By bappaditya paul
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is eyeing West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s help to scuttle the Union government’s National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) Bill, 2011.
A national delegation of IMA, comprising its national president, Dr GK Ramachandrappa, secretary general, Dr DR Rai, and co-coordinator, Dr N Apparao, will be meeting the West Bengal minister of state for health, Ms Chandrima Bhattacharya, tomorrow as a first step to draw Miss Banerjee’s attention. The meeting is scheduled to take place at Swasthya Bhavan in the afternoon.
According to the IMA West Bengal branch unit president, Dr Santanu Sen, the national delegation had originally planned meeting the chief minister directly and had sought an appointment from the CM’s office.
“Since the CM would be busy tomorrow for a pre-scheduled government programme at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, she asked her MoS health to meet the IMA national delegation on her behalf. We are viewing this as Miss Banerjee’s sincerity in the crucial issue,” said Dr Sen.
Despite health being a state subject, the Union government drafted the NCHRH Bill without consulting any state government, including West Bengal, and also the state medical councils in the country, he alleged.
“If the Bill is passed, it will not only end the autonomy of supreme entities such as the Medical Council of India (MCI), Dental Council of India (DCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the Nursing Council of India (NCI), but would also infringe upon the rights of the states on health matters. This makes it all the more important for Miss Banerjee to stand by the IMA and we hope she would indeed,” said Dr Sen.
After discussing the matter with the minister of state for health Ms Bhattacharya tomorrow, the IMA national delegation plans to meet Miss Banerjee in the immediate future to brief her on the issue in person.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report was first published in The Statesman on 12 April 2012.)