ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Analysis of Private Healthcare Providers

India’s health system is dominated by the private sector and as a result, out-of-pocket expenditure is very high. To provide financial risk protection and avoid catastrophic health consequences, policy emphasis is on the Ayushman Bharat programme which targets to cover 50 crore people. Such a large-scale insurance scheme needs huge infrastructural and administrative support. Unincorporated private healthcare providers comprise 99% of private health providers in India, the majority of them being small scale, employing less than 10 workers and having a strong urban bias. To better promote universal health coverage, policy emphasis on better monitoring, administering regulations, transparency in system, and ensuring quality in delivery of service is needed.

India’s First Per Curiam

A per curiam opinion seeks to project the court as a resolute bloc in unanimous verdicts by concealing the identity of the author(s). However, arbitrarily employing anonymity, without due regard to legal tradition and reason, adversely impacts accountability and transparency in the judiciary. As such, it is important to evaluate the Supreme Court of India’s choice of anonymity in the momentous Ayodhya decision.

Collegium System in the Indian Judiciary Needs to be Reformed for Greater Transparency and Accountability

The collegium system must not see itself as being above the safeguards and measures for transparency, accountability and demographic representation that apply to India’s pillars of democracy.

Right to Information: The Promise of Participatory Democracy and Accountability

In July 2019, the parliament passed an amendment to the Right to Information Act, 2005, that reduces its effectiveness. The amendment adds to the long list of erosions the Act has weathered by prior governments.

Politics of Census in Pakistan

Prior to the long-delayed 2017 census, socio-economic planning in Pakistan had used obsolete data, widening the gulf between the rich and the poor. The new census has not drastically improved the situation either. The collected data remain incomplete, reflecting the infrastructural weaknesses of the underlying institutions. Many provinces have voiced their concerns about the recent census, but these have not been addressed. Without political resolve to compile and make available more exhaustive information, meaningful planning to address societal inequities in Pakistan cannot take place.

Decentralising Accountability

Ensuring good governance while devolving the 3Fs— functions, funds and functionaries—is a formidable challenge. An action research conducted in Sikkim from 2010 to 2016 focused on four questions: where is the corruption, what are the different types of corruption, how much is the quantum, and how do we reduce it effectively? A set of anti-corruption tools was integrated in the programme delivery, and corruption practices were broadly grouped into “easy to prevent,” “difficult to prevent but easy to detect,” and “difficult to prevent and detect.” By applying this strategy, we found that the corruption level dropped more than three times from 1.74% to 0.55%, and the savings from sanctioned cost rose to 20% (₹30.16 crore). This reduction was achieved despite weak enforcement, highlighting that a dynamic anti-corruption strategy that increases the probability of being caught can significantly reduce corruption by decentralising accountability.

Corruption under the Scanner

Global Corruption Report 2001 edited by Robin Hodess et al; Transparency International, Berlin, 2001; pp 314, price not stated.

Fiscal Transparency

What one expected from the Report of the Advisory Group set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RORB) to assess conformity to the guidelines specified in the IMF's Fiscal Code was an in-depth exploration of compliance, beneath the formal provisions in place. The peculiar genius of Indian misgovernance is that, while complying with transparency requirements in a superficial sense, there are enough exceptions and anomalies tucked away in the system for it to achieve obfuscation to an impressive degree. The Group was advantageously placed in terms of its membership to ferret out examples where there is de jure compliance, but none de facto. It does not do this. Further, the RORB is largely confined to compliance at the central government level. It does deal to some degree with inter-government issues between centre and states, but not with state-local issues.

Audit of Human Rights

Has the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) made a significant impact on the state of human rights in India? Is it at all relevant to the Kashmiri who has to bear the brunt of systematic custodial deaths, encounters, disappearances and other forms of brutal repression. The South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre has published a much-needed audit of the NHRC's work.

Making State Budgets Transparent and User-Friendly

The Maharashtra government appointed a one-man committee consisting of the author to prepare a report to initiate reforms in the state government's budget-making process. The report was prepared and submitted to the state government in September last year and was accepted by the government in December. This paper brings out some of the more important observations and recommendations of the report.

Code of Ethics for Health Research

Social science research involves certain vital ethical issues - respect for all those involved in research, their rights and protection. Ensuring ethics in research, as the ethical guidelines seek to do, would help complement research, rather than hinder it. A debate on the draft code of ethics held in May 2000 sought to evolve a consensus among researchers across the country. These initial steps would help fill long-perceived lacunae as well as seek to resolve ethical dilemmas plaguing researchers.
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