Sitharaman vouches for Tamil-medium education in medical courses
Chennai, Dec 24: Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday observed that medical education in Tamil Nadu should be taught in Tamil language as there was a definite need towards strengthening it.
Sitharaman made these comments in her convocation address at the 35th annual convocation of The Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University here. On the occasion, she maintained that the country is in a ‘better position’ to face the COVID-19 surge which was seen in countries like China, Japan and Korea.
“I am saying it here in front of Minister of Health in Tamil Nadu (Ma Subramanian). There is definitely a need for strengthening the medical education. We need medical education to be well grounded and I think that can be greatly achieved if medical education can be taught in Tamil (language),” she said.
There are opportunities for students to be in a better position if medical and other related subjects are taught in Tamil, the Union minister said.
“Medical education should be taught in Tamil where people of the state love their language. Medical education does not pertain to doctors, it can be other subjects like nursing or dentist. If it is available in Tamil language, it is better for us. There are possibilities to pursue research work,” she said.
The Finance Minister also clarified that she was not against English language. “I have studied here (in Tamil Nadu) and I can say that it will be better for all of us to study in Tamil as there is an opportunity to progress,” she said. “I do not expect that there will be any kind of an opposition from Tamil Nadu since I am saying it in Tamil Nadu and in the presence of Minister for Medical Education,” she said.
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Sitharaman said the country is better placed with reference to the latest COVID-19 surge in China, and that India successfully executed its vaccination programme against the pandemic.
“Today when we see a surge yet again in China or somewhere in Japan, Korea, India is in a better position and yesterday we heard that there is a nasal vaccine also available which is now authorised,” she said addressing the graduates. She hailed the widespread vaccination drive against COVID-19 and stated that the progress in inoculation itself was a story worth repeating in every convocation of a medical university as it is an achievement of all doctors, medical students and paramedics.
“It is an achievement of the medical fraternity,” she said. Appealing to the new graduates on the occasion, Sitharaman said they should set up hospitals in Tier-II or III locations or even in their respective hometowns. “We need to have hospitals in every location. Centre provides various welfare schemes like the viability gap funding. Every city should have a hospital,” she said.
Hailing the medical field in the country renowned for ‘frugal innovation’, she said India’s pharmaceutical exports grew to USD 24.6 billion in 2022 from USD 11.6 billion back in 2014. Pointing out some statistics, Sitharaman said India supplies 50 per cent of generic medicines to African countries, 40 per cent to the United States of America and 25 per cent of all medicines shipped to the United Kingdom.
The Finance Minister said India has also become a hub in medical tourism as it was estimated to be worth USD 9 billion making it the 10th biggest on the global map. “Approximately two million medical tourists visit India every year from 78 countries generating USD 6 billion,” she said.
Referring to the World Health Organisation’s Global Traditional Medicine Centre in Jamnagar, Gujarat, she said it was an indication of the country becoming a research hub in medical field. At the foundation stone laying ceremony held earlier in April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Centre would be the first and only global outpost centre for traditional medicine across the world as it would emerge as an international hub of global wellness.
On the occasion, as many as 29,620 students received their degree certificates which include 7,276 medical courses, 1,893 dental, 1,519 AYUSH, 18,932 students of nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy students, in the presence of Governor and Chancellor R N Ravi, along with Vice Chancellor Sudha Seshayyan.
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