Kerala Govt calls striking house surgeons for talks

Representative image: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has decided to hold parleys with house surgeons in a bid to resolve the agitation of the Post-Graduate (PG) medical students that has partially paralysed Government Medical College Hospitals (MCHs) in the state. Their union representatives have been asked to arrive at the office of Health Minister Veena George, Manorama News reported on Monday.

The house surgeons of medical college hospitals announced they too are joining the nearly-two-week-old agitation of the PG medical students from Monday. They threatened to boycott official work except those for COVID-19 treatment and emergency duties.

So far the State Government has taken a tough posture with regard to the agitation of the PG students. The government is of the view that all reasonable demands made by the PG students have been met, and hence it is not willing to enter into any more dialogue with the striking students.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George has said that the government has nothing much to do with regard to the strike of the PG students. She pointed out that the first-year medical PG admission issue was now under the consideration of the Supreme Court.

The PG resident doctors across the country are protesting against the delay in commencing seat counselling for the new batch. They cite the difficulties faced by the candidates who are awaiting counselling and also the job burden of resident doctors who have completed their PG course. The latter are awaiting admission after qualifying in the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (Postgraduate).

In line with the national agitation, the Kerala Medical Postgraduate Association called the indefinite strike a fortnight ago. It is also protesting against the neglect of various other demands it had raised before the state government.

The admissions are delayed as the Supreme Court is yet to take a call on the crucial income cap for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among the forward communities eligible for seat reservation. The Union Ministry of Health has appealed to the Supreme Court to advance the hearing of a plea regarding the income cap for EWSs eligible for seat reservation.

Almost 1.6 lakh young doctors, who are expecting PG admissions this year in the All-India Quota, are now apprehensive that they are going to lose a precious academic year as the admission process is already late by nearly a year owing to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to their concern the court proceedings in the EWS case has prolonged.

The Central Government had earlier announced that it would not start PG counselling till January 6 when the Supreme Court takes up the EWS income limit case. The court proceedings are delayed as the government is mulling a rethink on the Rs 8 lakh income limit which would enable the EWS category to claim reservation benefits.

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