SC Appoints Taskforce For Oxygen Allocation

AMIDST mismatch between demand and supply of  Liquid Medical Oxygen and allegations of discriminatory allocation to states and Union Territories, The Supreme Court has set up a 12-member National Task Force for streamlining LMO allocation. It is also tasked to review and suggest measures to ensure the availability of essential drugs and medicines and adopt remedial measures to ensure preparedness for future emergencies. The NTF comprises medical experts and doctors from across the country as its members. The Cabinet Secretary to the Union government will function as convenor. As per the Order passed by a Bench of Justices DY Chandradhud and MR Shah, the task force will enable the decision-makers to have inputs which go beyond finding ad-hoc solutions to present problems. Bar and Bench say the  SC  is of the view that the likely future course of the pandemic must be taken into contemplation at the present time. This task force will ensure that projected future requirements can be scientifically mapped in the present and maybe modulated in light of experience. “Estimating projected needs is crucial to ensure that the country remains prepared to meet future eventualities, which will cause a demand for oxygen, medicines, infrastructure, manpower and logistics. The establishment of the Task Force will provide the Union Government with inputs and strategies for meeting the challenges of the pandemic on a transparent and professional basis, in the present and in future,” the order said. The Members of  NTF are  Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, Former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata; Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu; Dr JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu;Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram; Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai, Maharashtra) and Kalyan (Maharashtra); Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi;  Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science , Delhi, Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai; Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (ex officio member); and  The Convenor of the National Task Force, who shall also be a member, will be the Cabinet Secretary to the Union government. The Cabinet Secretary may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to deputise, when necessary. A member of NITI Aayog to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson Among others who will be associated with it are. Secretary, Ministry of Human Affairs; Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade; Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi; Director-General of Health Services; Director-General, National Informatics Centre; and Head, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.The concerned Secretaries would be at liberty to nominate officers of the rank of Additional/Joint Secretary to deputise for them. The Task Force is at liberty to formulate its modalities and procedure for working. Assess and make recommendations for the entire country based on the need for, availability and distribution of medical oxygen. Image courtesy: DNA edited by PKC

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