MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS MUST BE PROTECTED FROM ONSLAUGHT OF FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS: MADRAS HC ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL MEDICAL COUNCIL - The Daily Guardian
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MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS MUST BE PROTECTED FROM ONSLAUGHT OF FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS: MADRAS HC ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL MEDICAL COUNCIL

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In a refreshing, robust, rational, recent and realistic judgment titled Dr P Basumani vs The Tamil Nadu Medical Council in Writ Petition No. 12303 of 2021 and WMP No. 13086 of 2021 delivered as recently as on October 26, 2021, the Madras High Court quashed an order dated May 4, 2021 of the Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) suspending a gastroenterologist by observing that principles of natural justice were not given credence to. It must be noted here that the Madras High Court also laid down exhaustive guidelines that are to be included in the new Regulations that are to be framed under the National Medical Council (NMC) Act, 2019 for effective handling of complaints against medical practitioners. It also made it clear that in the larger interest of the society the highest degree of care and caution must be exercised by medical practitioners however it is equally important to acknowledge the services of medical practitioners.

To start with, a single Judge Bench comprising of Justice R Mahadevan of the Madras High Court first and foremost makes it a point to state in this latest, learned, laudable and landmark judgment that, “Petition filed under Article 226 of The Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Certiorari calling for the records relating to the impugned order in Reference No. TNMC/DC 136 of 2018 dated 04.05.2021 issued by the respondent in so far as it relates to the petitioner and quash the same.” It is then put forth in para 1 that, “This writ petition is filed praying to issue a Writ of Certiorari to quash the order dated 04.05.2021 passed by the respondent insofar as it relates to the petitioner.”

As we see, it is then disclosed in para 2 that, “The petitioner is a practising Doctor with specialisation in Gastroenterology. According to him, he has 35 years of practice and is presently working as Consultant Gastroenterologist at Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai.”

While elaborating on the content of the writ petition, the Bench then brings out in para 3 that, “It is stated in the writ petition that during the year 2015, when the petitioner was working as a Primary Consultant at Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai, he along with other specialists, examined a patient by name N.Pitchaimani, aged 66 years, on 27.09.2015, who was suffering from the symptoms of disorientation, generalized weakness, giddiness and turbid urine and was admitted in the hospital on the same day. The petitioner also stated that the condition of the patient improved initially and he was shifted to the general ward from Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on 04.10.2015. However, his condition suddenly deteriorated on 07.10.2015 and he was again shifted to ICU. As the condition of the patient deteriorated further, he was advised intubation and ventilation on 09.10.2015, but despite the best treatment afforded, the patient breathed his last on 11.10.2015 at 11.25 pm.”

Furthermore, the Bench then envisages in para 4 that, “The petitioner further stated that on 12.04.2021, he received a summons from the respondent / Tamil Nadu Medical Council, directing him to appear before a committee on 22.04.2021 and give evidence with regard to the enquiry initiated against one Dr. Radhakrishnan of Combatore, on the basis of the complaint given by Sri Subhitha of Chennai, alleging that the said Dr. Radhakrishnan has issued a false fitness certificate to her father, based on which, various properties worth about Rs. 50 crores have been registered in the name of Sakthi Kumar, who is son-in-law of the said Dr. Radhakrishnan. In response to the summons issued by the respondent, the petitioner appeared before the committee on 22.04.2021 and gave his statement. Thereafter, the respondent passed an order on 04.05.2021, imposing the punishment of removal of his name from the Medical Register of Tamil Nadu Medical Council for a period of six months. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner is before this Court with this writ petition.”

Quite significantly, the Bench then hastens to add in para 15 that, “In the present case, the petitioner has taken a clear stand that he was caught unaware of the action taken against him behind his back. The copy of the report was not furnished to him. As stated earlier, the enquiry was not against the petitioner and he was summoned only to give material evidence. The alleged statement of the other witness namely the medical superintendent was not furnished to the petitioner. The petitioner was also not afforded any opportunity to cross examine the witness, whose statement or document was used against him and put forth his defence before the committee as to whether he was aware of the contents of the letter addressed to the Medical Superintendent and for that matter, he was not aware of the reply given by the Medical Superintendent. This Court also, from the records, is unable to find even any probability of joint decision or instruction from the petitioner to the Medical Superintendent for him to issue such a letter contrary to the medical records of the patient to the police authorities. Thus, the violation of the principles of natural justice has caused serious prejudice to him. As a matter of fact, during the course of hearing, such procedural lapses have also been agreed upon on the side of the respondent. Therefore, this court is of the opinion that without any complaint, the act of the disciplinary committee being quasi judicial authority, to recommend for imposition of punishment on the petitioner, that too, without providing any opportunity to him, is wholly unjustified and the same is liable to be set aside.”

As a corollary, the Bench then holds in para 16 that, “In the ultimate analysis, the order dated 04.05.2021 passed by the respondent is set aside insofar as the petitioner is concerned and accordingly, the writ petition is allowed. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.”

Finally and far most significantly, the Bench then minces no words to state forthrightly what forms the cornerstone of this brief, brilliant, bold and balanced judgment in para 17 wherein it is held that, “Before parting, this Court wishes to observe that it is the responsibility of the Medical Council to proceed against the medical practitioners, if there is any breach or violation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) or instructions given from time to time. At the same time, the Medical Council also owes a duty to protect the medical practitioners, who are rendering yeomen service for the betterment of the general public, from the onslaught of frivolous complaints or to proceed against them in a hasty manner. The Medical Council is expected to act in such a manner that every area connected with the complaints can be meted out, which will pave way for reasonable as well as legally based decision to be arrived at. Therefore, as discussed in the preceding paragraphs 10.1 to 10.10, this Court suggests the following guidelines to be included in the new Regulations that are to be framed under the NMC Act, 2019 and to be made as an SOP for the purpose of effective complaint-handling mechanism, so as to avoid unnecessary allegations against the Medical Board:

(a) The Code/Regulations should enunciate in general the duties bestowed by law on a registered medical practitioner. These duties and responsibilities are standards to be met by all medical practitioners in general.

(b) After enumerating the general duties and responsibilities expected from a registered medical practitioner, certain specific duties and responsibilities, the violation of which would entail disciplinary action, would be construed as ‘professional misconduct’ to be enumerated in a list of instances that are illustrative. A further guidance is to be issued in the Regulations itself as to which other further instances of misconduct may be treated by the disciplinary board or the superior Courts as qualifying under the term ‘professional misconduct’ that would entail disciplinary action against medical practitioners.

(c) Thereafter, a complete stage-wise guidelines/ mechanism is to be envisaged under the Code/Regulations from the time of filing of the complaint by an aggrieved person to the registration of such a complaint with the concerned medical council and the procedure to be followed thereafter.

(d) Once a complaint is received from an aggrieved person, the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board, as the case may be, may issue a show cause notice to the delinquent medical practitioner, annexing a copy of the complaint received and calling upon an explanation in detail from the medical practitioner, within a time frame to be fixed by the Council. The medical practitioner may submit his explanation within the time frame granted and the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board may, after considering the explanation given by the medical practitioner, constitute an enquiry committee consisting of experts in the field with specific reference to the field of medicine with which the medical practitioner is associated.

(e) After constitution of committee, notice is to be issued to the medical practitioner as well as the complainant and both parties shall be heard in person and relevant oral as well as documentary evidence shall be recorded by giving enough opportunity to both parties in the presence of each other. The principles of natural justice, as required in quasi-judicial proceeding, will have to necessarily be followed as the proceedings may end in punishments which would entail civil consequences to either party.

(f) After completing enquiry, the Enquiry Committee has to submit its detailed report encompassing all the evidence recorded before it by both parties and come to an informed decision on its recommendation to the disciplinary board of the State Medical Council / Ethics and Medical Registration Board. The Enquiry committee will have to indicate its finding on the veracity or otherwise of the complaint as well as its finding on whether the medical practitioner is guilty of ‘professional misconduct’ under the Regulations/Code.

(g) In order to make the disciplinary proceedings free from any loopholes and to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, the report of the enquiry committee is to be made final and binding on the disciplinary board of the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board. On receipt of the report of the enquiry committee, the Disciplinary Board of the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board, as the case may be, if the medical practitioner is found guilty, may decide on a proposed punishment and issue a show cause notice to the medical practitioner on the only ground of the proposed punishment, call for his remarks thereon and thereafter pass orders imposing punishment on the medical practitioner.

(h) The disciplinary board of the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board will have to a permanent tenure, fixed three-member body (constituted by election by the Commission from amongst its members) that will function as the disciplinary authority for the purpose of professional misconduct by registered medical practitioners under the Code/Regulation.

(i) The enquiry committee will have to be appointed by the unanimous consent of the members of the Disciplinary Board of the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board as the case may be.

(j) The appointment of the members of the enquiry committee, however, will differ from case to case depending on the field of medicine that the delinquent officer is associated with. The enquiry committee shall be a three-member committee with one member from the field of general/internal medicine and two other members from the concerned fields as required on a case to case basis.

(k) Any complaint made to the State Medical Council/Ethics and Medical Registration Board shall be disposed of within a period of six months in total from the time of filing of the complaint to the time of either closing of the complaint or imposing punishment on the delinquent medical officer.

(l) For the purpose of giving enough and extensive powers to the enquiry committee, inspiration may be drawn from Section 42 of the Advocates Act, 1961 where the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council is given extensive powers with respect to conducting enquiry, recording of evidence et cetera.

(m) The code of ethics which presently mentions under Regulation 1.3 that medical documents and records to be preserved for a period of three years can be extended for a period of 10 years as the entire records can be digitalised and the same may be required for dealing with complaints.

(n) A period of limitation for filing a complaint against a medical practitioner can be loosely fixed by the Council while giving liberty to the disciplinary board to relax the same, if the case so deserves.”

All said and done, the Madras High Court has very rightly underscored that the medical practitioners who are rendering yeoman’s service for the betterment of the general public must be protected from onslaught of frivolous complaints. The single Judge Bench of Justice R Mahadevan who authored this most commendable judgment has certainly issued most commendable guidelines for National Medical Council which must be definitely implemented in letter and spirit so that its true purpose is achieved for which it is issued! No denying it!

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate

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‘If you want a change, choose me’ : Tharoor on Congress president poll

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Shashi Tharoor claims party's support

In the upcoming presidential election of the grand old party, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor reiterated on Saturday that his contest against senior party member Mallikarjun Kharge “is not a battle.” Following days of turmoil surrounding the intra-party troubles in Rajasthan, Tharoor and Kharge finally submitted their nominations for the crucial elections, which are set for October 17, on Friday.

“This is not a war. We can belong to different schools of thoughts. Let the members decide,” Tharoor told news agency ANI in an interview on Saturday. “All I am telling the members is  that if you’re satisfied with the functioning of the party, please vote for Kharge Sahab. But if you want a change, choose me.. If you want the party to function differently.”

His remarks came as news spread that the Gandhis were endorsing the 80-year-old Kharge for the top party position. On Saturday, Kharge announced his resignation as the opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, a day after more than 30 leaders surprised many by end-of-nomination support for his candidacy. In contrast, Tharoor was not accompanied by as many senior leaders.

“But there is no ideological problem here. Whatever the message has so far of the Congress will continue to remain,” Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday, dismissing any differences.

Even though the Gandhis made it clear that they would no longer be running for president post, their management has continued to draw criticism. Regarding the family’s importance for the party in light of the BJP’s dynastic politics allegations.

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Kharge resigns as Rajya Sabha Lop, following ‘one person, one post’ formula

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Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge submitted his resignation as Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House as he filed his nomination for the party’s chief post, after the Udaipur announcement of “one person, one post.”

“I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, consequent upon my filing of nomination for the post of President, All India Congress Committee,” Kharge said in his letter to interim party president Sonia Gandhi.

In February 2021, Kharge took over as the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House following Ghulam Nabi Azad’s retirement. If Kharge, who is considered to be the front-runner, is chosen as the party president, the Congress may need to find a new LoP in the Rajya Sabha.

Although the selection process for Kharge’s replacement won’t begin until the results are announced, party leaders said that Digivjaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, or Ranjit Ranjan may be possible candidates.

According to party insiders, Singh, who opted out of the race to support Kharge, might emerge as a possible successor to Kharge. “He doesn’t hold any organisational position and a leader from the Hindi belt can also act like a balancing factor,” said a leader, adding that senior party leader Mukul Wasnik may also be considered. Among women leaders, Ranjit Ranjan, a fierce orator from Bihar, or Gujarat’s former leader of the Opposition Shakti Sinh Gohil could also be considered, said a Congress leader from Rajya Sabha.

In an April 2022 decision, the Udaipur Chintan Shivir demanded that the policy be put into effect at all party levels.

Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, decided not to run for president of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi’s strongly advocated “one person, one post” formula sparked an uprising inside the state party last week. A majority of Congress MLAs in Rajasthan staged a separate meeting and prevented the adoption of a one-line resolution authorising the party leader to propose Gehlot’s replacement.

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As ‘Bharat Jodo’ enters Karnataka, rattled BJP gives front-page ad that distorts history: Jairam Ramesh

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As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered the BJP-ruled state, according to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday, the BJP placed a front page advertisement in a Kannada newspaper. Ramesh said in a tweet, “The advertisement mischievously distorts history as usual. Savarkar propounded two-nation theory & Jinnah ensured it got done. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of Jan Sangh championed partition of Bengal.” BJP is rattled by the yatra’s success, the Congress leader continued.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi entered the election-bound state of Karnataka on Friday. There, the yatra will travel 511 kilometres across seven districts in 21 days.

Rahul Gandhi remarked in a statement at the beginning of the march’s Kerala leg that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is the voice of the nation and that no one can stop it.

“Entire control is lying with the (Central) government. If we speak in Parliament, they shut our microphones,” Rahul Gandhi said.

A new Rahul Gandhi and a new Congress party have emerged from the Bharat Jodo Yatra which forced the BJP and the RSS on the backfoot, Jairam Ramesh said on Friday. “People asked who is ‘thodoing’ (breaking) Bharat for Congress to do Bharat Jodo, our answer is Mr Modi’s ideology, policies, personality is thodoing Bharat. Because economic inequality is increasing, social polarisation is increasing and political over-centralisation is increasing, the Congress is doing this yatra,” Jairam Ramesh said.

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Rajnath Singh Urges Industry cooperation to take Indian defence sector to new heights

Government Steps to Improve Defence Industry manufacturing eco system are showing results: RM

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Rajnath Singh

Introduction
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh exhorted the Indian defence Industry to make new investments and lay more emphasis on research & development to scale new heights. He was addressing the 117th Annual session of PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHD-CCI ) held in New Delhi on September 30th, 2022. “Make new investments, put more emphasis on research & development, and harness its full potential to take the Indian defence industry to new heights. This effort of yours will be very important not only for the defence industry, but also for the overall growth of the entire country,’ he said.
Raksha Mantri added that the Indian defence sector offers immense potential and the companies even from abroad see opportunities. PHD-CCI being one of the oldest industry associations having many national and international members could act as ambassador of the Indian defence industry. “Your roots are spread far and wide in the country and abroad. You can fulfil your role by communicating with all the domestic and foreign companies, connecting them with the Indian defence industry and acting as a bridge between these two,” he said
Appreciating the PHD-CCI for scheduling a dedicated session on ‘Make in India: A success story of India’s Defence Indigenization’ Raksha Mantri said that this is equally related to the national security, and the economic progress of the country. National security is one of the most important components in the progress of a nation. The social, economic and cultural upliftment of the nation are not possible without security.. India had paid the price in past for neglecting national security. Even after independence not enough attention was given to make defence sector strong and self-reliant, he lamented.
Striking an optimistic note, Raksha Mantri said that Indian defence industry is progressing steadily in partnership with private sector.”There was either no way for the private sector in the past to enter the defence sector, and even if there was some scope, the industry was not ready to set foot in the defence sector due to various reasons”. These reasons were lack of political will, appropriate policy to incentivize their entry, high investment and long gestation period.
Raksha Mantri noted that the government has removed these bottlenecks and played the role of an incubator, catalyst, consumer and facilitator in the case of private industry. Several steps have been taken by the Ministry of Defence, under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Self-reliant India’ initiatives of the Government, to change the old traditions, and to create a manufacturing climate, in which the public and private sectors could participate.
Elaborating upon the far-reaching reforms undertaken by the MOD to bolster the private sector participation in defence sector, Raksha Mantri said that Government labs opened to the private industry, transferred technology at zero fee, provided access to test facilities, and upfront funding through DRDO was provisioned.
The Ministry of Defence has issued 3 positive indigenization lists of 309 items which will be procured from domestic vendors as per norms. Three lists have also been issued by Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU), in which more than 3700 are Line Replacement Units, Sub-systems and other Components. In addition, an iDEX initiative has been launched to encourage innovators and start-ups. The policy decision has been taken to increase the limit of FDI to 74% by the automatic route, and to 100% by the government route in special cases. Government has taken several steps like introduction of defence industrial corridors– two Industrial corridors have been set up each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, corporatization of OFB which creates win-win situation for armed forces, industry, start-ups and innovators, said Raksha Mantri.
He further said : “The magnitude of all these efforts is beginning to come before us. Today we are not only producing to meet our own defence needs, but also fulfilling the defence needs of many other countries under ‘Make for the World’. It is a matter of great happiness that defence exports have increased manifold from what we used to have, and have reached Rs 13,000 crores last year. We used to be counted as one of the biggest arms importers in the world until now. But today we are one of the top 25 arms exporting countries of the world. We have targeted a turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in defence manufacturing, including Rs 35,000 crore from exports in aerospace, and defence goods and services by 2025.”
PHD-CCI is one of the oldest chambers in the country. Since its establishment in 1905, it has been proactive National Apex Chamber working at the grass-root level and with strong national and international linkages. The Chamber acts as a catalyst in the promotion of industry, trade and entrepreneurship. PHD Chamber, through its research-based policy advocacy role, positively impacts the economic growth and development of the nation.

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Indian Railways to release its new All India Railway time table

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Indian Railways to release its new All India Railway time table

The Ministry of Railways will be releasing its new All India Railway Time Table known as “TRAINS AT A GLANCE (TAG)” effective from 1st October, 2022. The new Trains at a Glance will also be available w.e.f. 1st October, 2022 on Indian Railways’ official website i.e. www.indianrailways.gov.in.

Highlights of the new time table are as follows:
I. Indian Railways runs about 3,240 Mail/Express trains which include Vande Bharat Express, Gatimaan Express, Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Humsaafar Express, Tejas Express, Duronto Express, Antyodaya Express, Garib Rath Express, Sampark Kranti Express, Yuva Express, Uday Express, Janshatabdi Express and other types of trains. In addition, about 3,000 Passenger trains and 5,660 suburban trains are also operated over the Indian Railways network. The volume of passengers carried daily is about 2.23 Crore.
II. To clear extra rush and meet passenger demand, more than 65,000 Special train trips were operated during 2021-22. About 566 coaches were permanently augmented to increase the carrying capacity.
III. Maximize the utilization of rolling stock:
i. During review of the lie over of rakes it was observed that the rakes can be better utilized for extending the existing services or increasing the frequency. This would maximize the utilization of the rolling stock and provide better connectivity to the travelling passengers.
ii.During the year 2021-22, 106 new services were introduced, 212 services were extended and frequency of 24 services was increased.
IV. Proliferation of Premium Trains:
i. At present, Vande Bharat Express trains are operating between New Delhi – Varanasi and New Delhi – Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. One more Vande Bharat Express train has been introduced between Gandhinagar Capital and Mumbai Central w.e.f. 30.09.2022. It has been proposed to introduce more Vande Bharat Express trains over the Indian Railways network.
ii. Tejas Express services offering onboard services like entertainment, local cuisine, wifi etc. are also being proliferated over Indian Railway network. At present, 7 pairs of Tejas Express services are operational over Indian Railways.
V. Provision of Corridor Blocks in the working Time-Table of the divisions:
To provide sufficient time for the maintenance of the fixed infrastructure like track structure, signaling gears, overhead equipments, it has been planned to ensure provision of fixed corridor blocks. The duration of these corridors blocks will be from 3 hours in each section. This will not only improve the reliability of the assets but also enhance the passenger safety.
X. Conversion of Rakes ICF to LHB:
The conversion of Mail/Express trains operating with ICF design rakes is being undertaken to improve passenger safety and provide faster transit with better riding comfort. Indian Railways converted 187 Rakes of ICF to LHB for the period of 2021-2022.
VII. Efforts to improve punctuality of late running trains:
Necessary changes in the time table have been incorporated to improve punctuality. Due to concerted efforts the punctuality of Mail/Express trains has improved by about 9% as compared to the punctuality during pre Covid (2019-20).
viii. Standardization of rakes:
The rakes at different maintenance depots have been standardized by integration of the rake links to improve flexibility in operations and thereby help in improving punctuality.
IX. Replacement of conventional Passenger trains with MEMU/DEMU:
In the year 2021-22, 60 number of conventional passenger services have been replaced by MEMUs thereby increasing the overall mobility of the system.
X. Availability of Trains at a Glance as “e-Book”:
As a part of digitalization of train Time Table, Trains at a Glance (TAG) will now also be available as ‘e-Book’ which can be downloaded from IRCTC website (www.irctc.co.in & www.irctctourism.com).

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Strict Action against defaulters: Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav

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Strict Action against defaulters: Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav

Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, conducted a detailed review on 30.09.2022 on measures and actions planned towards abatement of air pollution by all stakeholders concerned in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas, in the wake of poor air quality conditions generally prevailing during the period between October – January each year,
Union Minister impressed upon key sectors that contribute to air pollution and are critical in the ensuing 3-4 months period. He emphasized that source of air pollution such as paddy stubble burning, open biomass / municipal solid waste burning, industrial emissions and particulate matter / dust emissions from construction / demolition activities and roads / open areas were directed to be focussed for concerted preventive and mitigative actions.
Union Minister directed for timely and effective implementation of various components of the detailed plan of actions, developed by the NCR States and Punjab, pursuant to CAQM Framework / Directions on management of paddy stubble burning. Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change called upon Punjab to expand the coverage of area under Bio-Decomposer through pro-active action by the State Government specially since a very marginal increase had been proposed in the coverage of area under Bio-Decomposer i.e. form 7500 acres in 2021 to merely 8000 acres in 2022.
Chairman, CAQM also emphasized the need of time bound implementation of the action plan particularly by the State of Punjab. Optimal utilisation of available crop residue management machinery with the states was identified as a key factor towards effective management of stubble. Extensive use of technology and mobile applications for mapping the demand and supply of such CRM machinery through the CHCs and cooperatives was emphasised upon during the meeting. It was also stressed upon enhancing the net of PUSA bio‑decomposer application for in-situ management of the stubble. Towards ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw various options are now being progressed with including biomass power generation, bio-ethanol production, CBG production, co-firing in thermal power plants, fuel for industrial boilers and other misc. applications, composting, cattle fodder and misc. commercial applications in furnishing materials and packaging etc. Progress on co-firing of biomass in thermal power plants has not been up to the desired levels and the Minister called for immediate corrective measures by Thermal Power Plants to substantially enhance co-firing. The Minister asked CAQM to utilize his statutory powers to take action against the defaulting the Power plants and also any other defaulting entities.
Union Minister expressed his concern and dis-satisfaction with the preparedness of Punjab in taking concrete action on the ground towards Air Quality Management while pointing out that the State Government had not planned adequately for management of almost 5.75 million tons of stubble which is a huge gap and was likely to have an adverse impact on the air quality in Delhi and NCR region.
The Minister exhorted the need to switch over to clean fuels for industrial applications and directed for a quick transition to clean fuels as per the approved standard fuel list for NCR as directed for by the CAQM. Controlling heavy pollution from a large number of diesel generator sets operating in NCR was also identified as key action area and the Minister emphasised on strict implementation of restrictions on use of DG Sets and emission control measures in this context.
The review highlighted the need for effective dust control measures in various anthropogenic activities, construction / demolition activities, roads and open areas. Effective utilisation and augmentation of mechanised road cleaning equipment, water sprinklers and anti-smog guns by NCR State Governments / GNCTD was also emphasized during the meeting.
Considering the criticality of air pollution related mattes including the weather conditions around Diwali festival, the Minister directed for special and timely measures to control the air pollution levels.
As air pollution in the region is a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral phenomenon, spreading across geographical boundaries, the Minister reiterated the need for collective and concerted efforts of all the stakeholder agencies, departments in the State Govts. and public at large towards abatement of air pollution in the region and to this effect directed that all directions, orders and guidelines of the CAQM / CPCB/ State Pollution Control Boards be implemented in right earnest and critically monitored / reviewed periodically by the authorities concerned.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change including Secretary, Chairman, Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), Secretary in-charge in the State Govts. of Punjab, Haryana, UP and GNCT of Delhi, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, NCR State Pollution Control Boards, DPCC and other major stakeholders participated in the review meet.

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