Naveen woos women with 50% quota: Anti-defection law to cover urban local body and zilla parishad members

By: Subrata Das
Updated: 27 Nov 2015 01:36 PM
Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government on Thursday reached out to one of its key constituencies - women - by deciding to implement 50 per cent reservation for them in district planning committees.

The statutory body, comprising elected representatives and experts, is engaged in formulating district specific plans. The planning body consists of 15-20 members depending on the size of the district. Eighty per cent of them are elected from among members of panchayats and civic bodies, while the state government nominates others.

To effect the change, the state cabinet today decided to amend the Odisha District Planning Committee Act in the Assembly's winter session, which will begin on December 1.

Incidentally, Odisha was the first state to provide 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayat and civic bodies.

The proposed amendment will also create the post of a vice-chairperson, who will be elected from among the members. If the chairperson is not a woman, the post will be reserved them.

The proposed law will also enable an MLA to head the planning body, which at present is the prerogative of a minister.

The cabinet's move to enforce anti-defection law for the elected representatives of zilla parishad and urban local bodies is also been as significant step to thwart horse-trading at rural and urban local bodies.

Though elections to urban local bodies and zilla parishads are fought on party lines, the anti-defection laws was so far not applicable to the elected members.

Among several other decisions that the cabinet took includes making the display of registration certificates mandatory for all private nursing homes and clinics treating patients indoor. If they fail to display the certificates outside their premises, they might have to pay a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh and also face criminal proceedings.

The move to amend the Clinical Establishment Act came following frequent reports about foul play by private operators. Raids were being conducted on private nursing homes from time to time following allegation of conducting pre-natal sex determination tests and carrying out illegal abortions.

In a recent report, the Khurda district health administration has admitted before the National Human Rights Commission that 109 private clinics and path labs were running without valid licences in the district, most of them in Bhubaneswar.

Chief secretary Gokul Chandra Pati said all the private nursing homes and clinics would come under the purview of the act.

Health secretary Arti Ahuja said the scope and definition of clinical establishment would be expanded. All nursing homes with indoor facilities, irrespective of number of beds, would come under the act. The law would also cover pathological laboratories and diagnostic centres.

The registered clinical establishments will have to maintain basic standards such as fire safety measures along with life-saving and emergency stabilisation procedures. They cannot refer emergency patients to other hospitals or nursing homes without stabilising them.

In the past, there have been allegations about private hospitals not admitting emergency patients or referring them to government hospitals at the eleventh hour.

Besides, private hospitals or nursing homes, which have been allotted free government land, will have to treat below poverty line (BPL) patients free of cost, the health secretary said.

"If they violate these provisions, they will be liable for monetary penalty and even criminal liability," said Ahuja.

The penalty for violations will be raised from the existing Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh for first-time offenders. Second-time offenders will face criminal proceedings.


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Tender for execution of widening and strengthening of existing carriageway to two-lane road from Nischintakoili to Duhuria for providing all-weather connectivity to Cuttack city from Chandbali in Bhadrak district approved

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Cost of electrical connections to non-electrified below poverty line (BPL) households under Biju Saharanchal Vidyutikaran Yojana and Biju Gram Jyoti Yojana will be raised from Rs 2000 per household to Rs 3000.

The Telegraph, Kolkata