Premier John Hamm today, Aug. 15, announced the 14 MLAs who willjoin him in cabinet. The 15-member Executive Council will besworn in and assume office on Monday, Aug. 18. “This strong team will allow government to build on thefoundation of the past four years,” said Premier Hamm. “We arelooking to the future and we are ready to build something evenbetter.” Premier Hamm noted that the new political landscape in NovaScotia requires a team that understands the importance of co-operation. “Nova Scotia needs a team that is decisive in facing thechallenges of today and tomorrow and a team that will never losesight of the priorities of Nova Scotians,” Premier Hamm said. Notable additions to the new cabinet include a Minister ofAfrican Nova Scotian Affairs, a position that fulfills acommitment. The establishment of a minister responsible for HumanResources will allow government to build on the talents andexperience of the public service and enhance government’srelationships with public sector unions. “I believe that government should lead by example, developprogressive human resource policies that challenge our managersand unionized employees alike and recommit to our public sectorto make Nova Scotia a model for the rest of Canada,” said PremierHamm. In selecting his cabinet, Premier Hamm said he soughtrepresentation from across the province, a balance of MLAs with adiverse mix of personal experience and perspectives. “Our caucus is full of strong representatives, any of whom wouldmake outstanding ministers,” Premier Hamm said. “This is a teamfor all Nova Scotians, all regions, all communities.” As Premier, Mr. Hamm will also serve as President of theExecutive Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Hants West MLA Ron Russell, the most experienced member ofcabinet, will take on the duties of Deputy Premier, Minister ofTransportation and Public Works and Minister responsible for theInsurance Act. First elected to the legislature in 1978 and re-elected in each of seven successive elections, Mr. Russellpreviously held several cabinet posts, including Minister ofHealth, Consumer Affairs, Management Board, Solicitor General andLabour. He has been Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature onthree separate occasions and was the first MLA elected Speaker byhis legislative peers. The Minister of Economic Development is Ernest Fage. A farmer,Mr. Fage was first elected as MLA for Cumberland North in a 1997byelection and re-elected in 1998, 1999 and 2003. He will alsotake on the responsibilities of Minister responsible for NovaScotia Business Incorporated. Michael Baker’s almost 20 years in the practice of law equips himwell for his responsibilities as Attorney General and Minister ofJustice. In addition to his law practice and extensive communityinvolvement, Mr. Baker is a former member of the Canadian HumanRights Tribunal and a former member of the board of directors ofMarine Atlantic. He was elected to the Nova Scotia legislature in1998 as MLA for Lunenburg and was re-elected in 1999 and 2003. Mr. Baker will also act as chair of Treasury and Policy Board,Minister responsible for the Human Rights Act and Minister ofAboriginal Affairs. Jamie Muir is the Minister of Education. Mr. Muir’s extensiveexperience in the field of education includes a term as formerprincipal of the Nova Scotia Teachers College, a faculty memberof the education department at St. Francis Xavier University and Director of Inspection Services for the Nova Scotia Department ofEducation and Inspector of Schools in the Cumberland, Colchesterand Hants East area. He is also the Minister responsible for theYouth Secretariat Act. The Minister of Finance is Bedford MLA Peter Christie. Acertified management accountant and a former mayor of Bedford,Mr. Christie was elected to the Nova Scotia legislature for thefirst time in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003. He has served asMinister of Community Services and Minister of Service NovaScotia and Municipal Relations. Rodney MacDonald continues on as Minister of Tourism and Cultureand Minister of Health Promotion. With an enlarged budget, theOffice of Health Promotion will carry on its efforts in areassuch as preventative health, wellness and addiction services. Mr.MacDonald also assumes responsibility for the Heritage PropertyAct and the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission. Mr.MacDonald is a teacher and a professional musician. The Minister of Health is Antigonish MLA Angus MacIsaac. Firstelected to represent the people of Guysborough in 1969, Mr.MacIsaac was re-elected in 1970. He returned to the Nova Scotialegislature in 1999, where he has served as Minister for ServiceNova Scotia and Municipal Relations and Minister of Education. He will also act as chair of the Senior Citizen’s Secretariat. Mr. MacIsaac is a former teacher. Kings South MLA David Morse remains in the position of Ministerof Community Services and Minister responsible for the DisabledPersons Commission. A former insurance broker, Mr. Morse wasfirst elected to the Nova Scotia legislature in 1999 and was re-elected this year. He has also served as Minister of Environmentand Labour. Cape Breton North MLA Cecil Clarke is Minister of Energy. Firstelected to the Nova Scotia legislature in a March 2001byelection, Mr. Clarke has extensive community involvement and isa former Minister of Economic Development. Queens MLA Kerry Morash is a new addition to the cabinet, takingup the post of Minister of Environment and Labour. He is also theMinister responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Act (exceptPart II) and assumes responsibility for the Utility and ReviewBoard. Mr. Morash is a Canadian Registered Safety Professionalwith almost two decades of experience as the safety co-ordinatorat Bowater Mersey. He was first elected to the Nova Scotialegislature in 1999 and was re-elected this year. He served asgovernment caucus chair in 2002-03. Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville MLA Barry Barnet is the Ministerof Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Ministerresponsible for the Residential Tenancies Act and assumes thenewly created position of Minister of African Nova ScotianAffairs. Lucasville, one of Nova Scotia’s most historic AfricanNova Scotian communities, is located in Mr. Barnet’sconstituency. A former Halifax Regional Municipality councilor,Mr. Barnet was first elected to the Nova Scotia legislature in1999. Richard Hurlburt, MLA for Yarmouth, is the Minister of NaturalResources. He is a businessman and was a long-time municipalcouncilor. Mr. Hurlburt was first elected to the Nova Scotialegislature in 1999. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, the newly elected MLA for Lunenburg West,is Minister of Human Resources, Minister responsible for thePublic Service Commission and Minister responsible for theAdvisory Council on the Status of Women Act. A small businessowner, Ms. Bolivar-Getson has been a municipal councilor since1997. The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is newly elected ArgyleMLA Chris d’Entremont. He is a former broadcaster and executiveassistant to former Finance Minister Neil LeBlanc. Mr.d’Entremont is also the Minister of Acadian Affairs, a role thatwill be especially important as Nova Scotia hosts the CongresMondial Acadien in 2004. Members of the Executive Council will be sworn into governmentduring a ceremony at Province House on Monday, Aug. 18. Thepublic is invited to attend.
The government of Telangana reportedly decided to call for tenders to identify the service provider for operation and maintenance of 108 Emergency Responsive Services in the state. A committee has also been constituted for preparation of RFP document, floating tenders, processing finalisation and transition of services, etc. When the former united AP government, a decade and a half ago, felt that lack of transportation was the main reason for non-utilisation of healthcare services for institutional deliveries, it initiated the Reproductive and Child Health Project to implement Rural Emergency Health Transport Services (REHTS) scheme in rural and tribal areas of the state in 2005. REHTS was part of the Indian government’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) for providing integrated, comprehensive primary health care services. It was aimed at transporting pregnant women, infants, children below 12 years of age and any other cases in need of emergency health care services to the nearest hospital. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe scheme was piloted in four districts of Kadapa, Kurnool, Mahbubnagar, Nizamabad and the tribal areas of nine other districts in the year 2005. Initially, 122 ambulances were deployed under the scheme and were operationalised through NGOs as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concept. In addition to REHTS, the government recognised Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), a non-profit organisation established in April 2005, by Satyam Computer’s Ramalinga Raju, as the State Level Nodal Agency, to provide comprehensive emergency response across the state, in PPP mode and signed first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 2nd April 2005. EMRI on its own launched 70 ambulances funded by Raju, from August 2005 to June 2006 covering 50 towns of 25 million populations in the united AP state. A toll-free telephone number 108 was allotted by the government and the ambulance services became popular with this number. Also Read – Insider threat managementState government having piloted the REHTS decided to expand to the remaining 18 (Rural) districts of the state by utilising services of EMRI as the State Level Nodal Agency and accordingly entrusted the responsibility of operationalising the balance of the 310 ambulances and signed the 2nd MoU on September 22, 2006. Formal launching took place on January 26, 2007. The earlier piloted districts were also handed over to EMRI. The third MoU signed in October 2007 further strengthened the PPP. 122 more ambulances were added then. A revised MoU was signed between government and EMRI on May 5, 2008, and accordingly, the government committed to provide 150 more ambulances (later another 150 ambulances). As far as the financial commitments were concerned, during the financial year 2008-09, out of the direct operating cost of Rs 1,18,420, an amount of Rs 1,12,499 towards its 95 per cent share per ambulance per month was provided to EMRI. Later this figure was subjected to changes. In due course, more and more ambulances were added as and when needed and the arrangement between the government and EMRI was Public-Private Partnership but not a tender process initially. EMRI later expanded its services to several states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa, etc. Almost all states are covered now handled by either EMRI or others. Initially, in none of the states, the tender process was followed and everywhere it was based on an MoU. National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) commissioned by the government of India observed that “EMRI was undoubtedly a historic landmark in the provision of health care in the nation. To its credit goes the achievement of bringing Emergency Medical Response on to the agenda of the nation. The tremendous gratitude and praise of the family members of the emergency victim for the timely arrival of this Angel of Mercy when heard in first person is most convincing and moving and makes the service very popular”. The great success of 108 had its roots in Public-Private Partnership concept. It is assumed that collaboration with the private sector in the form of PPP would improve equity, efficiency, accountability, quality, and accessibility of the entire health system. Advocates argue that the PPP can potentially gain from one another in the form of resources, technology, knowledge and skills, management practices, cost efficiency and so on. Provision of Emergency Response Services by EMRI is the best example of this. There is no hard and fast rule that the governments have to follow in choosing a non-profit organisation to partner with it for providing services in PPP framework. Several analyses and studies, however, suggest that a competitive process of selecting the private partner for the PPP framework is less effective than an invited or negotiated partnership. While competing to win the deal, the private partner’s primary concern is to quote less to become the lowest bidder whereas the government side officials’ main concern would be to meet procedural requirements than meeting beneficiaries’ needs. Tendering process in government is adapted to choose the lowest bidder. Though it is economical initially, the trend later would be an upward revision of costs and if the government disagrees, then the level of quality and effectiveness comes down. Hence, either prior negotiations with the potential partner or a tender where eligibility conditions are tailor-made or the prior experience of the private partner to be used as a basis for choosing is ideal for the success of PPP. Public-Private Partnership is different from privatisation and the message has to go without ambiguity. A partnership is not meant to be a substitution for lesser provisioning of government resources nor an abdication of government responsibility but as a tool for augmenting services. This entails a paradigm shift in the role of the government from the provision of services to partnering with a private non-governmental organisation in making available these services through a meaningful arrangement popularly known as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 108 emergency response services are the first of its kind Public-Private Partnership originated in the then united AP and in those days it was a role model for other states to replicate on the similar lines as in AP. The model sustained and has come to stay despite some occasional hiccups. 108 emergency response services are one of the most successful transformational institutions conceived and developed in the united AP state. The vision of EMRI is to provide leadership through a PPP framework to respond to emergency calls round the clock and save lives meeting global standards in Emergency Management, Research and Training. Surprisingly, few persons associated with this model themselves are now demanding a tender process for operationalising the scheme instead of a PPP model. Whatever it might be, the most important thing is how best the government funds are channelised. The best way to channelise funds would be to create a Permanent “Health and Emergency Care Developmental Fund” by pooling NRHM, state government and private contributions from many but not from one single source either through the tender route or through PPP route. For such a huge scheme one single source means “dependence in uncertainty”. Such an arrangement may not require one single Private Partner or someone else through tender, but would certainly require management experts as CEO and in PPP mode. Let the PPP concept be dynamic and not static with the boundaries well defined. In the implementation of the scheme, let there be no wrong signals going to people. If the scheme fails, in future it would be difficult to bring it back again on track. (The author is Chief PRO to Telangana CM and a former Consultant PPP, EMRI. The views expressed are strictly personal)