemes for political patronage in spite of the absence of ‘legislative mechanisms’. It is apparent that non-UPA parties have been caught unawares into implementing the program which is designed to their political disadvantage.

 

Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 9818089660, Phone: +91-11-2651781, Fax:+91-11-26517814,E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com

 

 

If UID is voluntary, why is it used to deliver services? #Aadhaar #Nandanilekani


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

October 19, 2012 20:06 IST

 

 

How can Aadhaar be deemed ‘voluntary’ if service delivery is being made dependent on it, asks Gopal Krishna

Biometric data based 12-digit Unique Identification — Aadhaar number — linked welfare schemes are being bulldozed with 2014 elections in mind with the ulterior motive of altering voter’s behaviour by creating a ‘universal identity infrastructure’ linked to ‘unified payment infrastructure’.

Ahead of the next parliamentary elections, the launch of the 21st crore UID-Aadhaar number and Aadhaar enabled service delivery on October 20 contemptuously ignores Parliament, parliamentary committees, the National Advisory Council and eminent citizens and the lessons from the belated report from the Planning Commission’s group of experts on privacy dated October 16. What is evident is that there is an open war declared on sensitive personal information like biometric data which includes fingerprints, iris scans, voice prints, DNA samples etc. The fact is a centralised electronic database of citizens and privacy, both are conceptually contradictory.

The launch exercise of October 20 stands exposed because it is officially admitting that the UID is mandatory contrary to what was claimed at its launch in Maharashtra [ Images ] on September 29 last year. Making this compulsory by threatening to discontinue services has been roundly castigated by Bhartiya Janta Party leader Yashwant Sinha-headed parliamentary standing committee on finance.

On its website the Unique Identification Authority of IndiaImages ] continues to claim that UID-Aadhhar is ‘voluntary’ and not ‘mandatory’. The million dollar question which Sonia Gandhi [ Images ], Manmohan Singh [ Images ], P Chidambaram [ Images ], Montek Singh AhluwaliaImages ] and Nandan Monohar Nilekani need to answer is: how can Aadhaar be deemed ‘voluntary’ if service delivery is being made dependent on it. This is a grave breach of public trust. This is a deliberate exercise in deception.

The proposed ‘electronic transfers of benefits and entitlements’ through ‘Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of the beneficiaries’ is crafted to make it mandatory. The claim was that each Aadhaar number will be unique to an individual and will remain valid for life. The Aadhaar number will help provide access to services like banking, mobile phone connections and other government and non-government services in due course” is fraught with creating a platform for convergence of government and corporate sector as is aimed by the ‘transformational government’ project of the World Bank‘s e-transform initiative launched in partnership with the governments of South Korea and France [ Images ] and six transnational corporations like Gemalto, IBM, Intel, L-1 Identity Solutions (now part of Safran Group), Microsoft [ Images ] and Pfizer [ Get Quote ].

This scheme is unfolding despite the fact that the Parliament has not passed the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 proposed by the Congress-led United Progressive AllianceImages ] government. It is noteworthy that the Sinha-headed parliamentary committee in its report to Parliament has rejected the UID and biometric data collection terming it as an illegal and an unethical project.

One day ahead of the launch of UID in the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra on September 29, 2010, the statement of eminent citizens had asked for the project to be put on hold till a feasibility study was done, a cost: benefit analysis undertaken, a law of privacy put in place and the various concerns of surveillance, tracking, profiling, tagging and convergence of data be addressed. None of this has happened till today. The parliamentary committee endorsed these concerns and recognised that the project cannot carry on till this is set right. Many countries — the United Kingdom, China, United States, Australia [ Images ] and the Philippines — have abandoned such identity schemes.

Nilekani, as a member or chairperson of multiple committees of several ministries, has been trying to push for the adoption of the UID, and for re-engineering of the current systems to fit the requirements of the UID. There have been attempts to withdraw services such as LPG and other essential commodities if a person has not enrolled for a UID.

The state governments and citizens have been kept in the dark about the harmful ramifications of the world’s biggest data management project and how it linked with hitherto undisclosed other proposed legislations and initiatives. The UID number and related proposals pose a threat to both civil liberties as well as our natural resources like land as is evident from the Land Titling Bill and Nilekani’s book that aims to create a common land market to reduce poverty.

Notably, such UIDs have been abandoned in the US, Australia and UK. The reasons have predominantly been: costs and privacy. In the UK, the home secretary explained that they were abandoning the project because it would otherwise be `intrusive bullying’ by the state, and that the government intended to be the `servant’ of the people, and not their `master’. The Supreme Court of Philippines struck down a biometric-based national ID system as unconstitutional on two grounds — the overreach of the executive over the legislative powers of the Congress and invasion of privacy. The same is applicable in India.

Besides influencing the voter preference, once the Planning Commission’s Central Identities Data Repository of 600 million citizens is ready by 2014 and the related National Population Register of the remaining 600 citizens is ready it will emerge as a potential threat to minority communities of all sorts by some regime, which finds them unsuitable for their political projects.

The only saving grace has been the parliamentary standing committee that has taken on board studies done in the UK on the identity scheme that was begun and later withdrawn in May 2010, where the problems were identified to include (a) huge cost involved and possible cost overruns; (b) too complex; (c) untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security measures, which would result in escalating the estimated operational costs.

It may be recalled that S Y Quraishi, former chief election commissioner, had sent a dangerous proposal to Union Ministry of Home Affairs asking it “to merge the Election ID cards with UID”. Such an exercise would mean rewriting and engineering the electoral ecosystem with the unconstitutional and illegal use of biometric technology in a context where electoral finance has become a source of corruption and black money in the country.

The results of the October 2012 World Bank paper find that “voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents”. The UID-Aadhaar and unified payment infrastructure proposed is an act in designing political mechanisms to capture pre-existing schemes for political patronage in spite of the absence of ‘legislative mechanisms’. It is apparent that non-UPA parties have been caught unawares into implementing the programme, which is designed to their political disadvantage.

 

 

 

 

Plan panel wants govt to retreat from healthcare #Goodnews


 

Nitin Sethi & Kounteya Sinha, TNN | Aug 8, 2012, 02.17AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a move that has angered the health ministry, the Planning Commission has asked for reversal of the long-standing public health policy from the 12th plan onwards ending governments’ dominant role in providing health services and transiting to greater privatization of the health sector, something along the lines of the ‘managed care’ system which is followed in the USand Mexico.The health ministry has taken a tough stance against what is referred to as “corporatization of health care” and will send a strong reply on Wednesday to plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia arguing that “the first priority should be to strengthen the public health system and involve the private sector only for critical gap filling”.

The letter from health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says that “the private sector should not substitute but actually supplement the public sector”.

TOI accessed a draft, finalized at the end of July, of the 12th five year plan‘s health chapter which sketches the dramatic policy reversal that would bring in universal health insurance coverage by allowing a selected ‘network’ of private and other operators to sell their services on competitive basis to the government for which they would be paid on what the health industry calls ‘capitation’ basis or simply on fixed rates for different treatments for every person handled.

The plan panel’s prescription visualizes government’s role in delivering primary healthcare as restricted to mere essentials like antenatal care, leaving more lucrative medical treatment to the ‘managed-care’ system where private players will compete with cash-strapped government-run hospitals to run the ‘networks’.

The commission’s proposal runs contrary to what even its High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on health reforms had said as recently as November 2011.

The HLEG, headed by Dr K Srinath Reddy, had recommended, “Purchases of all healthcare services under the universal healthcare system should be undertaken either directly by the central and state governments through their departments of health or by quasi-governmental autonomous agencies established for the purpose.”

In other words, the HLEG recommended that health delivery services should be run by the government and where a need arises, the government can hire private hospitals for which they would be paid on fixed basis. Under this system, the private players would not be competing but filling the gap.

The HLEG went against the ‘managed care’ system that the Planning Commission has now recommended.

“It becomes necessary, therefore, to either explore a completely different approach towards the use of insurance companies and independent agents – more in the ‘managed care’ framework, where they take on explicit population level health outcome responsibilities or invest further in the capacity of the ministries and departments of health to directly provide and purchase services from contracted-in private providers wherever necessary. We favour the latter option,” the expert group had held.

HLEG will meet on Thursday to discuss the commission’s latest proposal.

Dr Reddy told TOI, “We have clearly voted for strengthening of the public sector. We will meet on Thursday to discuss where there is a mismatch between our recommendations and the commission’s proposal.”

He added, “We have clearly said that the public sector needs to be strengthened and should be the main provider of services under the UHC. Where needed, the private healthcare provider could be contracted to supplement these services through a well designed system. Both public and private providers should be monitored by an independent regulator for quality of care so that the entitlement under the UHC is properly delivered through technically competent and ethically correct health care.”

The health ministry, however, is livid. An official told TOI, “We should not forget the exploitation of patients that goes on in the private sector every day through over prescription and over diagnosis. The health challenges in India‘s urban and rural areas are completely different. The private hospital chains have no presence in such backward areas facing the worst health indicators. How will they perform there?”

The ministry is also worried that such a move by the Planning Commission will take away “the few doctors that are still practicing in public hospitals”.

“The National Rural Health Mission needs to be continued. We have invested huge amount of money and planning over the last seven years over it and are finally seeing results. A National Urban Health Mission needs to be floated for the urban poor,” the ministry said.

Sources said at stake in this controversial move is the health sector pie which is set to rise substantially as the government ups its investment in the 12th five year plan to Rs 10,85,369 crore.

At present, almost all health funds provided to states are part of the flexible arrangement to help states set public health priorities.

The Planning Commission has recommended that this be kept to a minimum of 10% of the total funds and the rest be part of an ‘incentive fund’ which will be linked to the state governments undertaking such ‘reforms’ and other targets. This would also effectively reduce the funds that the health ministry controls substantially.

Oddly, the Planning Commission’s report even misinterprets what the HLEG recommended and claims, “The expert group has recommended that we should move towards a system of a network of health service providers at the primary, secondary and tertiary level which is funded on the basis of per capita payment to the network. The system managed as a network of service providers and individuals is registered on payment of a charge per person covered. Once enrolled, the individual’s health problems are handled by the network as a whole, with proper regard to the need for preventive care and a sequence of care from primary to the higher level as needed.”

Times View

India’s healthcare system is already among the most privatised in the world and the last thing we need is a further retreat of the state in this sector.Far from reducing its role, the government should be focussing on increasing it.

Not only does it need to spend much more on building infrastructure like hospitals and primary health centres, it must ensure that these are adequately staffed and equipped.Of course, ensuring that the money spent is well-utilised is important, which also means constant monitoring of whether doctors and paramedical staff are actually present where they are supposed to be.

The immunisation programme too needs to boosted and urgently. These are not options but necessary steps because, like education, healthcare too must be seen as something all citizens are entitled to.

 

Ministry opposes plan to overhaul healthcare #Goodnews


The ministry has asked Planning Commission to rewrite its chapter on health in the 12th 5-year Plan document

Vidya Krishnan

New Delhi: The health ministry has opposed the Planning Commission’s proposal for a radical overhaul of the public healthcare system, saying it deviates from the government’s primary goal of providing health coverage to all.

The ministry has asked the apex planning body to rewrite its chapter on health in the 12th five-year Plan document that covers FY12-17, a top ministry official said, asking not to be identified.

 

Voicing opposition: Health secretary P.K. Pradhan (PIB)

Voicing opposition: Health secretary P.K. Pradhan (PIB)

 

Several of the commission’s suggestions contradict recommendations of the high level expert group (HLEG) on universal health coverage, or UHC, set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singhin October 2010 with the mandate of developing a framework on affordable healthcare for Indians, this official said. The bone of contention is the Planning Commission’s proposal to switch to a “managed healthcare network” model in which public and private hospitals may have to compete with each other for patients. 

Also, under the plan, the government’s primary healthcare function will be limited to essential interventions such as immunization, antenatal care and disease-control programmes, leaving clinical services to the managed-care model. The government’s role will in effect diminish from providing health services to managing the network.

Under the managed-care model, while networks of largely private hospitals will be paid per patient registered, doctors will be paid per prescription, according to the Plan document. The transition to this model is proposed to happen over two Plan periods (2012-17 and 2017-22).

“We have to learn from the Chinese experience where reform led to creating of public doctors with a private mindset. China is now revising its health policy because of growing inequity,” said Dr. Srinath Reddy, who headed the HLEG.

“We have to ensure the public sector remains committed to providing quality healthcare without chasing money in any and every manner. We need to develop a model of UHC wherein the private sector will assist the public sector in serving a public purpose rather than privatising the delivery of public sector healthcare,” he added.

HLEG members will meet on Thursday to discuss the health plan and will give their feedback to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.

The health ministry will within 10 days send its feedback strongly advising the Planning Commission to rewrite certain aspects of the health chapter, said health secretary P.K. Pradhan, who was also a member of the HLEG that drafted the report on providing UHC in India.

“Our main objective is to strengthen the public health sector. At this juncture, we are convinced that a network-based approach will be very difficult to achieve that objective,” he said.

“Having read both documents, I know that some of the strategies made in the plan document are far removed from the basic tenets proposed by HLEG,” said Abhay Shukla, public health activist with Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a non-governmental organization.

“The Plan document gives two scenarios of India’s public health reforms. Either the public health system should start behaving like the private sector, with performance-based remuneration, etc., or it should compete with the private sector and reshape itself in the image of the private sector to compete effectively,” Shukla said. “In both cases, privatization and coporatization of healthcare in India appear as the dominant direction. They (Planning Commission) are using HLEG’s name to push these recommendations.”

The Plan document also proposes a significant expansion of publicly funded insurance schemes such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to provide universal health coverage whereas the HLEG had recommended strengthening public sector hospitals instead of using the insurance route to provide health services.

vidya.krishnan@livemint.co

India moving from providing healthcare to only managing the services #wakeupcall


Govt ready with radical health plan

State’s role to diminish from provider to manager, making way for private firms, individual practitioners

Vidya Krishnan, livemint.com

 New Delhi: The government is set to relinquish its role as a provider of primary healthcare, making way for private companies and individual medical practitioners to take the lead in offering clinical services, and focus on preventive interventions such as immunization and HIV testing.

The move is in line with the government’s approach of outsourcing its responsibilities in key social sector areas such as health and education.

The objective? Universal healthcare.

 

A file photo of the AIIMS in New Delhi

A file photo of the AIIMS in New Delhi

 

The Union government has approved healthcare delivery through a “managed network approach” where payments for health services will be made to a network of service providers on a per-patient basis, said a person familiar with the development. The scheme, this person said, is part of the five-year plan for health. India’s apex planning body, the Planning Commission, puts out five-year plans that set goals across areas and decide on ways to achieve these targets. The current Plan (2012-17) is the 12th of its kind. 

Planning Commision deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the issue is still being discussed with the health ministry and that no decision has been taken.

Under the plan, the government’s role will diminish from that of a provider of health services to the manager of the network.

State governments will recruit a network of healthcare service providers in each district or area for clinical services. These healthcare service providers, who could be government hospitals and clinics, independent practitioners, or small or large privately owned hospital chains, will register residents onto the network.

Healthcare services will be provided to this pool of patients at a cost negotiated by the government, and the service providers will be reimbursed per medical prescription. The Planning Commission’s plan seems to draw heavily from a report on universal healthcare submitted by a high-level expert group (HLEG) set up by the Prime Minister.

The plan is not aimed at saving money for the government. The Planning Commission has approved a health ministry proposal to increase the allocation for public health to Rs. 4.04 trillion in the 12th Plan from Rs. 70,986.76 crore in the preceding five-year period.

“I agree with the HLEG that universal healthcare is perhaps best delivered if we move away from the present system, in which public healthcare providers are funded by the budget, to operating a network of primary, secondary and tertiary providers, where the network is paid on a per-capita basis depending on the number of people registered with it. The network could consist of pure public sector providers, or it could include some private providers on suitable terms. This certainly incentivizes the network to minimize costs and to emphasize preventive care since the total payment is fixed,” said Ahluwalia.

The plan will require other radical changes, especially in budgeting and organization, he added. “Whoever manages the network will have to divide the total receipts between levels. Remuneration to doctors may have to be linked to patients actually seen. People will not be able to go straight to higher levels of the network, but will have to go through on a referral basis,” Ahluwalia said.

He explained that as a result, the plan cannot be implemented soon, “especially because the health network is actually run by the states”. He added: “This is not something the Centre can decide; healthcare is a state subject constitutionally.”

The person cited in the first instance said the government plans to try out its new plan through small projects in each state.

Ahluwalia admitted that it would be practical to “strengthen the existing system and increase public spending for health, but to experiment with the network concept in, say, one district”. He said even the HLEG had said that a complete move to the new system it recommended would take 10-15 years.

“The HLEG had suggested a package of essential health services, which includes preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services. The provision of these services has to be free of cost, and public sector facilities should be the main provider,” said K. Srinath Reddy, chairman of the HLEG.

“Where necessary, private providers may be contracted-in on clearly defined terms. This should be done directly by the public sector without recourse to an insurance intermediary. For universal healthcare to succeed, with respect to public health and clinical services, it is essential that the public healthcare delivery system is strengthened all the way from the sub-centre to the district hospital.” Reddy said.

Private healthcare companies stand to benefit from the move, although getting onto the network could require some of them to expand and almost all to start charging lower fees for their services, especially from network patients.

The person cited in the first instance added that the Planning Commision has divided health interventions into two categories to approach universal coverage. The first involves public health issues such as immunizations, births and HIV testing that the government will fund and deliver.

The second will be the delivery of clinical services through the managed network system that will be bankrolled by the government, which may or may not deliver the service.

Activists are suspicious of the plan.

“It looks like the government is moving from providing healthcare to only managing the services. This will increasingly shift responsibility to private providers, and there is increasing global evidence that wherever a government has attempted to divorce financing from provision and convert healthcare into something purchased by state, costs have gone up and quality has gone down,” said Amit Sengupta of the People’s Health Movement.

“ Health is a public good…” Sengupta said.

vidya.krishnan@livemint.com

Letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh on Universal Access to Health Care


Contact address:
Flat no-1 B, Orient Manor

15, High Street, Cooke Town,

Frazer Town Post

Bangalore-560 005

Telefax-91-080-25461920, 25471680

 

To,

The Honourable Prime Minister,

Government of India

 

Copy to-

Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, GoI

Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman- Planning Commission, GoI

Dr. Syeda Hameed, Member- Planning Commission, GoI

Mr. P.K. Pradhan, Union Health Secretary, GoI

 

Subject: Regarding Universal Access to Health Care.

 

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

 

Janaarogya Andolana Karnataka (JAAK) is the Karnataka state unit of the global People’s Health Movement (PHM) and the national level Jan Swasthya Abhiyaan (JSA) and comprised of public health professionals, activists, progressive people’s movements and representatives of community-based organizations.

 

JAAK had a one day state level convention on 30.05.2012 in Bangalore to debate and discuss the various processes underway to roll out Universal Access to Health Care (UAHC) in the country.

 

While we appreciate your efforts to place health as an important agenda on the 12th five year plan, we would also like to express certain apprehensions following the publication of the PC-SCH report which we feel is not in the right spirit of a truly Universal Health care system.

 

We support the recommendations of the High Level Expert group with regard to strengthening the public health; primary funding through tax-based funding, abolition of user fees of all forms for accessing health care facilities and provision of free essential medicines for all. One more specific recommendation which we support is the advice against any forms of commercial insurance for organizing the healthcare in this country.

 

The subsequent PC-SCH report of February 2012 shows significant deviation from the vision of Universal Access to Health Care. Some of our concerns are as follows:

 

Essential Health Package (EHP) – The PC-SCH restricts the EHP to only Reproductive Child Health and the vertical programs. This would lead to exclusion of several medical conditions which contribute to significant mortality and morbidity in the country. Since one of the principles of UAHC is that healthcare services are arranged according to the needs of the community, curtailing these needs would defeat the spirit of universality. In addition to this, the PC-SCH proposes that the services additional to EHP should be purchased by the families from open market with “top-ups”. This is tantamount to encouraging user fees and we strongly denounce such a move to introduce user fees through other means. Given that one of the objectives of Universal access to Health Care is to reduce out of pocket expenditure (OOPE), ‘top-ups’ as proposed by PC-SCH will only aggravate OOPE leading to further impoverishment of vulnerable families. The UAHC model should involve comprehensive primary, secondary and tertiary care with the government as the provider of choice.

 

Financing of UAHC – The HLEG, while giving prominence to the public health systems

strengthening, had suggested that the public expenditure should be increased from the

present 1.2% of GDP to 2.5% of GDP by the end of 12th plan and to 3% of GDP by 2022 for the UHC system. We are now given to understand, even though not explicitly mentioned in the PC-SCH report, that there is a move to reduce this to 2.1% by the end of the plan and the Union contributing only 30% and the rest 70% expected from the states. Going by the financial situation that the states are in and also due to the fact that some of the revenue generating avenues for the states have got transferred to the Union, it would be unreasonable to expect the states to contribute to the UAHC system. This would also run counter to your own Independence Day 2011 pronouncement that funds would not be a constraint to the important areas of health and education.

 

Health insurance – We also strongly condemn the present Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) model of financing the private and public providers on a fee-for-service basis. This would result in not only huge cost spiral and waste of precious public resources but only focus on some tertiary care further consolidating the dominance of private providers and weakening of the public provision. JAAK believes that private providers should never substitute public provision of health care services.

 

Additional Central Assistance (ACA) – We have noted with apprehension the proposed model by the Planning Commission to provide ACA directly to the District societies which has the potential of bypassing the Ministries of health and family welfare at both the union and the state levels (p24). We strongly oppose any such move as we strongly feel the leadership for UHC should come from the respective Health ministries.

 

Contracting in private services – The PC-SCH report points to making public health facilities compete with private providers while allowing for financial and operational autonomy. JAAK opposes the corporatization and privatization in health and other social services, whether at the planning, policy making, financing and provisioning of health care services and in all its forms including user fees, contracting-in, and public private partnerships.

 

Autonomy of district units – JAAK is deeply concerned with the drive towards making primary, secondary and tertiary health units autonomous and functioning as Societies. While operational autonomy (planning and day to day functioning) is desirable, these hospitals/ health centers should not have to raise their own funds or provided only conditional performance-based grants. Further, they should be accountable to district or local health authorities.

 

Regulation of the private sector – The PC-SCH report repeatedly mentions regulating the health sector including the private sector. We welcome this, but the report lacks the details for bringing about concrete and effective regulatory mechanisms. If this important piece of reform is left vague without giving sufficient attention and detail, we feel that it would be subjected to regulatory capture by vested interests. A strong regulatory structure must be set up for the private sector. This would cover hospitals, medical colleges, private practitioners, diagnostics labs and all other health providers. The private sector must be made more transparent and accountable.

 

Piloting in a single district – The PC-SCH proposes that to be eligible for the ACA, the states have to prepare a UHC plan along with a District Health plan; Frame standard treatment guidelines and to ensure its compliance; strengthen the program units both at the state and district levels; empanelment of private providers by means of a transparent selection system put in place; enhancement of community involvement in planning and management and development of a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism. While these are all laudable objectives, it must be noted that most of these processes that have to happen at the state level at both systemic and legal levels. The states would have very little incentive to bring in all these reforms just for piloting in a single district. In the absence of these state level enabling reforms just piloting at the district level is bound to fail. Hence we urge that the piloting of these reforms must happen at the state level rather than a piecemeal approach of doing it at district level.

 

We also note with some concern that the states, which are largely responsible for healthcare services, are kept largely out of discussion. JAAK advocates for a central role for the government in stewardship, governance, financing, regulating and provisioning of health care services, with community participation in planning, implementing and monitoring of health care at all levels.

 

Keeping the above concerns in mind, we urge you to use your high offices to organize further consultations with all the stakeholders giving the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare the lead role in the larger interest of the health of the people of this country and to make your Independence Day pronouncement reach its logical conclusion.

In solidarity,
K B Obalesha, State convenor, JAAK, 9742586468, thamate2005@yahoo.co.in

Dr Gopal Dabade, MBBS, DLO, Chairperson JAAK 9448862270, drdabade@gmail.com

 

 

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