World
White House says Snowden must not be allowed further travel

White House said it believed that there is a strong legal justification for Russia to expel Snowden and, given that he is wanted here on felony charges, that he should be returned to the US

The White House has said that Edward Snowden, who is wanted in the US on charges of felony, should not be allowed to travel further from Moscow. Snowden, the fugitive former operative of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is stranded at Moscow airport since past 10 days.

 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters "We’ve made very clear that he (Snowden) has been charged with felonies and as such, he should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than travel that would result in him returning to the US."

 

Three Latin American countries have accepted the asylum request of Snowden, who fled the country after leaking the secretive American internet and phone surveillance programme, PRISM, which has outraged several countries including close US allies.

 

Snowden first flew to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, where he is stranded now as the US has withdrawn his passport in the absence of which he cannot travel further.

 

Carney said, “We have a very important relationship with Russia, and as the (US) President has said and others have said, we believe that this is not something that should negatively affect our relationship with Russia; it is something that we are pursuing through the normal channels here, diplomatic and law enforcement channels.”

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Is filing of PIL by IAS or IPS officers against service rules?

Although, the Service Rules, framed in the 1950s and 60s, do not stop or prohibit any IAS or IPS officer from moving to the Court for filing a PIL on service related matters, some editors  seem to think otherwise

Recently, I saw an Article in the Sunday Guardian. The article titled “Akhilesh loses ground in UP, Mulayam loses hope” says- “A certain level of anarchy has been unleashed in the functioning of the party.” 

 

Among other things, it also refers to me saying- “Officers in the UP government are also kicking off discipline. A senior Personal Communication Services (PCS) officer Hari Shankar Pandey filed a first information report (FIR) against three officers from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) for harassing him. A senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Amitabh Thakur files public interest litigations (PILs) with an alarming regularity, in complete disregard of service rules.”

 

Thus the article, in a way, charges me of filing PILs on a regular basis, “in complete disregard to service rules.”

 

The fact on the other hand is that to the best of my knowledge no service rule seems to stop a government servant, including the All India Services officers, from filing PILs. It does not even say that the government servant shall take permission from the concerned government before filing PILs. The All India Service officers are governed by the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, which has total 23 Rules in it. None of these Rules, to the best of my knowledge, stops or prohibits any officer from moving to the Court to file PILs or service related matters.

 

The only bar, if at all is as regards to vindication of acts and character of members of the Service as stated in Rule 17 of these Rules. It says-“No member of the Service shall, except with the previous sanction of the government have recourse to any court or to the press for the vindication of official act which has been the subject matter of adverse criticism or attack of a defamatory character.”

 

Thus, the Conduct Rules only prohibit going to Court for vindication of official acts.

 

Interestingly, here again, there is an exception which says-“ Explanation.—Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to prohibit a member of the Service from vindicating his private character or any act done by him in his private capacity provided that he shall submit a report to the government regarding such action.”

 

What it seems to mean is that the officers do not need even previous sanction to vindicate their private character or private act.

 

Yet, a responsible newspaper like the Sunday Guardian came on record to state that regular filing of PILs by an IPS officer is against Service Rules, which to me seems to be an incorrect statement.

 

Though someone might regard the matter as not being very serious, yet I have written to the newspaper stating these facts, requesting them to present my point of view as well if found correct. This is because I personally believe that any written or spoken word shall be given utmost regard and we shall be extremely careful, responsible and accountable for every word we say or write. To me it seems that the more we develop and adapt this attitude in our country, the more responsible we will become as a true citizen of India, who cares not only for himself but for others as well.

 

NOTE: Earlier this month, Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the state counsel to seek instructions from the ministry of personnel and public grievances within 10 days regarding amendment in conduct rules for government servants. Mr Thakur filed the PIL for amendment in Conduct Rules and performance appraisal presently applicable to the government servants.

 

(Amitabh Thakur is an IPS officer from Uttar Pradesh. He is the founder of the National RTI Forum, a grassroots anti-corruption organization in India that advocates for government openness under the terms of the 2005 Right to Information Act. His filing of FIR against Facebook and others for use of abusive language against Mahatma Gandhi has been widely appreciated in India, following which the Facebook group was banned.)

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IRDA removes hospitals’ ‘minimum bed’ condition for mediclaim
A wrong decision by the insurance regulator bites the dust. The requirement of a hospital to have minimum 15 beds for it to be covered under mediclaim has been scrapped. The benefit to include smaller nursing homes far exceeds the risks of any mediclaim fraud
 
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) guidelines on standardization in health insurance defined hospital with at least 10 in-patient beds, in those towns having a population of less than 10 lakh and with 15 in-patient beds at other places. It was becoming a big issue for small nursing homes as mediclaim policyholders would not been covered there. Nursing home owners had termed the move as ‘unreasonable’. In Mumbai, 684 out of 1,200 nursing homes have less than 15 beds. The Association of Medical Consultants (AMC), a body of over 7,500 doctors in the city, had also filed a petition challenging IRDA’s circular on bed restriction for mediclaim cover. 
 
On 5th July, IRDA told the Bombay High Court that it has withdrawn the bed restriction clause. The hospitals will need to be registered with the local authorities under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, or under the enactments specified under the Schedule of Section 56(1) of the said Act.
 
IRDA’s diktat on bed restriction in the guidelines was seen as not just against smaller healthcare providers but also against the public. Policyholders would have been pushed to undergo treatment at bigger hospitals which in most cases charge more than smaller nursing homes. As such, policyholders feel harassed with partial claims settlement and it will only increase with higher bill amounts from bigger hospitals. 
 
In India, the category of room (private a/c, private non a/c, twin sharing, etc) also determines all the other incremental charges associated with it. The better the room, higher the associated charges even including doctor’s fees. Mediclaim policyholders having high coverage may not negotiate with the hospital on the amount being charged and will avail better facilities even for ordinary hospitalization just to reap the benefit of paying premium to the insurance company over the years.
 
When a mediclaim policy offers ‘cashless’ at high-end hospitals like Hinduja and Lilavati in Mumbai, it is tempting for the insured to indulge in the best of medical treatment even for non-life-threatening procedures. There can be a huge variation in costs among different hospitals for the same procedure. The insured may not worry, as making a claim is looked at as “payback time” for getting the benefit of premium payment over a period of time. The insurer pays the claim but, ultimately, the insured pays with possible increase in the premium. 
 
Even in the case of Moneylife’s group insurance claim for kidney stone removal, we had excellent small nursing home option nearby which would have provided good, clean and cost-effective treatment. However, the employee had to go for expensive alternative due to lack of cashless facility with these small nursing homes. Imagine, what happens if the nursing home is not even covered under mediclaim. Those who are willing to go even for reimbursement claim would have been ineligible. IRDA has taken right step in backing out of the bed restriction clause. 
 
One of the main reasons that would have prompted IRDA to include the bed restriction in the new health insurance guidelines is the possibility of mediclaim fraud from smaller nursing homes with or without TPA support. But, inflated bills can come from any size hospital. The bigger the hospital, the higher are the charges that are levied. Unnecessary tests can be done by any hospital once you declare that you have mediclaim cover. 
 
Last year, a leading Mumbai-based surgeon (who prefers to remain anonymous) gave insights into working of high-end hospitals. He said, “Insurance companies find it difficult to determine the opaque cost of the implant charged by big hospitals. These hospitals can buy implants as bulk purchases and are also sourced from different places to save on taxes; Maharashtra has 10.5% sales tax plus octroi, Hyderabad has 4.5% while Chennai does not have any tax. Bigger hospitals also sell implants to smaller hospitals at different rates. The MRP (maximum retail price) on the box has no relevance to the actual cost to the hospital. Medicines are purchased by bigger hospitals at an unfathomable discount. Hospitals makes money only from pharma items (implants, medicines), nothing else; otherwise it is a white elephant.”
 
 

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COMMENTS

Bhanuprasad Suthar

3 months ago

I had taken the health insurance policy from cholamandalam general insurance Co duly certified by central bank of India for its clients as well as employees including retirees. I am retired staff of the bank. I submitted medical claim as per prescribed format but claim repudiated on the ground of hospital size. If IrDA has withdrawn the stipulation of size of hospital then company would have settled the claim. Guide me how I should proceed. Also if possible please give the circular no and date of IRDA's guideline.



prafulpatel

1 year ago

on 5th july irda told the bombay high courtthat it has withdrawn the bed restriction clause for mediclaim.but insurance companies /tpa r still asking for that.can i get a copy/evidence of that from irda/court or u to produce in front of these companies/tpa.pl let me know.pl tell the year 2013 or 2014.

anand

3 years ago

Dear patients/consumers,

Please bear in mind these following facts which I have understood working as a consultant in a "corporate" hospital.

1)These hospitals are run/owned by big business houses who have only one bottom line i.e"profit at all costs".

2)There is a huge amount of pressure on the doctors working at such hospitals ,especially in hospitals where doctors are attached as full-timers to maximise profits.

These doctor colleagues often complain about the malpractices that they are forced to indulge in so as to generate more revenue without which they may be asked to leave.

The irony is that a so called leading hospital in Mumbai promotes itself citing its full-time consultant system( each department having just one or two full-time consultants) when in fact a having many consultants is always healthy in terms of choice offered to patients and more importantly in ensuring that the doctor is not overworked and always striving to give his/her best.

3)Big hospitals ,more often than not,are CHAOTIC since there are too many "cooks"(read doctors) involved and the personal attention which patients deserve,is lacking. Inadvertently the line of treatment is not always streamlined and keeps on changing each day. length of stay is increased,more number of investigations are ordered and bills get inflated.

MIND WELL,YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE WELL INFORMED BUT YOU WILL NEVER REALISE WHAT IS HAPPENING.

In fact sometimes things sometimes spiral so absurdly out of control that even the doctors cannot control it.

3)Foreign trained doctors are sometimes misfits to cater to the Indian milieu.

Please understand that India can ill afford the defensive system of medicine practised in the west which is algorithm based and depends very heavily on investigations rather than clinical skills.

There is a very strong move afoot to stamp out smaller health care facilities which may not be having the "mall like look " of big hospitals but offer affordable,timely and very personlised treatment,close to your house.

My advice to all patients is

a)to CHOOSE their doctors WELL after understanding their disease condition and the treatment offered.

b)NOT be swayed by reputation of a hospital or a doctor.But rather by the information given and the sincerity which your doctor exhibits
There are well-entrenched marketing ploys being employed to ensure that patients are fooled into going to so called"number one doctors" or "world class hospitals"

c)not be coerced into going only to a certain group of hospitals which have a tie-up with your insurance company.
These tie-ups involve the give and take of bribes and kick-backs and usually consist of hospitals which conform to the diktats/demands of the insurance company/TPA rather than considering what is best for the patient.
Note:the insurance company/TPA is in this business to maximise its profits and not with any philantrophic intention.

You will most definitely hear from me again.

wish you all good health.

anand

vitthal ambike

3 years ago

I agree with decision

vitthal ambike

3 years ago

i m agree with a dicision

suvarnamk

3 years ago

first time the aaam aadaami cries have been heard.the next step is room rent as @ of S.I. 1% ( many policies include room rent+resident dr ch +nursing ch)
OF COURSE IN OUR COUNTRY U CAN FILL YOUR STOMACH IN SAY 1,5,12 RUPEES THEN WITH ESCALATING INFLATION HIGH PROPERTY PRICES AND POOR SALARIES PAID TO HOSPITAL STAFF
1% S.I PER DAY IS ONE RUPEE MEAL.
the people who make law r above law in our mother land;similarly insurers who frame the laws (terms, conditions)have insulated themselves by passing resolution in boards that they get free medical attention here & hereafter (in retirement).
it is not surprising that rulers r far removed from reality
why for each proper understanding the aam aadaami must shed blood to get his proper dues. the person who pays the premium, from which insurers, tpa, public servants employed after retirement receive their lively hood is always at the receiving end begging for mercy ;why the citizen point is always ignored at the behest of corporate giant indian or otherwise

DEEPAK KHEMANI

3 years ago

Finally an absurd and anti consumer condition was removed as better sense prevailed. What is important to know is where do these hare brained ideas originate and which officer finally decides to give a go ahead to such stupid ideas. Is anyone actually accountable for such actions?

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