Trade deal will not allow Indian doctors to set up clinics in Sri Lanka: Harsha

ECONOMYNEXT – A planned economic pact with India does not involve the free movement of doctors across the border so that they can set up clinics in Sri Lanka, Deputy Finance Minister Harsha de Silva told reporters.

"The economic agreement with India does not involve Mode 04 services or the movement of natural persons," de Silva told reporters in Colombo.

"Indian doctors will not be able to come and set up clinics all over the country."

Sri Lanka’s Government Medical Officers Union, made up of doctors who are educated at tax payer expense struck work last week demanding tax free cars.

The current administration tried to end a long-term injustice to ordinary people, where they were taxed heavily when they bought a car or motorcycle and state workers and the elected ruling class were given tax free and tax slashed vehicles.

As a result ordinary people not connected to the state were being treated as if they were a conquered race to be used as tax targets to feed the ruling class and state workers, freedom advocates say.

The GMOA is now threatening to strike again citing several reasons, including a planned economic agreement with India which can push Sri Lanka into a high growth phase and bring economic freedoms to the poor.

De Silva said mode 01 services trade involves a situation where an Indian or Sri Lankan will send test results to the other country for medical advice including service like ‘telemedicine’.

"You that happens," he observed. Mode 2 involves patients travelling to India or Sri Lanka for medical treatment.

"You know this has been happening for many years."





Mode 3 involves investing in a hospital in the next country to provide services.

"You know this has also happened. The Apollo hospital (now Lanka Hospitals) was set up."

When the hospital was under Gothabhaya Rajapaksa, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, and India doctors came to practice at Lanka Hospitals, the GMOA did not protest, de Silva pointed out.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne also said last week that the GMOA did not protest when Gothabhaya Rajapaksa started a fee levying university under the Kothalawala Defence education complex but are now protesting when an independent fee levying university is set up. (Colombo/Dec23/2015)

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