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22-03-2023

12:00:AM

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Table of Content


  • GS-2 Social Justice 
    • Rajasthan-Right to Health Bill
  • Fact File
    • Understanding the Term 'Guillotine' in Legislative Jargon



Rajasthan-Right to Health Bill

GS-2 Social Justice: 


Despite the ongoing protests by doctors who were demanding its complete withdrawal, the Rajasthan Assembly approved the Right to Health (RTH) Bill.



The need for the RTH

  • The state government is committed to improving healthcare in Rajasthan and has previously introduced the Chiranjeevi scheme, which is at present facing criticisms of the implementation, particularly with regards to private hospitals.
  • Thus, the Bill was being introduced to address such implementation issues and it includes fines of up to Rs 10,000 for the first contravention and up to Rs 25,000 for subsequent contraventions for anyone found in contravention of the Act.
  • The Act would ensure that subsequent governments are required to abide by the provisions of the Bill and provide free healthcare.


Key provisions of the Rajasthan Right to Health (RTH) Bill

  • The Bill grants every resident of the state the right to access free Out Patient Department (OPD) services and In-Patient Department (IPD) services at all public health facilities and select private facilities.
  • Free healthcare services such as consultation, drugs, diagnostics, emergency transport, procedure, and emergency care will be provided subject to conditions specified in the rules, which will be formulated in the future.
  • All residents of the state are entitled to emergency treatment and care without prepayment of any fee or charges.
  • Hospitals cannot delay treatment in medico-legal cases on grounds of police clearance.
  • After emergency care, stabilisation, and transfer of the patient, the healthcare provider is entitled to receive the requisite fee and charges or proper reimbursement from the state government if the patient does not pay.
  • The Bill extends a total of 20 rights to the citizens of the state.


The clause about emergency in the RTH

  • One of the most contentious issues of the RTH was emergency care, leading to protests by doctors.
  • The clause states that people have the right to emergency treatment and care for accidental emergency, emergency due to snake bite/animal bite, and any other emergency decided by the State Health Authority under prescribed emergency circumstances.
  • Importantly, people can receive emergency treatment and care without prepayment of the requisite fee or charges for prompt and necessary emergency medical treatment and critical care, emergency obstetric treatment and care, by any public or private health institution qualified to provide such care or treatment according to their level of health care.


Criticism of the bill

  • The Opposition in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly objected to the bill, saying that it should only apply to multi-specialty hospitals with 50 beds and that there should be a single forum for complaints.
  • Some doctors are questioning the need for the RTH when existing schemes already cover most of the population, and they are objecting to certain clauses, such as the definition of "emergency" and the requirement that doctors treat patients outside their specialty in emergency situations.
  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded the inclusion of 17 “Rights of Health Care Providers”in the bill, such as responsibilities and duties for patientsand caretakers and rights for health care providers. The IMA says that the bill should have been dropped if these demands were not included.


Government’s stand

  • The government says that almost all of the doctors' earlier demands have already been met and accuses them of constantly shifting goalposts to prevent the bill from being passed. The government says that the bill will increase transparency and prevent private hospitals from overcharging for services.
  • The bill allows patients to choose where to obtain medicines or tests, which means hospitals cannot insist on in-house services. If a patient leaves a hospital against medical advice, they must be given a treatment summary or treatment records and information to seek a second opinion.

 

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Fact File

Understanding the Term 'Guillotine' in Legislative Jargon

  • As the deadlock continues in Parliament, a few Members of Parliament have suggested that the government might resort to guillotining the demands for grants and passing the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha without any debate.


Guillotine      

                                     

  • A guillotine is an execution device that beheads the condemned person with a weighted blade.It consists of a tall, erect frame and a large blade that is released to fall on the neck of the person at the bottom of the frame.
  • The device and the term originated in France.
  • The guillotine was designed to make capital punishment more reliable and less painful, based on Enlightenment ideas of human rights.
  • Prior to the guillotine, France used manual beheading and various other gruesome methods of execution.
  • The guillotine is most famously associated with the French Revolution, when it was used to execute members of the Ancien Regime, including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.
  • France stopped using the guillotine as a method of execution in 1981, when capital punishment was abolished.


'Guillotine' in Legislative parlance

  • In legislative parlance, to "guillotine" means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business.
  • This is a common procedural exercise in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.
  • After the Budget is presented, Parliament goes into recess for about three weeks, during which time House Standing Committees examine Demands for Grants for various Ministries.
  • After Parliament reassembles, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) draws up a schedule for discussions on the Demands for Grants.
  • Due to time constraints, the House cannot take up the expenditure demands of all Ministries, so the BAC identifies some important Ministries such as Ministries of Home, Defence, External Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development and Human Resource Development for discussions.
  • Members discuss the policies and workings of these Ministries during the allotted time.
  • Once the House is done with these debates, the Speaker applies the "guillotine" and puts all outstanding demands for grants to vote at once.
  • This usually happens on the last day earmarked for the discussion on the Budget, ensuring the timely passage of the Finance Bill, which marks the completion of the legislative exercise with regard to the Budget.
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