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User charges in AIIMS may be withdrawn: Govt

Govt is considering doing away with the user charges imposed on patients at AIIMS.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 16:39 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Government is considering doing away with the user charges imposed on patients at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, a senior CPI(M) MP said on Thursday.

This was conveyed to a delegation of Members of Parliament led by CPI(M) member Basudeb Acharia when they called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday.

The delegation, which also included Nirmala Deshpande and Hannan Mollah, met the Prime Minister weeks after 105 MPs submitted a signed memorandum to him in this regard, Acharia said.

He said the delegation pointed out that the "huge increase" in the user charges, ranging between 100 to 500 per cent, had put a tremendous burden on poor patients, many of whom came from outside the national capital for treatment.

At least 80 per cent of the patients registered at AIIMS belonged to the poorer sections of society, Acharia said.

Though there was a provision empowering the Heads of Departments of AIIMS to exempt the poor from paying these charges, the patients were not aware of this and ended up paying hefty user charges, the delegation had pointed out to the Prime Minister at the meeting.

He said that though the charges were hefty, the AIIMS could only earn about Rs 50 lakh a year. This January, AIIMS earned only Rs three lakh out of these charges.

The senior CPI(M) MP said even if the annual earning from user charges went up to Rs one crore, the AIIMS, which had an annual budget of Rs 350 crore, could very well absorb this burden and urged the government to consider the demand for scrapping the charges favourably.

Acharia said the Prime Minister, after listening to the parliamentary delegation, said the government would consider their demand for scrapping the user charges.

First Published: May 25, 2006 16:39 IST