House passes National Medical Education Bill with majority amidst protest

Kathmandu, Jan 25: The ‘National Medical Education Bill- 2075’ has been finally passed by the House of Representatives (HoR) with majority. Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel presented the document, seeking the House approval to pass it, amidst protest of the main opposition Nepali Congress. 

The government said the bill has incorporated the spirit of the agreements reached with Prof Dr Govinda KC, the senior orthopedic surgeon, who has been long demanding reforms in the field of medical education.

Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel presents the ‘National Medical Education Bill- 2075’ to the House for endorsement, Jan 25.

Prior to this, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara informed the session that the bill aimed at promoting the state’s investment and making the medical education standard, geographically balanced and all accessible.

The document was viewed with much concern and the Education and Health Committee of the HoR went through intense debate and discussions before its endorsement.

The main opposition was demanding that the document should come in a full compliance with the agreements reached between the two sides last time. It was warning to protest it if the voices fell on deaf ears.

The government, however, claims that the 95 per cent demands of the senior orthopedic surgeon who has been presently on his 16th fast-onto-death in a bid to press the government to fully implement the agreement the government inked with him during his previous strike, has been addressed in the bill.

Security in and around the Federal Parliament Building, New Baneshwor was tightened bearing in mind the untoward tensions regarding the bill issue. The Lower House session was delayed by around an hour due to attempts to find a (full) consensus to execute the document. The session kicked off at 2:00 pm.

With the Speaker informing the lawmakers about the commencement of the session, NC lawmakers stood from their respective seats as a symbol of protest and the Speaker granted a time to NC whip Pushpa Bhusal to put her views before the meeting.

Members of the House of Representatives attending the House meeting on Jan 25, 2019.

She demanded a government clarification on how it will deal with the operation of two hospitals--GP Koirala National Centre for Respiratory Diseases, Tanahun and the Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital, Banke. "We are concerned about the devaluation of the Nepali Congress and its leaders," she said. There is a need to acknowledge that the government can operate with the support of two-thirds majority, but not the House, she said.

Shortly after her statement, main opposition NC stood up in protest and encircled the rostrum. Speaker Mahara repeatedly asked the protesting party to let House business run. "Do not protest, take your respective seats, and assist with House business, as there has already been a ruling to the government to respond to the issues raised by opposition parties," the Speaker implored the protesting opposition party lawmakers. The House will next meet at 1 pm on January 31.

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