Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time has come for Indian healthcare system to revolutionize itself: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Jan 16 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said time has come for the Indian healthcare system to revolutionize itself and make India self-reliant in its healthcare requirements.

Inaugurating the 10th Knowledge Millennium Summit on ''Curing the Incurables - Sharing of Innovations'' organized by ASSOCHAM here, Mukherjee said: "The challenges that the Indian healthcare sector faces are substantial, but the opportunities equally compelling."

"For companies that view the Indian healthcare sector as a glass half full, the potential is enormous as India is one of the few locations in the world with the latest in healthcare technologies including automation, surgical robotics, modular operating theatres, minimal access surgery systems, telemedicine, radiology, etc," he added.

Asserting that the public health system must be greatly expanded and strengthened across the nation, Mukherjee said: "Provision of universal health care is a matter of faith for the Government. The Government is looking to scale up public investment on health from the current level of 1.2 percent of GDP to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2017 i.e. the end of 12th Plan and 3 percent by 2022 i.e. end of 13th Plan. For this, the public health system must be greatly expanded and strengthened across the nation."

"We need to take health services closer to the homes of the families. We need out of the box managerial and administrative reforms in the health departments at the state and central level. We need to develop effective models of healthcare for the ever-increasing urban population and at the same time not ignore rural healthcare needs. The foundation of India''s national health system must be strong, sensitive and efficient, he added.

Stating that the Government is keen to continue to encourage private investment in the healthcare sector and is now developing Public Private Partnerships models to improve availability of healthcare services and provide healthcare financing, Mukherjee said: " There is also growing interest among foreign players to enter India''s healthcare sector through capital investments, technology tie-ups, and collaborative ventures across various segments, including diagnostics, medical equipment, big hospital chains, education and training."

"Advances are underway on several fronts, from expanding health insurance coverage for the poor and building hospitals in smaller towns, to using technology for safer drinking water and improving treatment outcomes. We should take pride in the fact that heart surgeries in India cost less than a tenth of what they would in the United States," he said.

"But there is still no denying that the Healthcare delivery gap is huge in India. It is estimated that 64 percent of the poorest population in India become indebted every year to pay for the medical care they need. 85 percent of the Indian workforce working in the informal sector do not have any kind of insurance and lack access to effective social protection schemes," he added.

Mukherjee further said that newer technologies like Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can play a major role in improving health care delivery.

"One solution is telemedicine - the remote diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients via videoconferencing or the Internet," he added. (ANI)

Kuldeep Bishnoi welcomes Chautala''s conviction in recruitment scam

New Delhi, Jan. 16 (ANI): Haryana Janhit Congress supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi on Wednesday welcomed former chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala''s conviction in the Junior Basic Trained (JBT) recruitment scam, saying the decision has strengthened his faith in the credibility of the judicial system.

"As far as the decision is concerned, which has come from the court, I salute the decision. Although the court took a long time to give a decision like this, the faith for the judiciary has increased manifold, as far as I am concerned and the people of Haryana are concerned," said Bishnoi.

" Since a very long time, I have been saying that Om Prakash Chautala and his son are deeply involved in corruption, and when the right time will come, they will go behind bars, and same thing has happened," he added.

Meanwhile, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) lawyer I. D. Vaidya informed that 57 accused have been convicted and sent to custody in connection with the case.

"This was a scam of recruitment of Junior Basic Trained (JBT) teachers. More than 3,000 teachers were recruited and their interviews were already conducted in December, the lists were closed. As part of a conspiracy, those lists were unsealed and new lists were formed instead in September and all new set of 3000 teachers were recruited. In total, 57 accused have been convicted and sent to custody," said Vaidya.

Chautala, his MLA-son Ajay Chautala and other accused were today taken into judicial custody after a Delhi Court convicted them for the illegal recruitment of JBT teachers in Haryana.

The court, which has fixed January 17, 19 and 21 for hearing the arguments on sentence, will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 22.

The court had earlier framed charges against all the accused under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC and provisions of the PCA. (ANI)

Moily asks PCRA to come up with proposal for fuel efficiency rating of automobiles

New Delhi, Jan. 16 (ANI): Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily on Wednesday asked Petroleum Conservation and Research Association (PCRA) to formulate mechanism for rating of automobiles in the country based on their fuel efficiency.

Dr. Moily, who inaugurated Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight 2013, organized by PCRA, here, said ''he would soon review these issues''.

He also said the energy auditing should encompass all sectors as utilization of national resources on sustainable basis need to be a top priority.

Dr. Moily called upon the Petroleum Conservation and Research Association to scale up their activities for intensifying conservation and optimum utilization of oil and gas in the country.

In this regard, Dr. Moily said ''we should have exact and precise process of Energy Audit''.

"We should submit Energy Audit Report on various sectors to the people every year. There should be proper Energy budgeting by everyone utilizing energy," he added.

He pointed out that everyone should be not only concerned about today but posterity or tomorrow.

" Mere growth (without sustainability) may lead to chaos," Dr. Moily said, and added that those who utilise national wealth (like oil and gas) appropriately should be recognized as patriot and called for the same becoming a National Movement.

MoS (PNG) P. Lakshmi also emphasized the need for efficient use of scare national resources like oil and gas for which we are heavily import dependent. She called upon PCRA to take intensive fuel conservation awareness campaign to every household in local languages.

Lakshmi outlined various steps taken by her Ministry for enhancing exploration and production efforts both in India and abroad for greater self-sufficiency in the oil and gas sector.

Petroleum Secretary G.C. Chaturvedi also spoke on the occasion.

The Ministers gave away conservation awards to the winners in various categories including for essays and paintings by children, besides flagging off Publicity Vans carrying messages and literature on fuel conservation.

PCRA is an organization under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which propagates the message of fuel (Oil and Gas) conservation throughout the year. It culminates in a fortnight of intensive campaign around the country. (ANI)

''Lawbreakers have to face consequences'', says Hooda on Chautala''s conviction

New Delhi, Jan. 16 (ANI): Commenting on the conviction of Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala in connection with the illegal recruitment of over 3000 Junior Basic Trained (JBT) teachers, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Wednesday said those who break the law have to face consequences.

"The law is taking its own course. Those who break the law have to face these consequences," he told the media here.

Haryana Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Surjewala on his part said the former chief minister''s conviction has strengthened his faith in the credibility of the judicial system.

"First of all as an Indian, as a young person, my faith in the credibility of our judicial system stands reiterated and strengthened. Om Prakash Chautalaji and his government in 1999-2000 selected 3,206 JBT teachers. There was allegation of rampant corruption, rampant nepotism in the whole selection process. An IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar took the entire matter in record to Supreme Court, the Supreme Court referred the matter to the CBI," said Surjewala.

"There was a court-monitored investigation, which has led to their conviction. It''s a message for everybody ''do not play with the future of your children, do not play with the future of young persons, do not indulge in corruption and nepotism of this kind, and if you do so then you would be convicted and sent to jail''," he added.

Chautala, his MLA-son Ajay Chautala and 54 others were taken into judicial custody today after a Delhi Court convicted them for the illegal recruitment of JBT teachers in Haryana.

The court, which has fixed January 17, 19 and 21 for the hearing of arguments, will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 22.

The court had earlier framed charges against all of the accused under Sections 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy), 420 (Cheating), 467 (Forgery), 468 (Forgery for Cheating), 471 (Using as Genuine a Forged Document) of the IPC and provisions of the PCA. (ANI)

Manipur: Security personnel accused of sexual assaults go unpunished

New Delhi: In July 2004, a group of 12 women disrobed in front of the Kangla Fort in Imphal, holding up a banner that said, 'Indian Army rape us'. They were protesting the rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama, allegedly by security forces. Manorama was picked up from her house on July 11, 2004 by Assam Rifles soldiers.
Manorama's dead body was later found with several bullet wounds - including on her genitalia. Forensic tests detected semen and blood stains confirming rape. But no one has yet been convicted, even though Justice Upendra, who conducted the government inquiry blamed the security forces. One-member Manorama rape inquiry member Retired Justice P Upendra said, "I gave all my findings, the security forces are responsible for the killings. There are only suspensions - why, they should be arrested, and tried."
Even today the Upendra Report on Manorama's killing remains sealed. Counsel for Manorama's Family Colin Gonsalves said, "Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister, nor the Defence Minister, has made the report public and told the women of Manipur what are the findings of the commission that was appointed by the government itself."

The Twelve women whose shocking protest shook the country say such brazen rapes and assault on citizens in Manipur is due to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Section 4 of which allows the Army to shoot to kill while maintaining public order.
In the last 10 years, 20 instances of rape and sexual assault by security forces have been reported, but not a single conviction. Gonsalves added, "The AFSPA is directly responsible. Security forces feel they are gods in Manipur, they have absolute immunity."
Unfortunately people in Manipur have almost learnt to live with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, so be it the rape of Manorama Devi in 2004 or that of Miss Rose in 1974 or Mrs Ahanjobi in 1996 - all protests in this heavily militarised state fade out in the end. And things continue to remain just the same, unchanged