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Two years on: Over 40 deaths and 2,000 arrests in Vyapam scam

When Indore police arrested 20 people exactly two years ago, including people attempting to appear in an exam for admission in Madhya Pradesh’s medical colleges, they uncovered one of India’s biggest medical stories .

The ongoing Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal scam in Madhya Pradesh ( Hindi acronym Vyapam) has seen the deaths of a number of people under suspicious circumstances.

While investigating complaints of imposters in the Pre-entrance Medical Test (PMT), Indore Police stumbled upon multiple rackets that committed large-scale fraud for years.According to news sources, now bodies have been piling up of those linked to the multi-layered Vyapam scam. While state officials put the death count at a little over two dozen and say most resulted from “natural causes”, activists and opposition parties say the number is at over 40 mysterious deaths.New stories have also been saying  the most influential people involved in the scam are still out of the inquiry net.

Akshay Singh, a  TV journalist for a private Hindi news channel was investigating corruption in the Vyapam scam died from what doctors in a local hospital said was a heart attack. Media reports have raised doubts about the cause of Singh’s death.The  scam exploded after his  death.

In article for The Hindu , Anant Bhan writes “by revealing the rampant corruption in medical school admissions, the Vyapam scam has further eroded India’s shaky faith in its doctors.”Anant Bhan is a Bhopal-based researcher in bioethics and global health, and a visiting professor at Yenepoya University, Mangaluru.

He further writes, “ while corruption in healthcare has garnered much interest, the unravelling of the modus operandi for cheating in medical entrance examinations has also served to bring the focus on the serious problems that medical education faces. At present, the entrance examinations to medical colleges are conducted by the central government (CBSE), State governments, private colleges and universities. This needs a rethink. The plans for an annual National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) were quashed by the Supreme Court as “unconstitutional”. Even if a single entrance format throughout the country is not considered suitable in the Indian context, there needs to be better regulation and quality checks on the existing medical entrance system by some other trusted agency, whether such exams are conducted in the public or private sector.

To read his article, “How do we start trusting our doctors again ?”, click here.

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