Cabinet approves the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018 for regulation and standardisation of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals
- Establishment of a Central and corresponding State Allied and HealthcareCouncils; 15 major professional categories including 53 professions in Allied and Healthcare streams.
- The Bill provides for Structure, Constitution, Composition and Functions of the Central Council and State Councils, e.g. Framing policies andstandards, Regulation of professional conduct, Creation and maintenanceof live Registers, provisions for common entry and exit examinations, etc.
- The Central Council will comprise 47 members, of which 14 members shall be ex-officio representing diverse and related roles and functions andremaining 33 shall be non-ex-officio members who mainly represent the 15professional categories.
- The State Councils are also envisioned to mirror the Central Council,comprising 7 ex-officio and 21 non-ex officio members and Chairperson tobe elected from amongst the non-ex officio members.
- Professional Advisory Bodies under Central and State Councils will examine issues independently and provide recommendations relating to specific recognised categories.
- The Bill will also have an overriding effect on any other existing law for any of the covered professions.
- The State Council will undertake recognition of allied and healthcare institutions.
- Offences and Penalties clause have been included in the Bill to check malpractices.
- The Bill also empowers the Central and State Governments to make rules.
- Central Govt. also has the power to issue directions to the Council, tomake regulations and to add or amend the schedule.
- An Interim Council will be constituted within 6 months of passing of the Act holding charge for a period of two years until the establishment of the Central Council.
- The Council at the Centre and the States are to be established as body corporate with a provision to receive funds from various sources.
- Councils will also be supported by Central and State Governments respectively through Grant-in-aid as needed. However, if the StateGovernment expresses inability, the Central Government may release some grant for initial years to the State Council.
Major Impact, including employment generation potential:
- Bring all existing allied and healthcare professionals on board during thefirst few of years from the date of establishment of the Council.
- Opportunity to create qualified, highly skilled and competent jobs inhealthcare by enabling professionalism of the allied and healthcare workforce.
- High quality, multi-disciplinary care in line with the vision of AyushmanBharat, moving away from a 'doctor led' model to a 'care accessible and team based’ model.
- Opportunity to cater to the global demand (shortage) of healthcareworkforce which is projected to be about 15 million by the year 2030, asper the WHO Global Workforce, 2030 report.
Number of beneficiaries:
It is estimated that the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018 will directlybenefit around 8-9 Lakh existing Allied and Healthcare related professionals inthe country and several other graduating professionals joining workforce annually and contributing to the health system. However, since this Bill is directed to strengthen the healthcare delivery system at large, it may be saidthat the entire population of the country and the health sector as a whole will be benefited by this Bill.
- In the current state of healthcare system, there exist many allied and healthcare professionals, who remain unidentified, unregulated and underutilised. Our system is highly focused on efforts towards strengthening limited categories of professionals such as doctors, nurses and frontline workers (like Accredited Social Health Activist or ASHAs, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife or ANMs). However, numerous others have been identified over the years, whose potential can be utilised to improve and increase the access to quality driven services in the rural and hard to reach areas.
- Allied and Healthcare Professionals (A&HPs) constitute an important element of the health human resource network, and the skilled and efficient Allied and Healthcare Professionals (A&HPs) can reduce the cost of care and dramatically improve the accessibility to quality driven healthcare services.
- Globally, Allied and Healthcare Professionals typically attend undergraduate degree programme of a minimum of three to four years to begin with and may attain up to PhD level qualification in their respective streams. However, most of Indian institutions offering such courses lack standardisation.
- Majority of the countries worldwide, have a statutory licensing or regulatory body that is authorised to license and certify the qualifications and competence of such professionals, particularly those involved in direct patient care (such as physiotherapist, nutritionist etc.) or those whose occupation impact patient care directly (such as lab technologists, dosimetrists etc.).
- Though such professionals have existed in the Indian healthcare system for many decades, a considerable gap in the allied and healthcare space is because of a lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework and absence of standards for education and training of A&HPs.
- The Bill thus seeks to establish a robust regulatory framework which will play the role of a standard-setter and regulator for Allied and Healthcare professions.
Cabinet apprised of Agreement between India and Uzbekistan on Cooperation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation
- The Agreement was signed on 1st October 2018 at New Delhi .
- Signing of the Agreement will open a new chapter in bilateral relations, as both sides will now leverage complementary strengths spurred by a significant convergence of mutual interests in science and technology.
- The objective of the Agreement is to promote cooperation in the fields of science, technology and Innovation between the two countries.
- The stake-holders will include researchers from scientific organizations, academia, R&D laboratories and industries from India and Uzbekistan.
- Agriculture and Food Science and Technology; Engineering Sciences; Information and Communication Technology, Applied Mathematics and Data Science and Technology; Health and Medical Technology; Materials Sciences; Life Sciences & Biotechnology; Physics and Astrophysics and Energy, water, climate and natural resources were identified as potential areas for immediate collaboration.
Cabinet approves MoU with Mauritius on Consumer Protection and Legal Metrology
- The MoU is beneficial for bilateral relations of both the countries. It will help in expanding cooperation in the field of consumer protection, and will provide an institutional mechanism for exchange of information and derive mutual benefits from development taking place in both the countries.
- It will further promote inclusive sustainable and resilient development in the areas of Consumer Protection & Legal Metrology to deal with new challenges such as misleading advertisement, telemarketing, multi-level marketing, e-commerce etc.
- It will ensure traceability of national and international standards, thereby developing new areas of expertise that may facilitate in tackling new challenges. Further, periodical exchange of information and training programme will ensure gainful expertise,for good governance and in fighting consumer vulnerability.
Extension of Norms for Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to expand the scope of mandatory packaging norms under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987 as follows:
- The CCEA approved that 100% of the food grains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags. The decision to pack sugar in diversified jute bags will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry.
- Initially 10% of the indents of jute bags for packing foodgrains would be placed through reverse auction on the Gem portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery.
- The decision will give a fillip to the development of jute sector; increasing the quality and productivity of raw jute, diversification of jute sector and also boosting and sustaining demand for jute product.
- This is important considering the fact that nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sectors, the government has been making concerted efforts.
- The jute industry is predominantly dependent on Government sector which purchases jute bags of value of more than Rs. 6,500 crore every year for packing foodgrains. This is done in order to sustain the core demand for the jute sector and to support the livelihood of the workers and farmers dependent on the sector.
- The decision will benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Measures by the Government to support the Jute Sector:
- In order to improve the productivity and quality of raw jute through a carefully designed intervention, called the Jute ICARE, the Government has been supporting close to one lakh jute farmers by disseminating improved agronomic practices such as line sowing using seed drills, weed management by using wheel-hoeing and nail-weeders, distribution of quality certified seeds and also providing microbial assisted retting. These interventions have resulted in enhancing the quality and productivity of raw jute and increasing income of jute farmers by Rs. 10,000 per hectare.
- In this connection, to support jute farmers, Jute Corporation of India (JCI) has been given a grant of Rs. 100 crore for 2 years starting from 2018-19 to enable JCI to conduct MSP operations and ensure price stabilization in the jute sector.
- With a view to support diversification of jute sector, the National Jute Board has collaborated with National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened at Gandhinagar. Further, promotion of Jute Geo Textiles and Agro-Textiles has been taken up with the State Governments particularly those in the North Eastern region and also with departments such as Ministry of Road Transport and Ministry of Water Resources.
- With a view to boost demand in the jute sector, Government of India has imposed Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal with effect from 5th January, 2017. As a result of these measures, 13 Twine mills in Andhra Pradesh had resumed operation, benefitting 20,000 workers. Further, imposition of Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty has provided scope for an additional demand of 2 lakh MT of jute goods in the domestic market for the Indian jute industry.
- With a view to promoting transparency in jute sector, Jute SMART, an e-govt initiative was launched in December, 2016, providing an integrated platform for procurement of B-Twill sacking by Government agencies. Further, the JCI is transferring 100% funds to jute farmers online for jute procurement under MSP and commercial operations.
Cabinet approves: i)Implementation of the umbrella scheme "Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services"; ii)Sub-schemes to continue during 2017-20; and iii) National Facility for Airborne Research(NFAR) to be set up
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved continuation of the nine sub-schemes of the umbrella scheme "Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)" during 2017-2020 at an estimated cost of Rs. 1450 crore. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its institutes namely India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service(INCOIS).
The CCEA also approved establishment of National Facility for Airborne Research (NFAR) with a financial commitment of Rs 130 crore during 2020-21 and beyond.
- The scheme will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services, thereby ensuring transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services like Public weather service, disaster management, Agro-meteorological Services, Aviation services, Environmental monitoring services, Hydro-meteorological services, climate services, tourism, pilgrimage, power generation, water management, Sports & adventure etc.
Generating employment opportunities:
- A sizable number of scientific and technical staff along with requisite administrative support, thereby generating employment.
- To ensure last-mile connectivity of the weather based services to the end -user, a large number of agencies like the Krishi Vigyana Kendras of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Universities and local municipalities are roped in thus generating employment opportunities to many people.
- ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc.
- Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme "ACROSS" and is implemented in an integrated manner through the aforesaid four institutes.
- The ACROSS scheme consists of nine sub-programmes which are multi disciplinary and multi institutional in nature and will be implemented in an integrated manner through IMD, HIM, NCMRWF and INCOIS.
- As the objective of the ACROSS scheme is to provide a reliable weather and climate forecast for betterment of society, the scheme will aim at improving skill of weather and climate forecast through sustained observations, intensive R & D, and by adopting effective dissemination and communication strategies to ensure its timely reach to the end-user of all services like Agro-meteorological Services, Aviation service, Environmental monitoring services, Hydro-meteorological services, climate services, tourism, pilgrimage, mountaineering etc.,
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has a mandate to carry out research and development activities to develop and improve capability to forecast weather, climate and natural hazard related phenomena. Towards this direction, MoES has taken several initiatives to formulate specific schemes like augmentation of observing systems and infrastructure, understanding processes through special campaigns, weather and climate modelling, monsoon-research, climate change science & climate services etc. These schemes involve multi-institutes wherein each unit has a designated role for accomplishing the aforesaid tasks. As a result, all these schemes with specific objectives and budget are implemented in an integrated manner and are put together under the umbrella scheme "ACROSS".