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30th March 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 30th Day of March 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu

Editorial : The modern way

Context:

The passage of Mental Healthcare Bill and the repealing the Mental Health Act of 1987 will potentially help India catch up with the advances made in the field by other countries.

Important Points:

  • India faces an uphill task in terms of provision of mental health services for mental healthcare patients.
  • We have 0.3 psychiatrists for 100,000 people (with marginally higher numbers taking independent private practitioners into account), compared to China’s 1.7
  • There are massive deficiencies in the availability of trained clinical psychologists and psychiatric social workers.
  • The National Mental Health Programme has not been sufficiently funded within the health budget
  • There are important provisions in the bill relating to recognition of the right to medical treatment, decriminalisation of attempted suicide, explicit acceptance of agency of people with mental illness and their freedom to choose treatments, prohibition of discrimination and regulation of establishments working in the field.
  • Due to low base of psychiatrists in relation to their need, the use of trained general practitioners as the first line of contact is important
  • With a concerted effort, primary care physicians can be trained to help people with mild and severe problems, ranging from anxiety disorders to depression, psychoses and conditions arising from alcohol and substance abuse. 
  • Extending health insurance cover is also a step forward
  • The provision in the new legislation prohibiting seclusion of patients, something that is frequently resorted to in asylums, and the general use of electro-convulsive therapy is welcome.

 

The Indian Express

Editorial : A short circuit

Context:

The government using Finance Bill to push through matters that are tangential to the money matters that can be a part of the Finance Bill

Important points:

  • Money bill intrinsically deals with taxation and its regulation, government spending, borrowings and the use of funds under the Consolidated Fund of India. 
  • The government has brought about 40 amendments to the Finance Bill 2017, many related to several other laws, raising questions of parliamentary scrutiny and debate on laws, besides the short-circuiting of established procedures.
  • Some examples are, making Aadhaar cards mandatory for filing income tax returns, removing the cap of 7.5 per cent of the average net profits in the past three financial years for corporates to donate to political parties keeping the names of political parties confidential, giving greater powers to tax officials and merge tribunals — the government has obviated the need to secure the approval of the Upper House, which cannot reject a money bill.

Analysis:

  • The government’s way short-circuits debate and raises issues of accountability.
  • It sets a bad precedent, opening the door for governments in the future to take a similar route that undermines accountability.
  • Another cause for worry is the growing disengagement of many of India’s law-makers with the budget process and key legislation. That leaves only the prospect of a judicial challenge, if at all, to the new approach to law-making.

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