Saturday, January 17, 2015

Govt to decide on quota in super speciality posts in AIIMS: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday put the ball in Centre’s court to take a call on providing reservation in appointment for faculty posts in speciality and super speciality posts in medical colleges including the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“We clarify that it is for the Central Government to take a decision as to whether there should be reservation in speciality and super speciality posts,” a five-judge bench headed by justice H.L. Dattu said.
The Centre had moved the apex court seeking review of a Constitution Bench judgement which had said it cannot take a view contrary to the one expressed in 1992 by a nine-judge bench in the Indra Sawhney case, also known as the Mandal case, that there could be no compromise with merit at super speciality stage.
As soon as Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwar Rao opened his arguments, the bench said the judgement makes it clear that the Centre has to follow the advice given in the Indra Sawhney case.
“That’s all and nothing more than that,” the bench said and explained by saying that “we have not added a word other than what has been said in the Indra Sawhney judgement”.
“It is open for the Central Government to take a decision whether there can be a reservation in speciality and super speciality posts,” the bench, also comprising justices S.S. Nijjar, Ranjan Gogoi, M.Y. Eqbal and Vikramajit Sen said.
“At the best, we can add one sentence that it is for Central Government to take decision to amend the Constitution,” it said leaving it to the Centre to take a decision on the controversial aspect of reservation.
“Even now the ball is in your court. You can say whether in speciality and super-speciality posts there can be reservation or not. Choice is yours to follow the advice made in the Indira Sawhney judgement,” the bench said.
“If you want to give reservation, give it and if the matter comes to court then we will see,” the bench said while disagreeing with the Centre’s submission that “advice has taken the shape of direction in the judgement”.
The apex court had in July last year said, “We cannot take a different view, even though it has been suggested that such an observation (of Mandal verdict) was not binding, being obiter in nature.
“We cannot ascribe to such a view since the very concept of reservation implies mediocrity and we will have to take note of the caution indicated in Indra Sawhney’s case,” the bench had said.
Referring to various judgements including that of the Mandal case, it had said, “We impress upon the Central and State Governments to take appropriate steps in accordance with the views expressed in Indra Sawhney’s case and in this case, as also the other decisions referred to above, keeping in mind the provisions of Article 335 (claims of SC/ST to service and posts) of the Constitution.”
The court had pronounced its verdict on the plea of the Faculty Association of AIIMS against a Delhi High Court judgement.
The Association had contended that there cannot be any reservation for faculty posts to speciality and super speciality faculty courses in AIIMS.
AIIMS and the Centre had however taken a contrary stand and had pleaded that the reservation be given to SC/STs and Backward classes candidates in appointment to assistant professors and other senior posts in speciality and super speciality courses.

Punjab To Hold Its Own Medical PG Entrance

Starting this year, the Government of Punjab has decided to hold its own examination to fill PG medical seats.
Since a couple of years, it was the All India Post Graduate  Medical Entrance Examination (AIPGMEE) that students had to pass to get PG seats in the state medical colleges. However, it was observed that few students from Punjab were able to meet this criteria, resulting in the seats being occupied by students from other states.
Recently, a meeting, attended by representatives of Punjab’s different medical colleges and other educational institutions, was held in which the chairperson was Husan Lal, Secretary, Medical Education. Soon, Mr Lal announced the decision to hold separate PG entrance exam and said that the decision was taken after consultation with principals of state medical colleges.
In December last year, the AIPGMEE was held for the new academic session but now, those results would be used to fill 50% of the PG seats while the remaining 50% would be filled as per the results of the new exam.
News of this decision has been welcomed warmly by the state’s doctors’ associations who believe that this would help in protecting the rights and careers of their fraternity.
This move comes just a few weeks after the Punjab Government decided to conduct its own entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in the state’s colleges instead of continuing with the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT).
The dates of the separate PG entrance exam by the state government and other details would be announced soon.

However, the central govt. has requested Punjab govt. to keep on hold its plan of conducting state PG exam as it had already given consent for using NBE-conducted AIPGMEE scores.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ESIC to shut its medical colleges

The Employees State Corporation (ESIC) has decided to shut its medical colleges as this is not its core function, leading to the students protesting the move here Monday.
The corporation has expressed its inability to meet the objectives to establish medical colleges and training institutes to serve the insured and non-insured persons of the ESIC scheme.
"The ESIC should exit the field of medical education entirely as it is not the core function of the ESIC and other objectives is unlikely to be met," said the order issued at an ESIC meet held Dec 4.
It was also decided to hand over the ongoing medical colleges and other medical education institutions, having separate infrastructure, to state governments willing for such a transfer.
Though it has been running hospitals under the scheme for the purpose, the ESI Act was amended in 2010 to allow it to set up medical colleges. Presently, 13 such institutions are in various stages of construction.
Currently the corporation, runs seven medical colleges including a dental college in north Delhi's Rohini area, with few others in various stages of construction. They are estimated to be over Rs.10,000 crore.
The corporation during the meeting has also urged all the medical colleges not to undertake any further admissions as the medical programmes will continue only till the admitted students pass out or are adjusted by medical colleges of the state governments.
The students studying in the existing medical colleges under the ESIC, however, have claimed that due to the ESIC's order, the faculties and administrative staffs have already tendered their resignations which is a reason the recognition of Medical Council of India (MCI) could be withdrawn.
"Every medical college has to have a required number of students, teachers and administrative staff to get recognised by the MCI. But due to the ESIC decision all the faculties have started leaving the institutions," Chandra Mohan, president of the ESIC students association, told IANS.
"If the MCI withdraws its recognition, non of the students are going to get any Amedical degree," Mohan, who is also a student of ESIC Dental college in Delhi, added.
The students will also stage a protest Tuesday at Jantar Mantar against the decision of the corporation.

Monday, January 12, 2015

ESIC Exits Medical Education, State Colleges' Fate Uncertain

A directive by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) barring its medical colleges from admitting students from the next academic year and stopping staff recruitment has taken the state government by surprise.
In a memorandum on January 5, a copy of which is with Express, deputy medical commissioner (ME-II) Vivek Handa has stated that ESIC at its 163rd meeting on December 4 decided to exit the field of medical education since it was not its core function.
The memorandum made it clear that ESIC may neither undertake further admissions to  medical colleges and other medical educations (PG, nursing, para-medical and dental) nor start new medical colleges. All ongoing medical education programmes may continue till the students pass out or (they) are adjusted according to provisions of the Essentiality Certificate issued by the state government, whichever is earlier.ESIC has decided to hand over its medical colleges and other medical education institutions having separate infrastructure to the state governments willing to such a transfer.
Karnataka has ESIC medical colleges in Bengaluru, which run PG courses, and another at Kalaburagi which was established two years ago. Kalaburagi ESIC Medical College dean Dr Chandrashekhar, who confirmed the receipt of the memorandum, said, “To complete the remaining three years of MBBS, the college needs more staff but ESIC has barred recruitments.”
Medical Education Minister Sharanaprakash Patil told Express that the state government has expressed its willingness to take over the Kalaburagi and Bengaluru colleges for which modalities were being worked out. He said the first round of discussions were held with ESIC officials a few days ago and the government will put in all efforts to sort out the problem at the earliest.
To a question, he said a Medical Council of India team has already inspected the college in Kalaburagi besides the proposed six government medical colleges in the state. Patil ruled out handing over the Kalaburagi ESIC Medical College to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences to run it as its own college.
On the six government medical colleges proposed, Patil said the government has tried to overcome most of the deficiencies pointed out by MCI last year. MCI’s fresh recommendations for these colleges are expected within a fortnight and the colleges will get time to rectify deficiencies, he said.
Meanwhile, Kalaburagi MP Mallikarjun Kharge said he has written three letters to the Prime Minister and the Labour Minister asking them to let ESIC run the Kalaburagi college or hand it over to AIIMS. He had played a major role in bringing the college to Kalaburagi when he was a union minister.

ESIC proposes take over of Bengaluru, Kalaburagi ESIC medical colleges

A team of the senior officials of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), led by its Director General Anil Kumar Agarwal, met the Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil and the Labour Minister Parameshwar Naik in Bengaluru for handing over the ESIC Medical College and PG Centre at Bengaluru and the Rs. 1600 crore medical education complex in Kalaburagi to the State government. This meeting took place a few days back.

“The talks remained inconclusive and some of the issues raise over the recurring expenditure and the completion of the ongoing works at the Bengaluru and Kalaburagi centre had no convincing answers from the ESIC officials and the Director General of the ESIC has said that he would come back after consulting the Union Labour Ministry”, said Dr Patil.

Talking to The Hindu in Kalaburagi on Sunday, Dr. Patil said that during the meeting, the ESIC officials submitted a detailed proposal for the transfer of assets in Bengalure and Kalaburagi. As per the proposal submitted, the future expenditure in both the institutions should be borne by the State government.

Dr. Patil said that the State government disagreed to bear the expenses of the ongoing works in ESIC Medical College and Research Centre in Bengaluru. On few other issues like bearing the future expenditure and maintenance of the college attached to the teaching hospital there were disagreements.

However, the ESIC officials were firm that the costs would have to be borne by the State government. The approximate cost of the ongoing construction was estimated at Rs. 272 crores and the ESIC officials have told the State government that this amount can be paid in three instalments. The ESIC would take the responsibility of completing the construction work within a stipulated time and handover the infrastructure facility to the State government.

During the course of discussion, Dr. Patil said that the ESC officials said that State government can also submit a proposal for upgrading the district hospital into medical colleges in both Bengaluru and Kalaburagi and get financial assistance of Rs. 189 crores. 75 per cent of the assistance would be borne by the Central government and rest would have to be borne by the State government.

Dr. Patil said that the Medical Education department has been asked to prepare a detailed note with financial implication on the State government after taking over the Bengaluru and Kalaburagi facilities of the ESIC and take it before the Finance Department and after getting its approval the same would be placed before the cabinet for final approval.

Dr. Patil said that he was confident that the admission during the year 2015-16 would be taken up in both Kalaburagi and Bengaluru ESIC Medical Colleges as the MCI team had already visited both the hospitals and the deficiencies pointed out by the MCI in Kalaburagi ESIC Medical College Hospital is being fulfilled.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Telangana Govt. To Add More PG Seats In Its Medical Colleges

The Telangana Government is set to increase, at least, 86 more PG seats in its teaching hospitals. From the next academic year onwards, Hyderabad’s Osmania Medical College and Gandhi Medical College shall increase their PG seats from 282 to 329 and from 127 to 140 respectively. Warangal’s Kakatiya Medical College shall also increase its seats from 107 to 133. With this, the total PG seats shall go up from 516 to 602.
More than Rs 160 crore has been allocated by the Telangana government exclusively for the betterment of medical education in the state. According to reports, out of this big sum, Rs 98 crore would be spent on a medical college in Nizamabad, Rs 25 crore on Osmania Medical College and Rs 19.5 crore each to Kakatiya Medical College and Gandhi Medical College.
The State’s Director of Medical Education (DME) has spoken to media and said that such a huge allocation of funds separately for medical colleges is being done for the first time by the government. With this, the infrastructure like classrooms, laboratories, hostels, libraries etc can be improved to get more seats sanctioned.
Apart from this, another Rs 320 crore is said to have been approved to improve the medical infrastructure of the hospitals.
Moreover, 8 super specialty seats might also be increased in Osmania and Gandhi Medical Colleges, with the approval of the MCI.

Friday, January 9, 2015

“Aapko PG seat chahiye?” “1 cr ka ek”

“Aapko PG seat chahiye?” “1 cr ka ek”

Just like Nov-Feb is the season of Weddings, it is also the season of Medical Seat Booking. Indian Medical Post Graduation Seat Booking. The season of Indian Medical Under Graduate Seat Booking is March-August, right after the PG seats are done. They said that if I wrote on this topic, I would be sidelined/not given a seat even if I get a rank etc. But I can’t possibly be more sidelined than what I already am. I’m a, Twenty-Three year old Unemployed ( The age by when most other professionals have already PGfiascofinished their education & 2 years of establishing a career) Average, Open Category (Oh! It’s like the biggest curse to be born with in India!) Medical Graduate/Doctor who completed her MBBS (5.5 years) in Feb 2014 from a Private Institute in Mumbai(which holds a fairly good reputation). All the “Bold” words are more than enough to have me sidelined. I’m now preparing(read struggling) for my Post Graduate Entrances only to get in a clinical stream in a government/”prestigious” autonomous medical college of my beloved country solely, to serve its people and make a reasonable living out of it.
But how can I?
How can any of us?
Everyday I keep getting numerous messages and phone calls asking me if I’m interested in BUYING A PG SEAT? The racket is so strong,vicious and persistent that these agents don’t hesitate once before asking so openly! It’s like you’re out in open selling peanuts!
Here’s how a typical Agent-Doctor conversation goes:-
*The phone rings.
Me: Hello?
Agent: Hello. Aap PG mein interested ho? Aapko PG seat chahiye?
(Me thinking.. obviously chahiye!)
Me: Haan. 
Agent:(Hehehe.. chalo ab try karte hai) Aap kismein interested ho?
(Me thinking.. WOW! I’m getting options too!)
Me: Matlab? Koi bhi stream available hai ?
Agent: (With full confidence) Haan haan..bilkul! Jo aap bologe.. Radio,medicine,Gynec,Ophthal,Ortho. Kuch bhi mil sakta hai. Aapko kahan chahiye?
Me: :O Government mein!
Agent: Private mein toh abhi ke abhi kar sakte hai.. Medicine ke liye 1.2Cr + fees, Ortho 1.4Cr +fees, radio 1.8cr+fees etc etc. (Like a uddipi restaurant menu). Government ke liye main call mere senior ko forward karta hoon. Rates utne hi hai!
Senior Agent: Aapko govt mein chahiye? Domicile kidhar ka? Kaunsa stream? Location?
Me: blah blah blah
Senior Agent: Aapne form bhar diya? Application number much de do. baaki saare documents bhi. Answer sheet blank chodna exam pe. baaki dab hum dekh lenge.. down payment of Rs.7 Lakh has to be done and the rest you pay directly at the govt. office to the officer before the merit list is out. You come to our office.
Me: (now furious)How will you do this? How is any of this even possible? How can you openly talk to me about this without even knowing who I am! What if I’m a police man’s daughter?
Senior Agent: We’re in this business for the last 20 years! We are not like other frauds sitting out there. We’re very genuine. We know how the system works. We have 2 reputed doctors from the govt. involved in this. So its very easy for us to manipulate your answer sheet. And even if you study honestly, how will you get in? 50% category reservations, 10% other reservations,10% NRI/management. You just have 20% in open category. Out of which most are non clinical. In the clinical ones also, half is with agents like us. Aap padh hi loge toh kitna? Rank toh milne se raha! (Utmost arrogance ,pride and shamelessness).
*I Hang up. Call ends!

I often tend to ignore such calls. But it does get me thinking. No offence to anyone but is a doctor that worthless in a doctor-deprived country like India? Common man doesn’t want to visit a MBBS anymore. A fresh MBBS would get Rs.25,000/ month in a high end city like Mumbai as compared to a fresh engineer getting more than Rs.45,000/month along with other incentives like being picked up and dropped off at home, phone bill clearance etc. With over 60,000 medical graduates passing out each year, a mere 35,000 seats exist. No one aims to study MD Anatomy or MD Biochemistry. 95% dream of clinical branches, which are barely 14,000 (including diplomas). Of these 14,000 a straight 7,000 is for SC,ST,OBC, another 2500 for In-Service, a few hundreds for defence, disputed areas, handicapped etc; leaving barely 4,000 for the Open Category. Out of which according to these agents and a lot of senior-junior interaction, around 1000-1500 are bought off. So really, how many are there left?
TOI articleIn India, I don’t get to choose my leader and I don’t get to choose the subject I want to build a career in. No wonder those Page 2-3 headlines in the newspaper “Ob/Gy resident commits suicide in hostel” come as a surprise to every non-medico and medico’s-parents. It is so deep rooted that these goons are proud of it. And who would you resort to? Who has the time? Do I waste 2-3 years after MBBS filing a court case and losing it anyway or try and study? People still buy. It is exorbitant but there are people buying these seats. Not because they voluntarily want to but because of these unfair systems. What option does a MBBS doctor have even after trying in these exams for 3-5 times and still not getting in? It doesn’t mean he’s less deserving. It is not the case, usually. No student dreams of studying at Deemed Colleges that we have here. And even if he’s done his UG there due to untoward circumstances (because of the same racket a little less amplified at the Undergraduate pre-med entrance exam), he still wants to do his PG from a govt. institute. But does he have a chance?
Are we giving him a chance? The competition is cut throat at the ratio of almost 1 seat:150 students. The entrance exams are a mess by themselves. National Board of Examination(NBE) charges Rs.4,500 just to appear for an exam! Even after meticulously filling the form, you get an exam centre you never even opted for. Then a series of mails and phone calls. On the day of the exam, servers fail. Unfair means are tried, bribery merrily goes on and finally after all this is over, “ABC States and XYZ Colleges REVOKE PG SEATS DUE TO POOR INFRASTRUCTURE”. And after all this, even when a doctor gets through his PG, media along with face-valued personalities make news saying, “Doctors take commission from Pharmaceutical companies”, “City docs charge heavy fee” etc. Great! All of this very much happens in Government Medical Colleges as well. It is just that, they aren’t as openly spoken of or brought about in news!
It is horrible that such systems are prevailing in our country. The MCI guidelines for medical education were last updated in 1987. It is 2015!! Even the Censor board guidelines were updated in 2014! Oh of course! My dear government is busy banning PK, hiking prices, giving speeches, cutting ribbons, slacking security, promoting scandals etc etc.
With Narendra Modi being the PM, a lot of citizens saw hope. And still are. It’s not just NaMo but it is with every changing government, people hope. Hope to see a positive change. If you are listening Mr.Narendra Modi, I would really want you to bring a change in this system. Increase the number of seats, validate some more, raise the standards, impose heavy genuine inspections, STOP THIS RACKET!Its not just the agents that are involved. The magnitude of this problem and the number of people and authorities involved are well known by you and your subordinates. It is just a matter of you all doing something abt it!
Until then, more than half the Indian Medical Graduates will keep settling in US/UK/Australia/Germany/UAE while some will work under the mandatory bond while the rest will be staying at home and studying/migrating to other career options. And just about a handful of really really really good muggers will keep serving the 1.21 billion people of the country.
Meanwhile, justice is being murdered.
P.S. What’s with using words like “Deemed”, “Bond”, “Donation”? Aren’t we better taught?
Author: Dr Suranjana Basak, Founder and Editorial Director, Lexicon