Indian Doctors for Peace and Development
The 8th National Conference of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), the Indian affiliate of IPPNW, which began on 29 January 2010 with a peace rally outside Taj Mahal, called for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, checks on the proliferation of small arms, resolution of issues through mutual dialogue, easing of travel to neighbouring countries by relaxation of VISA rules, and diversion of funds from arms race to health, education and development. The conference set an agenda for action in pursuit of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), effective steps to prevent climate change, and a people-oriented health policy.
The conference was inaugurated by Dr.Vappu Taipale, Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) who lauded the efforts of the IDPD for sustainable peace in South Asia. Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, former chief of Indian Navy in his address expressed skepticism that nuclear weapons will be abolished in near future as there is control of financial oligarchy on the institutions interested in the arms race. The struggle therefore has to be against them. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vinod Saighal said that the climate change is killing the world much faster than anything else. Therefore we must unite to combat this. Shri.Aziz Pasha-MP Rajya Sabha pointed out that India has a rich tradition of non violence and the great son of the soil Mahatma Gandhi whose martyrdom day falls on 30th January preached and practiced non violence which was a new concept of the contemporary world. Others who addressed the conference include Mrs.Amarjeet Kaur-National Secretary All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on ‘Women’s Initiatives for Peace’, Shri.Praful Bidwai – eminent journalist on ‘Climate Change Challenges Ahead’ and Shri Arjun Dev – a prominent historian on ‘Growing Intolerance an Impediment to Peace’.
The medical students who participated in large number from various parts of the country gave their presentations on several issues related to the theme of the conference ‘Building Future through Peace and Non Violence’. An ‘Ariel Conversations’ Video Conference was organized with Dr. Bernard Lown- Founding Co-President of IPPNW. Medical students put several queries to him, which Dr.Lown answered.
Dr.Tejbir Singh and Dr.Shakeel Ur Rehman gave presentations on National Health Policy and Health Right Bill 2009. The consensus of the conference was that there has to be increased public spending to ensure health care to each and every citizen. The conference also felt that whereas the health right bill is a step in the positive direction it requires amendments to ensure protection to the health providers. A committee will soon prepare a document which will be submitted to the health minister.
Dr Arun Mitra