The Central government will provide financial assistance to states to fight Japanese Encephalitis, which has already claimed around 1,000 lives, including 400 in western Uttar Pradesh alone.
A Cabinet committee on Thursday is expected to approve Rs. 4,000 crore assistance plan which includes Rs. 2,000 crore for providing safe drinking water and sanitation and Rs. 1,300 crore to other ministries.
The plan includes funding for expanding the encephalitis vaccination programme to 62 districts, setting up special Intensive Care Units for the patients and capacity building at the district and the state level.
As per the Cabinet note circulated by the Health Ministry, the Central government will also provide funds for rehabilitation of the victims and improving their nutrition levels to fight the disease which has repeatedly hit several districts in western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
A group of ministers had recommended a set of measures to check spread of the dreaded disease.
There are said to be 116 districts endemic to encephalitis. According to official records, about 4482 cases and 774 deaths due to acute encephalitis syndrome and Japanese encephalitis was reported in 2009.
The number was 5149 cases and 677 deaths in 15 states in 2010, which increased to around 6,000 cases and 700 deaths in 2011. In 2012, around 400 deaths have been reported till early October.
The Cabinet is also expected to consider amendments to Indecent Representation of Women Act to include cyber space, multi-media messaging and television under its ambit and impose hefty fines for any violation.
The women and child development ministry has proposed that indecent representation of women through any other medium such as print, audio, visual including ads would also be punishable with a fine of Rs. 50,000 and a three-year jail term.
The proposed amendments have not only widened the scope of the existing legislation to include indecent portrayal of women through newer forms of communication but have also substantially enhanced the penalties for violation of the Act, a cognizable offence.
The original Act, enacted in 1986 relates primarily to the print media and prohibited indecent portrayal of women through ads, publication, writing and painting.
The proposed amendments have enhanced the punishment for the first offence with a fine of Rs. 50,000 and jail term of three years.
For subsequent offence the proposed fine has been fixed at Rs. 1 lakh. In the existing Act, the fine was a mere Rs. 2,000 for the first offence and two-year jail term.