Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bansal and Chidambaram address the media

  1. Bansal and Chidambaram address the media

    Home Minister Shri P. Chidambaram made the following opening statement at a Press conference in New Delhi today along with the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal:Two weeks after both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die, it is a good time to reflect on the work done in Parliament and on the unfinished business.
                    On December 30, 2011, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs spoke to the media and gave a detailed account of the Bills that were passed in one or both the Houses and the Bills that are pending for consideration.
                    As we take stock today, we find that there are three broad areas where Government’s proposals for legislative measures have remained either partly fulfilled or stalled:
    The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011
    The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill (Whistle Blowers Protection Bill), 2011
    The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011
    The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010
    The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill, 2011*
    The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2011*
                    Of these, only the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill and the Whistle Blowers were passed by the Lok Sabha and are now before the Rajya Sabha.  One Bill has been reported by the Standing Committee and other Bills are with the Standing Committee.
    The Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010
    The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010
    The National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011
    The Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Kancheepuram Bill, 2011
    The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill, 2010^
    The National Academic Depository (Amendment) Bill, 2011*
    The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority  for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010^
    The Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011*
    The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) (Amendment) Bill, 2010^
                    Of the above, only the first four Bills have been passed by the Lok Sabha and are pending before the Rajya Sabha.  All other Bills are at different stages either before the Standing Committee or after the Standing Committee has reported on the Bill.

                  Finance and Business
    The Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010*
    The Companies Bill, 2011*
    The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011*
    The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2009^
    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment)Bill, 2009^
    The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011^
    The Forward Contracts (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2010^
    The Coal Mines (Nationalization) (Amendment) Bill, 2000^
    The Mines (Amendment) Bill, 2011^
    The Insurances Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008^
    The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011*
                    Of the above measures, none was passed either in Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha.  All the Bills are pending at different stages of consideration, some before the Standing Committee and some after the reports of the Standing Committee.
                    It would be obvious to anyone that the Government has proposed far reaching and seminal legislative measures in different areas, especially in the crucial areas of finance and business, education and anti-corruption.  The argument that there is a ‘paralysis’ that has gripped the Government is an argument that is patently incorrect, untenable and absurd.   The lists of legislative proposals given above will conclusively establish that the Government has been proactive, business-like and keen to get the necessary laws on the statue book.
                    In our system of Parliamentary democracy, all Executive action has to be supported by law.  Government can make plans, Government can draw up schemes.  However, plans and schemes have to be supported by laws that contain provisions for funding, administration and enforcement.  Hence, in most cases, Executive action will remain incomplete unless it is supported by legislation.  The unfortunate story of the last few sessions of Parliament is that Parliament has not been able to pass the laws that were brought by the Government for Parliament’s consideration.  We think that it is time for reflection by all political parties that are presented in Parliament and that believe in the Parliamentary forum of democracy.
    ^             Reported by Standing Committee
    *             Under consideration of Standing Committee

Nine Envoys Presented Credentials

Nine envoys presented their credentials to the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The envoys who presented their credentials were: - 

His Excellency Mr. James David Bevan, the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, 
His Excellency Mr. Idriss Raoua Ouedraogo, the Ambassador of Burkina Faso, 
His Excellency Mr. Joao Gomes Cravinho, the Ambassador of the European Union, 
His Excellency Mr. Manuel Eduardo dos Santos e Silva Bravo, the Ambassador of Angola, 
His Excellency Dr. Saud Bin Mohammed A. Al Sati, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, 
His Excellency Mr. Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte, the Ambassador of Brazil, 
His Excellency Mr. Patrick Medecin, the Ambassador of Monaco, 
His Excellency Dr. Arye Kumar Jagessur, the High Commissioner of Mauritius and 
His Excellency Mr. Humaid Ould Ahmed Taleb, the Ambassador of Mauritania.

Welcoming the envoys the President said in two weeks time, India would be celebrating its 63rd Republic Day, which marks the adoption of its Constitution, that established a democratic framework for justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. The President referred to the global environment, which at present is complex and challenging. While forces of globalization have created an interlinked and interdependent world, on the other hand they have also enhanced the contagion effect, she said. Over the last couple of years, the world has seen how financial stability has been transmitted through trade, investment and financial flows, to other regions and countries. The President, therefore, emphasized that all countries have a stake in the orderly functioning of the global economy and hence, it is important that there is a coordinated approach to address these issues. She said that for India and other developing countries, the concern was on how these global trends impact their development prospects. In India the goal is rapid inclusive and sustainable development for meeting the aspirations of the people, in which energy, food and ecological security, are amongst high areas of priority, she added. She also spoke about the need for the international community to combat terrorism, as it is a phenomenon that is a grave threat to global stability. She also mentioned the threat of piracy, which threatens sea lines of communication. The President also said India is keen to interact with other countries so that areas of cooperation can be extended. She also said that India will continue to reach out to other developing countries to support capacity building efforts.

The credential presentation ceremony was attended by senior members of the Missions, senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
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Indo US Bilateral meeting on health

Indo-US Bilateral Meeting Held on Health Issues -A high level delegation from the United States led by United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Ms Kathleen Sebelius, today met the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad for a bilateral meeting on health issues. The hour long discussions focused on the progress of the US India Health Initiative launched in 2010. Shri Azad welcomed the delegation and reaffirmed the ongoing cooperation in the field of health “but also to find new avenues to further broaden and deepen the commitment to ensure better health at affordable costs for our people”. Shri Azad said that Government of India has been implementing health care reforms in the field of infrastructure, human resources, health research and disease surveillance with the intention of providing better service delivery at grass root levels. Expressing satisfaction particularly at the progress of Polio containment efforts, Shri Azad said “we are excited and hopeful, at the same time, vigilant and alert”.

The Health Initiative is an inter-agency umbrella organizing mechanism for bilateral discussions between the United States and India on health collaborations and program implementation. To take the agenda further, four Working Groups had been constituted namely Working group on Non Communicable Diseases, Working group on Infectious diseases, Working group on Maternal and Child Health and Working group on Strengthening Health System and Services. These Working Groups include representatives from the US side as well as Indian side.

The Working groups have been discussing ways of leveraging each other’s strengths on identified areas – like the Working group on Non Communicable Diseases has discussed issues of Tobacco control, Cancer control, Human resources, mental health and prevention as areas of collaboration. The Working group on Infectious diseases has been deliberating on vaccination preventable diseases, innovations in technology whereas the Working group on Maternal and Child Health has been focusing on Human resources for MCH response, registries of vital records like the Mother and Child Tracking System. The Working group on Strengthening Health System and Services discussed issues on public and private health care, management information system etc.

The Indo-US collaboration has successfully taken place in the last several decades in the areas of medical research such as tuberculosis, nutrition, cancer, neurosciences, mental health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, environmental and occupational health. This collaboration has led to infrastructure strengthening, transfer of technology and publication of several scientific findings. As a follow up of joint statements and joint working groups, particularly in the last twelve years, more than 450 research projects in various areas of health research have been pursued. Collaboration with institutes resulting in agreements such as the India-US agreement on Global Disease Detection Programme has been useful in capacity building, training and strengthening of services.

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