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[afro-nets] India AIDS Bill Delay
- From: "Sweety Prem Kumar R" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2009 22:39:25 +0530
Cross-posted from: ?AIDS Beyond Borders" <AIDS-Beyond-Borders@googlegroups.com>
AIDS bill to get delayed further as Law Ministry, NACO still to settle differences
Source: Pharmabiz, September 10, 2009
Joseph Alexander, New Delhi
The HIV/AIDS Bill aimed at ending the discrimination to the HIV patients and ensuring access to treatment, which has been pending since 2006, is still stuck up with the Law Ministry with no signs of immediate clearance even as the NGOs and public interest groups are mounting pressure to get it passed.
The Bill, drafted in August 2006, is still pending with the legislative department of the Law Ministry and the tabling of the same in the Parliament is likely to be delayed further as the ministry is still holding consultations with the National AIDS Control Organisation over some crucial provisions, sources said. The draft bill, for which the process started way back in 2003, has been pending with law ministry for nearly two years now and was expected to be tabled in the coming Session.
Health ministry sources said though the law ministry suggested some sweeping changes in the draft and returned the same to the NACO, it finally agreed to have a relook at the changes following widespread protests from the public interest groups. However, it is learnt, that the process of consultations would take more time as the law ministry is not ready to accept all provisions in the original draft whereas the NACO, like many public interest groups, does not want to get it diluted.
The Bill, drafted by an NGO working in the health sector Lawyers Collective, aims to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS and also to protect the rights of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. It seeks to address discrimination in employment, education, healthcare, travel, residence, accommodation, insurance, etc.
Some important provisions regarding access to treatment and risk reduction, which form the core of the National AIDS Control Programme have been deleted by the law ministry while sending it back. Provisions on discrimination, confidentiality and special provisions for women and children have been diluted, undermining legal protection for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Apart from that, law ministry suggested mandatory testing, tracing and isolation of people infected or at risk of HIV and AIDS, it is learnt.
Following this, the public interest groups had staged nation-wide protests and the affected people themselves staged protests in front of the law ministry some time back. The delegations also met the law minister in December last and got assurance from him that all important provisions would be restored and consultations will be held with NACO to clear the bill.
Sweety Prem Kumar R