Governance & Politics Current Affairs - 2019

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2019.

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Cabinet approves new strategic disinvestment process

On 4th October, 2019, Cabinet approved new process of strategic disinvestment to privatize selected PSUs – Public Sector Units. The process was approved by PM Modi under which DIPAM – Department of Investment and Public Asset Management operating under Ministry of Finance will be the nodal agency to implement the process.

The PSUs to be put under sale will be identified by NITI Aayog along with DIPAM.

The Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman announced during the Budget that the divestment target from 90,000 crore rupees will be increased to 1.05 lakh crore rupees.

Divestment history of India – Major events

When the government sells its share of PSU to a private sector or an individual it is called divestment.

The divestment process in India began in 1991 when 20% of selected PSUs were announced to be divested in the interim budget. In 1993, it was increased to 49%. However, this was not implemented.

In 1996, GV Ramakrishna Committee was formed to make suggestions about the divestment process.

Between 1998 and 2000 under Vajpayee Government several divestment processes were included

  • The PSUs were divided into strategic and non – strategic. Strategic included railway, arms – ammunition, energy, etc. Non – strategic included others that were not part of the above category.
  • Department of Disinvestment was set up under Ministry of Finance to complete the projects successfully.

NIIF – National Investment Fund

The money earned by the government through the disinvestment policy will be deposited in NIIF. It does not go into the Consolidated funds of India. It is managed by UTI, SBI and LIC.

The money from the NIIF can be used to execute government schemes and reviving or expanding other PSUs. The rule is that 75% of the money should be used for government schemes and 25% for reviving PSUs

NHSRC to be WHO Collaborating Centre for Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Governmnet of India in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) re-designated the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.

About National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC)

It was established in 2006. The NHSRC is mandated to assist in policy and strategy development in provision and mobilization of technical assistance to states. It is also mandated to provide capacity building for Health Ministry.

The mandate of Division of Healthcare Technology at NHSRC is to draw up technical specifications for technologies procured under National Health Mission (NHM), draft policies for medical device maintenance and management, undertake evaluations of health product innovations, conduct Health Technology Assessments (HTA), and support MoHFW on issues related to diagnostics initiative, National Dialysis Program (NDP) and other technology intensive services.

NHSRC and WHO

In 2019 NHSRC in collaboration with WHOs’ country’s office developed a guidance document for Health Ministry’s free diagnostics initiative to further strengthen agenda of Universal access to affordable diagnostics. In past NHSRC (as a collaborating centre) also supported WHO in formulating technical specifications for medical devices like resuscitation devices (devices wich initiate spontaneous breathing by mechanically ventilating the lungs), oxygen concentrators and now continues to support evaluation of innovations for WHO’s compendium on innovative devices.

NHSRC also works with WHO on development of technical specification of Blood pressure measuring devices, in-vitro diagnostics and devices for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancer.

Future collaboration between two includes work on International Classification and Nomenclature for Medical Devices (ICMD), which would improve access to affordable health technologies.

Significance: Such global collaborations in area of health technology ensures that research and development (R&D), scientific and technological advances and innovative technologies play a substantial supportive role in healthcare. It also enables both players involved to reach public health goals and achieve universal health coverage (UHC).