Monthly Archives: March 2015

National E-Health Authority (NeHA) Of India Proposed

National E-Health Authority (NeHA) Of India ProposedIndian government has started ambitious initiatives like Digital India and Internet of Things (PDF) that intend to bridge the digital divide in India on the one hand and enabling e-delivery of services in India on the other. There are many segments of Digital India projects and e-health is one of them. E-health initiatives of India government aim at providing timely, effective and economical healthcare services to Indian population. E-health is particularly relevant for masses that have little access to healthcare services in India.

While the objectives of Digital India are laudable and deserve full support yet we at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) also believe that the shortcomings of Digital India project of India cannot be ignored or bypassed by Indian government. Similarly insisting upon Aadhaar number for healthcare services in India would be a terrible idea especially when Aadhaar is not mandatory for government services in India.

A proposal to constitute an e-health authority of India was mooted in June 2014. Now the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released a concept note discussing establishment of the National eHealth Authority (NeHA) for India. Public inputs have also been invited on or before 20th April 2015.

According to the note, NeHA will be the nodal authority that will be responsible for development of an Integrated Health Information System (including Telemedicine and mHealth) in India, while collaborating with all the stakeholders, viz., healthcare providers, consumers, healthcare technology industries, and policymakers. It will also be responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations relating to the privacy and security of the patients health information and records.

We at Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research and Development in India (CECSRDI) believe that Modi government must take cyber security seriously. The cyber security challenges in India would increase further and India must be cyber prepared to protect its cyberspace. CECSRDI believes that the starting point is to draft the cyber security policy of India 2015 as the 2013 policy is highly defective and of little significance. CECSRDI strongly recommend that cyber security disclosure norms of India must also be formulated as soon as possible. Dedicated privacy law of India, data protection law of India (PDF), encryption laws in India, etc are also required.

As per the concept note, NeHA would be responsible:

(a) To guide the adoption of e-Health solutions at various levels and areas in the country in a manner that meaningful aggregation of health and governance data and storage/exchange of electronic health records happens at various levels in a cost-effective manner,

(b) To facilitate integration of multiple health IT systems through health information exchanges,

(c) To oversee orderly evolution of state-wide and nationwide Electronic Health Record Store/Exchange System that ensures that security, confidentiality and privacy of patient data is maintained and continuity of care is ensured.

In the light of the above, NeHA has been envisaged to support:

(a) Formulation of policies, strategies and implementation plan blueprint (National eHealth Policy / Strategy) for coordinated eHealth adoption in the country by all players; regulation and accelerated adoption of e-health in the country by public and private care providers and other players in the ecosystem; to establish a network of different institutions to promote eHealth and Tele-medicine/remote healthcare/virtual healthcare and such other measures;

(b) Formulation and management of all health informatics standards for India; Laying down data management, privacy & security policies, standards and guidelines in accordance with statutory provisions; and

(c) To promote setting up of state health records repositories and health information exchanges (HIEs);

(d) To deal with privacy and confidentiality aspects of Electronic Health Records (EHR).

Functions of National eHealth Authority

(1) Core Functions

(a) Policy and Promotion

(i) Working out vision, strategy and adoption plans, with timeframes, priorities and road-map in respect of eHealth adoption by all stakeholders, both Public and Private providers, formulate policies for eHealth adoption that are best suited to Indian context and enable accelerated health outcomes in terms of access, affordability, quality and reduction in disease mortality & morbidity

(ii) To engage with stakeholders through various means so that eHealth plans are adopted and other policy, regulatory and legal provisions are implemented by both the public and private sector stakeholders.

(iii) It shall provide thought leadership, in the areas of eHealth and mHealth.

(b) Standards Development

(i) Government of India, MoHFW has published EMR/EHR standards for India in 2013. Similarly, MoHFW has become a member of IHTSDO with a view of widespread adoption of SNOMED-CT in India; MoHFW has also nominated C-DAC (Pune) as interim NRC (iNRC). As such, initial focus of NeHA would be on addressing implementation issues and promoting mechanisms in support of the same.

(ii) Concurrently, NeHA will be nurtured to undertake the role of a standards development, maintenance and support agency in the area of Health Informatics

(c) Legal Aspects including Regulation

(i) NeHA will be setup through an appropriate legislation (Act of Parliament). It is also proposed to address the issues relating to privacy and confidentiality of Patients’ EHR in the legislation. NeHA may act as an enforcement agency with suitable mandate and powers.

(ii) NeHA will be responsible for enforcement of standards and ensuring security, confidentiality and privacy of patient’s health information and records.

(d) Setting up and Maintaining Health Repositories, Electronic Health Exchanges and National Health Information Network

NeHA, while avoiding the implementation role by itself, will prepare documents relating to architecture, standards, policies and guidelines for e-Health stores, HIEs and NHIN; it may also initiate or encourage PoCs, in close consultation with government – centre and states, industry, implementers and users. Later, it would lay down operational guidelines and protocols, policies for sharing and exchange of data, audit guidelines and the like; these shall be guided by experience in operation and use of PoC, global best practices and consultations with stakeholders (MoHFW, State governments and other public and private providers, academia, R&D labs, and others).

(e) Capacity Building

Spreading awareness on Health Informatics / eHealth to healthcare delivery professionals through various educational initiatives and flexible courses according to the background of the learners will form a component of NeHA activities, as it is seen as critical to acceleration of adoption of eHealth.

(f) Other functions may be assigned to NeHA as the situation warrants.

Health being a state subject in India and much depends on the ability /regulatory framework enacted by the State governments, NeHA shall be created through legislation (Act of Parliament) that empowers it to take leadership and strategic role for setting directions for public and private eHealth initiatives, including electronic health records storage and health information exchange capabilities and other related health information technology efforts and regulation of the same.

NeHA shall ensure ongoing interagency cooperation – while engaging with various stakeholders through the Standing Consultative Committee and also through other means, in a structured, open and transparent manner to support successful evolution of national integrated health information system. We at Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) welcome this initiative of Indian government and wish all the best to it in this regard.

Digital India And Aadhaar Related Critical Policy Suggestions And Views Of Praveen Dalal

Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner Of Perry4law And Cyber Law ExpertDigital India is a promising initiative of Indian Government. However, like any new and good project, Digital India is also suffering from many shortcomings and weaknesses. It is imperative on the part of Indian Government to remove these limitations of Digital India project instead of suppressing the same. It is also important that any critical view or suggestion regarding Digital India project must not be either suppressed or censored by Indian Government or technology platforms like Google, Twitter, etc.

There are many critical opinions regarding Aadhaar and Digital India projects. It is believed that by clubbing the digital India project with Aadhaar, Indian Government has made Digital India the digital panopticon of India.

There are also many reported cases of censorship activities of Google and Twitter in India. The dissenting tweets and posts regarding Digital India were censored by both Google and Twitter repeatedly. It would be better if these companies would respect civil liberties in cyberspace in the future.

This post is sharing the critical and other views and recommendations of Praveen Dalal regarding Digital India and Aadhaar Projects that have been shared at Twitter for public at large but are not easy to find due to censorship activities. These are as follows:

(1) Use Of ICT For Women Empowerment In India Is A Belated But Good Step Under Digital India. My Opinion (2006). Source: UNPAN (PDF),

(2) Digital India Project Is Good But It Must Be Supplemented With Robust Cyber Security In Advance,

(3) Twitter Continues Censoring Digital India Related Dissenting Tweets. Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(4) Google Is Manipulating Timestamp Of Digital India Related Dissenting News To Remove Them From Latest News Results. Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(5) Exploring Digital India By Riding Upon M-Governance And Ignoring Shortcomings Of E-Governance And Aadhaar Is A Risky Step That Should Be Avoided,

(6) Now Google Is Flexing Its Censorship Muscles For Digital India Related Critical Tweets- Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(7) It Is Good That Budget 2015 Has Given Importance To Digital India. Now The Govt Must Work In The Direction Of Making It Successful,

(8) The Biggest Problem Of Digital India Project Is That It Lacks A Clear Cut Policy And Implementation Plan,

(9) Twitter Is Censoring Dissenting Digital India Related Tweets In Real Time- Source: Cjnews India,

(10) E-Surveillance Projects Of India Need Parliamentary Oversight And Judicial Scrutiny- Source: CLPIC,

(11) Unconstitutional And Illegal Biometrics Collection Laws And Practices In India- Source: CEPHRC,

(12) Aadhaar Is Not A Welfare Project But An E-Surveillance Project Of Highest Nature- Source: Privacy Laws In India,

(13) Digital India Project Of India Is Heading For Rough Waters- Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(14) Central Govt Lied To Supreme Court By Telling Aadhaar Not Mandatory For Its Services,

(15) Digital India Is Biggest Panopticon Of Human Race The Moment It Is Clubbed With E-Surveillance Tool Named Aadhaar, Source: Privacy Laws In India,

(16) Would You Like Your Children To Be Digitally Tagged Forever? If Not, Protest Against Aadhaar And Stop Its Use,

(17) Digital India By Making Aadhaar Compulsory And Illegally Clubbing It With E-Services Is Controlling Your Digital Life,

(18) Shortcomings Of Digital India Project Of India- Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(19) Digital India Project Of India Is Heading For Rough Waters- Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(20) Aadhaar Not Mandatory For Government Services: Central Government To SC- Source: Perry4Law News Centre,

(21) Modi Govt Should Not Risk Wonderful Concepts Like Digital India, Made In India And Digital Locker By Clubbing Them With Aadhaar. Bad Idea,

(22) Supreme Court Must Immediately Impose An Interim Stay On States/Centre That Are/Is Making Aadhaar Compulsory,

(23) Supreme Court Must Immediately Declare Aadhaar Project As Unconstitutional- Source: CLPIC,

(24) It Is Surprising How People Can Be So Docile About Aadhaar And How Central Govt Can Fool Supreme Court So Easily With False Statements,

(25) Digital Locker Is A Legal Project Based Upon Illegal Technology Named Aadhaar- What An Irony, etc.

This consolidate list would provide a readymade reference list of all Digital India and Aadhaar related critical views and opinions of Praveen Dalal at a single place. We hope our readers would find this post and these tweets useful and productive.