The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 8 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Ink on finger, health discount in hand

- Doctors on poll awareness spree, to offer concessions to voters on fee & test

This election season, sign of the indelible ink on fingers can get residents 25 per cent discount on doctors’ fees.

To encourage people to exercise their franchise, doctors associated with the state chapter of Indian Medical Association have decided to provide patients 25 per cent discount on their professional fee. The only condition is the patients would have to vote on their respective polling days.

Discount would also be provided on pathological tests at the doctors’ clinics on the day of election and the next.

“The state unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) issued a circular on Monday to all its members regarding this matter. The doctors would give the concession to only those people who would have the indelible ink on their fingers. Around 8,000 doctors are associated with the state chapter of IMA. In Patna, there are around 1,000 doctors associated with the organisation. So, we are hopeful about the initiative bearing fruit,” said Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, president, state chapter, IMA.

The offer elicited mixed response in the city.

Fifty-four-year-old R.B. Singh said: “It’s a commendable initiative. Those interested in voting would do so in any case, but this announcement is an incentive for those not interested in casting their votes. In case they need to visit a doctor’s clinic on the day of the election, they would definitely like to enjoy such an advantage.”

R.K. Singh, an engineer with a private firm, said: “I don’t think there was any need to come up with such an offer. People in Patna are interested in voting.”

The president of the IMA’s state chapter, however, said the doctors concerned would provide the discount only at their private clinics and not at the government institutions.

“The state-run health institutions are already providing treatments at very subsidised rates. Many treatments are even free. The IMA, too, cannot take any decision related to the government, as they don’t come under the organisation’s ambit. We can, however, appeal to the doctors to provide the discount at their private clinics,” said Prasad.

The association believes in leading by example too. The members have been asked to cast their votes and keep their clinics open on the day of the election. “This is a first-of-its-kind initiative. Earlier, doctors associated with IMA had never urged the people to cast their votes,” Prasad stressed.