The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up of a regulatory body for DNA laboratories and a Bill to regulate the use of human DNA. The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 is meant to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen justice delivery system in the country and provide mandatory accreditation and regulation to DNA laboratories.
It seeks to ensure that DNA test results are reliable and the data is protected from misuse or abuse in terms of people’s privacy rights.
The proposed legislation will enable cross-matching of DNA of persons reported missing and unidentified dead bodies found in the country, and also for establishing the identity of victims during mass disasters. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) and enhanced its capital base from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore. It will also be allowed to raise Rs 1,00,000 crore for Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022.
To allow universities and higher education institutes that do not have adequate internal resources, the Cabinet approved five windows for funding under HEFA, which was set up on May 31, 2017, as a non-profit, non-banking financing company to raise extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in higher educational institutions under the Central government.
The Cabinet also agreed to accede to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Perfomers and Phonograms Treaty, that extends the coverage of copyrights to the Internet. This will help creative right holders to enjoy rights for their work over the internet globally.
India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and the WIPO treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad. Both the WIPO treaties came into force in 2002 and have 96 contracting partners each. The Cabinet also gave a nod to continue eight schemes for relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates, till March 2020, under an umbrella scheme at the cost of Rs 3,138 crore. The schemes include relief and rehabilitation assistance for refugees, displaced persons or civilian victims.