20:47 GMT28 November 2020
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    Consultants, funded by foreign agencies to work inside the Indian government, will have to quit by December 2016 under a new order, in a move seen as an effort to reduce the influence of international agencies and non-governmental organizations on public policy.

    India is turning away from a decades-old practice of filling gaps within its health system with professionals hired by global agencies and nongovernmental organizations. This step was taken by the Cabinet Secretariat of India to avoid foreign influence on its policies and data leaks in various ministries. The finance ministry was asked to make a list of such experts, who are mostly funded by the World Bank, UK's Department for International Development, USAID, WWF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UN agencies such as the WHO.

    Under the new rules, consultants who have been around for three years or more, a total of about 100 people, will be terminated, said Manoj Jhalani, joint secretary in the Ministry of Health. The roughly 100 who remain will need to be approved by a new screening committee.

    The consultants should be employed for a limited period and for specific purposes, involving only presentations and the analysis of possible development  options.

    Any consultant will have to sign a "confidentiality clause" in their contract to prevent sharing information and data with agencies or people outside the government.

    "In the health ministry, such consultants are spread across programs. Since there is a directive now, we will abide by it," said C.K. Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Health Mission.

    The rules will effectively block the possibility of interaction with and access to policy-makers and classified information.

    India began to employ foreign-funded specialists in the early 1990s, when its health system was chronically short of funds and due to a lack of native experts to run government programs.

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    medicine, financing, policy, government, India
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