Citizens' Issues
Maharashtra plans to revamp ‘blood-on-call’, ambulance scheme

According to Health Minister Sawant the response for these schemes was not up to the government’s expectations and now they intend to strengthen the network of blood storage units in rural areas

 

Maharashtra Government is planning to revamp its blood-on-call scheme called as ‘Jeevan Amrut Yojana’ that is aimed at facilitating blood supply to patients scheduled to undergo surgeries and medical procedures in remote areas. In addition, the state government is also reviewing the 108 ambulance service scheme, launched by the previous government.
 
The Jeevan Amrut Yojana was launched last year, under which patients have to pay Rs450 towards the cost of blood and Rs50 to Rs100 as transportation cost depending on the distance, and request (for blood) is placed by the hospital concerned.
 
Upon receiving the call, the required blood and blood components will be transported on motorcycle to hospitals and nursing homes, in the specially fitted cold storage boxes.
 
The ambitious plan was said to be first-of-its-kind in the country.
 
Maharashtra Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant said the response for the scheme has not been on lines of government’s expectations and now they intend to strengthen the network of blood storage units in rural areas.
 
“Instead of transporting blood through motorcycles, we intend to strengthen network of blood storage units in rural areas. Accordingly, there should be one unit in the periphery of four primary health care centres. This would be more feasible,” he added.
 
The minister also said the 108 ambulance service scheme, launched by the previous government is also being reviewed.
 
The ambulance service was to facilitate transport of a patient to the nearest hospital within the first ‘golden’ hour of an emergency or a road accident, by dialling 108.
 
Sawant said there are 937 ambulances under the scheme, which has worked well.
 
“However, we plan to ensure its utilisation in areas where it is needed,” he said.
 
Sawant said his department has taken up the initiative of tracking pregnant women in tribal areas to ensure institutional deliveries in order to arrest maternal mortality deaths.
 
“Women will be counselled for safe deliveries. Last year in Amravati region, 300 pregnant women died,” he said.
 

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NHRC notices to Home Ministry, Delhi govt over Church attack

Taking suo motu cognisance of some media reports regarding the incident of breaking open the doors of St Alphonsa's Church, the NHRC had issued notices

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi government and police, seeking detailed reports on the status of investigation into the alleged vandalisation of a church in south Delhi.
 
In a release, NHRC said it issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Union Home Ministry and Delhi government and the Commissioner of Police calling for a report on the incident within 10 days.
 
In the fifth such incident since November, St Alphonsa's Church in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj area was vandalised by some unidentified persons on Monday, sparking outrage among the Christian community which alleged that it is part of a "hate campaign".
 
The commission has sought the report taking suo motu cognisance of some media reports regarding the incident of breaking open the doors of St Alphonsa's Church and defiling of the place of worship and the objects held sacred, the statement said.
 
NHRC also received telephonic information from advocate Manoj V George alleging that in spite of a formal written complaint by the church priest Vincent Salvatore, police was not taking necessary and appropriate action by registering a proper FIR and commencing effective investigation, it said.
 
Yesterday, a member of the commission, Justice Cyriac Joseph, had visited the church site to take an account of the situation.
 
Incidents of vandalisation and suspected arson at Christian religious institutions have happened in Dilshad Garden, Rohini and Jasola areas of Delhi.
 
NHRC had issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Delhi last month as well seeking a report on attacks targeting churches in the national capital.
 

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NGO Clean Up Needed
Pathetic reporting of NGOs should be a wake-up call
 
Many in the NGO sector believe that the government has unleashed a witch-hunt of sorts against them. A few big NGOs, who receive a flood of foreign exchange every year, are being questioned about its utilisation. This has opened up a Pandora’s Box. What has emerged is a monumental mess with a majority of NGOs failing to prepare even their annual reports. 
 
In a case before the Supreme Court of India (pertaining to alleged embezzlement of funds by NGOs), CBI has said that out of 23,95,579 NGOs in 21 states, some 2,43,955 had filed their balance sheets with the authorities. That is, just over 10% of the NGOs are complying with this basic requirement. In the seven Union Territories, of the 73,213 NGOs, only 50 have submitted their returns. 
 
While it is interesting that the every state is providing details of NGOs and their ‘alleged’ non-compliance, what about the government departments responsible for regulation? Most NGOs will tell you that the charity commissioner and trust offices are terribly overloaded so that simple filings and ‘change reports’ take months, and even years, to be recorded officially. Also, reporting systems are still in the stone-age. Manual registers and processes continue to be mandatory. Nobody bothers to check compliance except when an NGO is being harassed as part of an inquiry. Compliance with reporting requirements consumes a big chunk of an NGO’s time, cost and resources.
 
If the government really wants to clean up the NGO sector, then prime minister Narendra Modi’s promise of minimal governance—simple online reporting requirements and less harassment—is imperative. 

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COMMENTS

Navroze Havewala null

3 years ago

One of the most corrupt departments of the Maharashtra Government is the Charity Commissioner.
Some people get away with loot of thousands of crores, and honest, charitable folk are harassed.
The officers have no respect for legality, because there is no punishment if an order is reversed in a higher court.

Girish Mittal

3 years ago

I agree compliance take lot of time of volunteer driven NGOs. We give our time, money and talent to provide solutions to people where govt has failed. We need to make life easier for people...everywhere..Corporate, NGO, Individual etc...

Meenal Mamdani

3 years ago

In USA, if a NGO income is less than $25 thousand in a year, all it has to do is file a brief statement online, called a e-postcard.
Similarly, NGO files a short form every year to indicate it is still active, the names and addresses of the directors and a fee of $5 with it takes care of the regulatory requirements.
The Charity Commissioner's office must be brought into the digital age as soon as possible.
If they don't have the (wo)man power, I am sure that they will get many volunteers to help them digitize their records.

Narendra Doshi

3 years ago

Yes, Sucheta you are right. This must see the light of the day sooner than later.

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