17.07.2017

Compiled by: Kaushik Roy, News Analyst

The Indian print media has commented that the Monsoon session of Indian parliament will see the election to the two highest offices in the country, the office of the President of India and the office of the Vice-President of India. The session is likely to see discussion on a number of topical issues. The papers have welcomed the setting up of regulatory mechanism for pharma companies and doctors; so that the doctors are not offered lucrative ‘gifts’ for recommending particular medicines. The dailies have argued for interest rate cut as the inflation is quite low.

THE HINDUSTAN TIMES in an editorial writes that Parliament’s monsoon session, which starts on Monday, will be significant both for debate on burning issues and elections to high constitutional offices. In the month-long sitting, the bicameral legislature will witness change of guard in the presidency and the office of the vice-president. The Houses summoned by Pranab Mukherjee, the outgoing President, will be prorogued — after adjourning sine die — by his successor. The new President and vice-president are to be sworn in on July 25 and August 11 respectively while Parliament is still in session. The President is Parliament’s integral part as its head. In that capacity, Mr. Mukherjee, whose term ends on July 25, will deliver his farewell address to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the Central Hall a couple of days before demitting office. His last address to the nation will be broadcast on July 24. Amid elections of top constitutional functionaries, a host of issues could engage Parliament’s attention besides the treasury’s legislative business.

THE TIMES OF INDIA in an editorial STRONG MEDICINE observes that provision of modern healthcare is characterised by two unique features. There is significant information asymmetry between doctors and patients, and often the demand for medical treatment cannot be postponed. The outcome is malpractice, unless healthcare is carefully regulated. The government will take a stab at this with a regulation to end insidious links between pharmaceutical companies and doctors. The proposed regulation, Essential Commodities (Control of Unethical Practices in Marketing of Drugs) Order 2017, is expected to be notified soon. This is a welcome development, particularly in India where patients and their families have to bear most medical expenses. The proposed regulation prohibits companies from offering doctors cash, gifts and paid vacations. The penalty for violations could range from penalties to temporary suspension of marketing of a drug. The proposed regulation therefore is a good step and needs to be complemented by more measures to enhance transparency.

THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS in a piece observes that as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is at an all time low of 1.54 per cent, the central bank could do well to take a look into interest rate cuts. There are expectations that the global crude oil prices could also fall further. In order to boost the domestic manufacturing sector, the daily opines that interest should be recast. Reserve Bank of India has done well to argue that it will take more than interest rates to revive investments. But arguing interest rate is not the only factor that determines investments. The economy is need of a stimulus and the Reserve Bank could do well to take a relook at the rates since inflation is firmly under control.