Something productive happened in the State Assembly of Himachal Pradesh on Friday, which was the last day of session of the 12th Vidhan Sabha. Though the day started with the heated discussions leading to adjournment of the house by Speaker Brij Behari Lal Butail at 11:10 am, just ten minutes after the assembly met, The Himachal Pradesh University of Health Sciences Bill 2017 was unanimously passed by the State Assembly.
This Bill will be regulating the state government, private medical colleges, nursing and pharmacy and other health institutions in the State and will keep a check on their overall functioning.
The bill was introduced by the Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur after three days of continuous logjam. “At present, the health education is being provided by the government and the private medical colleges and institutions are under the overall control of Himachal Pradesh University but there is no separate medical university to regulate such institutions,” said Thakur.
He said the legislation would help in improving the quality of medical facilities and regulating admissions and fee structure. “Many other states such as Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka and others have their separate Acts to regulate medical education and matters connected therewith,” he said.
The bill passed in the assembly reads “The mission of the University shall be to create an intellectual academic and physical environment which shall be conducive to free flow of ideas and exchange of information between various faculties of the University, between this University and other universities of Health Sciences in the country and abroad, there by opening a window to the health professionals, health planners, health managers, bio-medical and social scientists and educator in health sciences of the county.”
This Bill is going to keep a check on private medical colleges, which have arbitrary practices in the field of fee structure, faculty, admissions etc. Apart from this, the Bill will be of great importance in providing high quality medical facilities to the beneficiary.
Distinct University and Distinct legislations, both were key requirements in order to achieve sound education and health care for the public in large. According to the bill, out of 150 seats approved by the Medical Council of India (MCI), 75 percent would be reserved for state and 25 percent for other states, even the new Bill has provisions for reserving 7 seats for the medical aspirants of local area. This Bill will also enhance the health education in the process of teaching, learning and evaluation system.
The University will be headquartered at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College, Ner Chowk, Mandi. The demand to setup Medical University at IGMC was denied as there is shortage of land at IGMC complex, Shimla. The land at outskirts of Shimla at Chamyana has been acquired to setup 10 Super Specialty wards and the work is under progress.
At present, Himachal Pradesh University regulates the fee structures of private and government medical colleges. The Health Minister also assured that the government will reduce the fee structure if UGC, WHO and other financial institutions generously help us in funding the same.
This University is unique in itself as it will be first in the state to regulate only health and medical education. With the passage of this bill, the people of the state will experience a new beginning in the field of medical health and education. It will not only benefit the medical aspirants but it will also benefit the people, as they will be at the receiving hand of a new facilities provided under this bill.