New Delhi, Apr 3 (UNI) In continuing trouble at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), associations representing the faculty, resident doctors, students, nurses and employees organised a ''Black Day'' protest today against the levy of user charges from patients.
The faculty association blamed AIIMS Director P Venugopal for the decision. Association President A B Dey claimed a contrast between the Director's stand that the Government took the decision and the Prime Minister's assurance to an AIIMS convocation that the bulk of health services will remain in the public domain.
Introduced last November, ''user charges'' will drive away poor patients from the hospital. It was part of a larger design to privatise AIIMS, he alleged.
Less than Rs 300 crore of the Rs 700 crore allocated has been spent by the hospital till the fourth year of the 10th Plan. At the same time, only Rs 40.92 lakh is expected to be generated per year through the levy of user charges by the hospital, he argued.
The right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, he said, claiming that a proportion of the country's population falls below the poverty line every year because of indebtness flowing from high medicare burden.
UNI XC/VN LS RAI2059