Saturday, June 4, 2011
Monday, April 26, 2010
So I went to the police station to file a FIR and was told that I needed to go to a lawyer and get an affidavit on Rs. 100 non-judicial stamp paper which would have to be notarised. I went to a lawyer suggested by the constable and he charged me Rs. 300 to do the needful. I submitted the affidavit at the police station and they entered the complaint in their register and gave me a copy of the affidavit and asked me to go to one of their police chowkies to get the NC certificate. They refused to record the passbook for which I did not remember the account number and this became a problem for me. Anyway I went to the police chowky four times over two weeks and the concerned person was never found. I went back to the police station and they changed the name of the person I should contact. Two more trips and still I could not locate the appropriate person at the police chowky.
Frustrated I went back to the post office. At one post office the person handling the MIS accounts was considerate and agreed to issue the passbook against a copy of the affidavit, even though he made me make three trips to finally get it . They charged a fee of Rs. 10 for it. The other post office just refused outright until I produced the NC certificate. So I am still struggling with it.
This FIR and NC system is sheer harassment. The post office has all the id proof so why this harassing process. This needs to be changed. Where the police station is concerned people say that they will not give it till you grease palms. My contention is that if I make any payment I should receive a receipt. So this is a situation without a resolution. My next stop will have to be the highest authorities in the police hierarchy. Because our public systems work only by either bribing or using influence.
PS: Today I went back to the police station and met the inspector and told him point blank that it is one month and I have still not received the NC and inquired who was the next higher up I needed to talk to about this. He quickly ordered the sub-inpector to issue the NC immediately. So, another half hour wait and I got the document I needed. I thanked the sub-inspector who had an expectant look on his face while handing over the document. I took the document and waved it to the inspector and thanked him and walked out of the police station.
The surgery went off fine but the nursing care at Jaslok hospital was atrocious. The nurses are ill trained. They may be nice persons but their nursing skills are very poor. The first day after surgery I was on a drip and each time a new drip was attached, I would notice bubbles and had to stop the drip myself until the nurse came back after I paged her. This was repeated and thus shows sheer callousness, besides risking the life of the patient. We cant blame the nurses fully because hospitals pay them miserably and hence the good nurses fly off at the first opportunity. On the flip side the food was good! Not much else to say about the quality and efficiency of the hospital. Even things like lifts take ages to come and patients have to wait endlessly and often in pain. Even though Jaslok is a Trust hospital its charges are phenomenal. And without informing you they even change charges. Completely non-transparent. My surgery cost me Rs. 60000, that is a whopping unit cost of Rs. 20000 for each haemorrhoid excised!! And this was supposed to be a minor surgery.
The insurance business let me tell you is a complete fraud. They say cashless but you end up paying a substantial amount because they dont sanction the full amount and dont assign any reason. And then you have to struggle with them to get them to pay as much of the bill as possible. In my case they made a final sanction of only half the amount and hence on discharge I had to pay half the bill, apart from the security deposit which I will be refunded when the insurance company pays the hospital the promised amount. And I was told this could take upto 2 months. Now that I have started a process of questioning the TPA and the insurance company this could even get prolonged.
Over two decades I have paid health insurance premiums totaling Rs. 3 lakhs. If I had put the premiums I was paying annually in a recurring deposit account the value today would have been over Rs. 10 lakhs. The capital would have been mine and this I could use when needed for any such healthcare. No wonder the Singapore government does not trust insurance and instead opted for precisely this concept which they called medical savings accounts. So like PF you save a proportion of your income with a similar contribution from the employer and draw on that when you need it. I think thats a better option if healthcare has to remain an individual responsibility. Ofcourse the ideal would be to have a universal access healthcare system like Canada or UK or something similar to what Thailand has achieved recently.
So my suggestion is please dump health insurance as it is not worth it. In the absence of universal access it is wiser to save money which we would pay as premium in a separate account so we have control over the capital. To cover larger risks, life insurance with a critical care rider is a better option because the capital we invest remains in our name and a small mortality charge covers us for risk of the big diseases like cancers, dialysis, cardiac surgeries etc..
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The other day I was trying to locate my university degrees and transcripts and I realised that it was not in the box marked as important papers. Perhaps since no one ever asked for them in the last 25 years they are probably packed along with other papers in one of the large cartons, about 60 of them which contain books, folder boxes, papers etc.. Since I have only unpacked afew of them it is going to be a huge task hunting them.
So I thought why not try the University of Mumbai from where I have graduated. I thought it should be simple - give them the year I passed out and with my name they could trace my records and issue the duplicate certificates. Well I did go to he university. I spoke to some friends who are faculty there and they warned me that it would not be easy and that I should be ready to grease palms to get things moving - as a human rights activist something very difficult for me to do! Nevertheless I went to the Examination Building and after afew pillar to post searching reached the correct desk officer and was told - do I have a FIR from the police station, have I made an affidavit on a Rs. 50 non-judicial stamp paper? Well ofcourse I had not done that. And if I had done that then how long would it take? Well pop came up another question? Do you remember your exam seat number? They must be kidding - 1978 BA and 1980 MA and they wanted me to recall my seat number. I am no Shakuntala devi!
They suggested that I should contact the college and department to get that number and only then would it be possible and in case I was able to do that then it could take 3 to 6 months to process my application - I think it would be easier doing another MA to get the degree and marksheets! OOps I forgot I dont have my BA degree too so I would not be admitted to MA.
Well this is the state of the oldest and the most well known university of India - excellent place for historical research I guess! Anyway I think I have a greater chance of getting my certificates by unpacking the boxes and this time I will scan them and store them digitally.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today was indeed an amazing day. Well it was cloudy and cool weather with every possibility of rain and we decided to go out for a drive towards the Pench forest (Sillary side). Though the forest reserve area is closed during the monsoon we nevertheless decided to go as the drive itself is through fairly thick forest even outside the reserve area. On the way, on the Nagpur-Jabalpur highway itself we saw a man who had parked his vehicle taking pictures and we slowed down to see what it was he was happily clicking away and we found a herd of deers rejoicing in the rain, literally jumping around in someones paddy field. The farmer was chasing them out. We tried to click pictures from our mobile but the distance was too great to capture a decent picture. This was indeed extraordinary and refreshing sight.
We next went to Sillari where there is a MTDC resort and restaurant and had pakodas and tea and later walked around in the forest near the entrance of the reserve. The sun had now set and it was getting dark and we decided to drive back home. Well here comes the real excitement.
Within two kilometers drive from the resort our vehicle lights found some shining eyes of a large animal. On first thoughts it appeared to be a cow but as we slowed down and came nearer we were in for a surprize of a lifetime. It was a LEOPARD. Unbelievable but true. We stopped the vehicle and in the head lights of the car we tried to snap pictures on our mobile phones. My brother in law had a camera but as it happens at such sudden moments it malfucntioned and did not work. In the headlight of the vehicle we could clearly see the leopard but because all our windows were shut the flash from the mobile phones were ineffectve and created a reflection from the glass of the windshield. So the photos were a flop. But our eyes and brains recorded one of the most amazing sights for over 15 minutes as we kept tracking the movement of the leopard with the car's lights. I tried the video mode of the mobile and we did finally capture some blurred images which we will try and edit and post it in a couple of days.
This was once in a lifetime kind of event and reminded me of two other similar experiences I had many years back. Once on a college study tour to the Tadoba Tiger reserve late eveninng as we landed in the forest, right at the entrance of the Tiger reserve, all of us in a bus, we sighted a tiger for half a minute or so as though he was there on the reception committee waiting to welcome us. Those days (1976) there were no mobiles and our khatak cameras were in our bags, so no photos. Then over the next two days in the forest we never saw our friend again.
Then again in 1997 on a visit to some partner organisation in Raigad district (was working in Swissaid then) we were driving back to our hotel in the nearby town from a village visit and what we see on the bends of the ghat we were on a leopard climbinng down the hill towards the road we were on. The driver suddenly applied brakes and the leopard sped like lightning.
These sudden sightings are really breathtaking and become pleasant memories and against these my recent tiger sighting in June when we visited Kanha reserve where we were directed to a site on elephant back where a tiger had been cornered by a 3 elephants for tourists to come and view this, the excitement wasnt as great because somewhere it gave a feeling of stage management by the forest staff to please tourists so that they can spread the message that we had spotted a tiger at Kanha which would lead to more tourists going there and help the business of tourism. Do await photos in the next couple of days.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
So many people I know have got into blogging so why not me. So on this long Independence Day weekend the bug caught me and I ended up creating two blogs. The present one which would have personal and general thoughts and another one http://righttohealthcare.blogspot.com which would contain stuff on the issue of right to healthcare.
The good news I want to share is (actually I dont know if it is good or bad or otherwise) that I am back in Mumbai from September 2009. Have just bought a place at Mira Road and would be busy setting up things in this cosy 3BHK aprtment. Satjot too will be back in Mumbai after her many experiments at working from Bangkok to Ghassu ka Bas in Laxmangarh of Sikar district (the sasural of President partibha Patil). Since I left CEHAT in the X'Mas week of 2005 I have somewhere got grooved into doing a lot of work on budgets, governance and accountability, mainly capacity building across 12 countries in Asia from Afghanistan to China. For two years I did this with Action Aid International and since last year for the International Budget Partnership (IBP). From October this year I would be working for IBP on a fulltime basis out of Mumbai. So I am whole hog into budget and accountability for the next couple of years, this would ofcourse include the health sector as I have helped IBP develop a Health and Budgets Training module which we piloted in July 2009 at Kumarakkom in Kerala with 30 trainees from 12 countries across the world.
Ofcourse I do continue to be associated with broad health issues, especially right to healthcare, health systems reform and financing, regulation and the private health sector etc..
So do keep peeping into this blog site for my random thoughts if they interest you....