Cabinet approves amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014



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Cabinet approves amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 


The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to introduce official amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014.


The HIV and AIDS Bill, 2014 has been drafted to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. The provisions of the Bill seek to address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances. The Bill seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS, provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment, places obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints. The Bill also aims to enhance access to health care services by ensuring informed consent and confidentiality for HIV-related testing, treatment and clinical research.

The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.  These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to:

(i)           employment,
(ii)         educational establishments,
(iii)       health care services,
(iv)       residing or renting property,
(v)         standing for public or private office, and
(vi)       provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies). The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.

Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household. The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. The Bill also provides for Guardianship for minors. A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age to be applicable in the matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.  

The Bill requires that "No person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order". Establishments keeping records of information of HIV positive persons shall adopt data protection measures. According to the Bill, the Central and State governments shall take measures to:

(i)                 prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS,
(ii)               provide anti-retroviral therapy and infection management for persons with HIV or AIDS,
(iii)             facilitate their access to welfare schemes especially for women and children,
(iv)             formulate HIV or AIDS education communication programmes that are age appropriate, gender sensitive, and non-stigmatizing, and
(v)               lay guidelines for the care and treatment of children with HIV or AIDS. Every person in the care and custody of the state shall have right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services. The Bill suggest that cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed' off by the court on a priority basis and duly ensuring the confidentiality.

There are no financial implications of the Bill. Most of the activities are being already undertaken or can be integrated within the existing systems of various Ministries under training, communication and data management, etc. The Bill makes provision for appointment of an ombudsman by State Governments to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and penal actions in case of non-compliance. The Ombudsman need not be a separate entity, but any existing State Government functionary can be deputed or given additional charge.

There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India.  Even though the prevalence of HIV is decreasing over the last decade, the Bill would provide essential support to National AIDS Control Programme in arresting new infections and thereby achieving the target of "Ending the epidemic by 2030" according to Sustainable Development Goals.

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Cabinet accords permission to Ms/. HLL Lifecare Ltd., to sub-lease 330.10 acres of Government land at Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram District (Tamil Nadu) leased to it in 2009 for setting up Medipark

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to M/s. HLL Lifecare Ltd., a Mini Ratna PSU under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to sub- lease 330.10 acres of land at. Chengalpattu, located in the outskirts of Chennai, to setup a medical devices manufacturing park (Medipark) through a special purpose Vehicle. The shareholding of HLL in the project would be above 50%.

The Medipark project will be the first manufacturing cluster in the medical technology sector in the country, envisaged to boost the local manufacturing of hi-end products at a significantly lower cost, resulting in affordable healthcare delivery, particular in diagnostic services to a large section of people. The proposed Medipark would contribute to the development of medical devices and technology sector and allied disciplines in the country, which is still at a nascent stage besides generating employment and give a boost to the government's "Make in India" Campaign.

Medipark will be developed in phases, spread over seven years for completion. In the first phase, physical infrastructure will be developed and plots will be leased from third year onwards. Knowledge management center will be developed in the second phase, with grants and assistance from departments, which funds similar initiatives. HLL will sublease the land to investors, through a transparent bidding process to investors desirous to set up manufacturing units for Medical equipment and devices. In the initial phase, the land cost to the qualifying entrepreneurs from Medical Device and Equipment, Manufacturing Industry will be at a subsidized rate so as to attract others and the rate will go up gradually as the demand picks up. Thus the Medipark project will play an important role in enhancing quality health care delivery in India.

The project will reduce the dependence on imports and create a strong base for the growth of indigenous and domestic industry by providing access to state of art infrastructure and technology. The domestic manufacturing of medical devices and equipment shall not only usher in a regime of assured and affordable health care delivery but also deepen and strengthen the penetration of quality health care services.

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Cabinet approves transfer of two acres of Indian Agricultural Institute land to Veterinary Council of India

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for transfer two acres of land from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi to the Veterinary Council of India (VCI) on lease basis for a period of 99 years at a total lease rent of Rs.8,01,278/- @ Rs. 1 per sq. meter per year.

The VCI will expand its activities related to upgradation of skill of inservice Veterinary professionals by conducting short courses on latest update in research areas of Animal Sciences. After establishing the facilities, VCI will start additional activities and benefits passed to rural population in the country which will spur economic growth and employment generation in the country.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and European Union on water cooperation

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing of MoU between India and European Union in the field of water resources.

The MoU envisages strengthening the technological, scientific and management capabilities of India and the European Union in the field of water management on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. It provides technical exchange on water issues, including on integrated water resource management plans within river basins and through study visits.

The MoU aims to identify key environmental issues and approaches to sustainable development where exchange of experiences and cooperation could be mutually beneficial to strengthen and further develop cooperation between India and the European Union in the field of water management. It envisions a more sustainable management of water resources in India with an objective of tackling the challenges posed by water management in the context of growing population, competing water demands and a changing climate. A Joint Working Group shall be formed to monitor the activities to be carried out in fulfillment of the MoU.

Background

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been envisaging bilateral cooperation with other countries in water resources development and management through sharing of policy and technical expertise, conducting of training courses, workshops, scientific and technical symposia, exchange of experts and study tours. Keeping in view the success of the European Union in distribution of water resources, water pricing, water use efficiency by encouraging the changes in agricultural practices necessary to protect water resources and quality, such as switching to less water-demanding crops, etc., it has been decided to have an agreement with Israel to benefit from their experience and expertise. The EU States have adopted water pricing policies to provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently thereby contributing to environmental objectives.

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Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding with the African Asian Rural Development Organization in the field of rural development

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the African Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) for capacity building programmes in the field of rural development.

The MoU for the triennium 2015 - 2017 is being signed under which capacity building programmes for AARDO member countries will be organized every year during the triennium at various Institutions of Excellence in India such as National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRD & PR), institutions governed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and others. The duration of each training programme shall be of two to three weeks. The Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development Management Course at NIRD & PR under this scheme is for one year.

Background:

The AARDO, which has its headquarters in New Delhi, is an autonomous, inter-Governmental organization established in 1962 with the objective of promoting cooperation among the countries of the African - Asian Region in the direction of eradicating thirst, hunger, illiteracy, disease and poverty in the region. India is one of the Founder Members of the Organization and is the largest contributor in terms of membership contribution of US$ 141,100 apart from contributing by way of providing 70 fully paid training scholarships for Human Resource Development Programme under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) to the Organization. India has also provided a building for housing the AARDO Secretariat in Delhi and considerable financial assistance is given to AARDO for maintenance of the building. AARDO currently has 31 countries of the African - Asian Region under its fold.

Since the year 2009, India is continuing to provide an Additional Contribution of US$ 600,000 to AARDO for each triennium 2009-2011 to expand its scale and scope of the Capacity Building Programmes of AARDO for the benefit of Member Countries.

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Cabinet approves acquisition of 11 percent stake in JSC Vankorneft by ONGC Videsh Limited

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to an acquisition by ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) for 11% stake in JSC Vankorneft from M/s Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft), the National Oil Company (NOC) of Russian Federation (Russia). Rosneft operates Vankor fields, with Vankorneft, its wholly owned subsidiary.

OVL will be paying an amount of US $ 930 million for acquiring 11% stake in Vankorneft.

The acquisition of stake in Vankorneft will provide 3.2 Million Metric Ton of Oil Equivalent (MMTOE) to OVL by 2017. It will also provide an opportunity to Indian public sector Oil and Gas companies to acquire new technologies from Rosneft. The acquisition is in line the ONGC’s stated objective of adding high quality international assets to India's Exploration and Production (E&P) portfolio and thereby augmenting India's energy security.

Recently, an Indian Consortium comprising of Oil India Limited (OIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Bharat PetroResources Limited (BPRL) acquired 23.9% stake in Vankorneft at a cost of US $ 2020.35 million which will give them 6.56 MMTOE. Earlier in May 2016, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) completed the formalities on acquisition of 15% stake in Vankorneft at a cost of US $ 1.284 billion which gave OVL 4.11 MMTOE.

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