Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Aadhaar as money bill

Aadhaar as money bill

What exactly is a money bill?

 FEBRUARY 27, 2017 

Or, why we need to reconsider the Aadhaar Act, with all its implications for privacy

The Supreme Court will begin hearing final arguments next month on a writ petition challenging the validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Act, 2016 — or the Aadhaar Act. The proceeding, initiated by Jairam Ramesh, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, primarily questions the legality behind the Union government’s move in introducing the Aadhaar Act as a money bill. Through this categorisation, the government had the law enacted by securing a simple majority in the Lok Sabha while rendering redundant any opposition to the legislation in the Upper House of Parliament.

Imperils liberties

During preliminary hearings, the Supreme Court has suggested that it isn’t entirely convinced of the merits of Mr. Ramesh’s petition. But a closer examination will only show that the introduction of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill contravenes the bare text of the Constitution. In this case, the breach is particularly disturbing, because the legislation imperils our core liberties, in manners both explicit and insidious.
Originally, Aadhaar was conceived as a scheme to provide to every Indian a unique identity number, with a purported view to enabling a fair and equitable distribution of benefits and subsidies. There is little doubt that the scheme’s introduction, with no prior legislative backing, was a flagrant wrong, and was completely unjustifiable as a measure of democratic governance. For this Mr. Ramesh’s party, the Congress, must take full responsibility. But, when a draft of a statute was eventually introduced in the Rajya Sabha, in December 2010, it was done so as an ordinary bill. This meant that both Houses of Parliament had to provide their imprimatur to the bill for it to become law.

Nonetheless this draft legislation contained serious misgivings, so much so that a parliamentary standing committee released a detailed report differing with the government of the time over critical aspects of the bill, particularly its treatment of concerns over privacy and protection of data security. In the meantime, given that the Aadhaar project was being implemented even without statutory support, public interest petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the project’s legitimacy. In these cases, the court issued a series of interim orders prohibiting the state from making Aadhaar mandatory, while permitting its use only for a set of limited governmental schemes.
In March 2016, the Union government withdrew the earlier bill, and introduced, in its place, as a money bill, a new draft legislation, titled the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill, 2016. This categorisation was extraordinary because a money bill, under India’s constitutional design, requires only the Lok Sabha’s affirmation for it to turn into law. Right on cue, within days of the bill’s introduction, the Lower House, in complete disregard of the Rajya Sabha’s protestations, passed the legislation, as Act No. 18 of 2016. This law, Mr. Ramesh now argues, is patently illegal, because its classification as a money bill infringes the Constitution’s mandates.
A money bill is defined by Article 110 of the Constitution, as a draft law that contains only provisions that deal with all or any of the matters listed therein. These comprise a set of seven features, broadly including items such as the imposition or regulation of a tax; the regulation of the borrowing of money by the Government of India; the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund of India; and so forth. In the event a proposed legislation contains other features, ones that are not merely incidental to the items specifically outlined, such a draft law cannot be classified as a money bill. Article 110 further clarifies that in cases where a dispute arises over whether a bill is a money bill or not, the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision on the issue shall be considered final.

Flawed counterpoint

The government’s response to Mr. Ramesh’s claim is predicated on two prongs: that the Speaker’s decision to classify a draft legislation as a money bill is immune from judicial review, and that, in any event, the Aadhaar Bill fulfilled all the constitutional requirements of a money bill. A careful examination of these arguments will, however, show us that the government is wrong on both counts.
 To be fair, the assertion that the Speaker’s decision is beyond judicial review finds support in the Supreme Court’s judgment in Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui v. State of UP(2014). Here, a three-judge bench had ruled, in the context of State legislatures, that a Speaker’s decision to classify a draft statute as a money bill, was not judicially reviewable, even if the classification was incorrect. This is because the error in question, the court ruled, constituted nothing more than a mere procedural irregularity.
But there are significant problems with this view. Chief among them is the wording of Article 110, which vests no unbridled discretion in the Speaker. The provision requires that a bill conform to the criteria prescribed in it for it to be classified as a money bill. Where a bill intends to legislate on matters beyond the features delineated in Article 110, it must be treated as an ordinary draft statute. Any violation of this mandate has to be seen, therefore, as a substantive constitutional error, something which Siddiqui fails to do.
There are other flaws too in the judgment. Most notably, it brushes aside the verdict of a Constitution Bench in Raja Ram Pal v. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha(2007), where the court had ruled that clauses that attach finality to a determination of an issue do not altogether oust the court’s jurisdiction. That is, the bench held, there are numerous circumstances where the court can review parliamentary pronouncements. These would include instances where a Speaker’s choice is grossly illegal, or disregards basic constitutional mandates, or, worse still, where the Speaker’s decision is riddled with perversities, or is arrived at through dishonest intentions.

What Aadhaar Act shows

A simple reading of the Aadhaar Act would show us that its contents go far beyond the features enumerated in Article 110. If anything, it is the provisions in the legislation that pertain to the Consolidated Fund and its use that are incidental to the Act’s core purpose — which, quite evidently, is to ensure, among other things, the creation of a framework for maintaining a central database of biometric information collected from citizens. Ordinarily, a draft legislation is classified as a money bill when it provides for funds to be made available to the executive to carry out specific tasks. In the case of the Aadhaar Act, such provisions are manifestly absent. The Speaker’s decision to confirm the government’s classification is, therefore, an error that is not merely procedural in nature but one that constitutes, in substance, an unmitigated flouting of Article 110.
In many ways, Aadhaar has brought out to plain sight the worryingly totalitarian impulses of our state. The government has argued, with some force, that Indian citizens possess no fundamental right to privacy. This argument, however, is predicated on judgments of the Supreme Court that have little contemporary relevance, and that have, in any event, been overlooked in several subsequent cases where the court has clarified the extent of the liberties that the Constitution guarantees.

Right to privacy

Privacy is important not merely because it advances the cause of equality and freedom but also because it is, in and of itself, a treasurable value. A failure to protect privacy adequately can have disastrous consequences that affect our abilities to determine for ourselves how we want to live our lives. And the Aadhaar Act hits at the core of this value. It permits the creation of a database of not only biometric information but also various other private data, without so much as bothering about safeguards that need to be installed to ensure their security. We scarcely need to stretch our imaginations to wonder what the government — and other agencies to which this information can be shared without any regulatory checks — can do with all this material.
That a statute so pernicious in its breadth can be enacted after being introduced as a money bill only makes matters worse. It has the effect of negating altogether the Rajya Sabha’s legislative role, making, in the process, a mockery of our democracy. It is imperative, therefore, that the court refers the present controversy to a larger bench, with a view to overruling Siddiqui.
Suhrith Parthasarathy is an advocate practising at the Madras High Court

Aadhaar as money bill: If Speaker is wrong, court can set it right, says SC

The bill was passed during the Budget session in 2016 after overruling the amendments moved in Rajya Sabha.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:February 14, 2017
EVEN AS it acknowledged the authority of the Speaker in a Parliamentary democracy, the Supreme Court Monday said the court would not hesitate to correct a Speaker if he says “blue is green”. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who had challenged the Speaker’s decision to treat the Aadhaar bill as a money bill. The bill was passed during the Budget session in 2016 after overruling the amendments moved in Rajya Sabha.
“Yes, we have identified the role and authority of the Speaker. But if the Speaker says blue is green, we will ask the Speaker to say it is blue…that we will set right,” said a bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar. The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana, added: “When we go wrong, larger benches set aside our orders and correct it. So why cannot we do it (vis a vis Speaker)?”

Representing Ramesh, senior lawyer and a former minister in the UPA government P Chidambaram said that Aadhaar, by no standard, could be certified by the Speaker as a money bill since it did not meet the conditions of Article 110(1) of the Constitution. “On the face of it, we can show that it cannot be called a money bill. The conditions are clear that a bill can be certified as a money bill if it contains ‘only’ such provisions that deal with the aspects mentioned under Article 110,” argued Chidambaram.

He said that there was an apprehension that any bill could be certified as a money bill to dispense with the need to seek majority in the Rajya Sabha since a money bill could very well be passed by the Lok Sabha itself. Dealing with the previous judgments of the apex court, Chidambaram contended that power of judicial review was not curtailed in cases of substantive infraction of the provisions of the law and that the decision of the Speaker could be deemed to be final only in cases of procedural irregularities. “This court has held that if there are unconstitutionality and substantive infractions, decision of the Speaker could also be judicially reviewed,” he said.
Countering his views, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that judgments have held that the court had no power to sit in appeal over the decisions of the Speaker and that proceedings inside the House were immune. “The Speaker is a high constitutional functionary. It cannot be argued that the Speaker would certify all bills as money bills. There is no question of this court examining the Speaker’s decision,” said Rohatgi.
Disagreeing with the AG’s argument, the bench retorted that it appreciated the Speaker’s peculiar position in the parliamentary democracy but the court also had the power to correct his decisions if they were brazenly wrong. At this, Rohatgi said that Aadhaar was passed as a money bill since it had to withdraw money from the consolidated fund of India. “Under Article 110(1), there is a provision that a bill can be passed as a money bill if its deals with provisions ‘incidental’ to the other essential conditions,” he said.

The bench, on its part, accepted the AG’s argument to some extent and told Chidambaram that he would have to convince the court why they should interfere with the Speaker’s decision. “Tentatively, we are not with you but you can definitely convince us on the next date,” said the bench, adjourning the matter for four weeks. A Constitution Bench is expected to sit during the summer vacation in May-June to adjudicate a clutch of petition on the validity of Aadhaar, especially in view of the concerned regarding right to privacy.

Is the Aadhaar Bill a Money Bill?

  MAY 10, 2016

We take look at what a Money Bill is and why the government has pushed the Aadhaar Bill through it.
What is a Money Bill?
A Money Bill is one that contains provisions for taxes, appropriation of funds etc. Money Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to such bills passed by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha can suggest amendments, but it is the Lok Sabha’s choice to accept or reject them.
How is Aadhaar connected?
The NDA government chose to introduce the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 as a Money Bill. The Lok Sabha >cleared the Bill and passed it to the Rajya Sabha.
While the NDA has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it does not in the Rajya Sabha. This led to intense debates in the Upper House, led by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. The House >recommended several amendments to the Bill, which was passed with a majority in the House.
What was the Opposition about?
The Opposition’s main concern was with the usage of Aadhaar data to>facilitate mass surveillance . Originally, the Aadhaar project was supposed to be voluntary, but this Bill makes enrolment compuslory. The Bill contains a blanket ‘national security’ clause, a clause bound to induce misuse.
What happened next?
Parliament >passed the Aadhaar Bill , even as debates raged in both Houses. “I am questioning the competence of this House to legislate the Bill,” Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said, arguing that the Bill was also being considered by the Supreme Court and was beyond “the legislative authority” of the House.
What now?
Mr. Ramesh then moved the Supreme Court >challenging the treatment of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill. Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who moved the Bill and piloted them in both the Houses, had turned down the Opposition argument that Parliament cannot legislate as the matter is before the Supreme Court.


India's manufacturing falls by 3.7%; micro, small industries suffer 35% job loss, revenue dips by 50%: Report

India's manufacturing falls by 3.7%; micro, small industries suffer 35% job loss, revenue dips by 50%: Report 


By Our Representative
A top data site has revealed that sales of manufactured goods fell 3.7% during 2015-16 – the first decline in seven years – sparking fears of layoffs in the coming months. In a major expose, quoting Reserve Bank of India (RBI) figures, the site says, “The sales of manufactured goods were falling even before demonetisation, affecting sectors ranging from textiles to leather to steel.”

“In November 2014, just weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his Make-in-India campaign, Nokia shut its factory in Chennai, rendering 6,600 full-time workers jobless”, the report, written by Prathamesh Mulye, a journalist with 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters, points out. The manufacturing sector constitutes 15-16% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and supports 12% of the workforce.
“A range of factors including falling investment, increased input costs and higher import duties have caused demand for manufactured goods to fall, a trend that was visible before demonetisation and has strengthened since”, the report says, though adding, in 2015-16, “The services sector grew by 4.9%, faster than the 3.7% recorded in the previous financial year.”

“Manufacturing”, on the other hand, “contracted for the first time in seven years, from a growth rate of 12.9% in 2009-10 to -3.7% in 2015-16”, the report says, adding, “Small-scale private companies, with yearly annual sales of less than Rs 100 crore, have been more seriously affected as their sales have contracted continuously for the last seven years.” 
“Having registered an 8.8% decline in 2009-10, their sales fell by 19.2% year-on-year in 2015-16”, the report says, quoting a textile manufacturing plant owner from Bhiwandi, 32 km northeast of Mumbai, as saying, while the cost of final product has increased, “we are unable to compete with cheaper imported Chinese products.”
A Mumbai-based small-scale gold jewellery manufacturer is quoted as saying that “higher export duty and decline in demand has led to reduction in sales even before demonetisation,” adding, “We were forced to reduce production. So, hiring of workers on contractual basis has also gone down.” 
Quoting from a new RBI study, the report says, “Investment has fallen because of a decline in demand, leading to lower sales and profits. New orders recorded a decline sequentially (quarter-on-quarter) as well as on a year-on-year basis and dipped into negative territory.” 
“Closure of 186 industrial units led to net job losses of 12,176 in the manufacturing sector over the last four years”, the report says, adding, post-demonetisation, there is “cash crunch” leading to fall in sales as well as a shortage of workers due to mass exodus from cities. 
Further quoting from a All India Manufacturer’s Organisation study, the report says, “In the first 34 days of demonetisation, micro- and small-scale industries have suffered job losses of 35% and a 50% dip in revenue.”
“A cutdown in industrial output for the fourth straight month in December, along with a depressed investment outlook, could lead to more layoffs”, warns the report quoting industry sources.


Organic regulation in foreign countries

Organic regulation in foreign countries

Here're the links for the standards in some countries as noted in the parenthesis after each link.


Bangladesh opens first solar-powered silo with climate-controlled facility

Bangladesh opens first solar-powered silo with climate-controlled facility


The climate controlled facilities at the northern district's Santahar can store approximately 25,000 tonnes of food. Officials say all types of food can be stored in the warehouse.
The prime minister arrived in Bogra around 12pm on Sunday to inaugurate a number of development projects. The Santahar silo was the prime minister’s first stop after arriving in the northern district.
The high-tech food storage project began in 2009 and was completed with the financial and technical support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

The Santahar location was chosen for the project due to its strategic position between Naogaon and Bogra and its access to road and rail.

Constructions began in 2013 with a budget of Tk 2.32 billion. JICA provided Tk 1.50 billion for the project.

 >>Storage capacity of 25,000 tonnes;

>>Two-storey facility with 16 separate storing facility with thermally insulated outer walls, doors and roof 

>>Equipped with humidity controllers and fire extinguishing measures;

>>The storage facility is also equipped with temperature controls;

>>Four forklifts are available to move sacks;

>>26,040 plastic palettes for rice preservation;

The prime minister planted a tree seedling at the warehouse’s premises. She then toured the facility.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam, Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif, Jahangir Kabir Nanak MP, Abdur Rahman, Abdul Mannan, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapan, Sheikh Fazle Noor Tapas MP, Israfil Alam also accompanied Hasina.
The prime minister also inaugurated and opened the Nandigram Upazila Complex Extension Building and Hall, the Shahjahanpur Thana and Education for Visual Disabilities building, the Shibganj Upazila Freedom Fighters Complex, the Shonatala Shicharparha – 3 village project, 12 rehabilitation centres in the Sariakandi Upazila, solar powered irrigation projects in Adamdighi Upazila, the Bogra Family Planning Office, 10 Mother and Child Welfare Centres in Bogra Sadar Upazila’s Nungola Union, and a number of other buildings, roads and bridges  in the area.

The prime minister later addressed a public rally organised by the Bogra Awami League at the Santahar Stadium.

The last time Hasina went to the northern district was in 2015.


A productive year for agriculture (South Asia : BHUTAN )

A productive year for agriculture : BHUTAN


February 25, 2017 

Yearender | Agriculture: The agriculture sector, that 58 percent of the population depends on for their livelihood, experienced some major milestones in the year of the Monkey.
Bhutan exported eggs to Kolkata, India for the first time.
The Farm Mechanisation Corporation was established and will provide farmers with machinery and mechanisation services at low and subsidised rates.
The Kuchi Diana Irrigation scheme, one of the largest in the country, in Yoeseltse gewog in Samtse was inaugurated. The 7.2km irrigation canal benefits more than 300 households of Yoeseltse and Sangacholing gewogs and covers more than 950 acres.
The ministry launched the much awaited National Forest Inventory Report. The three and a half years survey found that 71 percent of the country is under forest cover with an estimated tree count of 816.5 million trees.
The year also saw several important event and launches, the notable ones being the Highland Festival in Laya, the native poultry or breeding and conservation centre in Lhuentse, the National Mastiff Breeding Centre at Gasa, and National Yak Breeding Farm in Haa.
The new Regional Tiger and Cat Research Centre at Tingtibi, Zhemgang, and the Southern Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sarpang could bring much needed relief to the welfare of wildlife.
A newly discovered dragonfly was named the Gyalsey Emerald Spreadwing.
Electric fencing continues to protect crops from wildlife depredation. The ministry installed more than 651km of electric fencing in the 20 dzongkhags using locally fabricated materials. The fences benefit nearly 4,000 households and covers 6,000 acres of dry and wet lands.
India’s demonitisation campaign affected the cash crop export business. Farmers from Wangdue waited for more than a month to get paid for their potatoes.
Then there were the bans. The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) in May declared a ban on the import of beans and cauliflowers as test results showed toxic pesticide residues beyond the permissible limits. The country imported these vegetables from Falakata, India.
The authority then on July 24 banned the import of chillies from India for same reason after tests in regional testing centres in India and Thailand.
Immediately after the ban, local chilli producers and vendors hiked prices to more than Nu 400 a kilogramme.
The agriculture ministry scanned neighbouring states for safe chillies to import. The ministry’s winter chilli production plan misfired as the Food Corporation of Bhutan had to continue supplying about 20 metric tonnes of chillies across the country.
Some people were even arrested for illegally importing chillies from across the border.
The authority then banned the use of Potassium Bromate in bread or baked food products in July.
Citing toxic levels of heavy metals in seaweed products, BAFRA banned the import and sale of all forms of seaweed through a public notification on November 14.
The ministry continued to construct farm roads, distribute power tillers and green houses, and set up farm shops in every gewog.
The 100th of 200 planned farm shops was inaugurated in Sakteng, Trashigang. These farm shops market local farm produce and cater to the basic needs of farmers.
The government increased the loan ceiling of the Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Ltd (REDCL) from Nu 100,000 to Nu 500,000. As of today, 2,200 projects have been approved amounting to Nu 617 million.
Human-wildlife conflict and lack of irrigation facilities remain the two most challenging issues for the agriculture sector.
The continued existence of Human-Wildlife Conflict committees, also known as gewog environment conservation committees that have been formed to compensate in some form the loss of livestock or crops to wild animals, is currently under review.
There are 46 such committees formed in 15 dzongkhags across the country since the inception of the Human-Wildlife Conflict endowment fund in 2010. The forestry department had a target of establishing 126 such committees by the end of the 11th Plan from 11 in 2012.
Tshering Palden

Huge potential for Indian mfg cos in CLMV region: Nirmala

Huge potential for Indian mfg cos in CLMV region: Nirmala


| Feb 27, 2017 

Jaipur, Feb 27 () Indian companies in sectors like textiles, agri equipment, pharma and automobile have a huge opportunities to set up manufacturing units in Southeast Asian countries, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.
The CLMV nations (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) enjoy duty benefits under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSPs) of developed countries like the US and EU and this can be an attractive incentive for domestic units to set up manufacturing facilities there.
The Commerce and Industry Minister said: "There is an immense potential for us to tap these nations." She was here for the 4th India-CLMV Business Conclave, organised by CII.
She also said that these four countries are covered under the India-Asean free trade agreement and "Indian manufacturers could better utilise this agreement".
Addressing businessmen from both the sides, she said companies from both the regions can increase collaborations in sectors like skill development, agri equipment, plantation crops (coffee and pepper), two and three wheelers and pharma.
Speaking at the conclave, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said the state holds huge potential for both domestic and foreign investors.
"Rajasthan welcomes any investment queries from CLMV region," she said, adding areas where both the sides can enhance cooperation include manufacturing, textiles, pharma, fishery and healthcare.
Chhuon Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia, said the bilateral trade between India and CLMV has increased multi-fold in the last one decade.
He said CLM is an ideal place for setting up manufacturing units.
Cao Quoc Hung, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, too said that both the regions can increase engagement in areas like mining and oil & gas and enhance ties in connectivity. RRI JD MKJ

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सस्ती दवा चुनावी मुद्दा क्यों नहीं

सस्ती दवा चुनावी मुद्दा क्यों नहीं


अमेरिका के नेतृत्व में ट्रांस-प्रशांत साझेदारी (टीपीपी) समझौते की समाप्ति के बाद सबकी नजरें एशिया-प्रशांत क्षेत्र में जापानी बंदरगाह वाले शहर कोबे पर केंद्रित हो गईं, जहां इस हफ्ते 16 देशों के प्रतिनिधि क्षेत्रीय व्यापक आर्थिक साझेदारी समझौते (आरसीईपी) के अगले चरण की बातचीत के लिए इकट्ठा हुए।

आज की तारीख में आरसीईपी दक्षिण-पूर्वी एशियाई देशों के नेतृत्व में चलने वाली प्रक्रिया का एक संघ है। इसके सदस्यों में दस आसियान देशों- ब्रुनेई, कंबोडिया, लाओस, मलयेशिया, म्यांमार, इंडोनेशिया, फिलीपींस, सिंगापुर, थाईलैंड और वियतनाम के साथ-साथ छह एशिया-प्रशांत देश-ऑस्ट्रेलिया, न्यूजीलैंड, दक्षिण कोरिया, जापान, चीन और भारत भी शामिल हैं। 

इन दिनों पूरे देश में चुनावी और राजनीतिक बयानबाजी तमाम बहसों पर हावी है और सुर्खियां बटोर रही है। क्या किसी को अतंरराष्ट्रीय व्यापार पर कोबे में होने वाले पांच दिवसीय सम्मेलन पर ध्यान नहीं देना चाहिए? ज्यादातर लोगों को शायद यह सवाल अजीब लगेगा। लेकिन इस सम्मेलन का लोगों के जीवन और मृत्यु पर दूर-दूर तक प्रभाव पड़ सकता है।

पिछले दिनों दिल्ली में व्यापार नियमों के भविष्य पर एक गोलमेज सम्मेलन हुआ, जो हमें बताता है कि किस तरह से यह हमें प्रभावित करेगा और क्यों हमें सतर्क रहना चाहिए। मुक्त व्यापार समझौता मंच और द इकोनोमिक ऐंड पॉलिटिकल वीकली द्वारा आयोजित इस कार्यक्रम में भारत द्वारा अन्य देशों के साथ किए जा रहे व्यापार समझौते से संबंधित कई मुद्दों पर रोशनी डाली गई। व्यापार सौदे सामान्यतः व्यापार और वाणिज्य के बारे में होते हैं, लेकिन समझौते के दौरान पिछले दरवाजे से परस्पर लेन-देन की बातें होती हैं। इस दौरान कई अन्य संबंधित मुद्दों को उठाया जाता है, जैसे बौद्धिक संपत्ति अधिकार के मुद्दे, जिनके दूरगामी परिणाम हो सकते हैं। यह सस्ती दवाओं तक हमारी पहुंच को प्रभावित कर सकता है।

कोबे बैठक महत्वपूर्ण है, क्योंकि डोनाल्ड ट्रंप के अमेरिकी राष्ट्रपति बनने के बाद पहली बार आरसीईपी के वार्ताकार मिले हैं और अमेरिका ने टीपीपी से अपना हाथ खींच लिया है। आरसीईपी समर्थक इस बात से काफी उत्साहित हैं कि टीपीपी की विफलता इक्कीसवीं सदी में आरसीईपी को मौलिक एशिया-प्रशांत व्यापार समझौते का अवसर प्रदान करेगा, हालांकि विभिन्न मुद्दों पर अब भी सहमति का अभाव है।

चूंकि ट्रांस-प्रशांत साझेदारी समझौता खत्म हो गया है, इसलिए आरसीईपी के धनी सदस्य टीपीपी जैसा समझौता चाहते हैं, जो बौद्धिक संपदा अधिकार जैसे मुद्दों पर मजबूत कानून प्रदान करे, खासकर दवा उद्योग के लिए। सस्ती जेनरिक दवाओं तक पहुंच भारत समेत कई आसियान देशों के लिए एक बड़ा मुद्दा है, लेकिन जापान और दक्षिण कोरिया जैसे देश ऐसा मजबूत कानून चाहते हैं, जो पेटेंट के अधिकारों और बड़ी बहुराष्ट्रीय दवा कंपनियों के मुनाफे की रक्षा करे।

एशिया-प्रशांत क्षेत्र में आरसीईपी का ज्यादातर विरोध इस भय के कारण हो रहा है कि यह एक ऐसा समझौता बन जाएगा, जो पेटेंट की शर्तों को लंबा कर देगा तथा सस्ती दवाओं के उत्पादन को ज्यादा खर्चीला और मुश्किल बना देगा। दिल्ली में गोलमेज सम्मेलन के दौरान एक अंतरराष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार संगठन डॉक्टर्स विदाउट बोर्डर्स के साथ काम करने वाली वकील लीना मेंघानी बिल्कुल मुखर थीं। उनका संगठन सस्ती दवाओं की पहुंच के लिए अभियान चलाता है और दुनिया भर में लोगों के इलाज के लिए गुणवत्तापूर्ण सस्ती दवाओं पर निर्भर है, जिनमें से अधिकतर भारत में बनती हैं। इस संगठन ने जापान और दक्षिण कोरिया की सरकारों से अपील की कि सस्ती जेनरिक दवाओं तक लोगों की पहुंच को बाधित करने वाले प्रस्तावों को वापस ले लें।

लीना मेंघानी ने कहा कि आरसीईपी वार्ताकारों को मौजूदा सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य सुरक्षा उपायों की रक्षा करनी चाहिए, जो भारत जैसे विकासशील देशों को दुनिया भर के लाखों लोगों के इलाज के लिए जीवन रक्षक सस्ती और जरूरी दवाओं की आपूर्ति बनाए रखने में सक्षम बना सके। यह मुद्दा भारत के  लिए बहुत संवेदनशील है, क्योंकि भारत में ज्यादातर लोग इलाज के लिए अपनी क्षमता से ज्यादा खर्च करते हैं और दवा के मूल्यों में एक बड़ी छलांग उनके जीवन को प्रभावित कर सकती है।

यह सौदा अभी तक नहीं हुआ है। भारत इस हफ्ते इस पर बातचीत करेगा। अब तक भारत पर अपने बौद्धिक संपदा अधिकार कानून को बदलने के लिए उतना अंतरराष्ट्रीय दबाव नहीं पड़ा है, जो लोगों को सुरक्षा प्रदान करते हैं। लेकिन दबाव बढ़ रहा है, हालांकि देश में इस विषय पर बहुत ज्यादा सार्वजनिक बहस नहीं हो रही है। भारत को अपना पक्ष मजबूती से रखने की जरूरत है।

दूर देश में होने वाली इस वार्ता और हमारे देश में आम जिंदगी से इसके संबंध का पता मुझे हाल ही तब चला, जब मुझे मालूम हुआ कि मेरे यहां खाना बनाने वाली को कैंसर हुआ है और यह एडवांस स्टेज में है। कैंसर का इलाज  मध्यवर्गीय लोगों के लिए भी बेहद महंगा है। यह जीवन और परिवारों को उजाड़ देता है। मेरे रसोइए के परिवार ने पहले ही अपनी तमाम जमा-पूंजी खर्च कर दी है। जितना हो सकता है, मैं उसकी मदद करती हूं, लेकिन मैं जानती हूं कि यह पर्याप्त नहीं है।

भारत जैसे देश में उसके और उसके परिवार जैसे लोगों के लिए महंगी दवाओं का क्या मतलब है, जहां बहुत कम लोगों के पास स्वास्थ्य बीमा है और जहां बीमा में आम तौर पर दवाओं के खर्च के कवर नहीं किया जाता?

ये ऐसे मुद्दे हैं, जिनके बारे में चुनाव प्रचार के दौरान कभी चर्चा नहीं होती। आज राष्ट्रवाद सबसे चर्चित शब्द है। असंख्य तरीके से आप इस शब्द को परिभाषित कर सकते हैं। लेकिन राष्ट्रवाद यह मांग क्यों नहीं करता कि राष्ट्र को लोगों को सिर्फ इसलिए नहीं मरने देना चाहिए कि वे इलाज का खर्च नहीं उठा सकते।


Monday, 27 February 2017

Bandipur’s Parched Animals Finally Have Drinking Water, Thanks to Solar-Powered Wells

Bandipur’s Parched Animals Finally Have Drinking Water, Thanks to Solar-Powered Wells


Between forest fires and prolonged dry spells, animals living in and around Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park have been having a difficult time lately. Not only are the animals thirsty, but the heat and fire have left the land burnt and dry, causing high stress levels among the animals.

In an effort to relieve the animals, the forest department has installed solar-powered pumps in parts of the forest reserve.

Seven of the region’s driest areas have been chosen for the solar pump projects, including Hediyala, Omkara, Maddur and Kundkere (the site of a recent fire, said to be among the worst in recent years).
Installed close to water bodies, the solar pumps serve to boost the wells which in turn supply water straight into the watering holes. Little wonder than that each of these ponds draws large herds of animals in quest for water.

Speaking to The Hindu, B.G. Hosmath, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) said that the solar project was conceptualised around October 2016, when over half of the region’s 370 watering holes had dried up. While the Forest Department has funded most of the wells, WWF-India stepped in to install two of the wells.
“It is a great sight to see animals congregate around waterholes despite the severity of the drought, which indicates that the intervention has really paid off,” he said.
The solar-powered water holes are drawing a variety of animals, including the region’s famous tigers and elephants, as well as deer and sambars to the water. The dipping groundwater level has made it challenging for the wells to be installed all over the parks. But the abundance of animals around the park has been of significant help, alleviating thirst and anxiety.
In addition to Bandipur, similar pumps have also been installed in Antharsanthe, Metikuppe and Veeranahosahalli in Nagarhole National Park.


They help stressed animals remain fresh


 FEBRUARY 27, 2017 

Solar-powered pumps a lifeline for Bandipur animals

Borewells fuelled by solar power have emerged as the lifeline to beleaguered animals in Bandipur ravaged by forest fires on one side and searing heat that has dried up the watering holes on the other. Trapped between the woody and burnt cinders with hardly any green vegetation to graze and ash-laden earth with no trace of moisture, the animals are undergoing extreme stress, reckoned to be one of the worst in living memory.
But the Forest Department in anticipation of such a scenario had installed solar-powered borewells in seven of the driest parts of Bandipur as a result of which these watering holes are not only full but are teeming with animals.
The solar-powered pumps have been installed in Kundkere, which witnessed one of the worst fires in recent years and in which a guard was engulfed by flames on February 18 – besides Omkara, Hediyala and Maddur ranges. Nearly a dozen solar panels installed close to the watering holes energise the borewell that pump water in sufficient quantity to flood the nearby pond.
B.G. Hosmath, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), toldThe Hinduthat two of the solar-powered borewells were installed by the WWF-India while the Forest Department funded the remaining wells in anticipation of the drought.
Lack of water at this juncture would have taken a heavy toll of animals in these regions.
Mr. Hosmath said the need for such an intervention was contemplated as early as in October by when more nearly 60 per cent of the 370 watering holes in Bandipur had dried up. That is when WWF approached the Forest Department with this proposal which was not only eco-friendly but was in tune with the principles of forest management. However, proposals for a similar intervention in other parts of Bandipur did not take off owing to steep fall in the ground water table.
“It is a great sight to see animals congregate around waterholes despite the severity of the drought, which indicates that the intervention has really paid off,” said Mr. Hosmath.
Camera trap images of the last few days show herds of spotted deer, sambars, tigers, elephants and other animals crowding around the watering holes which are turning out to be an oasis of cool water amidst the blazing sun and baked earth.
Similar solar-powered water pumps have been installed in Antharsanthe, Metikuppe, Veeranahosahalli ranges of Nagarahole national park as well.
Of the 370 waterholes in the 874 sq. km national park hardly a dozen have water in them underlining the severity of the unfolding crisis. And it is still February while the full impact of the peak summer that lasts from March through May is yet to unfold.


RCEP and Health: This Kind of ‘Progress’ is Not What India and the World Need

RCEP and Health: This Kind of ‘Progress’ is Not What India and the World Need

By Shiba Phurailatpam and Kajal Bhardwaj on 27/02/2017   


Concerns remain over the impact of RCEP negotiations on public health and access to medicines .

Negotiators from 16 countries are meeting in Kobe, Japan on Monday to begin the 17th round of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. Launched in 2012, the RCEP negotiations are taking place between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which comprises 10 countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and six countries with which the ASEAN bloc has pre-existing trade agreements – India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Since the recent demise of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, all eyes have turned to the RCEP negotiations that now carry, in the opinion of some, the heavy burden of rescuing the international free trade regime from the growing tendency to protectionism. Unfortunately, the RCEP negotiations suffer the same flaws as the TPP, particularly in the context of public health. As with the TPP and most other free trade negotiations, RCEP too is being negotiated behind closed doors, with limited access for public interest and health groups, and the only negotiating texts available in the public domain coming from regular online leaks. An analysis of these leaked texts shows that Japan and South Korea are proposing intellectual property (IP) provisions referred to as TRIPS-plus, in that they go far beyond the obligations under the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Such provisions are a cause for great concern among public health groups over their potential adverse impact on access to affordable medicines.
High priced patented medicines in Asia-Pacific countries
All developing countries in the RCEP negotiations are now implementing the TRIPS Agreement and granting 20 year patents on pharmaceutical products; the impact of the resulting high priced patented medicines is being felt directly by patients and government programmes. Around 2.1 million people living with HIV in the Asia–Pacific region had access to antiretroviral therapy in 2015, which accounts for approximately one in three people living with HIV. Scaling up of HIV treatment across the region remains slow. For developing countries in the region, categorised as middle income countries by the World Bank, their access to international aid, particularly from the Global Fund, is decreasing while at the same time multinational pharmaceutical companies are withdrawing lower prices for their medicines and excluding several of these countries from voluntary licenses with generic companies. A 2014 WHO report found widely varying prices for HIV medicines in middle income countries impacted by their patent status and licensing deals. According to information provided by the Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group (MTAAG) the second line combination of tenofovir+emtricitabine+lopinavir/ritonavir costs US$ 3204 per year in Malaysia; generic prices for these drugs could total as low as US$ 307 per year.
For people living with hepatitis C, access to directly acting antivirals (DAAs) like sofosbuvir, ledipasvir and daclatasvir, has also been severely hampered by high prices and restrictive voluntary licensing by patent holders. In the case of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, Gilead has issued voluntary licenses to generic companies to produce low cost versions that exclude China, Malaysia, and Thailand among the developing countries in the RCEP negotiations. In the case of daclatasvir, BMS and the Medicines Patent Pool have issued voluntary licenses to generic companies that exclude China, Malaysia, and Thailand. For the countries excluded, Gilead and BMS are negotiating extremely high prices; according to MTAAG, patients in Malaysia are paying US$40,667 for a 12 week course of Gilead’s version of the sofosbuvir/ledipavir combination. Meanwhile community groups in India are procuring 12 week courses of sofosbuvir for US$324; of daclatasvir for US$153; and of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir fixed dose combination for US$507.
Like much of the developing world, the Asia-Pacific region is also witnessing a rise in the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).. The cost of oncology drugs, particularly for biologics, remains unaffordable in developing countries. As pointed out by Dr. Margaret Chan, executive director, WHO, “Developing countries now account for around 70% of all cancer deaths. Many of these people die without treatment, not even pain relief. Estimates for 2010 indicate that cancer cost the world economy nearly $1.2 trillion.”
Global leaders in use of TRIPS flexibilities
To deal with the high prices of patented medicines, several developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region are using TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to affordable generic medicines. The right of all WTO members to use these flexibilities was reiterated in 2001 in the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health which stated that “the (TRIPS) agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO Members’ right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all”.
Among the RCEP negotiating countries, Malaysia (2003), Indonesia (2004, 2007 and 2012), Thailand (2006 and 2008) and India (2012) have issued compulsory licenses to ensure generic competition for medicines for HIV, heart disease and cancer. India and the Philippines have included statutory provisions in their laws that incorporate strict patentability criteria including a prohibition on evergreening – the practice of patent holders extending monopolies on medicines by filing successive and overlapping patents on new forms and new uses of old medicines. As a result of the use of this and other provisions in India, first and second line AIDS drugs remain off-patent in India. The patent laws of most RCEP developing countries include several other TRIPS-flexibilities as well, such as parallel imports, early working, research and experimental exceptions among others.
TRIPS-plus provisions: What’s on the RCEP table?
Despite being strong proponents and users of TRIPS flexibilities, developing countries in the region now find themselves in the midst of trade negotiations that could severely restrict their ability to use these flexibilities. According to the leaked IP chapter of the RCEP negotiations, several TRIPS-plus provisions appear to be on the table that could adversely impact public health and access to medicines including:
  • Data Exclusivity that prevents governments from relying on clinical trial data to register generic versions of medicines even if they are off-patent, their patents have expired or are revoked & complicates the issuance of compulsory licences;
  • Patent Term Extensions that extend patent life beyond 20 years and further delay generic entry;
  • Weakened Patentability Criteria that could put restrictions in terms of the time period and content of material that the patent office can take into consideration in determining whether a medicine is actually new or inventive (see provisions on grace periods and worldwide novelty);
  • Accelerated Patent Examination that may create undue pressure on already burdened patent offices in developing countries with limited human and financial resources to take hurried decisions on pharmaceutical patent applications that require close, detailed scrutiny;
  • Technical Assistance measures that may result in the indirect introduction of the lower patentability standards of developed countries into developing country patent offices through patent examiner trainings and increasing reliance on patent examination reports and conclusions of developed countries;
  • Weakened Patent Exceptions that may impose restrictions on how developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region employ and define research and experimental exceptions to patent rights;
  • Border Measures that may deny medicines to patients in other developing countries with custom officials seizing generic medicines that are being imported or exported;
  • Injunctions and Damages that could undermine the independence of the judiciary in issuing orders relating to the enforcement of patents, particularly in a manner that prioritises the right to health of patients;
  • Other IP Enforcement Measures that could put third parties like treatment providers at risk of court cases and draw the whole manufacturing, distribution & supply chain for generic medicines into litigation;
  • WTO-Plus Dispute Settlement On TRIPS by including TRIPS compliance in the RCEP negotiations, RCEP countries could sue each other for alleged TRIPS violations outside of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body
At the insistence of India and the ASEAN bloc, a provision reciting and re-affirming the commitment of RCEP countries to the Doha Declaration has been included. This is an important indication that the impact of these negotiations on public health is certainly obvious to at least some of the negotiating countries. Unfortunately, this alone may be insufficient to address public health concerns. Some commentators cast doubts on the impact of such an inclusion, referring to it as “usual – and usually ineffective” – as a reference to the Doha Declaration in such negotiations is largely self-contradictory. The Doha Declaration reaffirms flexibilities in the TRIPS Agreement. The TRIPS-plus demands of developed countries in the RCEP negotiations require governments to give up or greatly limit these flexibilities, making the reference to the Doha Declaration little more than lip service. Certainly an argument could be made that the reaffirmation of Doha in RCEP could strengthen the hands of developing countries in their use of TRIPS flexibilities left untouched by RCEP, notably in the issuance of compulsory licenses. If this is the thinking, the reference to Doha comes at a heavy price when critical flexibilities are being sacrificed in the rest of the IP chapter.
A specific provision for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the RCEP negotiations i.e. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, is also being discussed based on the leaked text. Under the TRIPS Agreement, LDCs presently enjoy a transition period to implement the TRIPS agreement till 2021 and to enforce patents and data protection on pharmaceuticals till 2033. The leaked text includes a very limited recognition of only one of the transition periods stating that LDCs would be exempt from some obligations under the RCEP chapter related to pharmaceuticals till 2021. Again, this indicates a clear recognition on the part of the some of the negotiating countries of the importance of shielding LDCs from the effects of a stronger IP regime at a point when their ability to absorb the impact of TRIPS itself is in doubt. Clearly the text also needs to take into account the full exemption that LDCs have till 2021 and include the 2033 transition period as well. However, addressing LDC concerns in negotiating TRIPS-plus provisions in RCEP is not as simple or straightforward as the mere inclusion of the both LDC transition periods in the text. In effect the inclusion of LDCs in the IP chapter would mean that at the end of the TRIPS transition periods, LDCs would be required to implement TRIPS-plus provisions rather than TRIPS. The RCEP negotiations may end up creating a direct path for LDCs to TRIPS-plus provisions –  bypassing completely or greatly limiting the period where they comply with TRIPS and enjoy to the fullest extent, the flexibilities available in the TRIPS Agreement. To avoid this situation, LDCs must be exempt from the IP chapter entirely not just as long as they enjoy the TRIPS transition periods.
To be fair, it is apparent from the leaked text that India, ASEAN and to some extent China are pushing back against the worst of the TRIPS-plus demands being backed by several of the developed countries in the negotiations. India announced its success in rebuffing moves to overturn the restrictions in its patent law on evergreening i.e. Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, and an official reportedly expressed optimism  that the rush to complete RCEP in light of the failure of the TPP may decrease some of the pressure on India to commit to TRIPS-plus provisions. If push comes to shove, the exceptions and exemptions in the name of public health may offer some relief and room for manoeuvre to developing and least developed countries but the reality is they will only create more legal complications and difficulties in their attempts to fulfil the right to health in the long term. With clear evidence that just TRIPS compliance alone is resulting in high prices and reduced availability of medicines, the only viable pro-health approach to the RCEP negotiations requires that these TRIPS-plus provisions be taken off the table entirely.
The IP chapter, while the most prominent threat to public health and access to safe, effective and affordable generic medicines, is not the only one problematic part of the draft. RCEP countries have put forward several proposals for a chapter on investment protection and all include provisions for investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms. ISDS provisions allow corporations to take governments into private international arbitration over a plethora of national laws, policies and judicial decisions including those related to health. Given increasing concerns over the ISDS system, some countries are proposing health related exceptions, though the extent and effectiveness of these remain to be seen. In particular, countries must preserve their policy space related to compulsory licences, patent revocations or refusals, public interest exceptions in IP enforcement, health safeguards in patent laws, price controls, negotiations and reimbursement measures as well as their ability to promote local production or require technology transfer from foreign investors.
Undermining international health commitments
The adverse impact that TRIPS-plus provisions can have on public health and access to medicines is well recorded and has led to advice from UN agencies to developing countries not to sign up to such provisions in trade negotiations. These provisions being negotiated in RCEP and indeed several other trade deals are in conflict with the increasing global commitments on health that these same countries are signing up to.
In December 2012, all RCEP countries were part of the historic General Assembly resolution that, “recognises the responsibility of governments to urgently and significantly scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards universal access to affordable and quality health-care services…” In 2015, all RCEP negotiating countries also committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular Goal 3b includes a commitment to:
“Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all.”
The full use of TRIPS flexibilities is also central to the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases and its Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, both of which have been endorsed by WHO member governments.
The apparent conflict between trade and health commitments was highlighted in the report of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines which was released in September 2016 which recommended that, “governments engaged in bilateral and regional trade and investment treaties should ensure that these agreements do not include provisions that interfere with their obligations to fulfil the right to health.” Not only did the panel find that governments are duty bound to “protect the rights of their citizens by using TRIPS flexibilities,” but further in relation to TRIPS-plus provisions in FTAs that the, “failure to conduct robust impact assessments before concluding such agreements is tantamount to a neglect of state duties to safeguard the right to health.” By taking these recommendations on board, RCEP countries can chart a new and sensible approach to trade negotiations that does not place the health and well being of people at the mercy of the pharmaceutical industry.
A positive agenda
Indeed, a genuine commitment to the Doha Declaration from the RCEP negotiating countries should lead them to focus their negotiations on a positive agenda on issues related to intellectual property, research and development, increasing access to safe, effective and affordable generic medicines and prioritising the right to health. This would require a clear rejection of any TRIPS-plus provisions in the intellectual property chapter as well as any investment protection provisions that would allow companies to take governments into arbitration over domestic health policies. in terms of process, RCEP negotiating countries should immediately adopt a transparent approach to the negotiations, release the text on intellectual property and investment and hold broad based public consultations on the text to ensure that these do not undermine public health and access to medicines.
RCEP countries should commit to the inclusion of the full extent of TRIPS flexibilities in their domestic laws. The reality is that over 15 years after the Doha Declaration, most countries have yet to include the full extent of these flexibilities in their national legislation. Where they have, using these provisions also requires the support and assistance from regional partner countries – including in fending off undue pressure from developed countries. For LDCs who have till 2021 to implement TRIPS and till 2033 to grant or enforce pharmaceutical patents, RCEP countries should commit to supporting technology transfer and local production of generic medicines in LDCs.
Finally, RCEP countries should commit to negotiating and implementing a new paradigm on research and development that prioritises research in the diseases and health needs of developing and least developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
RCEP governments must recall their international, regional and national commitments to respect, protect and fulfill the right to health including the right to access affordable medicines. In their quest for greater economic integration, RCEP negotiating countries must not put the lives and health of millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region at risk. In the words of WHO DG Margaret Chan, “Some Member States have expressed concern that trade agreements currently under negotiation could significantly reduce access to affordable generic medicines. If these agreements open trade yet close access to affordable medicines, we have to ask: Is this really progress at all, especially with the costs of care soaring everywhere?

Shiba Phurailatpam is the Regional Coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS;
Kajal Bhardwaj is a Delhi-based legal researcher working on HIV, health and human rights.