What?s up, docs?

For many politicians, policy and private choice don?t match. Remember the Left Front government under Jyoti Basu deciding to forego the teaching of English in government schools?

india Updated: May 01, 2006 00:07 IST
None

If HRD Minister Arjun Singh has it his way, the number of seats available to general category students at the post-graduate level in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences will shrink from 33 of the total 50 seats to 19. The scenario is replicated in other medical colleges. Nothing wrong with that if one maintains that worthy candidates will fill up the remaining seats. The point is, however, whether that will be the case after more quotas.

If one goes by the doctors whom Mr Singh and other enthusiasts of Mandalisation like VP Singh and the late Sitaram Kesri have gone to for treatment, one finds that these ‘reservationists’ didn’t refer to ‘backward’ socially empowered Indian medical practitioners. In fact, they did not go to Indian medical practitioners at all. Mr Singh has undertaken treatment in Germany, while VP Singh and Kesri had also been treated abroad. Do we suspect them-- and a retinue of VIPs whose travel bills are picked up by the government-- of thinking that they might not be as safe with Indian doctors as with foreign ones? And if that is indeed the case, will reserving seats in medical colleges according to caste improve their faith in the Indian medical system?

For many politicians, policy and private choice don’t match. Remember the Left Front government under Jyoti Basu deciding to forego the teaching of English in government schools? That was a policy propagated by a chief minister who had no qualms sending members of his family to study abroad. Similarly, Mr Singh and other quota-believers seem perilously close to being hypocritical when they talk of reservations in medical colleges while they themselves prefer scalpels and pills from hands that are bothered about merit and merit alone.

First Published: May 01, 2006 00:07 IST