Bengaluru, Jan 02, 2018 : Close to 40,000 doctors from the State will be among more than 2.9 lakh doctors observing a 12-hour nationwide strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday. The strike, which will be in force from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., is to protest the National Medical Commission Bill.
The doctors, who will observe Tuesday as a ‘black day’, say that the Bill promotes crosspathy (those who have studied alternate medicine practicing allopathy), eases procedures for private medical colleges and will be dominated by the government. Dr. Jayesh Lele, national secretary, Hospital Board, IMA, said, “Only emergency cases and those already admitted will be given treatment. The Out-Patient Departments (OPD) won’t function.”
He said that the National Medical Council, as proposed in the Bill, is not acceptable to them. The IMA has labelled the Bill as anti-poor and anti-people, and said it makes the system prone to corruption. The Bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), the apex body for the medical fraternity since 1934, and form a new National Medical Council. “A majority of the new council members will be government-appointed. Several aspects of the Bill are problematic,” Dr. Lele said.
Private colleges to gain
Among other provisions, the Bill has done away with permissions needed to start a medical college, and allows private medical colleges to increase undergraduate and postgraduate seats on their own. It doesn’t provide for inspections and cancellation or suspension of licenses if discrepancies are found in the functioning or infrastructure of colleges. Instead, colleges will have to pay a massive fine, that could be anything between ₹5 crore and ₹100 crore. Dr. Shivkumar Utture, an IMA member, said, “With such options, the Bill is simply making way for corruption. the Bill also allows private medical colleges to decide the fee for 60% of their seats, which will increase the cost of medical education.”
Doctors are also opposed to a bridge course proposed in the Bill, which would enable alternative medicine practitioners to practise allopathy, and lack of representation from medical universities.