The one kind of blind faith that beats every possible type of unquestioned loyalty is what an ordinary patient reposes in her or his medical practitioner. That faith is terribly eroded in contemporary India. What started as capitation fees to gain admission to medical colleges expanded into the egregious Vyapam scandal in Madhya Pradesh—more than 50 people have died unnatural deaths in the state in recent years, but almost all those responsible for corruption in admitting aspiring doctors to so-called educational institutions have got away. The taint has reached the highest echelons of the country’s judiciary and the top regulatory authority, the Medical Council of India, remains embroiled in controversies.
If India’s pathetic track record in providing healthcare to the bulk of its population was not bad enough, what has compounded the situation is the privatisation and commodification of what should predominantly be government-subsidised public services (as it is, even in advanced capitalist countries).