Perhaps the policy most grossly misused by the successive governments is related to the grant of financial assistance to the ‘needy’. Only the VVIPs and those with strong political connections have been the beneficiaries of the policy as well as the generous discretion of the government.
Latest in the list is Ram Baran Yadav, a physician-turned-politician who rose to be the first president of the country when Nepal turned into a Republic in May 2008. The cabinet has decided to bear entire expenses for his treatment of prostrate cancer in the United States and released Rs six million (around 3.8 million INR) as the initial installment in addition to ‘to and fro’ travel allowance for three attendants and daily subsistence allowances. He was diagnosed with the ailment recently in PGI, Chandigarh – Dr Yadav did his MD from here in the 80s – with full expenses borne by the Government of India, but it is not known whether the PGI suggested further treatment in the US. Dr Yadav will be going to Henry Ford Cancer Hospital in the US.
Doctors in Nepal are unhappy over a large number of Nepali leaders going abroad for specialised treatment ‘undermining the expertise and efficiency at home.’ “What upsets us is the fact that none of these elites bother to have the mandatory recommendations of experts when they decide to go abroad for medical treatment,” a senior doctor working in a well equipped hospital here told ENS pleading anonymity.
Currently, two former prime ministers K P Oli and Shet Bahadur Deuba – are abroad for the same reason but there is no word officially yet if it is at the government expense. A local paper reported recently that the ‘VVIP suite’ in Bir Hospital, country’s oldest government hospital that used to be used by members of the Royal family, has remained shut-down for years as the VVIPs in the republic Nepal prefer hospitals abroad or more expensive private hospitals in the country.
In 2004, the government had come under severe criticism after Helen Shah, aunt of the last king Gyanendra Shah, was given Rs ten million for her cancer treatment abroad. But Shah had willed and gifted her cattle – mostly cows of advanced breed – and generous financial assistance to charities working for under-privileged children in the country even during that time.
The welfare policy of the government talks about financial assistance up to Rs one lakh for cancer patients and token support to others for treatment abroad provided experts team recommended that treatment in Nepal is not possible.
Dr. Yadav who remained president of the country for seven years had been granted Rs three million some five years ago for diagnostic test of cancer in Tokyo.
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