India Regulatory Brief: Regulatory Body for Medical Tourism, New Stringent Norms for Food Import

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Regulatory, Accreditation and Marketing Sub-Committees to Oversee Medical Tourism

 The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma has announced that sub-committees will be formed to oversee the regulation, accreditation and marketing of medical and wellness tourism. The announcement was made at the first meeting of the National Medical & Wellness Tourism Board, which has been established to provide effective, time-bound solutions to the health tourism sector.

The Board aims to compile a data bank of medical and wellness services provided in India, which will then be disseminated to source markets. This would additionally remove any unevenness in the delivery system, vital to developing India as a medical and wellness tourism hub. Members of the Board have also acknowledged the need to establish more accredited hospitals in the country, ease the visa regime and improve linkages between service providers and end users. Other recommendations include the integration of Ayurveda, yoga and alternative medicine.

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Telecom Operators Asked to Submit Daily Network Performance Update

Telecom regulator TRAI has asked mobile service providers to submit daily updates of their network performance to the server of the Telecom Consumer Complaint Monitoring System (TCCMS) portal. This would include data such as the type of network (2G, 3G or 4G), call drop details, congestion in network, successful calls, and assessment of voice quality. Telecom companies would have to implement this within ten days from the date of notification – January 12.

The notification comes after telcos failed to submit data on the TCCMS website that monitors consumer complaints after TRAI conducted a number of detailed discussions and meetings with telecom operators from September to December 2015. Recently, TRAI and mobile operators have been at loggerheads on the issue of penalizing dropped calls.

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Food Regulator Issues Strict Norms on Food Import

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on January 14 issued stricter rules and regulations for the import of food products. As per the new rules, there will be stringent norms on licensing, documentation, packaging, labeling and also suspension or cancellation of food importers’ licenses to prevent sub-standard food products entering the country.

The food importers will now have to submit an application for clearance which includes:

  • Recall plan
  • Declaration of regulatory status of food in the country of origin
  • Declaration stating that the food is fit for human consumption from the country of origin.

The regulations also state that if certain food items need special storage conditions, the authorized officer has to verify the storage conditions from the cargo or shipping operator and inquire if those storage facilities are available or not.  It also provides review processes for aggrieved food importers. The guidelines prescribed that the food importer will have to be present at the customs area to facilitate inspection and drawing of samples.

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