Describing AIIMS Director P Venugopal as “one of the best doctors”, his bete noire Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said that not all doctors make good administrators. “Venugopal is one of the best doctors in this country. We all respect him. But he is also one of the worst administrators in this country,” Ramadoss said in an interview to a private news channel.
Ramadoss also said the ban on manufacture of beedis and cigarettes and tobacco growing was “just a question of time” and the ban on smoking in films was the “first step” in that direction.
“This ban is just a question of time. I can’t initiate it today. I would like to but there are other things involved in this,” he said.
On his face-off with Venugopal, the minister said he did not have any ego problems with the renowned heart surgeon and blamed the media for creating a “false perception”.
“I am a professional, I am a doctor, what ego should I have with Dr Venugopal?” he said adding, “I have much more things to do. This is an administrative issue which has been hyped-up by the media due to reasons known to them.”
On the state of affairs at the AIIMS, the Health Minister claimed that it has become “the All India Institute of Political Sciences”, where doctors were indulging in strikes and politics rather than treating patients.
“Today the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is slowly becoming the All India Institute of Political Sciences. These guys should do what they know best, treat patients and not go into flash strikes and politics,” he said.
Contending that less number of dengue cases were reported this year compared to last year, Ramadoss sought to hold the the state governments responsible for the recent outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease.
“I dont want to shy away from my responsibilities, it is the state governments who have to take steps,” Ramadoss said about the recent outbreak of dengue in parts of the country.
“I’m responsible (no doubt) but health is a state subject, they do the policies, they do the implementation,” he said.
On his initial refusal to pay salaries to doctors who went on strike in May, he denied that an assurance had been given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that their salary would not be cut.
“The Prime Minister did not give any assurance on the salary structure. Its the media’s perception, not the Government’s perception. We have a national policy on no-work no-pay. My Prime Minister is with me,” Ramadoss said.
He claimed that the reason for a six-week delay before salaries were paid was because he needed cabinet clearance and the procedure took that much time.