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Jayalalithaa opposes land bill, skips NITI Aayog meet

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J_Jayalalithaa_Chief_Minister_Of_Tamil_NaduChennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday expressed her government’s opposition to the land acquisition bill, maintaining certain provisions take away the safeguards required for farmers in the country.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa expressed her inability to attend the second meeting of the Governing Council of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog in New Delhi on Wednesday due to other pressing engagements.

The meeting would deliberate on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and amendments sought to be brought about by the NDA government.

As the Niti Aayog meeting has to be attended only by the chief ministers of different states, Jayalalithaa sent her speech conveying the state government’s views that are to be taken on record.

She said her government was opposed to Chapter III of Right to Fair Compensation and Tranparencey in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

According to Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu farmers were strongly opposed to the provisions in the bill that empower state governments to exempt specified projects from the ambit of the Act.

Jayalalithaa said the amendment bill’s provisions were hence also unacceptable to the government of Tamil Nadu.

“We believe that the present amendments take away important safeguards that farmers and agriculture require. Hence, I urge the government of India not to press ahead with these amendments,” she said.

As per provisions of Chapter III, consent of 80 percent of the landowners have to be obtained if the land is acquired for private project.

If the land is proposed to be acquired for public-private-partnership projects, then consent of 70 percent of the landowners is to be obtained.

Further, a social impact assessment has to be made and there are limits on acquiring agricultural and multi-cropped land.

However these provisions would not apply to projects in defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing and housing for the poor, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social infrastructure projects, including projects under public-private partnership, where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the government.

(IANS)

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India’s Health System Underperforming: Niti Aayog

Health sector in India is underperforming due to fragmentation, says a report by Niti Aayog

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Indian health
India's health sector is lagging behind other countries. Pixabay

A report by the Niti Aayog has admitted that India’s health system is underperforming and lagging behind many comparable countries in key performance indicators.

NITI Aayog on Monday released a report titled ‘Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks — Potential Pathways to Reforms’.

“Severe fragmentation, compounded by market failures and governance challenges, is the key driver of India’s underperforming health system,” the report said, pointing to the fragmentation of health services as a major challenge.

Niti Aayog said the report charts a clear roadmap for the complete transformation of India’s health system. It focuses on breaking silos in the health space and removing fragmentation between various initiatives, ensuring greater convergence between ministries as well as the Centre and the states, as already initiated under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

The report identified five focus areas of future health system — deliver on unfinished public health agenda, change health financing away from out of pocket so spend into large insurers, integrate service delivery vertically and horizontally, empower citizens to become better buyers of health, and harness the power of digital health.

Health system
Severe fragmentation, compounded by market failures and governance challenges, is the key driver of India’s underperforming health system. Pixabay

“At the systems level, overcoming the challenges of fragmentation across healthcare financing and service delivery will help us optimise both quality and access. India now needs to build on its many opportunities to achieve further progress on the health of its citizens and respond to the growing aspirations and needs of a new India,” said Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

The report noted that health financing is fragmented at all three levels — revenue sources, health insurance (financial risk pooling), and strategic purchasing (how funds are used to set incentives for service providers to maximise efficiency, responsiveness and quality in the health service provider market).

There are high levels of fragmentation in the sources of revenues, with most health expenditure (about 62 per cent) coming directly from households.

Currently the government (Union and the states put together) spends roughly 1.13 per cent of GDP on health, which is grossly inadequate compared to similar spending by other countries.

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As a result, 62 per cent of healthcare spending is financed by households through out-of-pocket expenditure at the point of care.

Lauding the significant improvements made in India’s health sector, Bill Gates, co-chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that primary healthcare is extremely important for all. India is in a very hopeful situation, he said, and is set to be an example for other countries. (IANS)