Saturday, February 28, 2009

Doctors' Do Little

Todays' newspaper read: "49 companies visited IIM-C in the four days of Phase 1 and three students accepted pre-placement offers (PPO) of over Rs 1 crore each from investment banks."
If you remember, last week The Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta, has raised fees for new students from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 9 lakh. The fee for the class of 2008-10 has been formally fixed at Rs 7 lakh, which means existing first-year students have to add another Rs 4 lakh each to the Rs 3 lakh they had paid at the time of admission. The 2007-09 batch was the last to be charged Rs 4 lakh for the two-year course. Batches from the 2009-11 course onwards will be charged the Rs 9-lakh fee.

After a huge failure in implementing the new reservation structure and even filling all the seats at the new IITs, the interim budget last week said - "In addition to 6 new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat which started functioning in 2008-09, two more IITs in Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are expected to commence their academic session in 2009-10.
Teaching is expected to commence from academic year 2009-10 in four out of six new Indian Institute of Management proposed for the Eleventh Plan in Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu."
Now even after loud protests over the availability and salary structure of faculty at these places, lets see how things shape up. Hope the quality standards don't drop much.

But interesting to note that there is no mention of Medical colleges. I was wondering what could be the reason behind this, especially looking at the sorry state of hospitals and the tough competition in all medical entrance exams.

Our country provides one of the most affordable courses in the world and our doctors then fly abroad to get greater returns.
No wonder why there were had such strong criticism during the introduction of compulsory government service for medical students in the government medical colleges.
In all government colleges, the students need to sign a bond with the respective college to offer compulsory service at least for two years in rural areas of the state. The system was enforced to ensure that rural areas got sufficient medical services because most of the doctors refused to work in the backward and interior rural pockets. But, reports say that majority of the students decide to pay the fine and break the bond. And that too a large chunk of this fine is not properly recovered by the institutes.
Earlier this year, we had our Health Minister Mr. Ramadoss addressing at the annual AIIMS convocation "Please stay put in India. This country needs you very badly at this hour than ever and all of you who have graduated today are valuable commodity because you are the best in the world. We want you here in India because there is an acute shortfall of health resources in the country,"

All the State Governments complain that they are spending an estimated Rs.1 million for each student, and they end up working in private hospitals in India or abroad. The ratio of number of doctors to the population is one of the lowest in our country and we are never concerned about it. The cost of treatment in increasing every year, but the only the only solution being promoted is health insurance. The government is rolling out various low cost insurance schemes. No focus is being done on standardization of treatment and improving the quality standards.
From a commercial point of view, the investments in engineering colleges and B-schools is certain to give good returns while the same in medical college is certain to report losses year on year.

Frankly, the options in front of the government are few, either the it should tighten the norms for students to obey the bond or it should focus on other alternatives, for instance investing heavily in improving sanitation and quality of water. Basic facilities like public toilets, maintained from time to time, safe and pure drinking water, awareness campaigns for healthcare and medication should be promoted in all parts of the country. Remember most diseases in India are water borne. Thus, such investments would ensure long term benefits in the aspect of health and sanitation to the society.

1 comment:

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