Parties brace for face off over Med Education Bill

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Jan 18, 2019-

Lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party and the opposition Nepali Congress brace for a fresh face off over the Medical Education Bill in the next Parliament session that is set to discuss the contested report with new provisions on the bill.

Following NCP lawmaker Jaypuri Gharti’s presentation of the contested report in Parliament on January 13, lawmakers from both the parties have stood their ground and the opposition has even warned of an obstruction in the House if the ruling party pursues the route of majority votes to endorse the bill.

“The report was endorsed after holding proper discussions at both the parliamentary education and health committee and its sub-committee. We will endorse it howsoever,” NCP lawmaker and committee member Yogesh Bhattarai told the Post.

“We haven’t discussed anything with the opposition. There is nothing to negotiate and the parliamentary process has nothing to do with the hunger strike of Dr Govinda KC. The process to endorse the bill will not wait for anyone.”

On July 26, 2018, the government had signed a nine-point agreement with KC, who had then called off his 27-day-long 15th hunger strike. Two weeks after the agreement, Prime Minister KP Oli, on August 11, had assured KC that the agreement would be kept.

A subcommittee was then formed on September 26 under the parliamentary committee to hold discussions on the bill and endorse it as per the agreement, which buoyed expectations that the bill would finally get through. The sub-committee however, after almost a four-month long discussion, endorsed the contested report on the bill with majority vote from the majority NCP lawmakers.

Following the presentation, KC started his 16th hunger strike and his health continues to deteriorate, on the ninth day, according to the doctors attending him.  

“The education minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel had assured that the bill would be endorsed as per the agreement, but he changed his stance just before the sub-committee endorsed the bill with majority votes,” NC lawmaker and former health minister Gagan Thapa told the Post.

Speaking at a press conference in the Capital on Thursday, Thapa, a committee and subcommittee member, warned that Congress will obstruct the House until the government endorses the bill as per its agreements with KC.

“The only person who can reverse the decisions of the NCP lawmakers is PM Oli. It is his responsibility to endorse the bill for the betterment of the overall medical education sector and the general public,” said Thapa, who added that PM Oli has to play the role of a citizens’ leader to reform the medical education sector.

Providing affiliation to the Jhapa-based B&C Medical College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre and Kathmandu-based Manmohan Memorial Medical College and Teaching Hospital; establishing new medical colleges as non-profits; phasing out CTEVT courses and citing the role of the committee’s report in the bill, which have been used to draft the bill, are the four major disputes among the two parties.

Published: 18-01-2019 08:09

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