Indemnity from liability
Amid an acute vaccine crisis in the country, India is expected to grant indemnity to foreign vaccine makers including Pfizer and Moderna which would make it easier for their Covid vaccines to come to India.
Now, Serum Institute has become the latest pharma company to ask for indemnity from liability, stating that all vaccine manufacturers, whether Indian or foreign, should be protected against legal suits for any severe side effects.
What is indemnity clause?
In simple terms, indemnity means security against a loss or other financial stress.
In legal terms, it means a contractual obligation of one party to compensate another party due to the acts of the former.
The clause is commonly used in insurance contracts.
In the case of India, if the government gives an indemnity to foreign vaccine makers to roll out their vaccine in the country, the government, and not the vaccine maker, would be liable to compensate any citizen who claims to have side effects after taking the vaccine jab.
What are ‘Bridging trials’?
‘Bridging trials’ are localised clinical trials which generate data related to the impact of foreign medicines/vaccines on the indigenous population before they are rolled out for the public. These trials are important in ascertaining the efficacy and potential side-effects related to the medicine/vaccine.
Besides clearance on indemnity clause, foreign vaccine makers including Pfizer and Moderna had sought relaxation on the requirement for a post-approval bridging trial for its vaccine.
Are there any exceptions to indemnification?
There are a number of common exceptions to indemnification.
An indemnification provision may exclude indemnification for claims or losses that result from the indemnified party’s:
Norms for employing retired officials defined
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has laid down a defined procedure to be followed by government organisations for getting vigilance clearance before employing a retired official on a contractual or consultancy basis.
As per the procedure:
Applicability: Before offering employment to retired All India Services and Group A officers of the Central government or their equivalent in other organisations owned or controlled by the Centre, vigilance clearance from the employer organisation, from which the officer has retired, should be obtained.
In case a retired officer served in more than one organisation, clearance has to be obtained from all of them where the person was posted in the 10 years prior to retirement.
A communication seeking clearance should also be sent to the CVC. If no reply is received from the erstwhile employer (s) within 15 days of sending the communication by speed post, a reminder can be sent. If there is no response within 21 days, vigilance clearance should be deemed to have been given.
If the employee is found involved in any vigilance-related matter or not cleared from the vigilance point of view, the erstwhile employer organisation would be responsible for all consequential actions.
Need for these rules:
The absence of a uniform procedure sometimes led to a situation where officials with tainted past or cases pending against them were engaged.
Such a situation not only leads to unnecessary complaints/allegations of favouritism, but is also against the tenets of fairness and probity which is the basic principle governing the functioning of government organisations.
The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam.
In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.
The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.
It submits its report to the President of India.
It exercises superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) insofar as it relates to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Caste categories for NREGS pay
The Union Finance Ministry has asked the States to split wage payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme into separate categories for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and others from this financial year.
Please note, the existing system for wages under the scheme is for only one type, that is there is no category wise provision of wage payment.
Rationale behind this move:
This is being done in order to assess and highlight the benefits flowing from budgetary outlay towards Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The measure is to a large extent aimed at highlighting what the Centre is doing for the SC and ST communities.
What are the Concerns against this move?
The scheme was introduced in 2005 as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.
The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.
The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:
Implementation of the scheme: