NEET-PG scam: Medical entrance server was hacked, two held, say cops

Photo published for NEET: Medical entrance server was hacked, two held, say cops

With the arrest of two people, Delhi Police have cracked a case wherein computer servers were allegedly hacked during the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET-PG), held to admit students into postgraduate medical courses in December, 2016. Raids are also being held in Delhi, Bengaluru, Bihar and other cities to nab the rest of the accused, which include some doctors, police said. Police said the arrested persons have been identified as Abhishek Singh, a native of Varanasi, and Atul Vats, a native of Patna.

“Police received information on January 20 that some people cracked the online medical entrance examination, held between December 5 and December 13, after hacking the servers. With the help of technical surveillance, police identified the accused and teams were formed to unearth the conspiracy,” police sources said, adding that a case has been registered following a complaint by Inspector Ashish Kumar, who was the leading the investigation team before Inspector Lokendra Chauhan took over.

The two arrests were made on April 10 and the men were taken into police custody for 10 days. Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, police said they charged a huge amount of money from aspirants after assuring them of good ranks in the NEET postgraduate examination.

“The accused zeroed in on aspirants and struck a deal with them after taking a hefty amount. Vats met a person looking after the software used for the examination and roped him in. Singh, meanwhile, asked some doctors for help. The doctors would sit in a hotel in Dwarka and take the exam from there,” a senior officer said.

“On the day of the examination, the candidate at the examination centre would be able to send the questions to the doctors as the servers were compromised. The paper was solved by experts sitting in a hotel in Dwarka, who would send the answers back to them,” an officer said.

“Since the exam was computer-based, an agency from the US providing Educational Testing Services is being roped in to unearth the larger conspiracy,” the officer said.

NEET-PG entrance scam unearthed by Delhi Police

Delhi Police have unearthed a scam in the NEET-PG examination conducted by NBE in December 2016 and arrested two persons involved in it. Police are in search of other members who were part of this racket spread over 5 states. The leaders have been identified as Abhishek Singh from Varanasi and Atul Vats from Bihar.

Modus operandi: Atul Vats had befriended and bribed the site supervisor of a centre in Dwarka, who agreed to send the questions over a sharing software. Three doctors had been hired to answer the questions and were put up in a nearby hotel in Dwarka. They solved the questions and sent them to the candidates. During interrogation, police have got the information that lakhs of rupees were charged from the candidates. Police are looking for Rahul (who had arranged the three doctors) and other persons involved in the scam.

मध्य प्रदेश के व्यापम घोटाले की तरह एमडी/एमएस की ऑनलाइन प्रवेश परीक्षा में धांधली का मामला सामने आया है। सॉफ्टवेयर से छेड़छाड़ कर ऐसे लोगों को परीक्षा पास करा दी गई जो इसके लायक नहीं थे। इस मामले में पुलिस ने दो लोगों को गिरफ्तार किया है। इस फर्जीवाड़े के तार दिल्ली के अलावा यूपी, बिहार, झारखंड, और बेंगलुरु से जुड़े हुए हैं।

पुलिस को मामले में एक दर्जन से ज्यादा और लोगों की तलाश है। पुलिस की गिरफ्त में आए दो लोगों की पहचान वाराणसी निवासी अभिषेक सिंह और बिहार निवासी अतुल वत्स के रूप में हुई है। आरोप है कि इन्होंने दिसंबर 2016 में राष्ट्रीय परीक्षा बोर्ड की तरफ से आयोजित एमडी और एमएस की ऑनलाइन प्रवेश परीक्षा में फर्जीवाड़ा किया। सूत्रों ने बताया कि इस पूरे फर्जीवाड़े में अतुल वत्स ने अहम भूमिका निभाई। उसने परीक्षा के साइट सुपरवाइजर को लालच देकर अपने साथ मिला लिया।

दो गिरफ्तार
परीक्षा में आए सवालों के जवाब देने के लिए तीन डॉक्टर दिल्ली के द्वारका स्थित एक होटल में मौजूद थे। सुपरवाइजर ने शेयरिंग सॉफ्टवेयर की मदद से सवाल इन डॉक्टरों तक पहुंचा दिए। डॉक्टरों ने जवाब लिखकर केंद्रों पर मौजूद परीक्षार्थियों को भेज दिए। पुलिस ने मामले में दो माह छानबीन की। इसके बाद 10 अप्रैल को अभिषेक और अतुल को गिरफ्तार कर लिया। आरोपियों ने पुलिस को बताया कि उन्होंने अपने साथियों के साथ मिलकर इस परीक्षा में बैठने वाले डॉक्टरों की मदद की है। पुलिस ने अदालत में पेश कर इन युवकों को दस दिन की रिमांड पर लिया और पूरी जानकारी जुटाई।

पूछताछ में अभिषेक ने पुलिस को बताया कि प्रश्नपत्र हल करने के लिए उसके दोस्त राहुल ने डॉक्टरों को बुलाया था। राहुल के बारे में उसने कोई स्पष्ट जानकारी नहीं दी है। लेकिन इस खुलासे के बाद पुलिस राहुल की तलाश कर रही है। उसके मिलने के बाद उन डॉक्टरों को भी गिरफ्तार किया जाएगा जिन्होंने प्रश्नपत्र हल किया था।

एमडी/एमएस दाखिला फर्जीवाड़े के तार पांच राज्यों से जुड़ रहे हैं। अब तक की पुलिस जांच में बिहार, बेंगलुरु, दिल्ली, यूपी और झारखंड के युवक फर्जीवाड़े में शामिल हैं। पुलिस ने इनमें से 12 संदिग्ध युवकों की पहचान कर ली है और उनकी तलाश में छापेमारी की जा रही है। इसके अलावा कुछ संदिग्ध युवकों को भी पूछताछ के लिए बुलाया गया है।

एक वरिष्ठ पुलिस अधिकारी ने बताया कि इस मामले में सबसे पहले कुछ संदिग्ध मोबाइल नंबर पुलिस को मिले थे। इनकी जब छानबीन की गई तो पता चला कि एमडी/एमएस दाखिला फर्जीवाड़े में दिल्ली से लेकर बेंगलुरु तक के लोग शामिल हैं। इसके साथ ही, पता चला कि ऑनलाइन परीक्षा पास करवाने के लिए लाखों रुपये का लेन-देन किया गया। फिलहाल अभी साफ नहीं हो सका है कि किस आरोपी को कितनी रकम मिली। पुलिस ने इस मामले में गिरफ्तार अभिषेक सिंह और अतुल वत्स को अदालत में पेश कर दस दिन के रिमांड पर लिया था।

पूछताछ के दौरान आरोपियों ने बताया कि परीक्षा केंद्र में बैठने वाले परीक्षार्थियों को साफ्टवेयर से छेड़छाड़ कर जवाब भेजे थे। वहीं, सवाल भी साफ्टवेयर के जरिए ही उन्हें मिले थे। द्वारका के एक होटल में बैठकर तीन डॉक्टरों ने यह प्रश्नपत्र हल किया था। आरोपी अभिषेक ने पुलिस को बताया कि प्रश्नपत्र हल करने के लिए उसके दोस्त राहुल ने डॉक्टरों को बुलाया था। हालांकि, राहुल के बारे में उसने कोई स्पष्ट जानकारी पुलिस को नहीं दी है। मगर इस खुलासे के बाद पुलिस राहुल की तलाश कर रही है। उसके मिलने के बाद उन डॉक्टरों को भी गिरफ्तार किया जाएगा जिन्होंने यह प्रश्नपत्र हल किया था।

1अप्रैल 2008 : अपराध शाखा ने मुन्ना भाई एमबीबीएस फिल्म की तर्ज पर किसी अन्य शख्स की जगह परीक्षा दे रहे सात डॉक्टरों को जेएनयू स्थित केन्द्र से गिरफ्तार किया था। आरोपी मेडिकल ग्रेजुएट एग्जामिनेशन में किसी अन्य शख्स की जगह परीक्षा दे रहे थे। उन्हें परीक्षा में बैठने के लिए प्रत्येक छात्र की तरफ से चार लाख रुपये मिले थे।

9 जनवरी 2012: एम्स द्वारा आयोजित पोस्ट ग्रेजुएट एंट्रेंस टेस्ट में पुलिस ने एक डॉक्टर सहित पांच लोगों को गिरफ्तार किया। पुलिस ने उनके पास से छह कमीज बरामद की। इस कमीज के कालर में ब्लूटुथ लगा हुआ था। इसके अलावा एक कैमरा लगा हुआ था, जिसकी मदद से तस्वीर लेकर परीक्षा दे रहे छात्र ने प्रश्नपत्र को बाहर भेजा और फिर उसे ईयरफोन पर जवाब बताए गए।

IMA gets into semantics to beat code on generic drugs

Image result for IMA gets into semantics to beat code on generic drugs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to ensure that doctors prescribe only generic medicines is being undone by some creative interpretation of the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) “code” for doctors, which ostensibly makes it mandatory to prescribe using generic names. Reacting to the MCI injunction that doctors should prescribe generic drugs, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said “should means may and may means optional or preferable”.

Meanwhile, doctors demanded that the PM ban companies from manufacturing any generic medicine with a trade name and ensure they produced only high-quality generics. Though the PM said he would bring a legal framework to prescribe generics, there is as yet no new law, either for the pharma industry or for doctors and chemists.

All that has happened after his announcement is that MCI has issued a notification reiterating an existing clause in its code of ethics regulations. The clause, which had earlier stated that “every physician should, as far as possible, prescribe drugs with generic names” was amended in October 2016 to “every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names”, indicating the intention to make it mandatory. However, the IMA has pounced on the fact that the letter of the clause uses “should” instead of “shall” to argue that it is not mandatory. IMA president K K Aggarwal’s statement on the issue further pointed out that the clause did not say doctors can prescribe “only” with generic names. So, IMA has advised doctors that they can write the generic name and add the name of the company that manufactures the drug.

“Nobody can stop you choosing the company for quality assurance,” said the IMA statement. IMA advised doctors to choose drugs from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) as they are cheaper and of assured quality. “When writing non-NLEM, take consent. When prescribing, write the cheapest available medicine and that will always be the generic version of that company,” advised IMA.

 The All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), a civil society group working on drug pricing and accessibility, issued a statement pointing out that the proposal to make prescribing generics mandatory for doctors would be a useless, counterproductive step as a standalone measure. “This is because in India no manufacturer markets medicines in the retail market under generic names and hence medicines are not available under generic names in the Indian retail pharmacy shops,” it pointed out.

AIDAN said that unless manufacturers (except those who are marketing medicines still under patent protection) are made to market medicines under generic names for the retail market, consumers would not get the benefit of “generic medicines”.

Increase generic drugs at store: AIIMS RDA

The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS has written to the institute’s administration, highlighting a dire need to increase the number of generic medicines available at its store.In the letter, the association wrote: “Only 230 medicines are available in the store, so we request to increase the numbers of drugs… The agency has written to the AIIMS administration to include 53 most prescribed drugs by AIIMS doctors, but no action has been taken from your side…”

The development comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will bring in a legal framework under which doctors have to prescribe generic medicines.

In their letter, the doctors’ association has written that while they “support” the PM’s decision to prescribe generic medicines, the institute should increase the number of drugs under this category. The letter comes after resident doctors held a meeting with the in-charge of the free generic medicine store at AIIMS.

A generic drug is equivalent to the brand-name product in dosage, strength and the intended use. Manufacture of these generic drugs does not involve a repeat of the extensive clinical trials involved in developing brand-name drugs — hence it costs less to develop them.

Doctors have raised concerns that “only one-sixth of patients at AIIMS are prescribed generic drugs” due to an insufficient number of drugs being included in the generic medicine list.

“Despite being the country’s premier institute, AIIMS still has just 230 medicines under the generic medicine list. The list should include as many as 1,000 medicines. We completely support the PM’s initiative. However, there has to be a system in place, so that doctors start prescribing only generic medicines,” said Dr Vijay Gurjar, president of the association.

“Most importantly, we express concerns regarding the quality of these medicines… If you can ensure it, then doctors at AIIMS can use them without fear,” the letter added.

Doctors also highlighted the need to have more combination medicines for patients who suffer multiple ailments. “Most medicines available are not in combination, which is the need of the hour to decrease the number of pills… Please look into this matter urgently so that we can deliver the benefit of government schemes to the last patient in the row,” the letter stated.

The association informed the administration that they have “prepared the list of available medicines” that should be circulated to each department for “updation”.

Speaking in Surat on April 17, the PM had referred to the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, which aims to provide cheaper medicines to people.

“In the coming days, the government will bring a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients,” he had said.

No coordination between blood banks and hospitals, 6 lakh litres of blood wasted in five years

Image result for blood bank

In the last five years, over 28 lakh units of blood and its components were discarded by banks across India , exposing serious loopholes in the nation’s blood banking system.

If calculated in litres, the cumulative wastage of 6% translates to over 6 lakh litres —a volume enough to fill up 53 water tankers.

India faces, on average, a shortfall of 3 million units of blood annually. Lack of blood, plasma or platelets often leads to maternal mortality as well as deaths in cases of accidents involving severe blood loss.

Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were among the worst offenders, discarding not just whole blood but even red blood cells and plasma as the life-saving components could not be used before their expiry date.

In 2016-17 alone, over 6.57 lakh units of blood and its products were discarded.

The worrying part is that 50% of the wasted units were of plasma, which has a shelf life of one year, much longer than the 35-day deadline by which whole blood and red blood cells have to be used. The spoilage has been laid bare in data provided by the National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) in response to an RTI query filed by petitioner Chetan Kothari.

Maharashtra, which is the only state to have crossed the one-million mark vis-a-vis collection of blood units, also accounted for the maximum wastage of whole blood, followed by West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka bagged the top three positions in the wastage of red blood cells. UP and Karnataka also wasted the maximum units of fresh frozen plasma.

In 2016-17, over 3 lakh units of fresh frozen plasma were discarded, which is surprising given that the product is imported by several pharma companies to produce albumin.

Crusaders for safe blood blamed the crisis on the absence of a robust blood sharing network between banks and hospitals. Donation camps involving thousands of participants have particularly come under fire, with many blaming local politicians for using them as a tool to please constituents.

Dr Zarine Bharucha of the Indian Red Cross Society pointed out that a collection of up to 500 units was acceptable and manageable.

“But we have seen and heard of camps where 1,000 to 3,000 units are collected… Where is the place to store so much blood?” she added, “Why can’t people walk into regular banks and donate once every three months?” she said.

 Dr Satish Pawar, head of the directorate of health services in Maharashtra, said that the wastage could be attributed to a “noble health plan to curtail maternal deaths”.

“We have created more than 200 storage centres in interior areas for emergencies… We would rather be prepared to save a life than worry about unused units of blood,” he said. While Naco officials could not be reached for an official comment, a senior health ministry official told TOI that Naco had allowed banks to transfer units last year. “In 2016-17, there is a near 17% fall in wastage. Also, hospitals have to keep blood in emergency reserve to deal with mass casualties,” the officer said.

NEET-PG: Plea in SC against incentive marks

 

Protest against incentive marks in JLN Medical College Ajmer ,Rajasthan (Pic: Piyush Baisla)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the plea of postgraduate medical courses’ aspirants from Rajasthan who have challenged the State’s preference for graduates who have worked in rural and difficult areas during their MBBS course.

The State allows 10% incentive marks to in-service MBBS doctors who have served in remote areas in National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2017 for admission to PG courses.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar heard preliminary submissions made by advocate Jasmeet Singh against the State government’s award of incentives to students who have worked in rural and difficult terrains during their MBBS years and listed the matter for detailed hearing on Thursday.

Their petition contended that such incentive was firstly not notified by the Rajasthan government prior to commencement of the selection procedure. It argued that the process of selection for the NEET 2017 began in September 2016 whereas the State government notification came on March 20 this year.

Secondly, the State had not notified any such rural or difficult areas.

Thirdly, it is not mandatory (and is only discretionary) as per the Medical Council of India Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations to grant such incentives.

Penalty for PG dropout

Image result for Patna Medical College and Hospital

The Bihar cabinet today approved a new set of rules for postgraduate (PG) medical students, including a Rs 25 lakh penalty for those who do not serve the government for at least three years after PG courses in government medical colleges.

The new rules will also require PG students in government medical colleges who drop out midway during their courses to pay the government Rs 15 lakh and return their monthly stipends of Rs 35,000 given to them during the course.

Those who complete PG courses and refuse to work for the government, in rural and urban areas, will be liable to pay Rs 25 lakh, and those who drop out before the three-year term ends will also need to pay back the salaries they had received while in service. The move is intended to increase the number of PG qualified doctors available in the state, especially in the rural areas.

Students entering PG courses in government colleges will need to sign bonds specifying these conditions.

Bihar is not the first state to take such a step. In 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Medical Courses Bill, 2012. This legislation makes one year of rural service compulsory for doctors in the southern state. Under the Karnakata law, PG doctors who don’t serve in rural areas for at least a year after completing their postgraduation are liable to pay a penalty of Rs 25 lakh.

Government medical colleges in Bihar offer 474 PG seats. Health department officials point out that nearly half of the seats become vacant midway because some students join colleges outside the state while others pursuing non-clinical courses get admission into clinical courses.

Health department officials point out that due to students deserting the courses midway, it has been difficult to get specialist doctors to work in government hospitals. Sources said there was a 50 per cent shortage of PG-qualified doctors in government health facilities in Bihar.

The government’s decision has evoked mixed reactions among medicos. Pratik Nishant, a PG student in Patna Medical College and Hospital, said it was a grave injustice to students like him. “While taking admission in the PG course, we were not apprised about this condition. We will go to court,” he vowed, stressing that the student should be left to decide what was professionally good for him.

However, another medico, Rajiv Ranjan of IGIMS, who is seeking admission into a PG course, said the decision was justified keeping in view the large number of vacancies in non-clinical courses.

Government sources said there’s a huge shortfall of specialist doctors in state-run facilities across Bihar primarily because trained doctors with PG degrees are hard to find. Most of them take up jobs outside the state or opt for private hospitals where the pay and perks are more.

During the recently concluded Assembly session, health minister Tej Pratap Yadav had in response to a question conceded that his department was short of around 3,000 doctors. He also pointed out that the Bihar Public Service Commission had recommended the names of around 2,400 doctors for government jobs but around half of them did not join. MLAs cutting across party lines have regularly complained about lack of doctors in government hospitals in their constituencies, especially lady doctors.

With age no bar, even 60-year-old register for MBBS entry

(Representative image)

For many undergraduate medical degree aspirants, age just seems to be a number. Two persons in the 61-70 bracket registered for the NEET exam for admission to MBBS and BDS colleges last year. At least another 100 candidates in the 41-60 age group took NEET 2016.

They do not seem to baulk at the fact that MBBS is one of the toughest courses to pursue in terms of duration and the amount of study required. The fear that many of them may not qualify has also not deterred them from taking their chances. After the Supreme Court recently lifted the age limit of 25 years for the national test, several have taken up the challenge to prepare for the exam which is just a month away. The petitioners at SC estimated the number of candidates above 25 years at 20,000.

A software engineer in the US who completed his MS from the University of Houston, Texas, is an aspirant this year. The 31-year-old NRI candidate said: “Lately, I have been trying to discover my passion and found that being a doctor does it for me. I am not sure if I will get selected, but I wish to try my level best. We were busy with the court case for almost two months. Now I wish to fully concentrate on my studies,” said the engineer, who is keen on getting an NRI seat in a Madhya Pradesh college.

K D Chavan, registrar of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), said some of the candidates aged 30 and above want to pursue medicine as they are not happy with their current choice of profession. “I know of a friend who enrolled for CET at the age of 34 and is now an established pathologist,” he said.

Dr Avinash Supe, dean, KEM Hospital, said, “There are a few candidates who pursue super-specialty after a break. Very rarely we find people above the age of 30 in undergraduate programmes as it is difficult to cope with the syllabus. Some of these candidates may not be successful in other professions, some intend to follow their passion, and some marry early and then pursue a career in medicine,” said Supe.

Kanpur’s Andleeb Beg, 29, said he dropped out of BSc to pursue medicine. “I got a seat in a private college but the fee was too high. So, I have decided to try till I get a government seat. The CBSE circular capping the age of candidates was disheartening. But the court’s relaxation has come as a relief to many candidates like me,” said Beg. Uttar Pradesh’s Sabyasachi Rai, 27, a petitioner in the Supreme Court case, said the age cap was a disadvantage for many from a rural background who were not able to cope with the syllabus and had to try multiple times to clear the test. “Denying us an opportunity would mean denying us the right to education,” said Rai.

Dr Anand Rai, student activist and whistleblower in Madhya Pradesh’s admission and recruitment Vyapam Scam, said several candidates do not study the NCERT curriculum or are not from English medium schools and therefore end up re-appearing for the entrance test several times. “There are students who have studied in madrassas till the age of 10 and then joined mainstream schooling. Why should anyone be denied a chance?” asked Rai.
A Central government official, though, said the central board believes that many of these candidates may not be serious and allowing them to appear for the test will only encourage fraudulent means in the exam. “If a student wants to get into a post-graduation course, there should be no age limit. But for undergraduate courses in medicine, most are in the age group of 17-20 years. If the student has attempted the entrance test three or four times without success, he should look for some other career choice. Exams after Class XII should have an age criteria,” said the official.

Doctors won’t treat for charity till govt assures them of protection

Image result for Doctors won't treat for charity till govt assures them of protection

Giving a cold shoulder to the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, resident doctors in Delhi have decided not to treat any patient for free till the government assures them of protection from frequent assaults by attendants of patients.

In May 2016, Modi had called on to the doctors to give 12 days a year to the poor, pregnant women, free of charge, in a speech to mark the anniversary of his government’s second year in power.

“No doctors working in government, non-government, and societal hospitals will participate in any charitable activity. The PM’s request to look after patients free of cost is hereby denied till he assures safety and security of doctors,” read a notice issued by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of resident doctors of Delhi.

Recent attacks on resident doctors in Delhi and other parts of the country had sparked a nationwide protest last month. Even in Delhi, more than 2,500 resident doctors have been on a strike since Monday after a doctor and a guard were assualted by a patient’s attendant at Delhi government-run Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) hospital late on Sunday night.

“Doctors are continously attacked by relatives of patients. If the government is keeping its eyes shut, then why should we be concerned about the patients. They are giving no importance to our profession,” FORDA President Dr Pankaj Solanki said.

In Delhi alone in the last 18 months, more than 40 cases of assault on doctors have been reported, and they have gone on a strike as many as 20 times.

IMA to launch online registry to compile cases of violence against doctors

Representational image

Taking measures for controlling violence against doctors, Indian Medical Association (IMA) is all set to launch an online initiative that persuades its members to report assault cases of doctors on duty. “The initiative is still under the process of finalization. It will be launched in the next 2-3 days,” said Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Indian Medical Association.

Currently, IMA has over 3 lakh members spread across 36 state branches and 1700 sub-branches. These branches are led by over 35,000 IMA leaders. “These leaders have been asked to report each and every case. The process involves cases to be filed by the branches with evidences such as videos, photos and newspaper clippings, which are then followed by formatting standard complaint and assistance, and then our investigation team will perform root analysis of these cases. We have a complete action plan ready to tackle the issue,” explained Dr Aggarwal.

A similar initiative has already been launched by Medicos Legal Action Group (MLAG), a Chandigarh-based non-profit organisation that seeks to protect and promote the interests of doctors across India. So far, 160 cases of violence against doctors have been registered with them from across the country. The agenda behind such a directory is the creation of data backed legal representation.

“In India, the number of cases of violence against doctors has been increasing with each passing year but we lack data to show it in our legal representations for the issues of our medical fraternity. Currently, we get an average of one case per day of such incidents. Our group is trying to fetch out data that will help us configure how many of these cases have been resolved or withdrawn over the years,” said Dr Neeraj Nagpal, Convenor & Managing Trustee of Medicos Legal Action Group. According to Dr Nagpal, the directory will be updated fortnightly.

Another recent development in the arena has been a meeting of inter-ministerial committee, which recommended the government to enact a central law for cases of violence against doctors. “It has to be made a non-bailable offence for attackers because if patient’s kins are not made afraid of the law and resort to violent actions against doctors on duty, the doctors would have no other option but to flee from the situation to rescue themselves. This can result in other patients getting neglected due to which they can even lose their lives. Then it may become a case of homicide,” Dr Aggarwal asserted while appreciating the committee’s decision.

Dr Nagpal of Medicos Legal Action Group suggested that if any patient’s relatives indulge in any violent activity against a doctor on duty, they should lose rights to seek compensation in consumer or civil courts. “However, to put such petitions forward, we need to prepare strong legal representations and that’s where a registry is required,” he added.

Sharing his opinion on the IMA’s plan to launch the online registry, Dr Dheeraj Aggarwal, Member, Governing Council, Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), told , “This may help to some extent as over a period the decision will be made and implemented. What concerns us are the immediate measures that are still pending. The action should be taken now.”

Dr Aggarwal also talked about the possibility of doctors in Delhi going on a strike. “FORDA has again announced a strike in Delhi at the wake of another recent assault on a doctor-on-duty, which happened at DDU Hospital,” he said.