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Year : 1988  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61-62

The new import policy-A bold step in the right direction

CBM Oph. Institute, Little Flower Hospital, Angamally-683 572 Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
S T Fernandez
CBM Oph. Institute, Little Flower Hospital, Angamally-683 572 Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 3235161

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How to cite this article:
Fernandez S T. The new import policy-A bold step in the right direction. Indian J Ophthalmol 1988;36:61-2

How to cite this URL:
Fernandez S T. The new import policy-A bold step in the right direction. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1988 [cited 2021 Jun 17];36:61-2. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?1988/36/2/61/26149

Indian doctors and scientists are second to none in the world in their ability, scientific knowledge or surgical skills. This has been amply proved by the high positions they occupy in a free society like that in the United States where talents are recognised and honoured.

In a talk made to the private medical practitioners at Cochin, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr. KR Narayanan emphatically substantiated this point He said that when our former President Sri Zail Singh went to the USA for a heart operation, the assistant to the chief of surgery as well as the chief cardiologist of this prestigious institute happened to be doctors of Indian origin. In many fields in America, one can find Indian scientists making their mark. Dr. Khorana, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1968 is a glittering example of the enviable position we have in the U.S. A.

It is time that Indian politicians and administrators ponder over the following points.

1. Why is it that Indians do so very well abroad and not in India ?

2. Why do so many V. V. L P s go abroad for treatment when we have enough of talent in India itself?

It is not the dearth of talent but lack of opportunities that drive scientists and doctors in our country to such a state of affairs. They have to be given the correct training facilities to do their work without undue interferences. Encouragement and incentives to undertake projects must also be provided. One of the essential pre­requisites for such work is the necessary equipment to do it.

Science is progressing at a phenomenonal rate. It is difficult to catch up with the innovations that occur in developed countries. We therefore have to depend on foreign equipment and technology till such time as we ourselves can produce similar gadgets.

It is from this angle that I view the new import policy declared by the government recently. Life-saving and sight-saving equipments have been allowed to be imported without customs duty (Notifi­cation No-, 143/88 & 144/88 dt 27-4-1988 and 170/88 dt 20-5­1988). For other equipments, the duty has been considerably reduced. Until last March, such medical equipments were charged more than 120% duty on the C. L F. Value, an unreasonable amount The difficulty to get a licence to import essential equipments was a nerve-racking experience. Doctors had to go through so many formalities that by the time the licence was secured, the equipment asked for used to get obsolete. Now, all the equipments have been put under O.G.L (Open General Licence). Abold and welcome step indeed !

I should congratulate the. Finance Minister and the officials at the national level, who have taken this momentous step. They have helped the development of science in India by giving opportunities and incentives to the local doctors to work at par with their counterparts in other parts of the world and have given scores of poor and middle class people the opportunity to get the best treatment in India itself Perhaps for the V. V. L P s and V. R P s (very rich people) it might be still a status symbol to visit a foreign country and get their cataract removed or have a by- pass surgery done. Fact remains that given the correct equipments, these procedures can now be done in India as efficiently and speedily as anywhere else in the world.

To change the firmly ingrained red tapism of a bureau­cratic society is not an easy task Inspite of the dynamic policies laid down by our beloved Prime Minister, things do not change as fast as he wants them to or as fast as we would like to see them change. It is a laborious process to get to change the basic attitudes of people; it might take centuries, one fears. We should appreciate the persistent work done by few for the benefit of all of us and our patients, and thank them for their perseverence and patience to make it a great success !

Dr. Madan Mohan, Dr. B.T. Maskati, Dr. S.RK Mallik, Dr. J. Agarwal, Dr. P. N. Nagpal and I am sure, many more whose names I have not mentioned, deserve our appreciation and thanks. Their names will definitely go down in the history of the association as those great stalwarts who did their duty so exceptionally well On behalf of all ophthalmologists let me record our appre­ciation to all of them.


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