Govt, opposition divided over Medical Education Bill's endorsement

Published On: January 25, 2019 03:29 PM NPT

KATHMANDU, Jan 25: Parliamentarian Yogesh Bhattarai from the Nepal Communist Party has said that the newly endorsed and much debated Medical Education Bill was a victory to all Nepalis and Dr. Govinda KC, the medical crusader who currently is on his 17th day of his 16th fast-unto-death hunger strike. 

Speaking to media representatives outside of the federal parliament, Bhattarai urged Dr. KC to end his hunger strike and assured the medical crusader that he would not have to stage a protest for the 17th time. "I would like to urge Dr. KC to end his painful hunger strike because the Medical Education Ordinance addresses all of his concerns," he said adding that the government was willing to clarify his confusions. 

Bhattarai also said that the bill was a revolution to improve quality and affordable medical education and health care in Nepal by reducing existing gaps and issues. "The only ones that have been hit hard are foreign universities who were sustaining from Nepali students."     

However, Bhattarai expressed concerns at Nepali Congress's stubborn attitude to reach a consensus in a number of dialogues to resolve differences on the education bill. "We expected Nepali Congress would also agree but this was not the case,"  he said.

Unilateral Decision: Nepali Congress

The Nepali Congress has called the government's decision to approve the National Medical Education Bill unilateral. Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba said that his party would launch a fresh agitation both in the parliament and street against the government.

Talking to media subsequently after the endorsement of the bill from the parliament meeting today, the Nepali Congress president said "What happened today in the parliament is totally unacceptable to us. We did not expect this at all.

The government has become authoritarian and we are launching the fresh agitation in both the parliament and the street against the government." Deuba also criticized the government for scrapping the GP Koirala respiratory Hospital and Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital.

Parliament endorses Medical Education Bill amid the hullabaloo

A federal parliament meeting has endorsed the Medical Education Bill amid stern protest by the main opposition Nepali Congress in the parliament building in New Baneshwar on Friday.

The speaker kept asking the lawmakers of the NC to take their seats so as to create the environment conducive to run the parliament session. However, the NC lawmakers kept chanting slogans against the ruling the party’s move. NC lawmakers were barred from going to the rostrum.

Following the speaker’s order, Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel forced himself into the rostrum despite NC lawmakers’ hindrances and tabled the Bill amid tight security.

Then after, the Bill was subsequently endorsed by the two-thirds majority amid protest. 

On Wednesday, Standing Committee Member Yegesh Bhattarai had asserted that the Medical Education Bill would be endorsed in line with the precedent set by the Nepali Congress during Ram Chandra Paudel’s tenure as speaker.

The next meeting of the parliament will take place on January 31 at 1 pm. 

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