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HEALTH INITIATIVES: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat unveiling a plaque to inaugurate the N.S. Memorial Institute of Medical Science in Kollam on Friday.
HEALTH INITIATIVES: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat unveiling a plaque to inaugurate the N.S. Memorial Institute of Medical Science in Kollam on Friday.

Staff Reporter

N.S. Memorial Institute of Medical Sciences inaugurated

KOLLAM: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has called upon the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre to fulfil the basic responsibilities of providing education and health care facilities to the people.

Addressing a gathering here on Friday after inaugurating the N.S. Memorial Institute of Medical Sciences managed by the Kollam District Cooperative Hospital Society, he said India ranks among the lowest among the countries of the world regarding public expenditure on health. In the year 2006, India spent only 0.9 per cent of the GDP on public health. It is the same as far as education is concerned. Education and health, which are the basic right of the people, are the most neglected sectors in the country. ``I am unable to understand how in a democracy Governments get elected and govern without addressing this basis question in society,'' he said.

Mr. Karat said that his party was happy when the UPA Government announced in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that spending on health and education would be considerably increased. But the Government wanted to find funds for that by selling the public sector undertakings and the Left parties had opposed this.

The Government should find some solution to realise the corporate sector tax arrears, which as per the UPA Government figures has touched Rs.1,15,000 crores. The Government should also restore the Capital Gains Tax, which was abolished in the very first budget of the UPA Government.

He alleged that the UPA Government seems to be afraid of the stock market and the big business houses. It was to appease these institutions that the Capital Gains Tax was abolished. He said that it is unfortunate to note that no Central Government had the political will to tax the rich. A change in that approach was imperative. If the need arises, pressure should be mounted to compel the UPA Government change such policies.

He called upon the ``enlightened people of Kerala to come forward and launch such a movement.''

The medical institute is built in memory of CPI(M) leader N. Sreedharan (popularly known as N.S.). Mr. Karat said that Sreedharan was an outstanding leader of the working class and the communist movement and that a hospital in memory of such a leader is a befitting tribute. President of the society Karingannur Murali presided.

CITU general secretary P.K. Gurudasan, Kollam Mayor N. Padmalochanan and P. Rajendran, MP, among others addressed.

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