You have chosen me, to occupy the top most position of IDA Kerala state branch, as president, that too unanimously without an election; I am extremely honored and express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you.
I joined the association in 1989 and for the last two and a half decades worked in the state executive committee. During this period, I may have offended some of our members and might have hurt their sentiments, none of that was personnel but, for the betterment of the association. So I hope all of you will forgive and forget, and extend your cooperation throughout the year.
IDA Kerala state’s prestigious professional protection and social security scheme “HOPE “is in robust health and well managed. This year we are planning to increase the professional indemnity part. Currently the compensation is limited to 2lakhs only; we are aiming to raise that to 15 lakhs. Again in the social security part of the scheme, the fraternity benefit is only 10 lakhs now, we can very well increase that to 15 lakhs , if we can add another 1000 members, without causing any additional burden to the existing members. So I urge all the “HOPE” representatives and branch officials to work hard to increase the number of our “HOPE” members.
Dentistry is going through a very difficult phase in Kerala. We have almost 20,000 dentists registered in Kerala dental council. That makes one dentist for every 1700 Keralite. Please keep in mind that, WHO recommended dentist patient ratio is 1: 7500. Even when we are in oversupply, and with the clear cut direction from dental council of India not to start any more dental colleges in Kerala, still our Kerala government is all out for starting new dental colleges. If this persists it’s going to be a very severe competitive field in the future.
Cash rich corporates are eying the huge potential of dentistry and slowly they are getting the momentum. Their marketing strategies and unethical practices are causing lot of hardships to individual practitioners. Our writ petition against the corporates is still pending before the Hon. High court. In the current situation only Kerala government or Kerala dental council can take action against them and I hope the new president and the council members will be able to control the unethical practices by the corporate, as well as by some private dental colleges.
Earlier when we started practice, only a council registration was needed. Later a registration from local bodies came into being. Now we have to interact with many Govt: offices to run the clinic, like pollution control board, AERB, customs and central excise for service tax, sales tax dept; if you dispense drugs, etc. Recently many of us are being harassed in the name of surprise checking in our clinics. Even though the courts have ruled that a doctor’s chamber is not a commercial establishment, still we are grouped under that, and the labour department officials frequent our premises.
I feel IDA can do a lot for the common practitioner. At present we are very active in conducting CDE’S, organizing games and cultural events, doing many humanitarian services, anti tobacco campaign, drug awareness programmes in schools, etc. Now we have to concentrate to bring our woes to the government and get positive response so that our members can focus more on treating patients in their clinic, rather than running around government departments for various certificates and renewals.
President won’t be able to achieve anything alone, but we have a very efficient team of office bearers with us, who are ready to go to any extent. Together we will work for the betterment of dentistry. I once again request all of you to extend your wholehearted support throughout the year.