Despite widespread criticism, the government is set to present the controversial National Medical Education Bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill was registered in the Federal Parliament Secretariat on July 6.
Minister for Education, Health and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel will introduce the bill in the HoR meeting on Thursday afternoon. It is being presented at a time when the health condition of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on hunger strike against the bill for the last 12 days, is worsening.
Dr KC is pushing for a Health Education Act as per the recommendations of the committee led by former Tribhuvan University 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.
However, the KP Oli government has 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.
On Sunday, the NC had obstructed the House demanding discussion on the proposal of public importance on the demands of Dr KC.
As discussion on the issue has already been done in both the Houses the NC is unsure if the House would reject its notice.
“We are sitting prior to the House meeting to decide our future course of action if the notice gets rejected,” NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal told the Post.
During the discussion in both the Houses, Minister Pokharel had said it was not possible to implement all the recommendations of the Mathema panel. He claimed a high-level commission, as proposed in the Health Education Act, would make a decision on the affiliations and management of the medical schools.
The ruling party lawmakers argue every policy decision should be made by the House not through street protests. They claim Dr KC has been adopting an ‘undemocratic’ way to mount pressure on the government for the policies bypassing a sovereign parliament.