GUWAHATI: Amidst a slew of significant decisions taken in a cabinet meeting on Saturday, the Assam government approved the Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024.
Aimed at combatting unethical practices in the realm of healthcare, the Bill bans the exploitation of vulnerable individuals through so-called “magical healing” practices.
This legislation aims to root out fraudulent healings methods that prey on people in the name of healing congenital diseases such as deafness, dumbness, blindness, physical deformity, and autism.
The proposed bill not only prohibits these practices but also mandates strong disciplinary measures against those committing them, particularly targeting individuals who exploit the poor and downtrodden under the guise of treatment.
Calling it a “landmark” decision, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to a micro-blogging website and said, “It will prohibit such healing sessions completely and provide strong punitive action against ‘healers’ extorting the poor and downtrodden people in the name of treatment.”
Furthermore, the cabinet announced a comprehensive sustainable development programme for ten selected cities/towns, aptly titled “Doh Shaher-Ek Rupayan”.
The initiative aims to address key aspects of urban development, including solid waste management, clean water supply, traffic management, urban planning, and capacity building.
Oversight of the programme will be provided by a state-level steering committee, underscoring the government’s dedication to effective implementation and monitoring.
In a bid to streamline administrative processes, the cabinet also approved amendments to the Assam Municipal Act 1956, delineating the roles and responsibilities of three state municipal cadres.
Additionally, the cabinet greenlit the Assam Village Defence Organisation (Amendment) Bill, 202′, aimed at bolstering the capabilities of Village Defence Organisations (VDOs) in safeguarding local communities.
Recognising the importance of wildlife conservation and tourism, the government sanctioned the establishment of a Wildlife Safari and Rescue Centre at Namdang Reserved Forest in the Dibrugarh Forest Division.
This initiative, with an estimated cost of ₹259 crore, is expected to showcase the rich biodiversity of the Northeast, while serving as a prominent tourist attraction.