Supreme Court to examine MCI ordinances

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The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond to the allegation of India Medical Association (IMA) that the Ordinance has been promulgated repetitively to favor certain colleges to gain support in polls writes Jeevan Prakash Sharma in Outlook.

Before this ordinance, the government had proposed NMC Bill, 2017 to replace the Medical Council of India IMA, has alleged in its petition in the Supreme Court that the purpose of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 was to give permission to incompetent medical colleges so that they could give financial and other support for Lok Sabha elections.

The government on September 29, 2018, promulgated the IMC (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 which replaced the MCI with Board of Governors. IMA has also questioned the intent of the government.

As per the Constitution, an ordinance can be issued when Parliament is not in session and it is valid for six months. It must get the approval of both Houses of Parliament within six weeks of the beginning of the session.

The Ordinance was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 30, 2018, and got approved but “the same could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.”

The government re-promulgated it in on January 12, 2019, and once again on February 2, 2019.

No emergent situation ever arose which required the promulgation of an Ordinance since the Medical Council of India was already discharging its function, as per the provision of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

What is an ordinance?

Ordinances are laws that are promulgated by the President of India (Indian Parliament) on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet; they can only be issued when Parliament is not in session.

They enable the Indian Government to take immediate legislative action.

Ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament does not approve of them within 6 weeks of reassembly, or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.

It is also compulsory for a session of Parliament to be held within 6 months.

Who has the powers?

The President has been empowered to promulgate Ordinances based on the advice of the central government under Article 123 of the Constitution. This legislative power is available to the President only when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session to enact laws.

Additionally, the President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he ‘is satisfied’ that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’.

Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate. They also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both Houses.

Repromulgation of Ordinances

Ordinances are only temporary laws as they must be approved by Parliament within 6 weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate.
However, governments have promulgated some ordinances multiple times.
For example, The Securities Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 was recently repromulgated for the third time during the term of the 15thLok Sabha.
Same is true for IMC ordinances
Repromulgation of Ordinances raises questions about the legislative authority of the Parliament as the highest law making body. In the 1986 Supreme Court judgment of D.C. Wadhwa vs. State of Bihar, where the court was examining a case where a state government (under the authority of the Governor) continued to re-promulgate Ordinances, the Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice PN Bhagwati observed:
“The power to promulgate an Ordinance is essentially a power to be used to meet an extraordinary situation and it cannot be allowed to be “perverted to serve political ends”.”

It is contrary to all democratic norms that the Executive should have the power to make a law, but in order to meet an emergent situation, this power is conferred on the Governor and an Ordinance issued by the Governor in exercise of this power must, therefore, of necessity be limited in point of time.”

Ordinances linked to MCI

Congress government also did the same thing and ran the MCI through the ordinances and the same was done by Modi government

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

Both active and passive smoking are major risk factors for hypertension: HCFI

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High blood pressure can lead to several health complications and even premature death

New Delhi, 15th May 2019: Recent research has suggested that passive smoking at home or work is linked with a 13% increased risk of hypertension. Living with a smoker after age 20 may be associated with a 15% greater risk. Exposure to passive smoking can lead to hypertension over time with men and women equally affected.

High blood pressure accounts for almost 10 million deaths around the world. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the fact that smoking is a leading risk factor for this condition and therefore, it is imperative to quit the habit at the earliest. There is a need to stay away from secondhand smoke, and not just reduce exposure, to prevent hypertension.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smoking can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg especially in susceptible individuals. The effect is most prominent with the first cigarette of the day in habitual smokers. High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. Apart from adding to health woes, it alters what you eat and how active you are, since lifestyle changes are important in keeping blood pressure under check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can prove costly. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, organ malfunction, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and memory problems.”

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. It generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms but silently damages blood vessels, and other organs.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “It is recommend for everyone to get an annual checkup after the age of 30 even in the absence of a no family history of hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds true today more than ever. To live above the age of 80, one needs to maintain ideal health parameters and lead an ideal lifestyle. The HCFI Formula of 80 describes certain preventive measures that can be undertaken.

  • Keep your lower BP, fasting sugar, waist circumference, resting heart rate and low- density lipoprotein LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels all <80.
  • Walk 80 minutes a day; brisk walk 80 minutes a week with a speed of 80 (at least) steps per minute.
  • Keep kidney and lung function more than 80%.
  • Eat less; not more than 80 g/80 mL of caloric food in one meal. Do not eat refined carbohydrates 80 days in a year.
  • Take vitamin D through sunlight 80 days in a year.
  • Do not drink alcohol and if you drink, take less than 80 mL of whiskey (80 proof 40% alcohol) in a day or less than 80 g (240 mL) of whiskey in a week.
  • Do 80 cycles of Pranayama in a day with a speed of 4 breaths/minute.
  • Do not smoke or be ready for heart surgery costing Rs. 80,000/-. Donate blood 80 times in a lifetime.
  • Avoid exposure to >80 dB of noise pollution.

India faces the dual burden of obesity and malnutrition: HCFI

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Increasing obesity levels in rural India a cause for concern

New Delhi, 10th May 2019: Obesity is increasing more rapidly in the world’s rural areas than in cities, according to a study of global trends in body-mass index (BMI). The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed the height and weight data of over 112 million adults across urban and rural areas of 200 countries and territories between 1985 and 2017. The prevalence of obesity in India is increasing and ranges from 8% to 38% in rural and 13% to 50% in urban areas.

Rural areas in low- and middle-income countries have seen shifts towards higher incomes, better infrastructure, more mechanized agriculture and increased car use. These factors not only bring numerous health benefits, but also lead to lower energy expenditure and to more spending on food, which can be processed and low-quality when sufficient regulations are not in place. The need of the hour is large-scale awareness on the importance of healthy eating patterns.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Obesity is the mother of conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. India faces a dual burden. On the one hand is malnutrition and on the other is obesity. What makes obesity in India different from the rest of the world is that in our country, it is marked by the ‘Thin-Fat Indian Phenotype’. This means that there is a higher proportion of people with body fat, abdominal obesity, and visceral fat, in comparison with Caucasian and European counterparts. Hence, world obesity generally reported in terms of waist circumference, and a BMI beyond 30, significantly underestimates the prevalence of obesity in India. Indian obesity needs to be estimated according to a lower threshold of BMI 25. Additionally, even a normal BMI of up to 23, might show higher instances of isolated abdominal obesity.”

Two primary culprits of obesity include a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating patterns. The consumption of processed food has increased manifold. This, combined with untimely working patterns and lack of physical activity, make the situation worse.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The traditional Indian diet is rich in carbohydrates. People consume large quantities of rice, rotis, and even bread. Apart from this, there is widespread availability of fried and unhealthy fast food today, which are all contributors to empty calories in the diet. Indians are caught amidst all this and therefore, the increase in the prevalence of obesity does not come as a surprise.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • The key to weight loss is reducing how many calories you take in.
  • The concept of energy density can help you satisfy your hunger with fewer calories.
  • To make your overall diet healthier, eat more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates.
  • Make exercise an important part of your daily routine. Start slow and increase the duration as you go along.

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