Govt mulling bill to safeguard rights of mentally-ill persons



Bangalore: Union government is seriously considering a new legislation to safeguard the rights of persons with mental illness, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Thursday.

Delivering the convocation address at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), a deemed university here, he said the new legislation, which would replace the Mental Health Act, 1987, would also lay the foundation for a rights-based, community oriented protocol for their health care.

He also said that nearly 125 districts are part of the District Mental Health Programme, the flagship mental health intervention programme of the Government of India as part of the National Mental Health Programme.

"Under the 12th five-year plan, my Ministry has drawn up an ambitious plan to scale up the programme to nearly 300 districts and subsequently to all districts in a phased manner", Azad said. "NIMHANS has been asked to evaluate the ongoing programme and also give a blueprint to expand mental health services across the country".

He also said ever since UPA II came to power at the Centre in 2009,availability of MBBS seats has gone up by nearly 40 per cent and the number of PG seats by about 80 per cent.

"I am sure that this year the increase in MBBS seats in the country will be 50 per cent and PG seats increase will touch almost 100 per cent, which will be a record in the history of medical education", the Minister said.

PTI