The Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was among several others that the Cabinet ratified in the meeting. The bill makes antiretroviral treatment a legal right of HIV/AIDS patients.
The Bill makes it obligatory for the central and state governments to provide for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently). It prohibits specific acts of discrimination by the state, or any other person, against HIV-positive people, or those living with such people.
The bill, which was introduced in the last days of the UPA government, was revived by the present government. In July this year, a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had met to smoothen out kinks in the bill, as pointed out by a parliamentary standing committee.
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The Cabinet also approved two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the meeting – one between India and European Union (EU) on water cooperation and the other with the African Asian Rural Development Organisation for capacity building in rural development, as reported by news agency ANI.
The government ratified the transfer of two acres of land, on lease basis, belonging to Indian Agricultural Institute to Veterinary Council of India and also allowed HLL Lifecare Ltd. to sub-lease 330.10 acres of government land in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu for the setting up of Medi Park.
The acquisition of 11 per cent stake in Russian oil company JSC Vankerneft by ONGC Videsh Limited for $930 million was also given the green light by the Cabinet in the meeting held Wednesday morning.