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Slow moves on Aids in India

I read a shocking piece of news today in the Times of India. I was struck with disbelief to the point I had to read the piece again to confirm I had read it right.

It was an article about the state of Maharashtra in western India being the first in the country to draft a bill that aims to ensure equal treatment of Aids patients at the workplace. This is a workplace policy that will be implemented across government departments after it gets the nod from the state cabinet. State health minister Vimal Mundada said: “As per the new policy, all facilities available for a normal healthy employee would be provided for an Aids patient employed by the government as well, till he is medically declared unfit. There would be no discrimination in recruitment and promotions.”

I found this shocking because I didnt know such a basic policy wasnt in place already. What took the government so long to form such a policy? And to think of it, Maharashtra is still the first state government to propose such a policy.

I know that much of India still isnt broad-minded in its treatment of HIV/Aids victims, but you would think that the government would be progressive enough in not just calling for a supportive environment for these victims but also leading the way in setting up such an environment?

5.7 million Aids patients in India and the country still seems to be lagging behind in protecting them in the professional set-up, a place where the law can mandate anti-discriminatory behaviour unlike in the social milieu where its hands are tied to an extent.

Poulomi Saha, India Editori{content: normal !important}

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