The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was discussed and passed in Rajya Sabha. During the discussion, several members asked for the Bill to be referred to a Select Committee. One of the Members pointed out that the proposed composition of the Medical Boards in the bill is out of sync with the current availability of specialist doctors in the country. In our analysis of the bill, we note that there is a 75% shortage of qualified doctors as per the findings of the All-India Rural Health Statistics (2018-19).
Under the Bill, a Medical Board comprising of a gynaecologist, a paediatrician, a radiologist/sonologist, among others, will decide if a pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks due to substantial foetal abnormalities.
Other Members asked for transgender persons to be covered under the Act and some Members raised concerns over the lack of a time frame for the Medical Board to make its decision.
Earlier in the day, the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Railways was voted upon and passed in Lok Sabha after the Minister's reply. 93 members had participated in the discussion yesterday. In Rajya Sabha, discussion on the Ministry of Jal Shakti concluded with the Minister's response.
At the time of sending this mail, the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020 was being discussed in Rajya Sabha. In Lok Sabha, discussion on the Demands for Grants 2021-22 of the Ministry of Education was ongoing.
Numbers to note
The Minister of Agriculture and Family Welfare informed Lok Sabha today that 1504 out of the 6586 scientific positions, and 2311 out of the 6756 technical positions are vacant in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, indicating vacancies of 28.6%.