10, June 2017

  1. Unclaimed PF to fund medical costs

Source: The Hindu

A committee of secretaries has directed the Labour Ministry to frame scheme for benefit of senior citizens who are PF subscribers from inoperative account funds.

  • With this, savings remaining unclaimed in dormant Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accounts for seven years will be used to fund a new scheme for providing medical benefits to pensioners under the EPF scheme.

Key facts:

  • The EPFO has already started discussions with the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to frame a medical benefits scheme for pensioners under Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) of the EPFO.
  • The scheme will be contributory in nature with EPF pensioners contributing a portion of their income towards the medical scheme and rest flowing from inoperative accounts of the EPFO.
  • Once the scheme is put in place, EPF pensioners will be able to avail medical facilities from a network of more than 1,400 dispensaries and 150 hospitals under ESIC across the country.


  • EPF money becomes unclaimed after a subscriber doesn’t withdraw money after reaching 61 years of age. Accounts also become inoperative if persons settling abroad do not withdraw their money within three years.
  • The government had framed a law last year wherein unclaimed money under EPF, Public Provident Fund and small saving schemes such as post office savings accounts for a period of seven years will be diverted to set up a senior citizens’ welfare fund. The trade unions had strongly protested the move to divert EPF money for setting up a fund for the elderly. Following this, it was decided that the unclaimed EPF money will be diverted for EPF pensioners only.

EPFO:The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, a statutory body, is one of the largest social security organizations in India in terms of volume of financial transactions undertaken and number of covered beneficiaries. It works under the overall aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

  1. Data protection law mooted

Source: The Hindu

The government is mulling a new data protection law to protect personal data of citizens, while also creating an enabling framework to allow public data to be mined effectively.

  • The move assumes significance amid the debate over security of individuals’ private data, including Aadhaar-linked biometrics, and the rising number of cyber-crimes in the country.
  • A proposal to this effect has been sent to the Prime Ministers’ Office for approval.
  • The underlying infrastructure of the digital economy is data. India is woefully unprepared to protect its citizens from the avalanche of companies that offer services in exchange for their data, with no comprehensive framework to protect users.

Present scenario:

  • Currently, India does not have a separate law for data protection, and there is no body that specifically regulates data privacy.
  • There is nominally a data protection law in India in the form of the Reasonable Security Guidelines under Section 43A of the Information Technology Act. However, it is a toothless law and is never used.
  • Some redress for misuse of personal data by commercial entities is also available under the Consumer Protection Act enacted in 2015. As per the Act, the disclosure of personal information given in confidence is an unfair trade practice.
  • However, none of these has been effective.

  1. SATH program launched by NITI Aayog

Source: PIB

Furthering the agenda for cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog has launched SATH, a program providing ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments.

The vision of the program is to initiate transformation in the education and health sectors. The program addresses the need expressed by many states for technical support from NITI.

SATH program

  • SATH aims to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states for health systems.
  • NITI will work in close collaboration with their state machinery to design a robust roadmap of intervention, develop a program governance structure, set up monitoring and tracking mechanisms, hand-hold state institutions through the execution stage and provide support on a range of institutional measures to achieve the end objectives.
  • The program will be implemented by NITI along with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium, who were selected through a competitive bidding process.

Selection of states:

  • To select the three model states, NITI defined a three-stage process – expression of interest, presentations by the states and assessment of commitment to health sector reforms.
  • States will be selected on the basis of evaluations and objective assessment of criteria affecting the potential for impact and likelihood of success. Metrics such as MMR, IMR, incidence of malaria and others have been considered for determining potential impact while density of doctors and nurses, compliance to IPHS norms are some of the metrics used to determine likelihood of success.


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