Govt puts national medical bill on hold

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 13, 2018-

The government put on hold its plan to present the controversial National Medical Education Bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday owing to strong reservation from the main opposition Nepali Congress.

Members of Parliament had been notified that the presentation of the bill would be one of the agendas of the HoR meeting. But the government withdrew it, citing the absence of Minister for Education, Health and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel who was supposed to table the bill. There has been tradition whereby a bill can be presented by another minister on someone’s behalf.

Officials at the House of Representatives Secretariat said the government decided not to table the bill after learning that the Nepali Congress would obstruct the House if it did so. The NC has been demanding that the government address the concerns of Dr Govind KC, who wants the government to come up with a Health Education Act as per the recommendations of the committee led by former TU vice-chancellor Kedar Bhakta Mathema. The committee had also suggested a 10-year moratorium on new schools in Kathmandu Valley and a mandatory provision that such schools should have a hospital functioning for at least three years.

But on July 6, the KP Oli government registered a bill on the Medical Education Act that does not have such provisions. Dr KC and the main opposition Nepali Congress oppose this. The NC has also registered a notice against the bill in the HoR, arguing that it should not be presented in the current form omitting the provisions recommended by the Mathema panel. The notice is likely to be rejected by the HoR where the ruling parties have a two-thirds majority. The government’s determination to present the bill and get it approved by the House shows it is adamant to ignore Dr KC’s concerns.

“We had learnt that the NC would obstruct the House if its notice was rejected,” said an official at the secretariat. The next HoR meeting is scheduled for Sunday.

Published: 13-07-2018 07:29

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