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Legislation proposed for better care of mentally ill

A new legislation proposed by the union health ministry aims to improve the pitiable condition of the mentally ill. The proposed legislation makes it mandatory for doctors to attend the mentally ill who need emergency medical help.

For the first time such a law is proposed by the ministry. Mentally ill in India are generally ignored and are not looked after properly. Once the law is passed in parliament, it will be obligatory for the doctors to attend the patients.

As per Section 50 of the draft guidelines of “Mental Health Care Acts 2010” any medical treatment, including treatment for mental illness, may be provided by any registered medical practitioner to a person with mental illness either at a health facility or in the community to prevent death or irreversible harm to the health of the patient.

The proposed legislation also mentions that the patients would not undergo electro-convulsive therapy and strictly will not be chained. The legislation brings in the compulsion on government to provide the mentally ill with community based facilities like shelter homes for destitute and in case if shelter is not provided to them, their expenditure on the treatment given in private hospitals is supposed to be incurred.

Also government needs to ensure the health standards defined by WHO regarding infrastructures like ambulance, health insurance, trained doctors, nurses etc within ten 10 years from whenever the legislation is approved by the parliament.

The legislation is expected to reduce the troubles of mentally ill as so far the doctors often have refused them the treatment.

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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