The new definition of democracy should be – “Democracy is the freedom to elect our own dictators”. Yes! Indeed. The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid! It elects the leaders who dream of running the circus from the monkey cage!
Current amendment to the KPME (Karnataka Private Medical Establishments) Act by Government of Karnataka is a testimonial to this fact. The passing of this amendment will be a great mockery of democracy!
Since most of you are aware about the draconian clauses in this new amendment, I will not go through the fine details. Instead, I would like to highlight the greater damage that will be caused by this amendment.
This is highly retrogressive amendment. The Government is trying to mutilate the fabric of healthcare in Karnataka. This could turn out to the single biggest mistake with huge negative political and social impact.
Government is trying to go back to the days of “License Raj”.
Let us go back in time for a while and remind our Government, what had happened with License Raj.
Nehru’s License Raj Policies needs no introduction. These notorious policies heavily clamped down the industries, restricted the private players and thus they had to resort to corrupt ways to obtain licences from the Government. Thus a mixed and controlled economy played the role towards leading India to corruption. India gradually became more and more corrupt-stricken and economically weak.
This License Raj was forced to end because India was reduced to such a terrible position wherein it had only two weeks of foreign reserves left to buy food and crude oil. In return for an IMF bailout, Gold bullion was transferred to London as collateral, the Rupee devalued and economic reforms were forced upon India.
In short terms, License Raj is the beginning of Corruption! Populist decisions like this these are masked as socialist reforms will eventually lead to crony capitalism, wherein “THE POLITICIAN” acts as both ‘the capitalist’ and ‘the politician’. And eventually the sector will be owned by politicians, and the scenario will be something like sugar industries or mining sector. License Raj will lead to Mafia Raj and total anarchy of health sector.
Just imagine the condition of a doctor or patient in such a scenario! It will be like 10 wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch!
The negative social impact from this decision will be of a greater magnitude than political impact. Because another bill or amendment on a later date may scrap the current bill, but it cannot change the psyche of the public at large over a short duration. For example, the License Raj may have gone in some sectors, but corruption is still at large and deep rooted into minds of bureaucracy and people.
The introduction of this bill and amendment has already started impairing the doctor – patient relationship. The quality of the patient and doctor relationship is of utmost importance in treating any disease or disorder. The relationship is one that is built in terms of mutual respect, knowledge, trust.
The doctor and patient’s values and perspectives about disease and medical condition play a role in building up this relationship. A strong relationship between the doctor and patient will lead to frequent, quality information about the patient’s disease. This will enhance the accuracy of the diagnosis.
Where such a relationship is poor the physician’s ability to make a full assessment is compromised and the patient is more likely to distrust the diagnosis and proposed treatment, causing decreased compliance to actually follow the medical advice. And we all know the cycle that follows thereafter. IT IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE PATIENT! Forget placebo’s, even medicines may find it difficult to act when you don’t trust your doctor.
Every single test he advises, every single medicine he prescribes, every treatment procedure he proposes may start sounding extortion with this mindset of patient and the Government is fueling such a mindset in to people which is suicidal to the community to say the least.
In conclusion I would like to say just one thing:
This Act is like a “Benign” tumour turning into “Malignant” that will destroy the ethos of health sector beyond repair and survival. Just remove it.