Government in agreement on 'one rank one pension'': Army chief

Once implemented, the 'one rank one pension' will resolve all anomalies related to the ex-servicemen's pension and bring uniformity in the post-retirement scheme

Sagar (Madhya Pradesh): The Union government has given in-principle approval to the 'one rank one pension' demand of ex-servicemen, Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh said on Friday, reports PTI.

"I have written twice to the central government on the issue of one rank one pension and it has agreed to it in principle," he said while addressing a rally of ex-servicemen at Mahar Regiment Centre Ground.

He said the Defence Minister has assured to look into the matter seriously after the Budget session of Parliament.

Implementation of one rank one pension will put a financial burden of Rs1,300 crore on the Government, he said, adding all political parties have backed the demand.

Once implemented, it will resolve all anomalies related to the ex-servicemen's pension and bring uniformity in the post-retirement scheme, the Army chief maintained.

General Singh blamed communication gap for delay in redressal of grievances of the ex-servicemen.

He said directives have been issued to officials concerned to ensure they are in regular touch with ex- servicemen and their widows and resolve their problems related to pension, healthcare and canteen facilities among others.

General Singh said a toll-free helpline number was being launched to receive complaints of ex-servicemen and ensure their speedy resolution. The service will be headed by a retired Brigadier level officer.

Army regiments and units have been directed to constitute special teams to look into the grievances, he said.

the Army chief said after the formation of special teams Rs22 crore was given to retired servicemen in pending arrears in Rajasthan.

Earlier in the day, General Singh arrived at Bhopal Airport and left for Sagar, around 180km from the state capital, in a helicopter.


Life Exclusive
How Does the FDA monitor your medical implants? It doesn’t, really

If someone dies from complications in a surgery to remove an implant, the manufacturer may argue that it was the surgery—not the implant—that killed the patient

Each prescription drug you take has a unique code that the government can use to track problems. But artificial hips and pacemakers? They are implanted without identification, along with many other medical devices. In fact, the FDA doesn’t know how many devices are implanted into patients each year—it simply doesn't track that data.

The past decade has seen numerous high profile cases of malfunctioning medical devices, which have led to injury or even death. Critics say the FDA’s minimal monitoring of devices contributes to these problems.“If you’re lucky, you might find a sticker on the operating room note that was left over from the product,” said Richard Platt, who runs the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Otherwise, there is little way of knowing what device was used.

Right now, the FDA depends mostly on voluntary reports from doctors, patients, manufacturers and hospitals to notify them of problems with devices already on the market. The agency does have some power to require manufacturers to conduct further studies or track a particular device once it is sold. But many devices don’t get that level of surveillance.

“It’s much like a patchwork of streams of information getting to the FDA,” said cardiologist Frederic Resnic of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who has worked with the FDA on medical device safety monitoring. “The FDA is relying on anecdotal and very variable information about the safety of medical devices.”

If manufacturers get word from a doctor or hospital about a death or injury that occurred as a result of their product, they are legally obligated to investigate the event and report it to the FDA. But the process isn’t straightforward, as has become clear in the recent controversy over the malfunctioning St. Jude’s Riata defibrillator leads (wires that connect a defibrillator to the heart). The FDA said an individual doctor’s report helped alert them to the problem, but it was months before the device was recalled.

According to attorney William Vodra, a regulatory law expert and member of the Institute of Medicine panel that published a report on medical device safety last year, the number of doctors who actually contact manufacturers is small.

And after being notified of patient harm, manufacturers can minimize their own responsibility if they point the blame elsewhere, said health policy expert Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families.
For example, if someone dies from complications in a surgery to remove an implant, the manufacturer may argue that it was the surgery—not the implant—that killed the patient.

“You have a system that is not rigorous, the standards are not always understood, and they are interpreted differently by different people,” Zuckerman said.
The FDA responds to the criticism by pointing out that while every medical device carries a potential risk, the vast majority of devices perform well and improve patient health. An FDA spokeswoman emphasized that the agency must evaluate thousands of medical devices each year, and is constantly looking for ways to better and more quickly identify problems.

While the FDA makes the adverse event reports publically available in a searchable database, it doesn’t have a standardized system for reviewing reports once they are sent in, said Vodra, the attorney. A disclaimer on the site specifically states that the data is "not intended to be used either to evaluate rates of adverse events or to compare adverse event occurrence rates across devices."

“What you would normally consider the simplest kind of data analysis is not done,” said Zuckerman. Often, doctors catch a malfunctioning device before the FDA ever notices.

In one case, a group of Pennsylvania doctors noticed that several patients were showing severe complications a few years after getting an IVC filter—a device designed to capture blood clots. Bits of the filter were breaking off, causing chest pain and a dangerous build-up of fluid and pressure around the heart. In 2010 the doctors conducted their own study and found that the filter broke in a quarter of all patients who used it.

On the day that study was published, the FDA issued a warning saying it had received over 900 reports of problems with IVC filters since 2006, and that the device was meant to be removed after a few months, not left in permanently.

There have been numerous attempts at reform. Five years ago Congress ordered the FDA to set up a post-market surveillance system to track the safety of all medical projects, but a system hasn’t yet been set up for medical devices.

A year later the FDA announced the Sentinel Initiative, which would combine existing data from electronic health records and medical claims to track drugs, vaccines, and devices. Some groups of hospitals or other organizations have voluntarily set up registries to collect information about the make and model of devices.While the FDA has made significant progress on tracking drugs, it’s not yet in a position to do the same thing for devices, according to Harvard’s Platt, who is the principal investigator of Mini-Sentinel, the FDA's pilot program for the national system. The data isn't there.

The FDA has long acknowledged the need for a unique device identifier system, and got permission from Congress to set one up five years ago. No such system of ID-tags exists yet, but after several recent high profile medical device failures, the issue getting some attention from Congress. A proposed Senate bill, which cleared the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week, sets a timeframe for implementing a unique identification system, among other reforms.

“If UDI’s were used in a consistent way, we could use the same kinds of techniques we've developed for drugs for devices,” said Platt. “It would be a huge breakthrough.”


Sensex, Nifty to see further lows: Friday Closing Report

The Nifty may be headed to the level of 5,045 and then to 5,000

Concerns about the proposed tax issues, the depreciating rupee and weakening macro picture led the market sharply lower today. Yesterday we had mentioned in that the Sensex and the Nifty may be headed down again. We also said that the Nifty may reach the level of 5,150, which it did in the morning session itself. The Nifty went on to hit a low of 5,071 in the afternoon session, which is the lowest low since 24 January 2012. We may now see the index falling to the level of 5,045 and then to 5,000. However, if on any day the benchmark closes above previous day's high, we may see a change in the direction.  The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a higher volume of 65.95 crore shares.   

The market opened lower following lacklustre movement in the Asian bourses in morning trade. Tepid services sector growth and the retail sector missing April sales forecasts led the US markets lower in overnight trade, which also had a bearing on Asia today. Negative domestic news also weighed on the investors. The Nifty opened 21 points lower at 5,167 and the Sensex shaved off 81 points from its previous close to resume trade at 17,067.

The market hit its intraday high in initial trade with the Nifty touching 5,177 and the Sensex rising to 17,121. However, intense selling pressure in subsequent trade resulted in all sectoral indices trading in the negative and the benchmarks slipping below their psychological levels.

News reports suggesting that the Indian government is likely to review its double taxation avoidance treaty with Mauritius in order to boost revenues led the market further southwards in post-noon trade.

The benchmarks fell to their lows in late trade with the Nifty falling to 5,071 and the Sensex tumbling to 16,777. The market closed marginally off the lows. The Nifty finished 102 points down at 5,087 and the Sensex settled at 16,831, a drop of 320 points.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 310:1424.

Among the broader indices the BSE Mid-cap index declined 2.15% while the BSE Small-cap index dropped 1.81%.

The lone gainer in the sectoral indices was, BSE Health Care which rose 0.24%. The losers were led by BSE Capital Goods (down 3.74%); BSE Bankex (down 3.17%); BSE Metal (down 2.51%); BSE PSU (down 2.49%) and BSE Realty (down 2.46%).

Cipla (up 2.46%); Wipro (up 0.63%); Hindustan Unilever (up 0.30%); Sun Pharmaceutical (up 0.15%) and Tata Motors (up 0.02%) were the top gainers on the Sensex. The top losers were BHEL (down 4.93%); Hero MotoCorp (down 4.42%); State Bank of India (down 4.39%); Larsen & Toubro (down 4.30%) and Bajaj Auto (down 3.76%).

The Nifty toppers were Cipla (up 2.85%); Wipro (up 0.64%); Sun Pharmaceutical (up 0.58%); Asian Paints (up 0.40%) and Tata Motors (up 0.22%). The main laggards were Bank of Baroda (down 6.34%); Punjab National Bank (down 5.19%); Axis Bank (down 4.95%); Larsen & Toubro (down 4.94%) and BHEL (down 4.82%).

The Asian pack closed mostly lower investors were concerned about the slowing pace of global economic growth on the back of weak economic indicators. On the other hand, the Chinese market settled higher on news that the government is likely to announce new initiatives for brokerages.

The Hang Seng declined 0.77%; the Jakarta Composite fell by 0.17%; the Straits Times dropped 0.34% and the KOSPI Composite slipped 30%.  On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.49%; the KLSE Composite rose 0.50% and the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.31%. At the time of writing, the key European indices were down between 0.66% and 0.97% and the US stock futures were in the negative.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs73.74 crore on Thursday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs347 crore.

Bank of India (BoI) announced reduction in its home loan rates by up to 0.75% as well as a 0.25% drop in the base rate to 10.50%.Accordingly, the new rates will be 10.50% for loans up to Rs 30 lakh, 10.75% for over Rs 30 lakh but less than Rs 75 lakh and 11.25% for those above Rs 75 lakh. The rates are floating ones and are linked to the bank's base rate which at present is 10.50%. The stock fell 1.62% on the BSE to close at Rs 328.20


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