Jha feels heat from fellow UML MPs

  • health profession education bill
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
Committee Chair Jha is actively engaging with dialogue teams of the government and representatives of Dr KC, committing to endorsing the bill at the earliest

Aug 2, 2017-CPN-UML lawmaker Ranju Jha, who chairs the Parliamentary Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare Committee, has reportedly come under fire from the fellow UML colleagues for her role in pushing the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill for a swift endorsement. 

Endorsing the bill remains a major demand of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on a hunger strike for the past nine days. Among the 54 lawmakers who filed 276 amendments, 39 represent the UML. The HPE Bill is under consideration at the committee.

Jha has been actively engaging with dialogue teams of the government and representatives of Dr KC, expressing her commitment to endorsing the bill at the earliest. However, lawmakers within her party are allegedly trying to delay the endorsement of the bill for as long as possible or truncate it in a bid to cut out some major provisions. These provisions include the Clause 12 that puts a 10-year moratorium on opening of new medical colleges in Kathmandu and mandatory requirement of a 300-bed facility to obtain an operating licence for a medical school. 

UML MPs, including Rajendra Pandey, Naresh Kharel and Man Kumar Gautam, have filed an amendment, while Dr Bansidhar Mishra to has filed another amendment in these clauses.

“I understand UML lawmakers are against the bill in its current form. However, a final decision will be based on the decision of a majority of the lawmakers. Besides, we are seeking experts’ advice to ensure that any decision we take will benefit the nation in the long run,” said Jha.  

Interestingly, a number of lawmakers from all major parties are concerned about the very Clause 12 of the bill itself, with as many as 21 proposals being filed seeking amendment to the clause. 

Experts believe that given the sheer volume of profit in medical schools, many MPs have already invested or some are interested in investing in this sector. UML lawmakers Pandey and Mishra have a major stake in the Manmohan Memorial Academy of Health Sciences, which the government decided to acquire following a series of hunger strikes by Dr Govinda KC. The facility was widely criticised for using its political clout to obtain the permission to run MBBS classes in the Capital.

“Lawmakers should not undermine our expertise. The contents of the bill were drafted after discussions with multiple stakeholders,” said Dr Bhagwan Koirala, whose team had drafted the bill.

Dr Koirala urged the parliamentarians to immediately endorse the HPE Bill to pave the way for the formation of HPE Commission, a regulatory body for medical education.

Published: 02-08-2017 07:18

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