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Govt 'encouraging' quackery in India
The menace of unqualified medical practitioners or quacks, which claim to be doctors and establish clinics and nursing homes, is rapidly increasing across the country. Not only in the countryside, but their reach has also increased massively in the metropolis.

According to the Indian Medical Association (IMC), there are around 1.5 lakhs quacks operating in Andhra Pradesh, 40,000 in Kerala and surprisingly the number in the national capital is more than 40,000.

The negligence of the central government and the lethargic attitude of state governments in the absence of appropriate laws against such quack doctors has led to these staggering figures. The quack doctors are not only seen in private clinics, but they are also spotted in nursing homes and some major hospitals of the city.

Dr. Jayesh. M. Lele, State Secretary, IMA Mumbai told this citizen journalist that government is planning to pass a law that will encourage quackery. “Instead of taking action against them, government is planning to pass a bill that will allow homeopathic doctors to practice allopathy after they pass a one-year certification course,” Dr. Lele said, adding, “The government of Maharashtra is waiting for the clearance of this bill, but the IMA's from various states are opposing this.”

The root cause behind the mushrooming of quack doctors in the metropolis is the deficiency of registered MBBS doctors. If we look at Delhi, it has 40,000 registered MBBS doctors which is sufficient only to treat 1.75 crore patients whereas the population of Delhi is more than 20 crores.

The number of non-registered clinics is comparatively more than the registered clinics and the people go for such non-registered clinics in search of cheap medical treatment. The quack doctors prescribe them high-power medicines for instant relief and are least bothered about their side effects.

Dr. Anil Bansal, chairman, Anti Quackery Cell, Delhi Medical Council (DMC) blames the governments at the state and central level for not looking at such a serious issue. The lenient rules have increased the confidence levels of quack doctors. “DMC caught 500 to 600 quack doctors in the 12 districts of Delhi last year, but no proper action was taken against them,” Mr. Bansal told citizen journalist.

Mr. Bansal said as per DMC rules a doctor who is practicing allopathy and is not registered with Medical Council of India (MCI) falls in the category of quacks and as per the provision, such a person could be jailed for three years or fined Rs. 20,000, or the both.

According to the Central Government Act, which was framed in 1956, quacks will be awarded two-year imprisonment or Rs. 2, 000 fine, or the both. But none of the rules is being followed to punish the quacks.

The insufficiency of the registered doctors, lack of awareness among people, cheaper treatment, the local holding of the quack doctors and the negligence of the police and government are encouraging this menace of quackery. Government should take some serious steps before the issue becomes too late to handle.

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