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Policy & Politics

Patent waiver or compulsory licensing: Exploring the best possible solution to deal with vaccine shortage woes

The Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister has warned about the possibility of a third wave, which could be more menacing than the previous waves. While the lack of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and key medicines such as Remdesivir exposed India’s lack of preparedness for the second wave, it is believed that vaccines are the only way out, if India is to avoid the subsequent wave(s).

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Vaccine

“No one is safe, until everyone is safe”

The second wave’s impact on India has been like no other, with people dying due to lack of oxygen and hospital beds. India has suffered a double whammy of lethal second waive caused mainly by the Indian variant and the UK variant as well as the horrid management by the government.

The Principal scientific advisor to the Prime Minister has called out the possibility of a third wave, which could be more menacing than the previous waves. While the lack of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and key medicines such as Remdesivir exposed India’s lack of preparedness for the second wave, it is believed that vaccines are the only way out, if India is to avoid the subsequent wave(s). As of April 30, 2% of Indians have been administered with both doses of vaccine with 12.5 crore people taking the first dose. At this pace it would take 2 years and 9 months to completely vaccinate the whole country.

However, the rich countries such as the US, UK, EU, and Canada, which hold just 14% of the worlds’ population have usurped 53% of the eight most potent vaccines. A whopping 67 low income countries haven’t bought any vaccine and are solely relied on the COVAX initiative, which has secured approximately 700 million doses just enough to immunize 10% of the people in those 67 countries. These rich countries are also being accused of hoarding the vaccines.

This inequality in relation to the distribution of vaccines as well as the carnage that numerous waves of COVID-19 have caused in different countries has prompted a debate whether there can be a waiver of the intellectual property of the vaccines which could enable the lower income countries to take the formula of the vaccines and produce it in their countries. The author through this article seeks to analyse the possibility of IPR waiver, as proposed by India and South Africa. Moreover, the author would also analyse the possibility of using compulsory licensing to increase vaccine production in the country.

WHAT IS THE PROPOSAL?

An obvious inequality exists in terms of distribution of the vaccine all across the world with the developed countries usurping the greater share. A mere 0.3% of the total doses of the vaccine have reached the Low income countries. To tackle this situation, India and South Africa have submitted a proposal for waiving patent on drugs, vaccine and other medical products pertaining to COVID – 19 at the WTO. For this, they are seeking a waiver on the enforcement, application and implementation of sections 1 (on copyright and related rights), section 4 (industrial designs), section 5 (patents) and section 7(protection of undisclosed information) of part II of the TRIPS proposal pertaining to the containment, treatment and prevention of COVID – 19.

Moreover, a demand of a three years waiver has been made along with the components or the materials and methods which may be required in the production. The proposal would need the support of three – fourth of 164 members. At the moment, it has got the support of 120 countries along with the US, China and Russia which is a major boost.

The proposal has emphasised on the concerns regarding affordable, adequate and prompt availability of quintessential medical products and role of patents in hindering the manufacturing of these product and consequently affecting the accessibility to these products. Moreover, another primary reason of the proposal is the cumbersome processes required for import and exports of pharmaceutical goods under Article 31bis which provides the legal basis for members to grant special compulsory licenses exclusively for the production and export of affordable generic medicines to other members which cannot domestically produce the needed medicines in sufficient quantities. The bottom-line is that the provisions have been utilized just once since its introduction due to its complex and cumbersome requirement.

IS THE PROPOSAL TO REMOVE PATENTS A GOOD IDEA?

There is a cleavage of opinion on the suggestion of IPR waiver on vaccines. Developed countries as well as Pharma companies suggest that patents form an incentive for inventors to continue their work and to excel. Moreover, they raise concern on the notion of transfer of technology of these vaccines which involve complex methodologies, as to how would that work out. Whereas, the WHO and other developing and low – incoming countries cite a public health crisis which is causing carnage in different countries and suggest that the logic behind the use of patents on these essential medical products are difficult to defend in these testing times.

Questions have been raised with regards to the legality of a request of a waiver under the TRIPS agreement. Clause 3 and 4 of Article IX of the Marrakesh Agreements establishing the WTO, answer those questions. It asserts the possibility of a waiver from certain obligation under WTO treaties, such as TRIPS, in exceptional circumstance, and that it can be decided at a WTO ministerial conference. The Waiver proposal must justify the exceptional circumstances, all the terms and conditions and the time when the waiver terminates. And it is a fact that a pandemic would qualify as an exceptional circumstance. So, the merit of the proposal can’t be called into question.

HAS A PATENT BEEN WAIVED IN THE PAST?

Their exist precedents of a waiver of certain obligation under TRIPS. For example, a consensus was formed by the WTO members in 2003 for a waiver pertaining to paragraph 6 of the Doha declaration on the TRIPS agreement and Public Health. The waiver established a framework of compulsory license to allow countries producing generic medicines to supply the medicines to countries which couldn’t manufacture the medicine themselves.

In another instance, due to patent monopolies, the cost of drugs to be used by one patient for a year suffering from HIV/AIDS was over $10,000 twenty years ago. A Lot of people died because of inaccessibility to affordable medicine. It took an access – to – medicines movement from patient activists, civil society and health rights groups from South Africa and other countries of the world, who stood up to the Pharmaceutical companies as well as government inaction. Monopoly of companies on these drugs was removed, which fostered competition and generic production. It showed in results as the price of antiretroviral drugs dropped by 99% in the next decade, which ultimately helped solve the problem called HIV.

Looking at the example of South Africa and its long drawn battle with HIV, it can be concluded that the IP barrier definitely elongated that fight and was proving out be a hindrance to the accessibility to theses medicines at an affordable price. In the current scenario, as we are facing acute vaccine shortage, IP barriers would certainly elongate the fight against COVID – 19, which would be detrimental to the whole world including the developed countries.

The meeting of TRIPS council will take place on June 8 and if the waiver comes through, it will only be post-June. This coupled with all the bottlenecks related to production capacity of the vaccines, distribution and production of raw materials and components of vaccine are not going to be a quick fix. So the waiver won’t be the answer to our instant problem. But it would certainly help India and those low income countries in the long run.

IS COMPULSORY LICENSING AN ANSWER TO THE VACCINE SHORTAGE WOES?

India is the third largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical products in the world in terms of volume and 14th largest in terms of value, with a contribution of 3.5% of the total medicines and drugs exported globally. So, far, we haven’t been able to harness this pharmaceutical prowess to deal with this pandemic. Compulsory licensing might be that tool to achieve this goal.

The Provisions regarding Compulsory Licensing have been provided under Chapter XVI of the Patent Act, 1970. The Act lays down the criteria, which need to be fulfilled for granting a compulsory license under section 84 and 92. Compulsory licensing is the process of issuing licenses to a patent from the government without a requirement of the approval of the patent holder due to some predisposing extraneous situation, like a pandemic. Following an application, it can be granted to any interested person after the expiry of three years from the date of the patent. Moreover, section 84 lays down the ground under which compulsory license can be granted. The first ground describes that the patented invention hasn’t been able to satiate the reasonable requirements of the public. Secondly, the patented invention is not accessible to the public at an affordable price. Lastly, the patented invention is not worked in the territory of India.

Section 92 of the Act provides that if the central government is satisfied, in cases of extreme urgency such as national emergency or public non – commercial use, may at any time after sealing of the patent, grant compulsory license of that patent to any interested person. Moreover, the procedure laid down under section 87 which lays down detailed procedure for granting of compulsory license maybe skipped in the case of a public health emergency or an epidemic. The Doha Declaration also mandates and supports the use of Compulsory Licensing for countries that are facing tumultuous situations and need a hand.

However, we must examine if compulsory license will solve the interim shortage of vaccines that India is facing at the moment. The granting of compulsory licensing would certainly help overcome the restrictions imposed by the patent law, however, it would not help in transferring the know – how pertaining to the manufacturing of the vaccine. The production of vaccine requires techniques which are very advanced. The issuance of compulsory licensing does not create an obligation to share these techniques.

A solution to the aforementioned problem could be granting compulsory licenses of the Covaxin as it has been produced jointly by ICMR and Bharat Biotech, coupled with all the money that has been put in by the govt., the IP of Covaxin certainly rests with the government. However, this comes in with its own caveat as the production of this vaccine requires a ‘Biosafety level-3’ production facility, which would require at least a year to build. Hence, compulsory licensing won’t solve the vaccine shortage we are facing at the moment, but is a more long term solution which would require time and effort.

CONCLUSION

The passage of the proposal for TRIPS waiver or granting compulsory licensing with an aim to ramp up production would require time and patience and neither of them would provide a straightjacket and instant solution.

The situation we are in requires quick decision making. Increased delay would give the virus another chance to mutate and make its way to developed countries which are hoarding vaccines. Canada has enough vaccine to inoculate its citizens 10 times over; Britain could inoculate its citizen 8 times over. The first and foremost step that the developed countries could take is to stop hoarding of vaccine and donate the excess to the COVAX initiative, which would make sure equitable distribution of vaccine among the lower income countries.

Secondly, India could also explore the option of Voluntary Licensing. Voluntary licensing involves a process in which the patent holder authorises a third party to produce and sell the patented product on terms and conditions that benefit them both. Again Covaxin could make the best candidate with the possibly, the IP of the vaccine resting with the government. So far, the government has been reluctant to license the covaxin to possible producers and scale up its production. One could argue that this decision contradicts government proposal of TRIPS waiver for vaccine.

India could have augmented the production of Covaxin by urgently licensing it to as many pharmaceutical companies as possible. Increased production would have not only solved India’s woes, but also those low – income developing countries. This could demonstrate India’s strong political will to increase the accessibility of vaccines on a global stage.

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Policy & Politics

NCRTC SIGNS MOU WITH SECL FOR USING BLENDED RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR ITS DELHI-GHAZIABAD-MEERUT RRTS CORRIDOR

Tarun Nangia

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In line with its vision to improve the quality of life of people, National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) has signed MoU with SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) today to harness blended renewable energy for RRTS. MOU has provisions to explore possible opportunities in electric/ transformative mobility, Hydrogen based economy, and other alternative sources of fuels and energy.

MoU was signed in presence of Jatindra Nath Swain IAS, Secretary (Fisheries), GOI & CMD/SECI, Vinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director/NCRTC and Mahendra Kumar, Director(E&RS)/NCRTC alongwith other senior officials of NCRTC and SECI.

NCRTC, as part of its Energy Management Policy, intends to maximize the use of blended renewable energy such as solar power etc. for meeting full energy requirement of NCRTC. SECI, being an industry leader, will help in arranging blended renewable energy to NCRTC round the clock at affordable rates for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Corridor and cooperation to extend the same for other future corridors.

Use of clean energy, through this association will ensure reduction in expenditure on electricity and significantly lesser CO2 emissions, which is essential for sustainable development.

This cooperation is a part of NCRTC’s long term strategy to make RRTS and NCRTC financially as well as environmentally sustainable.

NCRTC is adopting following measures also for energy efficiency in India’s first RRTS corridor-

1. All elevated RRTS stations and depots will be provided with solar panels.

2. NCRTC is targeting to generate minimum 10 MW renewable energy.

3. 40% of the total energy requirement of Delhi Meerut RRTS corridor is targeted to be procured/generated from renewable energy.

4. RRTS rolling stock will be provided with state-of-the-art regenerative braking system which converts train’s kinetic energy into electrical energy..

5. Regenerative braking will result in reduced wear and tear of wheels, brake pads and other associated moving brake-gear parts of rolling stock resulting in significantly less consumption of these spare part/items during train maintenance life cycle which again will result in substantial reduction in CO2 emission which otherwise would have been generated in the manufacturing and supply chain process of these spare parts/items.

6. RRTS trains will have push buttons for selective opening of doors on need basis. This eliminates the requirement of opening all doors at every station, thus leading to energy saving. RRTS rolling stock will have lighting and temperature control systems to enhance the passenger experience with less energy consumption.

7. All RRTS station and their premises, depot, office spaces and trains will be equipped with energy-saving LED lights.

8. Platform Screen Doors will be installed at every RRTS stations that will help in saving significant energy consumption in underground stations.

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Policy & Politics

TARGETED POLICY SUPPORT TO ENGINEERING EXPORT SECTOR NEEDED, SAYS EEPC INDIA

Tarun Nangia

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The growth in outbound shipments has been robust in the last few months and the outlook remains positive for the current year but rising cost of key raw materials especially steel is an area of concern, said EEPC India Chairman Mr Mahesh Desai.

As expected, the value of engineering goods exports jumped 53% to US$ 8.64 billion in May, 2021 as against US$ 5.65 billion in the corresponding month last year primarily due to low base effect and increasing demand from key markets.

“Soaring prices of various metals is a big challenge for the engineering goods manufacturers which were badly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns,” he said.

While hoping that the rates for the export promotion scheme RoDTEP would be announced shortly, the EEPC India Chairman expects the government to provide more targeted support as suggested by the RBI.

Announcing the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on June 4, RBI Governor Mr Shaktikanta Das had said that conducive external conditions were forming for a durable recovery beyond pre-pandemic levels. He further said that the need of the hour is for enhanced and targeted policy support for exports.

EEPC India Chairman said that while the export outlook has been projected to be positive in the current fiscal, there were downside risks too given that public health experts have predicted a possible third wave of the pandemic.

“The efforts must be made now to minimise the impact of pandemic on trade and business as protecting livelihood is no less important than lives. The plans should be in place to ensure goods movement, especially export consignments, are not affected by lockdowns, night curfews or any other restrictions imposed by states to prevent the spread of virus,” Mr Desai said.

Announcing the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on 4 June, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that conducive external conditions were forming for a durable recovery beyond pre-pandemic levels.

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Policy & Politics

India’s exports continue to perform impressively for third month in a row

FIEO president reiterated that though the government has announced a slew of measures to support exports, the need of the hour is to soon notify the RoDTEP rates to remove uncertainty from the minds of the trade and industry, thereby helping in further forging new contracts with the foreigner buyers.

Tarun Nangia

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Responding to the trade data for May, 2021, Sharad Kumar Saraf, President, FIEO said that the continuing impressive growth in exports by about 70% to USD 32.27 billion compared to a low base of USD 19.05 billion during May 2020, reiterate our assessment that order booking position of our exporters is not only extremely good but also the gradual opening up of major global markets and improvement of situation in the country is expected to push exports growth further. President FIEO said that growing by over 8% even on the base of May 2019 reflects a positive trend for the sector. Saraf particularly emphasised that the growth in labour-intensive sectors like Cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed item, Gems & Jewellery, Engineering goods, Leather and Leather Products, Ceramic products and glassware, Cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products, Marine products, Spices, Carpets and Man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups etc. augurs well for the job scenario, which is most relevant in the current context.

FIEO Chief added that such a growth during the month has been mainly on account of growth in Petroleum products, Engineering goods, Organic & Inorganic Chemicals and Gems & Jewellery, the major contributors to the country’s export basket, which have shown impressive performance compared to May, 2020. He also said that 25 out of 30 major product groups of exports have either shown a very high growth or are in positive territory defying all the odds when there is still a bit of scepticism persisting in the global economy on the expectation of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Sharad Kumar Saraf further reiterated that continuing on with such a growth performance in exports during the second month of the new financial year not only shows signs of resilience of the exporting community facing squeezing profits but also the resolve of the government. FIEO Chief complimented the government for its continuous support during such challenging times. Increase in May 2021 imports by about 74 percent to USD 38.55 billion compared to the same period during the previous fiscal led to the increase in trade deficit of USD 6.28 billion, which is an increase of over 99.61 percent during the month and should be looked into.

FIEO President reiterated that though the government has announced a slew of measures to support exports, the need of the hour is to soon notify the RoDTEP rates to remove uncertainty from the minds of the trade and industry thereby helping in further forging new contracts with the foreigner buyers. Mr Saraf also reiterated that the government must address some of the key issues including priority status to exports sector, extension of Interest Equalisation Scheme beyond June 2021 till at least 31st March, 2024, release of the necessary funds for MEIS and clarity on SEIS benefits, resolving risky exporters’ issues and continuance of seamless refund of IGST and more importantly continuing with IGST option for exports to further give boost to the sector during these challenging times.

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Policy & Politics

Making it happen: Covid management in Sonipat

Imaginative planning, meticulous execution and untiring efforts by young IAS officer Shyam Lal Poonia and his team have helped the district sail through the second wave.

Anil Swarup

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Corona

Like many regions of the country, the second wave of the Covid hit the district of Sonipat (adjoining Delhi) really hard with the positivity rate reaching a high of 54.71% on 25 April 2021. With the second wave came different sorts of challenges of which oxygen supply was most critical, given the non-existent perennial supply system for the hospitals including the 500-bedded Medical College at Khanpur Kalan. 

The challenge of medical oxygen was altogether new for Sonipat like many other districts in the country. This, coupled with close to 60% patients coming from Delhi, led to quick saturation of bed capacity in Covid hospitals of the district by 25 April 2021. Consequently, a dual challenge of increasing oxygen beds on one hand and managing oxygen demand within the available quota on the other was faced. As on 24th April, the district was receiving a daily quota of 9 MT liquid oxygen. To add to the worries, the agency responsible for supplying around 4 MT daily oxygen to Medical College had pulled out. As the state allocated oxygen quota was being determined elsewhere, the focus was on mobilization of resources and managing within this quota for which the following line of action was undertaken: 

PSA Plant: A 200 LPM capacity PSA plant approved under PM Cares Fund was lying idle since February as the Agency didn’t install it and district health team didn’t realise its importance. With the help of one Prof. Jogendra from Pacific College, Sonipat, PSA oxygen plant was commissioned at Civil Hospital Sonipat on 30th April. This helped increase the number of oxygen beds at Civil hospital.  

Oxygen Audit: Nodal officer was appointed for oxygen supply and officers were positioned at each of the bottling plants and hospitals. A multi-pronged approach was adopted to prevent wastage and siphoning off of medical oxygen at bottling plants and in hospitals.  A formula was put in placeabout average consumption on the basis of guidelines issued by MoFHW. Accordingly, average consumption in all hospitals was calculated. A committee was also constituted for oxygen consumption audit in all hospitals. Quota was now being allocated to hospitals based on their patient load. These steps helped save 2-3 MT of LMO per day.  This resulted in the increase of oxygen beds from 605 to 791 by 1st May. Moreover, the district quota was increased to 13 MT on 2nd May by the Government which helped further increasing the number of oxygen beds to 950 including 90 ventilators.

Augmenting Oxygen Storage: By end of April, 2021, the district had only one Bottling Plant with storage capacity of 20 MT which was catering to more than 25 hospitals. Through concerted efforts two more bottling plants licenses were facilitated for medical oxygen and a storage capacity of 50 MT was added within 15 days.

LMO Tank at BPS Government Medical College, Khanpur: With a daily oxygen demand of more than 450 D-Type cylinders, the Medical College was the major consumer for oxygen in the district. With every passing day and increase in patient load, it was becoming difficult to maintain regular supplies through cylinders. With the help of one of the Bottling Plants, an LMO storage tank with 12 MT capacity was installed within a week at BPSGMC. This gave a major boost to oxygen supply at the Medical College and the number of oxygen-supported beds increased from 150 to 350. This also resolved issues related to oxygen flow pressure and refilling and transportation of oxygen cylinders.

PSA Plant at BPSGMC: To further augment oxygen availability in the district and to tackle any unforeseen situation in days to come, a PSA oxygen generation plant under CSR has been installed at Govt Medical College, Khanpur with a capacity of 1000 LPM. Installation of one more PSA Plant with 1000 LPM capacity by DRDO is under progress.

At one point in time, the district had more than 7000 active cases and 90% of them were under home isolation spread across the geography of the district. To monitor them on a regular basis was a challenge given the inadequate manpower in the field. 

With the support from young MBBS/PG medical students from BPS Medical College, a motto  – Chase The Patient – was coined. Tele-consultation services were provided for all home isolated patients. 120 PG students of the Medical College were engaged to monitor all the home isolated patients of the district. The students were divided into 15 area-wise teams, each team connected with their respective Community Health Centre (CHCs) and Urban Health Centres (UHCs). 

A team of IMA doctors was roped in which constantly supported patients with their COVID treatment, psycho-social care and post COVID recovery issues. Timely tele-consultation meant that scores of patients were provided early medical care and prevented from being hospitalized.

Even as oxygen bed capacity was being increased across the district, it was observed that admission in COVID facilities was leading to disconnection of patients with their family members, due to restrictions. This was especially true for those not possessing smart phones. Covid treatment protocols couldn’t be violated. However, families were especially feeling anxious to talk to patients and know their health status. The District Administration accordingly initiated e-Samvaad wherein 6 tablets have been provided to Civil Hospital, Sonipat and BPS Govt Medical College to facilitate interaction of admitted patients with their family members. During a fixed time slot, the attendant/ family members can now interact with their patient on video call through WhatsApp/ Google Meet/ Zoom. The Nursing Staff dedicates themselves for this purpose in the given time slot. 

Given the exponential rise in cases across Sonipat, it was important to set up a central COVID Control Room to address all citizen queries and to manage the situation on-ground.  A team of 40 teachers and operators was trained to work round the clock in three shifts. Dedicated helpline catering to all citizen queries around vaccination, testing, bed availability, oxygen cylinders, movement passes and for lodging complaints against black marketing, overcharging, were made operational.

Imaginative planning, meticulous execution and untiring efforts by this young IAS officer, Shyam Lal Poonia and his team have helped the district sail through the second wave. Positivity rate is now below 2% and hospital bed occupancy is less than 20%. They made it happen amidst trying set of circumstances. 

Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.

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Policy & Politics

Politics on Central Vista project unreasonable

A modern building equipped with the latest digital technology replacing the 90-year-old Parliament House is the need of the hour. Do you know that 12 ministries of the Central government are functioning from rented buildings and the government spends about Rs 1,000 crore annually to pay the rent? Around Rs 20,000 crore would have been paid towards rent only during the period I was in Parliament. This project is the need of the hour keeping the future in mind. If all the ministries are brought together, it will help them function even more proficiently.

Vijay Darda

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If we just keep trying to prove Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrong on everything, it will weaken the very existence of the Opposition. The voice of the Opposition will carry weight only if the opposition or protest will be constructive, and not just for the sake of it. Today some people are protesting about the Central Vista project, but they should understand that the first initiative was taken by the then Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar during the Congress-led government in 2012 to build a new Parliament building. The leaders of other parties including Atal Bihari Vajpayee had supported it.

Under the Central Vista project, the offices of the Vice President, the Prime Minister as well as all the 51 ministries will be housed under one roof. MPs will have offices. All the buildings will be connected to each other. This will benefit from the security point of view and help get rid of the problems people face during the VIP movement too.

The project will cost about Rs 20,000 crore and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to complete most of the important work of this project before the end of his second term in 2024. The rest of the work will be done later.

A section of the society is questioning the need to spend such a huge amount on the project in the midst of this pandemic when the economy is badly hit. People are also questioning the purpose and benefits of this project.

Normally, this logic may sound right, but if you understand things with a deeper perspective, you will understand how important the completion of the Central Vista project is from the administrative point of view keeping in mind the future. I have been a part of the Parliament for 18 years so I have seen and understood the requirements closely. Many of these buildings are dilapidated. It is difficult to work sitting there. The legislative section of India sits in the Parliament House whereas the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and officials of 51 ministries sit at different places. Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, North Block and South Block, and National Museum building were built in 1931. After that Nirman Bhawan, Shastri Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Rail Bhawan and Krishi Bhawan were constructed between 1956 and 1968. Today, 39 ministries are housed in different buildings in the Central Vista area while 12 ministries are occupying rented premises outside.

You will be surprised to know that their annual rent is about Rs 1,000 crore and their distance from the PMO and other ministries is quite long too. Obviously, the administrative work gets hampered. So, is it justified to spend such a huge amount on rent? Just calculate how much rent the government would have paid till now. Around Rs 20,000 crore must have been paid only during the period I was in Parliament.

Another important point is that when the buildings were built in Central Vista and its surrounding areas, there was no digitalization like it is today. Now along with the security of Parliament House and ministries, there is always a big question for the security of digital files. Building a new complex will ensure better security for both.

India is a rising power in the world today. Priorities are changing, so it is very important that the entire Central government should be accommodated in a cluster of buildings equipped with modern technology so that ministers can easily reach out to each other, meet and interact. If 51 ministries located in the buildings being rebuilt in the Central Vista project are near each other, it will definitely benefit from the administrative point of view.

We also have to keep in mind that our population is growing, so surely the number of MPs will have to be increased too in future. Keeping this in mind, the new building of Parliament House will be built on about 65,400 square metres of land and have a large Constitution Hall, a lounge for MPs, a library, offices of several committees, etc. The Lok Sabha chamber will have a seating capacity for 888 members and the Rajya Sabha chamber will have the same for 384 members. Along with this, there will be ample space for the National Museum, National Archives and Indira Gandhi Art Museum and our heritage will also be displayed in a dignified manner.

Those who are critical of this project say that an amount of Rs 20,000 crore should be spent on helping the poor and providing healthcare facilities during the pandemic. But the question is whether the government is executing this project by diverting the funds meant for the poor or the needy? Of course not. The government is not rolling back any welfare scheme meant for the poor. All schemes are running as before. I believe that the poor must be helped and every government has been doing this. The point is we have to plan for the future too.

If we look at the post-independence history, be it Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or any other person who has been in power, everyone has worked on planning for the future and that is why India has occupied this prime position today. If Rajiv Gandhi would not have dreamt of a technology-rich India, had we been where we are today? We must worry about the present. Problems should also be solved, but we should also dream of a better future. The office of our Prime Minister should also be state-of-the-art, equipped and secure like the Parliament and Presidential buildings of America, Russia, Britain and other developed countries. That’s why I want to say that there should be no politics, at least in the case of the Central Vista project. There are several other subjects for politicking.

The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.

India is a rising power in the world today. Priorities are changing, so it is very important that the entire Central government should be accommodated in a cluster of buildings equipped with modern technology so that ministers can easily reach out to each other, meet and interact.

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Policy & Politics

DOES INDIA NEED POPULATION CONTROL LAW?

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The biggest problem in this country right now, which is not given any attention, either very narrow political thinking and cheap prejudice is slogans that is POPULATION. Currently the population of India is approximately 1.38 billions.second largest after china.

In 2015 India’s population was a whopping 1.31 billions, Productions shows in 2022 India will over take China to become world’s most populous country.Earlier predictions cited year 2028 for this to happen but India’s Population is growing so rapidly, that mark in 6 years advance.And it is not a matter of pride, over population leads to poverty, unemployment, climate change which pressure the natural resources, like- forest and land, leads to increase in social and religious conflicts, so overpopulation is regarded as the root cause of most of the problems in this part of the world.We are told time and again that India is the country with the youngest population, but the truth is that we have not done as much actively as we should about the population.

The condition has really worsened and is visible everywhere like- markets and public places,if you want to get an idea of the situation, just have an look in your locality

HIGH TIME TO IMPLEMENT THE LAW

At this time the country has come to a situation where there is a dire need of population control law, due to the increasing population day by day, ignoring the huge shortage of resources will prove to be our biggest mistake, because in a country like India without law and order It is impossible to remove any mismanagement of the population, so in view of the current population growth, it is very important to implement a population control law, and it should be such that the public can easily accept it, that is, the law should be made in such a way that the public understands their benefits. Come in and the public does not understand the collective loss in any way, earlier also the initiative was taken by the previous governments to control the population, but there were some such discrepancies in those rules due to which the governments failed.So now there is a need for a structure of such a law, due to which there can be a positive change and the country can move towards a development, due to the implementation of the law, there will be a huge hindrance in population growth and due to the general population rate, the supply of resources. It will also be completed smoothly and will help the country to be a developed country from a developing country.

National population policy:. Needs for planning of families would improve individuals health and welfare. Government of India initiated a comprehensive family planning programme (1952) . Family welfare Programme sought to promote responsible and planned parenthood on a voluntary basis.

Mainly focused on: Provides a policy framework for imparting free and compulsory school education upto 14 years of age, Reducing infant mortality rate below 30 per 1000 live births, Achieving universal immunisation of children against all vaccine preventable disease, Promoting delayed marriage for girls, Making family welfare a people centred programme.

SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS WHICH CAN BE USED TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF OVERPOPULATION

China’s one child policy:- Whenever we are discussing solutions for overpopulation China’s one child policy comes first mostly in our mind, they think that Indian government too should follow china and implementation this policy to restrict the birth of more than one child but most of the people don’t know that China’s one child policy was a failure thirty years later in 2015 they ended this policy. This policy lead to a huge gender imbalance and increase in female foeticide. This happened because like India, China to is traditionally a patriarchal society. Where people prefer at least one male child over a female child. So when the government restricted the number of the child to one to go for female foeticide to have a male child not girl, this led to a huge gender imbalance which made china a world’s worst sex ratio country in 2014 .that was 22 male is to 100 females.

This huge gap in made female population led to some ill practice BRIDE PRICE in which brides were bought in return of money, in few cases brides use to runaway with the money within few days of the marriage, so one child policy led to all these problems. So we can conclude the one child policy is not a good solution to fight overpopulation in case of India.

INDIA’S FORCED STERILISATION:- Forced sterilisation too was suggested as a solution to counter over population this infact had already been tried in india.

During the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1976 when her son Sanjay Gandhi lead a forceful sterilisation program, in which 10 million people were sterilised there were few of forceful sterilization people were compelled to go and get sterilised But surprisingly even after sterilisation 10 million people these was no evident of this on population growth no noticeable change was observed.

This shows forceful imposing of unplanned policies would not lead to a change and above all its very unethical to sterillise someone forcefully because reproduction is a very basic human right. No one should get to decide how many child a person can have its immoral and unethical.

So Forced sterilisation can’t be regarded as a solicitation in today’s world.

True solution to overpopulation :- So, it all melts down to this question that what can be the effective and realistic solutions against overpopulation. And answer of this is a little boring and it is the investment in education and health care and to understand this we must know,

WHAT FERTILITY RATE MEANS?

Fertility rate of a country is the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her life time, if fertility rate of a country is 2 that means every woman in that country gives birth to 2 child, which means the number of people dying are equal to the number of children born. This makes population stable, this is why 2 fertility rate is called REPLACEMENT fertility “theoratically” but in reality many children die during the birth itself so realistically the replacement fertility rate is taken as 2.2 and if any country’s population is near about this replacement fertility rate then in future it will remain stable so to end over population we must aim to maintain fertility rate of country close to 2.2 and why I am saying that education is the only solution to fight against literacy rate, both are surprisingly interdependent higher the literary rate lower the fertility rate this pattern is observed in many places of the world over as well as Indian states for instances Kerala the state with highest literacy rate in india nearly 100% literacy rate has a very low fertility rate as Madhya Pradesh, Rajsthan, Uttar Pradesh literacy rate very low and evidently the fertility rate is very high, infact very few states of India have fertility rates above 2.2 in whole India those are Rajsthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and because of these states India’s population is increasing because rest of all the other states have come down below this replacement fertility rate.

Population control Bill, 2019:- In July 2019, a bill introduced in the Rajya sabha by Rakesh Sinha. The bill is to control the population growth of India. According to world Population Prospect 2019 report by the United Nations , the population of India will overtake that of china within a decade. The introduced bill was signed by 125 MP and is yet to become an act of law.

•In 1976, population control and family planning were added to the third list of the Seventh Schedule under the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution. Under this, the central government and all the state governments were given the right to make laws for population control and family planning.

Conclusion:- Many myth about increasing population like- Hindu Growth Suppose there is a poor farmer and he is told that you have children and if you get yourself and your wife operated.like-Suppose there is a poor farmer and he is told that you have two childrens and if you get yourself and your wife operated.So you will be given such amount by the government.

So how many things are involved here- Awareness,and he believes that oppression will be successful, In this, they understand the economic benefits, as in many backward classes, there is an ideology that there will be as many earning hands as there are people, then something should be done for them like people who are below the poverty line, if they get an operation on a child. If so, then such amount will be given by the government and legal action will be taken if there are more than two children.

There should be a nationwide discussion on population control, obsessive ideas should be sidelined. The law should be such that it encourages the public to do so, not the law that is forced on the public.

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