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Allowing private practice not a bad idea

I agree with the opinion expressed in the editorial Wrongly booked (May 2) that the violations of ban on the private practice of the doctors in government service is not uncommon, though non-practicing allowance (NPA) is being given to them so that they do not neglect their duty towards patients in government hospitals and lure patients to their private clinics. This indeed is violation of professional code of ethics on the part of government doctors.

At the same time the Supreme Court has also rightly held that a government doctor getting remuneration for extending medical help may be proceeded against for violation of the service rules, but not for corruption.

The medical profession so far has been regarded as one of the noblest of professions engaged in the service of mankind. Doctors are often revered and considered by many as second only to God. But with degeneration in moral character in almost every institution in society, violation of ethical codes is no more regarded as a big crime. It means society has started to accept moral wrongs as a necessary evil.

The editorial has rightly advised that given the shortage of doctors, rush in hospitals, lack of easy access to health services in India, it may not be a bad idea to allow or even encourage private practice by government doctors and give them the choice between non practising allowance and private practice. If this measure helps in the increase in the income of government doctors then more talent would be lured to the medical profession which would be a blessing for society and nation as a whole.



The editorial was balanced and rightly stressed that doctors are not shown the respect they deserve by society in general and the security agencies in particular and they are treated like petty criminals even before their guilt is established. I fully agree with the argument that private practice, despite the ban, may call for departmental punishment and does not amount to corruption unless doctor compels the patient who has visited the government hospital to come to his or her private clinic.

On the other hand unable to contain and control rampant private practice by the government doctors, the government should allow private practice which will benefit the people. In the present scenario there is an acute shortage of doctors. If the government does not initiate radical health policy reforms which ought to be both doctor as well as patient friendly, both patients and doctors will shy away from the already deplorable, ill-staffed and inefficient public health institutions.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Education mafia

It is shocking and disheartening that question papers were leaked in the All- India Engineering Entrance Examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (editorial, Leaking exam system, May 3). Come to think of it this business of question papers finding their way to the market before the examination has become far too common. The paper leak has brought into focus the malady that afflicts the entrance tests for various courses in the country.

This particular incident seems to be a tip of the iceberg. It has resulted in a harrowing time for lakhs of students across the country. Education in India has become a thriving industry. Often admission to technical institutions and vocational courses is given on the basis of donations touching six figures. Many non-deserving students get admissions to the reputed institute through unfair means. It seems that the system of examinations as a whole has failed. It is time educationists, administrators and other responsible persons put their heads together so that such failures in the examination system are not repeated.

Strict action should be taken against the erring persons and they should be given an exemplary punishment. The mafia needs to be exposed and weeded out.

Dr S K AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Art in Punjab

The article The missing galleries of art (Apr 26) by Vandana Shukla presented a sad but true state of art in Punjab. Since Independence, art has always been the lowest priority of the state government.

Thinking of seeking new art galleries for patronising local talent from a state that is well-known for its lackadaisical attitude towards art is asking for the moon. During the Partition of India the rich art collection of the Lahore Museum was divided between the two Punjabs on the either side of the newly created fence between the two countries.

Our part of the art collection was first housed in Patiala from where it was shifted to Chandigarh, the new state capital. However, no efforts were made by the Punjab Government to claim the museum’s ownership. Hence the museum and its exclusive collection were given to the Chandigarh Administration that kept playing havoc with its collection relentlessly.

No wonder the city museum has no professional curator and director now for years. Rare art works are lying not only in utter neglect but also once were available to local bureaucrats to decorate their residences.I am not suggesting that had the museum been in Punjab Government’s control, things would have been better. Perhaps they would have gone worse.

Punjabis, as far as visual arts are concerned, are perhaps inherently blind to the artistic requirements of the region. The state has no art galleries of any artistic worth, no museums of any artistic reckoning and absolutely no art school of its own.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh



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