CHANDIGARH: With a view to celebrating the 75 years of Indian Independence, Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a series of lectures is being organized on Institution Building and Nurturing Initiatives in Independent India”.
The series is organized by Society for Promotion of Science & Technology in India (SPSTI) in association with Chandigarh Chapters of National Academy of Sciences India (NASI), Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS) and Punjab Engineering College (PEC) with support from Haryana State Council for Science, Innovation and Technology (HSCSIT), DST, Govt. of Haryana.
The fifth lecture in this series was delivered by Prof. (Dr.) K. K. Talwar, former Director, PGIMER, Chandigarh on “AIIMS, PGI, ICMR and Evolution of Medical Education &Research in Independent India”. Prof. Talwar while speaking on his journey in AIIMS and PGI discussed strengths, issues and challenges in these institutions. He discussed about the Bhore Committee, chaired by Sir Joseph Bhore, founded in 1943 by the Govt. of India to assess the health condition of India. In his report published in 1946, Bhore recommended that the country should have a National Medical Centre. He said that the institution was initially planned to be set-up at Calcutta but Dr. B. C. Roy refused and then it was decided to have it in Delhi.
The concept of building PGI on the pattern of AIIMS was the vision of the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1960s and the PGI started in 1961-1962. While discussing challenges, he quoted Sir William Osler who said Profession of Medicine is an art and not a trade. Medical Profession is not attracting the students who are brighter which is unfortunate. In research areas, he said, among the most-cited articles, more than 80 percent had corresponding authors from abroad. So there is desperate need to strengthen the medical research by improving infrastructure, creating an enabling environment, incentives for research and a close physician-scientist interaction to promote translational medical research.
On being asked by a press reporter whether undergraduate seats in medical should be increased, Dr. Talwar said that the seats have declined as the quality has to be preserved. He emphasized on increasing PG seats to encourage the youngsters to counter the immigration. Further, there are certain specialties which we need as a country like family medicine.
Prof. (Dr.) Y. K. Chawla, former Director of PGI Chandigarh, invited as Guest of Honour said that out of 4580 medical institutes India, only 25 of these have more than over 100 research papers in a year. There is lack of mentors who do not inspire young students towards research. The institutes are lucky in the sense that they have basic research along with clinical research at one place. During the MBBS course, there should be some information given to the students about research and this would not only increase their knowledge but also discover facts and give them more information, gives them recognition and leadership.
Prof. Arun. K. Grover, former Vice Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh while speaking on the lecture series said that the common things in technical education and medical education in India is the A. V. Hill Report given few years before the Indian Independence. He quoted the report that said that the scientific content of the technical and medical education be enhanced and India must have institutions like MIT.
The lecture was attended by Dr. Samir Malhotra and Dr. Meenu Singh of PGI, Prof. Keya Dharamvir, General Secretary, SPSTI, Shri Dharam Vir, IAS (Retd.), President, SPSTI.