May 16, 2006

Doctors strike against affirmative action in India:

The big IQ differences within India are causing increasing problems. The AP reports:

NEW DELHI - A doctors' strike that began in the capital to protest an affirmative action program at medical colleges spread Sunday, threatening to cripple services at major government health care facilities.

Medical students demonstrated across the country, angered by police violence Saturday against doctors protesting at government hospitals in the capital, New Delhi, and Bombay.

The protests were sparked by the government's decision to increase the percentage of low-caste Indians at state-run medical colleges to 49.5 percent of the student body. Currently, 22.5 percent of admissions entries are set aside for low-caste Hindus and students from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Similar affirmative action programs already exist in other state-run educational institutions, aimed at creating equal opportunities for low-caste Hindus, who have faced discrimination for centuries.

Emergency health services at New Delhi hospitals were the worst hit by the strike. Television stations showed dozens of patients on stretchers lying unattended outside emergency rooms, many of them poor people unable to afford private hospitals...

The government showed no sign of budging. Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said the government was committed "to affirmative action because we have to ensure growth that is inclusive."

Despite laws against discrimination, India's lower castes — 80 percent of India's 1 billion people by government estimate — are still at the bottom in most social indicators, such as education, income, employment, asset ownership and debt.

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