The Indian Red Cross Society Bill, 2023 has been introduced with the aim of providing comprehensive oversight to the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS). This Bill was published on 25th October, 2023.
This legislation empowers the IRCS as the National Society operating as a voluntary aid organization, auxiliary to public authorities, in the humanitarian field.
The Bill is designed to enhance the functioning of the Indian Red Cross Society, granting it autonomy in decision-making and action.
Under the Indian Red Cross Society Bill, the Society will establish branches at the state, district, and sub-district levels, known as State Branch, District Branch, and Sub-District Branch, respectively. All existing branches of the Society are seamlessly integrated into the new framework. Furthermore, the members of the existing society and all individuals who may join the Society are now collectively constituted as a corporate entity under the name of the Indian Red Cross Society. This entity will possess a common seal, the power to acquire and manage property, and the ability to enter into contracts and legal proceedings.
The headquarters of the IRCS, located in New Delhi, continues to serve as the central hub for the Society’s operations, ensuring continuity and effectiveness in its functions.
The Indian Red Cross Society will uphold the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement. Its core objective is to instill humanitarian ideals among the population, particularly among children and youth, while providing a wide range of humanitarian and charitable services.
These services encompass medical relief, healthcare, blood services, first aid, disaster risk reduction and response, as well as other ancillary services, all designed to alleviate suffering without any form of discrimination, be it based on nationality, race, caste, sex, religious beliefs, language, class, or political opinions.
The functions of the Society, as outlined in the Bill, include:
- Acting in times of armed conflict and preparing for humanitarian action within the scope of international humanitarian law, covering all aspects of the Geneva Conventions.
- Providing aid to the sick, wounded, or demobilized members of the Indian armed forces in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
- Managing blood services.
- Offering ambulance services.
- Promoting health, disease prevention, maternity, childcare, and elderly care.
- Organizing emergency relief services for disaster victims, both within India and abroad.
- Enrolling, training, and developing volunteers to undertake humanitarian responsibilities, including disaster risk reduction and first aid.
- Encouraging the participation of children and youth in the Red Cross’s work.
- Representing the Society on international committees.
- Pursuing global peace and other objectives related to the Society’s mission.
The Indian Red Cross Society Bill, 2023 repeals the Indian Red Cross Society Act, 1920, except where otherwise provided. This legislation reaffirms India’s commitment to humanitarian efforts and streamlines the operation of the Indian Red Cross Society in its mission to alleviate suffering and promote humanitarian values.