It is not only the overlooking of our humanitarian responsibility, but refusal to Pakistani nationals to receive treatment in India also causes economic loss to us.
There were many media reports that the government has significantly reduced the number of visas issued to Pakistani nationals coming to India to seek medical treatment. If we keep in mind the strained relations between India and Pakistan and the prevailing security scenario in the country, this decision is very much, reasonable. When it comes to issuing of national security, of course, we can set aside our humanitarian duty for the Pakistani nationals
Now, what are these so-called better bargains which make an MBBS doctor refuse a government job, which the government desperately wants him/her to join? Is it some six or seven-figure salary in some big corporate hospital chain? Of course not. Often these people join some private facility, at half of the wages of what government was offering, staying in a slightly less rural location as compared to a usual PHC location. So that they can stay with or close to their spouse so that children can go to a decent school and like that.
Another equally relevant question is what do those Pakistani patients do which do not get an Indian visa. And what about those who get it for one visit but are delayed or refused for subsequent visits? Understandably, they must not be accepting it as their destiny and must be exploring other countries as alternatives. Now we come to the main issue. What are these alternatives? In an article by Bart Van den Mooter on health tourism in Asia, the author paints the real scenario “Foreign patients are a major revenue generator for private hospitals in the region. Their share represents 40-55 percent of the private hospitals’ revenue in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and especially Thailand. In India, medical tourism accounts for 25 percent of income, and in the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan, it accounts for 10-15 percent of revenue.”.
One does not need a Ph.D. in economics to figure out what will happen to the share of patients going to countries like Singapore and Malaysia if we keep refusing visas to those who want to come.
So next time a Pakistani comes to for with a visa application for medical treatment in India, we can either refuse him for security reasons or approve with a smile for economic reasons. Either of the ways, somewhere he will get the treatment for sure.