Social activist Binayak Sen refuted the Chhattisgarh government’s claim that he does not have track record to be on the Planning Commission’s panel on health, but refused to join issue with the state government’s decision not to attend any plan panel meeting.
“It is an issue between the Chhattisgarh government and the Planning Commission. I don’t want to comment,” he said, before attending the first meeting of the plan panel’s steering committee on rural health for the 12th five year plan.
Sen’s nomination to the panel evoked strong reaction from the Chhattisgarh government, which had lodged a case of sedition against Sen. The state had claimed that Sen under the grab of rural health was engaged in pro-Naxal activities.
When asked whether he was surprised to be on the plan panel’s committee, Sen responded in positive and termed it as a chance to contribute in national planning from his vast experience in rural health sector. “I was in the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1978 and then joined Medico Friend Circle. Since then I have worked extensively in rural health across states,” he said.
Hitting back at Chhattisgarh government, Sen said the state of rural health there is in shambled and virtually non-existent.
Clarifying what Sen would be suggesting to check high malnutrition in India, he talked about “universalisation” of the Public Distribution System.
Sen is a paediatrician by profession.