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IMA calls for nationwide strike against National Medical Commission Bill passed by Lok Sabha

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A day after the Lok Sabha passed the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) today (Tuesday, July 30) gave a call for a 24-hour strike to take place tomorrow.

Terming the clearance of the NMC Bill 2019 by Lok Sabha as “anti-people, anti-poor, anti-students, anti-democratic and draconian in nature”, the IMA said there will be a ‘token strike’ on 31 July against the passage of the bill.

Non-essential and OPD services will remain withdrawn under the strike. The protest will begin at 6 am.

The Indian Medical Association asked medical students to boycott classes in solidarity with its protest programme.

The Federation of Resident Doctors Association and the Resident Doctors Association at All India Institute of Medical Sciences have asked members to wear black badges as a mark of protest. “The bill if not amended will only lead to a deterioration in the standards in medical education but will also lead to degradation of healthcare services,” the Resident Doctors Association said.

“The Lower House on Monday dumped healthcare & medical education of this country into darkness by approving undemocratic Bill,” noted the IMA.

It added that Section 32 of the NMC Bill provides for licensing of 3.5 lakhs unqualified non-medical persons to practise modern medicine.

“The term Community Health Provider has been vaguely defined to allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practise modern medicine,” the Association said. “This,” it said, “would mean that all paramedics including pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others are becoming eligible to practise modern medicine and prescribe independently. This law legalises quackery.”

The NMC Bill, which will now will now be presented in the Rajya Sabha, seeks to regulate medical education and practices in India and has been described by the government as one of the biggest reforms that will end ‘inspector raj’ in the medical education sector.

The bill also seeks to replace Medical Council of India, the regulatory body for medical education in the country, with National Medical Commission, doing away with NEET PG exam, and introduction of National Exit Test (NEXT) in the last year of MBBS which would double up as an entrance test for PG medical and dental courses.

The bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act1956 in the wake of allegations of corruption against the 63-year-old Medical Council of India (MCI) and shortcomings in the process by which it regulated medical colleges.

On Monday, when the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, over 5000 doctors, medical students and healthcare professionals from across the country staged a protest against the bill following a call given by IMA, with a march being held from AIIMS to Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi.

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“The NMC is the worst bill ever introduced in the medical education system and unfortunately a health minister, who is also a doctor, is adamant in destroying his own education system. We will not accept this atrocity at any cost,” IMA national president Santanu Sen said.

“The proposed bill is anti-people, anti-poor, anti-students, anti-democratic and draconian in nature. Medical students were part of this pious education system have also joined hands to protect our education system and uproot this NMC bill,” Sen said.

The protestors were detained from near Nirman Bhawan before the strike was called off on Monday.

Since its introduction in Parliament, the medical fraternity voiced protest against the Bill with thousands of its copies being burnt at various organisations across the nation.

National president-elect, IMA, Rajan Sharma, said the addition of Section 32 in the bill will only legalise quackery by empowering the community health providers to practice medicine, thereby endangering the lives of people.

“There has never been a blatant pro-rich bias of this intensity. The NMC bill is a pro-private management bill paving the way for widespread corruption,” Sharma said.

Book reviews

The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

The book not only delineates Ruskin Bond’s journey as a writer but also depicts the changing literary landscape from the 1950s to recent times.

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The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

India’s most loved and prolific writer from the hill, who wrote his first book when he was around 17, Ruskin Bond, turned 90 this year. In his seven decade literary journey, the author has written more than 500 novels, short stories, and poems set mostly in the hills and mountains of India. 

The Hill Of Enchantment published by Aleph Book Company, is a memoir of his writing journey, with the subtitle, the story of my life as a writer. Bond revisits the people, mountains, railway stations, rooms, and markets that shaped him as an author. He says, characters in his novels and short stories are mostly inspired by the people he met in his life. The author confesses that some characters also portray his adopted family, friends and colleagues. 

Expressing that if a writer wishes to create a little magic with his pen he must find a little magic in his life, Ruskin Bond shares that he only has to open his window to see a magical world – clouds racing across the sky. In the book, the author mentioned how Pari Tibba, Fairy Hill, which he could see from his window, and solitude has influenced his books.

In The Hill of Enchantment, Ruskin Bond pens about how his need for privacy and solitude have inspired his first work, The Room on the Roof, published in 1956. He also portrayed how his frequent visits to a railway station led to the story, Time Stops At Shamli and others. Sharing an anecdote, Bond wrote that his frequent visits to railway stations made him so popular, just like a coolie, he did not have to buy a platform ticket to sit at the railway station.

The book also highlights the ordeal of Indian writers in the days dating back to 1950s to get published as compared to modern writers. It pointed out the change in the literary scene in the twenty-first century, which brought literary festivals along with online forums for writers and publishers. The author says, “writers were becoming faces and mini celebrities”. 

Ruskin Bond’s book not only delineates his journey as a writer but also stresses on the changing literary landscape from 1950s to recent times. The book is an utter testament for the aspiring writers. 

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday claimed that the NDA has already bagged 310 seats after the completion of 5 phases of the Lok Sabha polls. He urged the people of Odisha to free the state from babu-raj and allow the BJP to form government at the Centre and also in the state.  Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Shah claimed after the 5th phase of elections, the NDA has already got 310 seats and they will secure 400 plus seats after the 6th and 7th rounds of elections. The union home minister added that Odisha has been ruled by a handful of officers and this election will end the ongoing babu raj in the state.

He said that the tribals of Keonjhar get no benefit even though most of the mines and mineral reserves of the country are located in Keonjhar district. Shah enlisted Modi government’s achievements and said that the prime minister has ensured that there is no terrorism across the country. He added that PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) was with India and it would remain with India.

Shah criticized Congress of being frightened over Pakistan possessing an atom bomb and said PM Modi has given a befitting reply to Pakistan’s terror activities and he does not fear such threat of nuclear bombs. He attacked the previous Congress government for doing nothing for tribals. Shah pointed out that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a separate ministry for tribal affairs while Narendra Modi as the PM has worked to eliminate Naxalism in Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Home Minister said PM Modi has constituted District Mineral Foundation and given crores of rupees for the development of the tribal region. Shah said the budgetary allocation for tribal affairs has been increased to Rs 1.25 lakh crore during Modi government from Rs 25,000 crore given during the previous UPA regime.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Congress accuses PM Modi of communal campaigning, questions his silence on key issues like caste census, reservations

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh’s attack came over Modi’s remarks in an interview to the media in which he had said that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has not just today but never acted against them.

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Congress accuses PM Modi of communal campaigning, questions his silence on key issues like caste census, reservations

The Congress on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been indulging in polarisation throughout the election and has prepared a communal pitch, but Congress refused to play on that and pursued its paach nyay agenda. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh’s attack came over Modi’s remarks in an interview to the media in which he had said that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has not just today but never acted against them.

Jairam Ramesh said that PM Modi’s entire campaign from April 19 has been based on communalisation with the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric throughout and has not talked about Viksit Bharat, issues of the farmers, Modi ki guarantee, women, youth workers, SCs, STs and OBCs.

Speaking about the remarks made by PM Modi on minorities, Ramesh said what nonsense was he talking about?  He further added the prime minister is fast losing his memory and he has never had any adherence to truth. Ramesh called PM Modi a jhoothjeevi and said PM Modi does not remember what he said the day before and then claims that he never said it.

Ramesh said the prime minister had raised the issue of Muslim League imprint on the Congress manifesto, the mangalsutra remarks and the allegation that the Congress will give reservations on the basis of religion, which are all bogus statements.

He said this is the prime minister who, when asked some years ago whether he had any remorse at the killings during the Gujarat riots, said even when a small puppy comes under a car, one feels bad. This is the language that he had been using. Ramesh claimed that when Atal Bihari Vajapayee became the prime minister, L K Advani and company wanted a committee to review the basic structure of the Constitution. Ramesh said Congress boycotted that commission and this has always been the objective of the BJP and the RSS.

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