Current Affairs Current Affairs - 12 December 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 12 December 2017

General Affairs 

India Proposes $1 Billion Credit For ASEAN Connectivity Projects
  • India has proposed a $1 billion line of credit to promote sea, air and road connectivity projects with ASEAN, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

    Apart from this, India has set up a project development fund of $77 million to develop manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, he said.

    "The ASEAN India maritime transport cooperation agreement is being negotiated. An Asian India civil aviation task force has been established to see optimisation of air connectivity.

    "India has proposed to commit a line of credit of $1 billion to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity," Mr Gadkari said.

    He was addressing the ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit jointly organised by CII and ASEAN India Centre.

    The minister said ASEAN and India have also agreed to establish a maritime transport working group among India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to examine the feasibility of shipping networks.

    Asserting that connectivity is the pathway to shared prosperity, he said better connectivity is the core factor for strengthening ASEAN-India relations.

    "Connectivity projects such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway (TH), extension of TH to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project are being planned and at different stages of implementation," he said.

    India is already working with Myanmar in the areas of border area development, capacity building, infrastructure development, connectivity projects and institutional development.

    Stressing on augmentation of international connectivity, the minister said for Bharat Mala project, around 2,000 km with an outlay of Rs. 25,000 crore are earmarked to connect India's major highway corridors to international trade points.

    This will facilitate export/import trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

    About BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement, Gadkari said action has been initiated for implementation of BBIN MVA by Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

All New Double Decker Uday Express Set To Roll Out Next Year
  • Railways is all set to roll out the Uday Express, its ambitious new long distance double decker train, from January next year.

    The trains will run on three routes-Coimbatore-Bengaluru; Bandra-Jamnagar and Visakhapatnam-Vijaywada.

    Uday Express or the Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri Express was announced in the Railway Budget 2016-2017 and is specially aimed at catering to business travellers.

    The first trial run of the train was conducted on August 10 with just three coaches, and the speed was then limited to just 80km per hour. The second took place on December 5 on the Coimbatore-Bangalore route at a speed of 100 kmph from covering a distance of around 235km.

    Uday Express will join nine other double decker trains in the railways' fleet.

    The trains are an improved variant of the normal AC double decker chair car coaches with vinyl wrapping on exterior coaches, LCD type passenger information system on each deck, dining space on middle deck area with provision of automatic food vending machine and large LCD screen for infotainment on every third coach.

    The train will have two bathrooms with bio-toilets.

    "These trains will have 40 per cent additional passenger capacity and will be plying on busy routes. So, it's a great addition to our fleet," an official said.

    The first Uday Express is likely to be first operational on the Coimbatore-Bangalore route.

    Officials said that it will depart at 5:40 am from Coimbatore to reach Bengaluru at 12:40 pm, taking a total time of seven hours.

    On the other hand, for the return journey the Bengaluru-Coimbatore Uday Express will depart at 2:15 pm from Bengaluru to reach Coimbatore at 9:00 pm, taking a total time of 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Devendra Fadnavis Slams Opposition Over "Crocodile Tears" For Farmers
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today accused the opposition of shedding "crocodile tears" over issues related to farmers and claimed that the Congress and the NCP did not do enough for them when in power.

    Mr Fadnavis' comments came on the first day of the state Legislature's two-week-long winter session in Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra, in response to the opposition parties' criticism that his government has failed to alleviate the woes of cultivators.

    As the Assembly session began, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil alleged that the BJP-Shiv Sena government in the state was a huge failure and that it faulted in the implementation of loan waiver scheme.

    Responding to it, Mr Fadnavis said, "The so called concerns of Congress and NCP are nothing but 'magarmach ke aansoo' (crocodile tears). It is a false concern, infact, the Congress and NCP government had largely disappointed farmers in the state."

    He said the package for Vidarbha announced during the previous Congress-NCP government had hardly benefited the farmers. The Congress and the NCP did not help farmers when they were in power, he said.

    Mr Fadnavis said he would compare the performance of the earlier Congress-NCP rule with that of his government.

    Vikhe Patil alleged that state government has made several mistakes in the farm loan waiver implementation.

    "The figures have gone wrong, the company appointed for the processing of data has also made several mistakes," he said.

    "The loan waiver announcement was made in June and till date there is no sufficient data to prove how many farmers have actually received benefits of the scheme," the Congress leader said.

    Later, BJP minister Ram Shinde told reporters outside the Assembly that on the first day of the session, the House members always pay tributes to the departed leaders.

    "The opposition leaders sidelined it and came up with farmers' issues. This is an unfair practice," he said.

India, China, Russia Agree On Action Against Terror, Pak Not Named
  • The foreign ministers of China, Russia and India - who met in Delhi today - condemned terrorism in all its forms and named its control as a key focus area.

    A joint statement issued after the meeting, without naming Pakistan or Pakistan-based terror groups, said those "committing, organizing, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with the obligations under international law, including the principle of 'extradite or prosecute'." 

    The statement underscored the "leading role and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism and extremism". It reiterated that all states should take adequate measures to prevent terrorist activities from their territory."

    Despite these calls to fight terror, China has been blocking the efforts of India and other nations to list Jaish-e Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations.

    Sources say the issue did come up in foreign minister Sushma Swaraj's bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister.

    After the meeting with her Russian and Chinese counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, Ms Swaraj said, "Four major issues discussed today -- economy; terrorism; bilateral and regional issues... We discussed ISIS, Lashkar-e Taiba and their threats and that these are coming in the way of progress and development. We need a strategy to stop terrorist movements; stopping flow of fighters and dismantling infrastructure." 

    "While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organisations like Taliban, Daesh (Islamic State), Al Qaeda, and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development," Ms Swaraj added.

Rahul Gandhi Elected Party Chief Unopposed, Says Congress
  • On Saturday, two days before results for the bitterly-fought Gujarat elections are announced, Rahul Gandhi will take over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi in a ceremony on the lawns of the party's 24 Akbar Road headquarters in Delhi, his party said today, confirming that he has been elected unopposed after the deadline for withdrawal on nomination ended today. 

    Mr Gandhi was campaigning in Gujarat, attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP in multiple speeches, when his party made his election official in Delhi. The crucial Gujarat assembly polls are being seen as a test of Mr Gandhi's leadership ahead of the 2019 national election. PM Modi has pitched the battle as one between development and dynasty, repeatedly contrasting his own credentials as a self made leader from a modest background with Mr Gandhi's position of privilege in his party as a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family. 

    The Congress asserts that Rahul Gandhi has earned the party's top post, dismissing allegations that the election was a sham. "He has shown his mettle in Gujarat. The entire BJP, including the Prime Minister himself and 80 ministers, are sitting there for a month but are still unable to counter him," said senior Congress Ghulam Nabi Azad. 

    Rahul Gandhi has led his party's aggressive bid to win Gujarat after 22 years of BJP rule, attacking PM Modi and the BJP over mega economic policies notes ban and GST. He has countered PM Modi's takedown by accusing the Prime Minister of focusing too much on him and the Congress, rather than talking about development. 

    "But this election is not about PM Modi or me, about the BJP or the Congress. This is about Gujarat's future," he said on Sunday. On the Prime Minister's allegation that Pakistan is meddling in the Gujarat elections citing a meeting last week in Delhi between top Congress leaders, Pakistani officials and others, Mr Gandhi said at an election rally today, "Modi-ji is talking about Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan. Modi-ji, this is Gujarat elections, talk a little bit about Gujarat too."

    Mr Gandhi reportedly decided to put off his promotion because he did not want party leaders to get distracted from the immediate challenge in Gujarat - the state voted in the first phase on Saturday and the second and last phase will be held on Thursday. But he is seen as already haven taken charge, swiftly suspending senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar after he called the Prime Minister "Neech aadmi" last week. 

    Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the party's vice president in January 2013 and has since then, operated as the party's number 2. Mrs Gandhi, the party's longest-serving chief, has been keeping unwell in recent years and had scaled back her public engagements, pushing to the fore Rahul Gandhi.

    Sonia Gandhi, 71, will continue to head the Congress Parliamentary Party. This will ensure that she will lead some of the party's external dealings with allies and other opposition parties, including on floor strategy in Parliament.

    Mr Gandhi's takeover is expected to effect a generational shift in the Congress when he gets down to naming his core team, though he is expected to hand key tasks and advisory roles to party seniors, called the "old guard" to draw on their experience.

Business Affairs

Arun Jaitley dismisses rumours about FRDI Bill, says government will 'fully-protect' depositors' money
  • More than 95 per cent of Indian households prefer to park their money in bank deposits, according to a recent Sebi survey. Little wonder then that the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, 2017, which will reportedly treat depositors like an unsecured creditor-giving them the last dibs on whatever is left in a bank in case of a collapse-has the country in a tizzy.
    In an attempt to calm down worried depositors, finance minister Arun Jaitley today announced that the government will "fully protect" the deposits made by customers, and even hinted at a willingness to consider changes in the proposed Bill. According to him, rumours are being spread about the provisions of the bill but the "government has already clarified and said it is committed to strengthen PSU banks and financial institutions. About Rs 2.11 lakh crore is being pumped in to strengthen the public sector banks." So chances of any lender failing seem slim. Or at least that's the government's stand, never mind the fact that non-performing assets (NPAs) reported by PSU banks in the first two quarters of the fiscal year 2017-18 were about 54 per cent higher compared to the previous fiscal.
    Last week, too, the finance ministry had issued a statement saying that "the provisions contained in the FRDI Bill, as introduced in the Parliament, do not modify present protections to the depositors adversely at all. They provide additional protections to the depositors in a more transparent manner." This statement came a day after media reports about an online petition against the proposed bill on that got more than 40,000 signatures in 24 hours. Over 100,520 people have signed the petition so far.
    So what is the FRDI Bill? First introduced in Lok Sabha in August this year, and currently undergoing scrutiny by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC), the bill essentially proposes to create a framework for overseeing financial firms such as banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial services (NBFC) companies, stock exchanges, among others. And work out options in cases of insolvency. The "Resolution Corporation", which is to replace the existing Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation and look after the process, will be doing this by "writing down of the liabilities". The Corporation will also be tasked with classifying financial firms on their risk of failure - low, moderate, material, imminent, or critical. It will take over the management of a company once it is deemed critical.
    The brouhaha is over Clause 52 of FRDI Bill, which reportedly empowers the proposed Resolution Corporation to cancel the liability owed by a bank, and/or change the very nature of a loss-ridden balance sheet by turning part of deposits into bank shares, or another security. In other words, this bail-in clause seeks to prevent insolvency by prioritising the restoration of capital and asset of the bank over and above the safety of the depositors' money. The Bill also says that in case of a bank failure, the Resolution Corporation will "provide deposit insurance up to a certain limit", which has not been specified.
    "The bail-in clause is only an enabling clause. Even now, depositors get a protection only up to Rs 1 lakh of their deposits. Now, in this case if his deposits are utilised, then he will get bonds or security papers in exchange for his money. He is getting more of a protection. Anyway, we are debating it and its various clauses are under consideration. Every point will be debated and we will arrive at a consensus before it is made into a Bill," a member of the JPC reportedly told DNA Money. The JPC is expected to submit its report in the upcoming winter session of Parliament beginning December 15.
    Meanwhile, the finance ministry is trying hard to build a strong case for it and dispel doubts. According to the ministry, the FRDI Bill is far more depositor-friendly than many other jurisdictions, which provide for statutory bail-in, where consent of creditors/depositors is not required for bail-in. "The FRDI Bill does not propose in any way to limit the scope of powers for the government to extend financing and resolution support to banks, including Public Sector Banks," it said in a statement, adding that the government's implicit guarantee for Public Sector Banks remains unaffected.
    "Indian banks have adequate capital and are also under prudent regulation and supervision to ensure safety and soundness, as well as systemic stability. The existing laws ensure the integrity, security and safety of the banking system. The FRDI Bill will strengthen the system by adding a comprehensive resolution regime that will help ensure that, in the rare event of failure of a financial service provider, there is a system of quick, orderly and efficient resolution in favour of depositors," read the statement. Given that the debate in the bill is expected to continue till the Budget session, depositors ought to try not to panic and rush to break their FDs.

IBC may end NPAs problem, but won't help banks get their money back
  • As the 400 plus cases under the IBC at the NCLT wind their way through the various stages of the resolution process, banks are increasingly coming to the conclusion that they are in a no-win situation. For the big 12 debtors that the banks referred to the NCLT at the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) behest, there is still a fair amount of interest from bidders. But all the bidders expect the lenders (the banks) to take massive haircuts - at least 50 per cent, if not more. Some are hoping the banks will take 70 or 80 per cent haircuts in order to get the deals done. The potential buyers are shopping for bargains. They are not interested in paying a rupee more than they need to.
    For the banks, taking big haircuts is galling. The moment a case is referred to the NCLT under the IBC, banks have to make a 50 per cent provision for loans in their profit and loss accounts. If it goes into liquidation, banks have to make a 100 per cent provision for the loan. If the resolution process results in a sale which makes enough money for the bank - at least if the amount is more than they have provisioned - it goes into the profit column of the lender since the provisioning has already been made. On the other hand, if the resolution fails, the bank will have to write off the loan.

    As it turns out, reports suggest that there is practically no interest from buyers for most of the small and medium sized companies that are under the IBC process. In most of the smaller companies, only the promoters are interested but the new ordinance which the government brought out practically bars all promoters from bidding for their own companies unless they first settle the NPA. Few promoters can organize the money required to do so... and if they do manage, then they are probably arranging the finances at an even higher cost than what they originally borrowed at, and therefore the company is getting into even more trouble. (This is assuming the company became an NPA for genuine business reasons and the promoter had not siphoned off the funds and is in a position to bring his own money which he had taken out).
    For the banks therefore, it is being caught between the devil and the deep sea. If they do get a buyer for the asset, they will probably have to take an enormous haircut. (In the first case that was resolved, the banks took a 90 per cent haircut on principal and interest, though it came down if only principal were considered). If they don't find a buyer, the property goes into liquidation and again banks end up losing almost all the money they lent. Thus while the IBC provides a good way of cleaning up the mess of companies that were in serious trouble, and it will also finally end the amount of NPAs in the bank's books, it doesn't help the banks get back much of the money that was lent out.
    This is also why reports suggest that the bankers want the debt resolution deadline of the 28 companies that were to be sorted out by December 13 to be extended. As things stand, these were the second list of companies the RBI had given banks to resolve the debt problems by December 13 or be sent to the NCLT for insolvency proceedings. For the lenders, these are not the biggest companies and probably not the most prized assets so finding buyers for them would probably be more difficult than it is likely to be for the first big 12 cases. Moreover, until the first set of dozen cases are resolved successfully, the bankers do not have a template as to how much haircut they are likely to end up taking. They would prefer to continue their debt resolution talks with the promoters of these 28 firms rather than take them to the NCLT under the IBC.
    It was not supposed to be this way. In the original scheme of things, the IBC was supposed to sort out in a fixed time the problems the banks had encountered with previous schemes to resolve the NPA mess. The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act 2002 (Sarfaesi Act) allowed secured lenders to take over the management of the company and helped in the creation of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs). However, the Act was less than helpful in actually recovering money. It ran into all sorts of practical problems.
    The Corporate Debt Resolution (CDR) mechanism which was tried out in between was helpful only in case the borrower was genuinely interested in paying back the loan he or she had defaulted on. The CDR mechanism essentially helped give the borrower a longer time period to pay up, and this was okay for honest businessmen. But too many CDR cases did not help the banks because the companies continued to be sick and in default despite the concessions and the banks still had a problem in their books.
    The Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR) and the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) again allowed banks to convert part of their debt into equity and become owners of the companies and then try and sell them off. But again, the problem cropped up largely because taking over a company was so much easier than actually running it or finding a buyer, especially in a bad economy.
    In the case of the IBC, the biggest advantage is that as the resolution follows a very clear cut process, and timelines, and because it has an insolvency professional guiding the mechanism, the bank management will not be blamed even if things do not work out. (In other schemes, they could always be accused to colluding with managements to take a haircut, ever green the loans or any other malafide practice). But beyond that, there is little comfort when it comes to getting money back.
    The greatest strength of the IBC - it sets a specific time limit and the process cannot go beyond 270 days - is also a weakness because it allows potential buyers to play the game of Chicken with banks. They know that if it is not resolved, the case will go into liquidation and the banks will take an even worse loss - and therefore the potential buyer can afford to quote a low price in the expectation that the banks will have no other option but to accept. It would only help the banks if there are multiple bidders vying to take over a very viable asset - but those would be the few cases, not the majority.
    The lesson from this for banks is that in future they need to be far more careful and do far more due diligence when giving out loans. Because taking a company to the IBC is unlikely to help them recover their money.

Aadhaar linking with mobile number, bank a/c, PAN: Should you wait till the last minute?
  • Procrastinators around the country can't stop gloating. First came the news that the government has extended the deadline for mandatorily linking Aadhaar to various essential services like PAN and bank accounts till March 31. And now, reportedly, telecom providers are finally ready to allow mobile subscribers to link their numbers with Aadhaar from the comfort of their homes. From January 1, telecom operators will roll out the much-delayed voice-guided system that will help subscribers complete the process through a one-time password (OTP). So one no longer needs to visit the customer centres of mobile companies and deal with biometric machines that aren't functioning properly to comply with the government's wishes.
    For the record, this facility comes over a month later than the original scheduled roll-out date and follows a war of words between the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the body issuing the biometrics-based Aadhaar number, and the telecom companies. Their lobby group, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has previously accused UIDAI of prematurely announcing the launch of the OTP facility-first from November 15, then from December 1-despite operators citing technical difficulties, logistics issues and an unrealistically tight implementation timeline.
    With over 50 crore subscribers yet to get their numbers confirmed, according to The Times of India, and given the government's unwillingness to push back the February 6 deadline to get mobile numbers linked with Aadhaar, an OTP-based system is seen as the fastest and most convenient route for subscribers. Those who haven't done so by the end of the first week of February risk getting their connections disconnected.
    In the OTP system, a subscriber just needs to call the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) from his/her mobile number and give consent for verification with the Aadhaar number following which he/she receives an OTP. Once the OTP that is keyed in is verified to be accurate, the process is complete.
    But while the folks still dithering on climbing aboard the Aadhaar bandwagon seem to have had it far easier than all the early birds who had to deal with the teething troubles at Aadhaar centres, they have a whole new kind of problem staring them in the face. According to media reports, there are a fewer number of functioning Aadhaar enrolment centres to cater to procrastinators, especially those galvanised into action by new rules-like CBSE recently making Aadhaar mandatory for applying for JEE Mains 2018 exam, which is required for admission to various engineering colleges, and the last date for online applications in January 1.
    According to a Midday report, because of this scarcity, people in Mumbai have been struggling to get an Aadhaar card for two months without success. The number of operational centres in Mumbai is currently 51, down from over 450 centres in 2015, at the height of the registration drive. A similar story is reportedly playing out across the country.
    Though the UIDAI tried to address the bottleneck by roping in banks in order to expand the enrolment centres network, only a limited number of branches are offering the service, a situation made worse by the fact that very few appointment tokens are being handed out daily. "In all of Mulund, there is there's just one centre and that accepts only 20 tokens a day," a resident told Midday, adding that people apparently queue up as early as 3am to get a token.
    So it may no longer be a good idea to wait till the eleventh hour to get enrolled and comply with the government's drive. Unless you are now waiting for a favourable Supreme Court judgement on the matter-a bunch of petitions claiming that making Aadhaar compulsory is a breach of privacy are supposed to be heard by a constitutional bench this week.

PE/VC monthly exits highest ever in November worth $2.7 billion: EY
  • November 2017 recorded the highest monthly value of exits ever with 25 exits worth $2.7 billion, according to EY's monthly PE deal tracker. It was mainly on account of one large open market exit that of Qatar Foundation Endowment selling 5 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel for US$1.5 billion. There were two PE backed IPO in November 2017 which saw Kedaara selling 13.6 per cent stake in Mahindra Logistics for US$65 million and Reliance Alternative Investment Fund selling 33 per cent stake in Khadim for US$68 million.

    From a sector perspective, Telecom topped the charts in spite of one deal due to the US$1.5 billion exit by Qatar Foundation Endowment. Telecom was followed by financial services with four exits worth US$650 million.

    The month recorded 217 per cent increase in value of investments, while in terms of volume it increased 37 per cent compared to same period last year. (US$2.9 billion across 56 deals in November 2017 versus US$0.9 billion across 41 deals in November 2016). On a month-on-month basis, there was an increase of 40 per cent in value while number of deals remained the same.
    This increase was driven significantly by high number of large value deals. November 2017 recorded ten deals with value greater than US$100 million (highest number for any given month ever) aggregating US$2.3 billion. According to the report, 2017 is emerging as the best year ever for large value deals with 54 deals so far, aggregating US$18.2 billion. This is mainly due to increasing exposure of big bracket pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and global buyout funds in India who earlier preferred the LP route. This also reinforces the growing interest of the investor community to invest in the Indian PE market and their growing confidence to make larger bets.

    From sector point of view, financial services topped the charts with US$993 million invested across nine deals. "2017 has been the best year for financial services which has recorded US$5.8 billion across 95 deals so far, more than double the previous high of US$2.5 billion across 72 deals recorded for the whole of 2016. Also, 2017 is turning out to be the best year in value terms for other prominent sectors like real estate, ecommerce, technology, RCP, and healthcare as well," the report added.

    Commenting on the PE landscape, Vivek Soni, Partner and Leader for Private Equity Services, EY said, "As projected earlier, November 2017 has been a stellar month for investments as well as exits and we expect strong traction in December 2017 as well. 2017 has been the best year for Indian private equity. The Indian market is now considered as the most attractive destination for investment by global LPs (Limited Partners). In 2018, we project increased allocation/exposure to India by large global LP's, and expect continuation of the upward trajectory that we are witnessing in 2017 within both PE/VC investments and exits." November 2017 also recorded fund raise of US$675 million and fund raise plan announcements of US$2.5 billion. Fundraise in November 2017 was 50 per cent higher compared to November 2016 (US$450 million).

    As doctor-patient mistrust grows, IMA announces self-regulation tips for doctors, hospitals
    • Indian Medical Association (IMA), the professional lobby group of allopathic medicine practitioners has just announced a set of self-regulation measures for hospitals and doctors. What triggered the decision, announced at a press conference on Monday in New Delhi, are the growing incidents of doctor-patient mistrust in the country.
      The immediate provocation apparently was the action initiated by Haryana government against one of the hospitals of the leading private healthcare provider Fortis for allegedly failing to provide adequate treatment to a seven year old dengue patient. In a similar fashion, the Delhi government had decided to cancel the license of one of the units of Max Healthcare, another corporate healthcare chain, for wrongly declaring a premature baby as dead, both recent developments. A couple of months ago, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation against alleged overpricing of cardiac procedures by private hospitals, the Delhi High Court had the Union health ministry to come out with a policy to put a check on overcharging patients.
      As IMA National President KK Aggarwal says, the doctor-patient trust in the country, which was already experiencing a downward spiral, has deteriorated further. Can self regulation help? Will there be voluntary compliance across the board?  "What happened was most unfortunate. However, not all doctors are wrong, and the public must have faith in them. Such errors happen by accident and not intentionally. Having said this, it is also time for the medical profession to introspect and come out with self-regulation procedures. We are often blamed for prescribing costly drugs. From today onwards, all doctors in the country shall choose affordable drugs. We also appeal to the government to come out with an urgent ordinance for one drug-one company-one price policy. Doctors should actively participate in ensuring that no hospital sells any item priced higher than the MRP. No service charges should be added to procure drugs from outside. MRP shall not be dictated by the purchaser."

      The IMA recommendation is the following:
      • IMA recommends that all doctors should prescribe preferably NLEM (National List of Essential Medicine) drugs.
      • All doctors shall promote Janaushidhi Kendras.
      • We appeal to the government to classify all disposables under both NLEM and non-NLEM categories and cap the price of essential ones. Till then all medical establishments should sell the disposables at procurement prize after adding a predefined fixed margin.
      • Hospitals and doctors are often blamed of overcharging and over investigations. Billing should be transparent, and all special investigations should be well informed.
      • Every doctor should ensure that it becomes mandatory on the part of the hospital administrator to give options at the time of admission to choose cost-effective treatment room and treatment (single room, sharing room, and general-ward) and explain the difference in total bill estimates.
      • All doctors should ensure that hospital estimates at the time of admission are near to actual.
      • The treating doctor must explain the chances of death and unexpected complications and resultant financial implications.
      • Once doctors take charge of a patient, the patient should not be neglected. They should look after the patient till discharge.
      • Emergency care is the responsibility of the state government and the government should subsidize the costs of all emergencies in private sector.
      • Every medical prescription must include counseling on the cost of drugs and investigations.
      • IMA has zero tolerance to doctors indulging in female feticide.
      • IMA has zero tolerance to cuts and commissions. Medical establishment should revisit their referral fee system. Billing paid to doctors should be transparent and reflected in the bill.
      • No hospital can force their consultants to work on targets. Contractual agreements should be in such way in which interested of both parties that is consultant and the hospital is equally protected. All hospitals should consider not charging service charges from the consultants.
      • Choice of drugs and devices rests with the doctors based on the affordability of the patient and not on the profitability.
      • All hospitals must comply to the commitment towards EWS, BPL, and poor patients without any discrimination.
      • All patient complaints should be addressed in a timely manner through an internal redressal mechanism with a chairman from outside the hospital.
      • All medical establishments must ensure that their business ethics comply with the MCI ETHICS.
      • IMA LAMA policy: being a grey area is being made.
      • Every dead body needs to be treated with respect and dignity.
      • All charitable hospitals should do their free work as assigned.
      • All needy patients must be routed through the social worker of the establishment and guided and directed to the appropriate place.
      • At least one more equally experienced but unrelated surgeon should be involved in the consent form during elective LSCS.
      • The patient has a right to get medical records within 72 hours of request. Acknowledge their request.
      • The patient has the right to go for a second opinion from an appropriately qualified medical doctor. The primary doctors have no right to get offended.
      • A hospital has no right to stop life-saving investigations or treatment for non-payment of bills if the patient is still admitted in the hospital. The government should make a mechanism for the reimbursement for the above for poor patients.
      • Ensure for us all are equal. BPL, APL, EWS, rich, or poor all should get the same attention and treatment.
      • IMA policy: With no National Guidelines viability of fetus issue is being looked upon by IMA, FOGSI, IAP and NNF.
      • We are not against any regulations and accountability, but we should all ask for a single window accountability at the state level. The state medical council should be proactive and take timely decisions. We should also ensure a single window registration.
      • We must ensure that our establishment has a transgender policy.
      • All government hospitals should be upgraded and have facilities like those in the private hospitals. All public, private or charitable hospitals should have quality accreditation.
      • No doctors should issue false certificates.

    General Awareness

    Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. BODHI PARVA

    • Context:

      India is hosting the 2017 edition of “Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage” in New Delhi as part of celebrations of 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC. The festival is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) along with Teamwork Arts.

      Why This Festival?

      To emphasise and raise awareness of this rich and common heritage and mark the 20th anniversary of this unique organisation group, a BIMSTEC Buddhism Festival ‘’Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage” has been presented by the BIMSTEC division of the Ministry of External Affairs and produced by Teamwork Arts.
      A mélange of international performances, films, art, chanting, meditation and philosophical dialogues by known practitioners and scholars will bring out the essence of Buddhism. The universal message of peace and tolerance practiced by Buddhism can address the growing sense of inadequacy in the face of changes and conflicts that people and the world face.

      About Bodhi Parva:

      ‘’Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Buddhist Heritage Festival” aims to look at the different aspects of Buddhism, in today’s context. BIMSTEC has a deep connect with Buddhism, which originated in South Asia and then travelled and rooted itself in South East Asia. Buddhism constitutes a bridge between South and South-East Asia.

      About BIMSTEC:

      The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

      The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economical cooperation among South Asian and South East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The headquarters of BIMSTEC is in Dhaka.

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