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Cab safety measures for women included in the New Taxi Policy guidelines

Cab safety measures for women commuters as recommended by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping (MoRTH) have been included in the new Taxi Policy guidelines. These recommendations from the Ministry of Women and Child Development comes at the backdrop of increasing cases of sexual harassment of women commuters in the cabs.

Recommendations that were included in the New Taxi policy guidelines are:

  • Mandatory fitting of GPS panic devices in the taxis.
  • To ensure the safety of women and child passengers, central locking system in the taxis to be disallowed.
  • Sharing of a seat in the cabs must be subject to the willingness of passengers.
  • Identification of driver along with the photo and the registration number should be prominently displayed in the cab.
  • Violation of stipulated rules and regulations by taxi operators and drivers to be strictly dealt in accordance with law.

Taxi Policy guidelines

Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) had constituted a committee to review issues relating to taxi permits and propose taxi policy guidelines to promote urban mobility. The committee comprised of the representatives from MoRTH, Transport Commissioners from four States and representatives from Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Police, Ministry of Women and Child Development, NITI Aayog and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, submitted its report in December 2016. The policy is recommendatory in nature and is expected to help the states in framing detailed regulations.

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National Health Policy, 2017: Salient Features

The Union Union Cabinet approved the National Health Policy 2017. It will replace the previous policy which was framed 15 years ago in 2002.

It aims at providing healthcare in an “assured manner” to all by addressing current and emerging challenges arising from the ever changing socio-economic, epidemiological and technological scenarios.

Highlights of National Health Policy, 2017
  • It aims to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of GDP from current 1.4%, with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare.
  • It envisages providing a larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare through the ‘Health and Wellness Centers’.
  • It is a comprehensive package that will include care for major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), geriatric healthcare, mental health, palliative care and rehabilitative care services.
  • It proposes free diagnostics, free drugs and free emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals in order to provide healthcare access and financial protection.
  • It seeks to establish regular tracking of disability adjusted life years (DALY) Index as a measure of burden of disease and its major categories trends by 2022.
  • It aims to improve and strengthen the regulatory environment by putting in place systems for setting standards and ensuring quality of healthcare.
  • It also looks at reforms in the existing regulatory systems both for easing drugs and devices manufacturing to promote Make in India and also reforming medical education.
  • It advocates development of mid-level service providers, public health cadre, nurse practitioners to improve availability of appropriate health human resource.
  • Targets: It aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population to enable access within golden hour. It proposes to increase life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 years by 2025.
  • It aims to reduce total fertility rate (TFR) to 2.1 at sub-national and national level by 2025.
  • It also aims to reduce mortality rate (MR) of children under 5 years of age to 23 per 1000 by 2025 and maternal mortality rate (MMR) to 100 by 2020.
  • It also aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019 and reduce neo-natal mortality to 16 and still birth rate to ‘single digit’ by 2025.

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Government announces new licensing policy to boost oil output

The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for oil and gas exploration.

The new policy will allow bidders to carve out areas where they want to drill. It will help energy hungry India and world’s third-largest oil consumer to attract greater foreign investment to boost output.

Key Facts
  • The objective of OLAP is to increase India’s indigenous oil and gas production by maximising the potential of already discovered hydrocarbon resources in the country.
  • OALP offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources to propel investment in and provide operational flexibility to the investors.
  • It provides operational flexibility to the investors. It is departure from the current licensing policy of government identifying the oil and gas blocks and then putting them on auction.
  • Under it, Government will conduct auction of oil and gas blocks twice a year, with the first round being held in July 2017.
  • The selection of oil blocks will be based on seismic and well data provided by Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons in National Data Repository which offers total of 160TB data of India’s 26 sedimentary basins
  • The OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy, allowing pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing model.
Comment

OALP is part of the strategy to make India a business and investor friendly destination and cut import dependence by 10% and achieve the plan to double  existing oil production from current 80 million metric tons to about 150-155 million metric tons by 2022. In this new model, government will not micromanage, micro monitor with producers rather only share revenue. Thus, it gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration areas on its own. The July 2017 auction under this new policy will be India’s first major exploration licensing round since 2010.

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