Tamil Nadu to seek elimination of NEET

In Chennai, 13 new urban PHCs would be opened and to strengthen the 108 Ambulance Service, 188 new vehicles would be added

Chennai: The State government would promulgate an Act indicating the need for elimination of NEET for admission to medical courses and obtain the President’s assent to it, Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on Thursday.

In the policy note for his department, presented in the Assembly, Subramanian mentioned that the State had been consistently opposing NEET and recalled the steps taken by the DMK government after it took over in May.

Since the A K Rajan commission had found out that NEET was detrimental to students from poor and rural backgrounds gaining medical admission, a committee of secretaries, headed by the Chief Secretary, was formed to come up with a solution.

Based on the committee’s recommendation, the government has decided to promulgate the Act, which would ensure social justice and protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated against in medical admissions, the policy note said.

Participating in the debate on the demand for grants for the department, AIADMK member A Govindasamy said that during the AIADMK regime 11 new medical colleges were started in the State, besides obtaining permission for AIIMS.

Subramanian replied the permission for AIIMS was given for many States in the country and the institutes had almost come up in all the other States, whereas in Tamil Nadu nothing more than a brick was laid.

Even that brick was taken away by Udhayanidhi Stalin during the election campaign, said the Health Minister, adding that necessary follow up had been done by the DMK after it assumed power, resulting in a team inspecting the site and initiating work for the project.

The AIADMK had no right to take any credit for the AIIMS project in Tamil Nadu, Subramainian said, also pointing to the State standing first in wastage of Covid-19 vaccine during the AIADMK rule and standing first in vaccination in DMK rule.

Subramanian, who made 110 announcements relating to the health department, said Rs 4280 core, recommended for the State by the 15th Finance Commission would be spent on developing hospitals at various levels across the State, starting from public health centres to peripheral hospitals, and converting them all into ‘Goodlife for All’ centres.

In Chennai, 13 new urban PHCs would be opened at a cost of Rs 75 lakh each and to strengthen the 108 Ambulance Service, 188 new vehicles would be added to the existing fleet.

The Chief Minister’s comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme would continue for another five years with an allocation of Rs 1,248.29 crore for this year. All accredited journalists and their families would be included in the scheme as the income ceiling has been removed.

Envisaging the expansion of health care facilities in all government facilities, starting from medical college hospitals to PHCs, the government had announced a slew of schemes aimed at developing medical infrastructure with a view to caring for people of all ages, starting from newborns to the elderly.

Geriatric care centres will be set up in all district headquarters hospitals to treat dementia and doctors would be appropriately trained with the help of specialists and suicide prevention facilities would be opened by roping in NGOs for counselling.

With a view to eradicating tuberculosis (TB) by the year 2025, the government proposed to buy 10 x-ray equipment filled vans to do the screening at a cost of Rs 7 crore and for special children, 16 hospitals would be equipped with sensory therapeutic facilities at a cost of Rs 2.24 crore.

Among the many other new things proposed for the State are first frozen red blood storage unit at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai at a cost of Rs 3.75 crore, building urban community health centres, establishing tobacco control cell and providing battery car with stretcher facility in 24 medical college hospitals at a cost of Rs 1.30 crore.

Some of the unconventional areas on which the health department will focus on include setting up internet addiction centres to counsel children in all government hospitals, cognitive rehabilitation day care centres and launching a campaign to prevent the reuse of used cooking oil.

The policy note gives due importance to alternative systems of medicine. A Siddha Medical University would come up near Chennai to promote education of other Indian systems of medicine like homeopathy, Unani and so on.

Among the challenges identified in the policy note were sustaining the achievements made in vital health indicators and addressing the rise in mortality and morbidity due to non-communicable diseases, ageing, lack of mental health, climate change, Covid-19 and other communicable diseases.

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