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Jan Vishwas Bill and Health Care UPSC NOTE

 


Jan Vishwas Bill

  • The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 amends 42 laws, across multiple sectors, including agriculture, environment, and media and publication and health. 

  • The Bill converts several fines to penalties, meaning that court prosecution is not necessary to administer punishments. 

  • It also removes imprisonment as a punishment for many offences.

Jan Vishwas Bill and Health Care

  • Covered under the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 are changes in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Pharmacy Act, 1948. 

  • The changes proposed to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 have been the most contentious. 

What are the pros and cons of the amendments?

  • It allows manufacturers of Not of Standard Quality Drugs (NSQ) drugs to escape significant penalties despite the fact that these drugs can have an adverse effect on the patient.

  • For example, drugs that lack the adequate active ingredient or fail to dissolve will not cure the disease it is meant to and that will result in a poor treatment outcome for the patient. 

  • The Bill also reduces penalties for owners of pharmacies who violate the terms of their licence.

  • The Indian pharmaceutical sector, manufacturing and pharmacies included, are already subject to extremely lax regulation as evidenced by the explosion of scandals recently across the world linked to ‘Made in India’ medicine. 

  • The government should be tightening the regulatory screws, not giving the industry a literal “get out of jail” pass.

  • Laws shouldn’t become a cost-to-operation component for companies but should install in them the greater sensibilities and responsibilities towards the society. 

What is the government’s argument in favour of the Bill?

  • Health Minister said: “India is the pharmacy of the world and we have to work towards ensuring that the best medicines are provided while reasonable benefits are offered to business. Rationalising laws, eliminating barriers and bolstering growth of businesses are important.’’

Selection of Chief Election Commissioner

Selection of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)

  • Article 324 says the President should appoint the CEC and Commissioners, subject to any law made in that behalf by Parliament. However, successive regimes have failed to enact a law.

  • Power to appoint members of the Election Commission of India (ECI) was the sole domain of the executive.

  • In March 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the selection panel should comprise the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha and the CJI. 

  • The court had said the order would hold good until a law was made by Parliament.

  • Till the SC ruling, all election commissioners had been appointed by the President after recommendations by the government.

Proposed changes

  • The Union government introduced a Bill to remove the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from a panel to select the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

  • Instead of the CJI, the three-member panel would now have a Union Cabinet Minister, besides the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister, who would head it.

  • According to the Statement and Objectives of the Bill, in case there is no LoP in the Lower House of Parliament, the leader of the single largest Opposition party would be considered the LoP.

  • The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023, was introduced by Law Minister.

Concerns

  • This will put a question mark on the neutrality of the Election Commission (EC) as the selection panel would effectively have two members of the ruling government.

Importance of ECI independence

  • As a constitutional body vested with plenary powers of superintendence, direction and control over elections, the ECI is a vital component of the republic.

  • ECI requires functional freedom and constitutional protection to ensure free and fair elections.

Article 324 of the Constitution has made the following provisions to safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the Election Commission:

  • Security of tenure: He cannot be removed from his office except in same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.

  • The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

  • Any other election commissioner or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the chief election commissioner.

  • Election Commission has complete authority on how, where, and when to conduct an election without any interference from the executive, whether it is general election or by-election.

Limitation in its functioning 

  • No fixed criterion for promotion to CEC.

  • Election Commission has the power to register but does not have the power to de-register political parties even for gravest violations.

  • The Constitution has not prescribed any qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the Election Commission.

  • The Constitution has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.

  • The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Jan Vishwas Bill and Health Care UPSC NOTE
Jan Vishwas Bill and Health Care UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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