NACO pulled up for substandard HIV kits in country

NEW DELHI: Ten months after the World Bank published a report alleging rampant fraud and corruption in Indian healthcare projects including supply of sub-standard HIV testing kits, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has pulled up the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in connection with the charges.

NACO will now have to explain the "factual position" with regards to the allegations of sub-standard HIV diagnostic kits supplied by a private player and documents related to investigations by World Bank in the matter.

The CIC issued a show cause notice to NACO, the nodal agency handling HIV control strategies and their implementation in the country, asking it to explain why the maximum fine of Rs 25,000 should not be slapped on the organisation for withholding requisite information when demanded.
       
Hearing the petition of R Venkataraman, who sought all the documents of related investigations in the matter from NACO, the CIC directed the organisation "to provide the appellant with the DIR report of the World Bank along with the factual position with regard to HIV Kits in India and NACO’s recommendations based on the World Bank report".

DNA Now

In January 2008, the World Bank published a report showing rampant fraud and corruption in Indian healthcare projects including supply of sub-standard HIV testing kits.
       
Appellant Venkataraman stated before commission that both World Bank and NACO were involved with the investigation of complaints against the sub-standard kits and pleaded to provide him the same.
       
Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit observed, "This information is being sought very clearly in public interest as cited by the appellant and therefore believes that it has every reason for overriding any apprehension which the Public Authority may have on its disclosure."  



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