Tenure of 12-member NTF shall be six months initially
New Delhi, May 8
Amid wrangling over oxygen supply to hospitals, the Supreme Court has set up a 12-member National Task Force (NTF) to streamline allocation to the life-saving gas to various states and Union territories.
Consisting of top medical experts, the NTF will formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic that has seen a sudden spike in number of infections in its second wave across India.
Asking the NTF to “commence work immediately” taking up the pressing issue of determining the modalities for oxygen expeditiously within a week, the Bench said it shall submit its recommendations from time to time. The tenure of the Task Force shall be six months initially, it said.
According to an order passed by a Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, the Union Cabinet Secretary will be the NTF convener and the Union Health Secretary its ex-officio member. The Cabinet Secretary may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to deputise for him, when necessary, it added.
Other members of the NTF included Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata; Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu; and JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
It also set up a sub-group for carrying out the audit exercise for Delhi’s health infrastructure and allocation of oxygen. The sub-group consisted of Randeep Guleria (AIIMS), Sandeep Budhiraja (Max Healthcare) and two IAS officers not below the rank of Joint Secretary—one each from the Centre and Delhi government.
On receipt of the recommendations of NTF, the Centre shall take an appropriate decision in regard to the allocation of oxygen and on all other recommendations, it said.
“We expect that the leading experts in the country shall associate with the work of the Task Force both as members and resource persons” as this will facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis,” the Bench said in its order published on Saturday.