Irregularities in Medical Seat Allotment
A MAJOR irregularity surfaced in the seat allotment in the MBBS courses of the two medical colleges. At least nine students who had not fulfilled the state domicile criteria were allotted seats though their name was not present in the state domicile list prepared by CBSE Neet. After the issue came to surface, the director of medical education was forced to declare that these nine were not eligible to get the letter of nomination for admission on July 7. Names of these include Patrick Ghagra, Ujjval Kumar, Priya Gaur, Nitin Yadav and Anita Meena. The principal question is while their names were not in the state domicile list, how could they get these seats depriving the genuine students of the state. But subsequently on July 12, the DME had allowed one student named Patrick Ghagra for admission. But the notification of that decision is silent on the ground on which his case was reconsidered. The entire episode points towards a major irregularity involving a very powerful racket in clinching deals for admissions to medical college for students not eligible to get these seats. The order of the Director of Medical Education which first denied permission of admission to nine students and again granted a single student, is in itself a self-admission of a bigger scam in the medical education sector. This has raised serious questions about the transparency of the online counselling system. In another subsequent development, it was also alleged that in the 20 seats earmarked for an all India quota in Tripura Medical College, the proper process of online counselling was not followed. The SFI and TSU have demanded a proper inquiry into the episode. But till date, no one from the government came up with any word of explanation. This conspicuous silence may be an indicator of the tip of an iceberg. One is easily reminded of the infamous medical seats scam during the Congress-TUJS regime of 1988-93 when the medical seats earmarked for the students of the state were sold to outsiders, which invited a CBI inquiry against the then CM Sudhir Ranjan Majumder.
Neoliberal Onslaught: Tripura Introduces New Pension Scheme
THE announcement was made in the budget itself. Now, the New Pension Scheme (NPS) is a reality for the employees of Tripura. The BJP, in its vision document for the assembly elections, had promised to implement the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for the government employees. Though this has not seen the light of the day till now, the negative and anti-employee prescriptions which are part and parcel of the Central Pay Commission are now being implemented in Tripura. The government has notified the introduction of NPS for those joining government services from July 1, 2018. Thus, the government is abolishing the universal pension system which was in force in the state as per the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules 1972. Henceforth, the prospective employee shall have to contribute 10 percent of his basic salary to be deducted and deposited in the new defined contributory pension scheme. However the government will not contribute to this fund in case of government aided institutions. The NPS is in force in central government services and in most of the states since 2004. The erstwhile Left Front government of Tripura was one of the few states which had, for last 14 years, not implemented this anti-employee provision. But now within merely four months in office, the BJP coalition government has formally launched this scheme doing away with the universal pension and GPF scheme. This, among other things, clearly shows the commitment of this government to the ideas of neoliberal economy of use and throw, washing off its hands from the role and responsibilities of a model employer and a welfare state.
Growing Disillusionment Among The Tribal Masses
IT has been a year since the rail and road blockade movement of the IPFT demanding a separate state of Twipraland. The hilly villages of Khamtingbarri, Sinai, Belfang, Tuisikam, Bardowal at the foot of Barramurra hills had witnessed the youth getting euphoric with the dream of a separate state for the tribals which had promised a heaven for the sons of the soil. Once the Left Front is voted out of office, Twipraland shall come to existence. There will be jobs for all unemployed tribal youth, all the signs of poverty shall vanish. Those who made these tall claims, are now busy in grabbing their share of ministership and state power. But for Mangala Rupini or Balendra Debbarma of Khamtingbarri where the 10 day long road blockade took place, the reality has changed for the worse. Since last April, mere six days of work has been provided under the MNREGA, that too at the wage of just Rs 125 (not even the guaranteed Rs 178, leave alone the promised Rs 340 by the BJP). The PDS is in shambles. The atta being supplied in PDS outlets is inedible. For the last four months the presence of a government is strikingly absent, leading to distress. The rural markets are hit with an unusual slow down. The price of agri produces including banana, pineapple have gone down like anything. The disillusionment is evident in the eyes of the people who now feel cheated.
Towards an Urban Centric Health Care Regime
WITH "Cholo Paltai" (let's make a change) slogan of the BJP, the outlook on public health is also undergoing a sea change. The current government's attitude clearly shows that it wants to concentrate on the health care facilities to the urban centres rather than a decentralised rural health care management to take care of the far-flung areas. The erstwhile Left Front government had been working on an intensive extension of health services with building of sub centres in each village, PHCs for a cluster of villages, community health centres at block level, subdivision and district hospitals and of course development and upgradation of state hospitals and medical colleges. But a reverse trend of centralised health services seems to be the trajectory of this new government. Sources in the health department confirm that a policy decision has been taken not to build any new primary health centre in the current financial year. Construction work of eight PHCs which were sanctioned and started under the National Health Mission during the tenure of the last government has been stopped without showing any reason. The government had sought money for the upgradation for GB Pant hospital and IGM hospitals in the recent North Eastern meet of the NHM. But the enthusiasm in demanding money for rural sector was clearly missing.