RS refers back JIPMER Bill for reconsideration

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today referred back the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, Bill, 2007 for the reconsideration of government so that it included the amendments suggested by members in view of the agitation by various parties against the Bill.

Participating in the debate on the Bill, introduced by Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss to make an autonomous institution instead of one under the Central government, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said the Bill in its present form was unacceptable as there was an agitation going on against it. She suggested certain changes in the Bill that would protect the rights of people working in the hospital and those getting free treatment.

She said there was a lobby working against the Institute which would later undermine it in the name of autonomy.

Ms Karat's suggestion got wide support of the members and BJP leader S S Ahulwalia said they to be incorporated into the Bill to reflect the true sense of the House. If the government want, it could take time and come back with the changed Bill to the House later, he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said the Bill in the present form was approved by the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister and the Health Minister was not competent to change it himself. If the House wanted wide ranging changes, it could be done later in the form of rules.

However, the BJP leader insisted that since a large number of people from Puducherry were agitating against the Bill, it must be changed to incorporate the suggestions and only then it could be passed as one reflecting the wider sentiments of the House.

Mr Dasmunsi then agreed to the suggestion and sought one hour time so that he could consult the Prime Minister and other important leaders to formulate the government's stand on the proposed changes.

The Chair and the Health Minister agreed to the suggestion and the matter was deffered for an hour.

Earlier, Mr V A Maitreyan opposed the Bill, stating that there was a systematic attempt to demolish the medical institutions of the country by the Health Minister by bringing such a Bill. Asserting that the Bill was against the medical fraternity and democracy, he said the Health Minister who himself was a doctor was instrumental in destroying medical institutions like the AIIMS and JIPMER.

Criticising the Bill, he said even the JIPMER staff were protesting against the Bill, which would also reduce the free treatment at present being provided by the hospital to the poor people of the area.

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