CHANDIGARH: Taking strong objections to the presence of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the country’s health sector, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch has demanded that the organisation’s influence should be stopped by the government, as it is allegedly “promoting the interest of foreign pharmaceutical firms in the name of philanthropy”.

The Manch has alleged that the foundation is influencing the government’s health policies, including the nation-wide immunisation programme, and many new vaccinations have been launched at its instance.

“The government should probe the funding and it (the foundation) should be asked to get itself registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA),” convenor of the Manch Ashwini Mahajan said.

Referring to a recent UK-based charity ‘Global Justice Now’ report that the foundation was working for the benefit of multinational pharmaceutical companies, Mahajan said that in the name of philanthropy, the foundation is giving subsidies to big pharmaceutical houses.

It has good connections with companies,” he said. Mahajan also raised fear about the medicines that these houses are promoting in the Indian market as they are found to have side-effects.

He said that since the foundation is not registered under FCRA, it is escaping government action and there are no provisions with RBI to regulate such entities. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is also dominated by the Gates Foundation.

The secretariat of the NTAGI is also allegedly paid for by the foundation.