Activist, ministry spar over stalled medical bill


The Kathmandu Post

KATHMAMNDU, Senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology traded accusations after the federal parliament failed to endorse the National Medical Education Bill despite the government’s commitment.

At a press conference held on September 28, Dr KC accused Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel of conspiring to delay the Bill. He said the minister is against moving the Bill until some clauses on affiliating technical schools are not changed. 

The activist claimed Minister Pokharel wants to continue the present practice that authorises executive council of the Council on Technical Education and Vocational Training to grant affiliations. 
Opposing the current practice, the Bill proposes a commission as the affiliating authority instead of the executive council led by the Education Minister.
Rubbishing Dr KC’s allegations, Minister Pokharel issued a statement on September 29. He said the ministry does not have the authority to endorse the Bill, it only tables it in the Parliament and this was done a month ago. 

The minister’s statement said, “It was the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Health that could not finalise the Bill, not the government”.

The Minister also denied Dr KC’s allegation that ‘he had bargained with the later’ to give up the demand for a separate commission to grant affiliation instead of the executive council, in exchange of endorsing the Bill at the House session that ended on Thursday. “The Ministry has not contacted Dr KC through any medium,” read the Ministry’s statement.

The Education Minister reiterated he was positive about endorsing the Bill and hoped the next session would pass it.

Two days later, on Sunday, Dr KC issued another statement reiterating his view that the minister was the main hurdle obstructing the Bill.

“I want to stress Minister Pokharel had tried to bargain with me to remove the provision on affiliation in exchange of endorsing the Bill on September 27,” read Dr KC’s statement. He further claimed the minister was involved in changing several provisions included in the Ordinance on National Medical Education which was issued incorporating the recommendations of Professor Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University, at the behest of ‘mafias’.

He also expressed his rage over the delay in taking action against 43 persons including Tirtha Raj Khaniya VC at TU for their alleged involvement in granting affiliation to National Medical College though it did not fulfill the required criteria. 

Dr KC has campaigned for reforming medical education since long. He has protested against the government by resorting to hunger strike.