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IMA Prepares For Long Struggle Ahead; To Intensify Agitation

M for Media and M for Medical, both equally important for safeguarding the health of the nation, albeit in different ways, and both target of central government attempts to regulate them. While a united Media has so far been able to thwart all attempts to impose government regulations on it, the latest effort to penalise it for “fake news” resulting in the ouster of then Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, the not-so-united medical fraternity appears to have a grim battle on its hands to ward off attempts to snatch its autonomy of regulation. The central government is making a second attempt next week to bulldoze though Parliament the National Medical Commission Bill, aimed at replacing the self regulating Medical Council of India Act, accepting just a few of the many amendments suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, to which the Bill had been referred following protests.

For the second time this year private doctors and hospitals across the country protested against the Bill by not running non-emergency services, including outpatient departments (OPDs), for a day on Saturday and threatened to intensify their campaign should the government not relent and push ahead with the Bill.

IMA Prepares For Long Struggle Ahead; To Intensify Agitation, Lifeinchd

Photos By : Life In Chandigarh

Senior functionaries of the Chandigarh branch of Indian Medical Association (IMA) told media persons, after a meeting of 40-odd doctors deliberated on the issues at the IMA House, that passage of the Bill in its present form will not only spell disaster for medical education but also ruin the already stressed healthcare delivery system in the country.

Current President Dr. Neeraj Kumar and past presidents Dr. RS Bedi (who also remained National vice president) and Dr. Neeraj Nagpal said the government’s avowed motive of improving primary health services in the rural areas through the National Medical Commission Bill was just a ruse and the real intention was to give unbridled powers to the private medical colleges, a majority of which were run by politicians or their cronies, to indulge in profiteering by giving 50 percent of the seats to the highest bidders. A trailer of things to come had already been witnessed in Uttarakhand and Maharashtra where managements of private medical colleges had massively hiked students’ fee for MBBS course to as high as Rs 25 lakh per annum, they added.

IMA Prepares For Long Struggle Ahead; To Intensify Agitation, Lifeinchd

They felt that the marginalisation of the state governments, state medical councils, state health universities and state medical graduates under the Bill was a direct threat to the federal nature of the Constitution. With most members to be nominated by the central government, the commission was likely to function as an extended arm of the government, they said, adding that the centralised final year exit exam for MBBS students across the country, and for those with foreign qualifications to be permitted to practice in India, was also conceptually flawed and violated the Universities Act.

IMA Honorary Secretary General Dr. RN Tandon speaking in Delhi has enjoined the medical fraternity to prepare itself for a long struggle. He informed that their protests will be intensified in the next phase by actively involving all speciality organisations, resident doctors’ organisations, service doctors’ organisations and medical students in the movement.

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