Medical internship in Nepal: Students in limbo
Source: The Himalayan Times
Nepali medical students studying abroad should be allowed to do their internship in Nepal. The NMC (Nepal Medical Council) must clear its stance especially when the appellate court has already issued a directive in favour of the students. The sole purpose of establishing NMC was to ensure that students taking medicine courses received quality education whether in Nepal or abroad.
Studying medicine, or any other course for that matter, in a foreign country might not be the first choice for an individual. For instance, we find that every year some 15000-20,000 Nepalese students appear for medical entrance tests conducted by MOE, IOM, KU, BPKH and others, most of them for MBBS.
However, the number of seats provided combining all these institutions (including full and partial scholarship) is not more than 500. The rest of the students are left in limbo either to join private colleges in Nepal which are very expensive, quit the dream of becoming a doctor or enrol in a foreign medical institution.
The idea of joining a foreign medical institution is simple. It’s economical, almost half of the price than what it takes to complete the same course in Nepal and the seats are readily available.
The ready availability of seats is not due to lack of local students or because the medical institution is not up to the standard, but simply because their infrastructure is so huge that the respective country’s medical council allocates them with a bulk of seats often 200 slots in a year, unlike in Nepal where the maximum an institution can have is 60 seats. Furthermore, you do not need to be politically well connected or run from ‘pillar to post’ to get discounts. Normally, most of the medical institutions abroad provide scholarships and grants to attract foreign students and boost their international reputation and presence.
The current figure suggests that till date more than 3,000 Nepalese students are enrolled in foreign medical institutions ranging from Post Graduate to MBBS, BDS and Nursing. Every year 300-400 students apply in Nepal Medical Council to get their ‘Eligibility Certificate’ for studying medicine abroad. Sadly, most of those 15000-20,000 don’t even make it to the foreign institutions due to the acute shortage of funds.
They keep trying hard for almost 3-4 years clinging to a hope that someday they might be able to crack the entrance tests, but very few make it, since every year a fresh wave of +2 graduates enter making it more competitive.
Since English may not be the first language in those countries, there is always a communication gap even if the lectures are held in English. The major problem a student faces is during his/her clinical exposure where they have to interact with the local language-speaking patients admitted in hospitals. Ironically, this is the year where students hone their skills and become complete doctors. All the text learning for years comes to its climax.
Internship must be provided in Nepal and there should not be any debate about it. Ask any doctor new or old, and you will find that majority of them, if not all, agree on it.
Financially, on an average a student spends around 4-5 lakh rupees every year which includes his tuition fee, visa, food and accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses. Letting the student complete his/her internship in Nepal not only makes him a better doctor but also saves the money which was bound to be spent in a foreign land. If we calculate on an average of 400 students then the amount comes to a staggering 200 million rupees annually.
This I suppose is not a small figure for a poor country like ours where most of the time students sell their land or some property to compensate their educational funds.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has allowed its citizens to complete their internship in India itself. Since they cannot control the staggering tuition fees of Indian instituitions, they simply make it easier for those students who opted for foreign institutions for one reason or the other. Another reason can be clearly understood that MCI wants its doctors to be properly trained for local diseases before they are given the licence to practice. One more reason is to encourage the doctors to stay in India and to stop them from being “brain drained” into other countries by providing them favourable conditions for internship.
Now the question arises, ‘Why is NMC in no mood to allow Nepali citizens to do their internship even after the appellate court’s verdict?’ The answer is not difficult to seek. People with vested interests and unhealthy politics do not want this to happen. Also, there is a fear that if the students are allowed to do their internship then most of the medical institutions in Nepal will gradually lose their business.
It’s high time that NMC should understand the situation and act wisely instead of forcing our educated younger generation to take stern measures like hunger strike and street protests when they should be in hospitals attending to some needy patients.
Goma Air to fly 2 new planes in Nepal
Source: The Himalayan Times
KATHMANDU: Goma Air landed a L 410 UVP-E20 airplane at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Thursday as a test flight.
The Air is planning to operate two 19-seated aircrafts in domestic flights soon, according to a press statement issued by Goma Air today.
According to Managing Director of Goma Air, Manoj Karki, after successful test flight, a plane will be in operation from February and another will come into operation after 6 months.
The air craft will go through to the test flight under supervision of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal in Pokhara-Jomsom and Kathmandu–Lukla route.
More than 1100, L 410 UVP-E20 aircrafts are flying in more than 80 countries around the world right now.
NAC, Airbus sign aircraft purchase agreement
KATHMANDU, JUN 28 –
The Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on Thursday confirmed the order for two Airbus A320-200 planes by signing an aircraft purchase agreement with the European planemaker.
The agreement was signed between NAC Managing Director Madan Kharel and Airbus Senior Sales Director Sheel Sukla at NAC headquarters in Kathmandu on Thursday, formalising the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two on April 6.
A purchase/sale agreement is a document signed and exchanged after mutual acceptance on an offer, which states the final sale price and all terms of the purchase.
NAC said the catalogue price (the upper limit) of the two planes is $150 million. However, national carrier refused to divulge the exact cost for the jets. Sources said the two planes would cost around Rs 9.80 billion.
With the signing of the agreement, NAC has to pay 8 percent of the catalogue price within the next five working days. The amount also includes $500,000 lock-up money that was paid to Airbus on April 22 to confirm the order under the MoU.
NAC said Airbus will deliver one of the two A320-200 aircraft in February 2015. The second one will arrive in April. “NAC’s aircraft procurement process has finally succeeded after a hiatus five years,” said Kharel, adding the carrier is committed to maintain transparency in the deal.
NAC currently possesses two aging Boeing 757 planes. The latest of the two planes was delivered to NAC in 1978. Since then, every effort to expand NAC’s international had failed.
On June 18, the carrier signed a Rs 10 billion loan agreement with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to buy the two aircraft it had been eyeing for a long. The interest on the loan has been fixed at 12 percent per annum, and the EPF has given a maximum of 15 years to repay. NAC, however, is hopeful to repay the money in 7-8 years.
NAC is required to make interest payments on a quarterly basis, which amounts to Rs 1.44 billion annually. The two jets themselves will be the collateral for the loan. NAC’s land and building where its headquarters is located have also been put up as security.
Makalu Air expands fleet
Posted June 25, 2013
KATHMANDU, June 25: Makalu Air, a privately operated domestic airlines, has procured one more aircraft to strengthen its service capacity.
With the arrival of a new single-engine aircraft, the number of aircraft in the airline´s fleet has reached three. The Cessna Grand Caravan 208B model aircraft made in the US landed at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu on Sunday. Makalu Air operates single fleet of Cessna Grand Caravan 208B. “We will enhance our cargo service at consessional rates in remote areas,” Pawan Kumar Thapa, operations manager of Makalu Air, said. Based in Nepalgunj, the airline has been operating service to Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Dolpa and Bajura districts.
7th ECAN Educational Fair 2013
Posted June 19, 2013
The Educational Consultancy Association of Nepal is set to hold the seventh ECAN Educational Fair at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall in Kathmandu from June 27 to 30th June 2013.The event will be managed by One Up Communication Pvt Ltd. Please visit Stall no. 13 and meet Flying School representatives from The Philippines.
Nepal Airlines Corp signs Rs 10b loan with EPF to buy two jets
Posted June 19, 2013
KATHMANDU, JUN 19 –
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) finally looks like buying planes to expand its skeleton fleet after each of its past purchase plans ended in disaster. The national flag carrier signed a Rs 10 billion loan agreement with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) on Tuesday to buy two Airbus aircraft it has been eyeing for a long time.
With the loan accord signed, sealed and delivered, NAC will sign an aircraft purchase agreement with the European plane maker this week to formalise the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between them on April 6.
“This is the final stage of the aircraft procurement process. The plan to buy planes has succeeded after a long time,” said Madan Kharel, NAC managing director. “We have not been able to procure aircraft for two and a half decades. Tuesday’s deal means that the jets will be delivered on the stipulated date.”
As per the MoU, Airbus will deliver one of the two A320-200 aircraft in February 2015. The second one will arrive in March.
According to NAC, the interest on the loan has been fixed at 12 percent per annum, and the EPF has given a maximum of 15 years to repay it. Kharel said they expected to be able to repay the money in seven to eight years.
NAC is required to make interest payments on a quarterly basis, which amounts to Rs 1.44 billion annually.
A fund will be created at a bank recommended by the EPF where NAC will deposit 30 percent of its monthly income.
The two jets themselves will be the collateral for the loan. NAC’s land and building where its headquarters is located have also been put up as security. As per the loan deal, NAC will insure the jets but the EPF will be the beneficiary. “We have issued the money to NAC as per the EPF’s strategy and policy of investing in projects which have a long-term impact on the country’s economy,” said EPF administrator Krishna Prasad Acharya.
“After a meticulous study, we concluded that the project was viable and we should finance it. We believe that the jets will contribute to the country’s economy.” However, Acharya said that NAC should be more proactive with regard to its management.
On May 30, a Cabinet meeting directed the Finance Ministry to sanction a loan for NAC to procure jets. Nepal’s venerable airline has been trying to expand its fleet for the last two decades, but something has gone wrong every time as if the plan was jinxed. Past aircraft purchase attempts have ended in fiasco with airline officials getting into trouble with anti-graft bodies, parliamentary committees and various ministries of the government over procedural lapses.
“NAC’s inability to expand its fleet has resulted in immense losses to the country’s economy. Nepal’s aviation market is worth more than Rs 100 billion annually, but we have not been able to benefit from it,” said Kharel. NAC’s share of the market is less than 4 percent, he added.
Moreover, the carrier’s share of the tourist market hit an all-time low of 2.3 percent last year. It slipped to the 14th spot among the 29 international carriers serving Nepal. NAC currently possesses two ageing Boeing 757s, and it has had to dump many of its lucrative routes due to lack of aircraft.
Tuesday’s loan accord to buy aircraft follows the Cabinet’s go-ahead to revive NAC’s aborted purchase agreement with Airbus. The previous agreement was cancelled under orders from the now-defunct Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) after it became engulfed in controversy over procedural issues. The NAC board had decided on October 26, 2009 to purchase two aircraft from Airbus to expand its international fleet. Subsequently, the Supreme Court ruled that PAC’s order constituted interference in NAC’s matters, and that it was illegal.
Namaste Air takes over troubled Agni Air’s management
Posted May 10, 2013
KATHMANDU, MAY 10 –
Debt-ridden Agni Air has been taken over by new management in a partnership deal. According to a pact signed between Agni Air and start-up carrier Namaste Air, its fleet of three Jetstream 41s and two Dorniers will be operated under a partnership scheme for the next five years.
Under an agreement signed on Wednesday, Namaste will lease all Agni aircraft, but will only operate the Jetstreams in its livery. The Dorniers will bear Agni’s livery. Namaste will look after the entire management.
“We have decided to work together under the partnership model which will be a win-win situation for all three parties,” said Raju KC, chairman of Namaste Air. “The partnership agreement will be valid for five years.”
According to KC, all grounded jets have been sent for maintenance and operation of the two Dorniers will begin from the second week of June under Namaste’s management. The Jetstreams will come into operation by July-end.
Namaste is promoted by a group of investors from Pokhara. The carrier said that it would be operating flights to Pokhara, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa, Jomsom, Lukla, Dhangadhi and Bharatpur besides mountain viewing flights. “We have planned to go for full-fledged operation from September after adding two ATR 72s to the fleet,” KC said.
Agni Air has been grounded since mid-November. The carrier’s woes began when the bottom fell out of the real estate market as its key promoter Sudhir Basnet defaulted huge loans taken from different banks and financial institutions.
The consortium of banks that have invested in Agni has asked Namaste to submit its detailed business plan on Friday. Grand Bank, Sunrise Bank and International Leasing and Finance Company (ILFCo) have lent Rs 650 million to the troubled airline. “We have asked Namaste to submit its detailed business plan, including its strategy to repay bank loans,” said Anil Dhungel, chief executive officer of ILFCo.
Grand Bank, Sunrise Bank and International Leasing and Finance Company have lent Rs 650 million to Agni. A recession in the realty sector stopped Basnet’s cash flow which also affected the airline. The banks had given the cash-strapped carrier until mid-December 2012 to pay up or face foreclosure.
The carrier was then put up for auction by the banks in January after it failed to meet the loan repayment deadline. A seven-day auction notice was issued for Agni’s assets. However, the Appellate Court stayed the banks’ move after a complaint was filed suspecting ill motive to put the carrier into short auction.
Buddha Air adds new 72-seater aircraft
Posted September 23, 2012
KATHMANDU, Sept 23: Leading domestic airlines Buddha Air has added one more 72-seater ATR 72-500 to its fleet. The new aircraft which has been procured under lease agreement of US $ 6.9 million with International Finance Corporation (IFC) landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Sunday.
With the new aircraft, Buddha Air now nine aircraft- three ATR 72, three ATR42 and three B1900D.
The airlines at present holds 67 percent market share in the destinations that it operates in and hopes to increase that to 75 percent.
Rupesh Joshi, executive manager of Buddha Air said the airlines was focusing on punctuality and reliability of flights with the addition of new aircraft. “We will increase flight frequency in Biratnagar sector,” Joshi said. He further said the airlines would start using was the new ATR 72 in Dhangadi sector from Thursday. The route was being served by ATR72 until now.
The airlines in a press statement said that because of the congestion of TIA , it was facing flight delays and the additional aircraft will help the airlines “to create more on-time dispatch reliability”. The airlines also plans to increase flight frequency to Pokhara and Bhairahwa with ATR42.
Buddha Air had signed purchase agreement with Franco-Italian aircraft maker ATR for the procurement of the aircraft on April 18, 2012. The airlines signed $ 6.9 million loan agreement with IFC in July. The payback period of the loan is eight years.
More than 150 ATR 72 aircrafts are in operation in South Asia and the Asia Pacific Region. The aircraft is considered ideal for the destination ranging from half an hour to one and half hour.
Buddha Air had started its operation in 1997 with a single 18-seater Beech 1900D aircraft. It offers 40 schedule flights daily to 10 destinations along with mountain flight. The destinations include Bharatpur, Simara, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Bhirahawa, Pokhara, Dhangadi and Tumlingtar.
Likewise, the airlines also offers four schedule flights a week to Varanasi of India .
Tara Air brings Dornier aircraft
Posted September 2, 2012
Source: The Himalayan Times
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Tara Air added a Dornier 228-212 aircraft to its fleet on Friday to provide additional service in remote areas.
“The German-made aircraft was purchased from Island Aviation Service Company of Maldives,” said senior manager of the airlines Vinaya Shakya, adding that the aircraft is installed with Honeywell TPE-31 engine. “The aircraft is equipped with ultra modern Ground Proximity Warning System and Traffic Collision Awareness System (TCAS-1) as well as Weather Radar. The 19-seater aircraft was manufactured in 2002.”
With the addition of this Dornier aircraft –– registration number 9N-AKE Dornier 228-212 –– Tara Air now has a fleet of seven aircraft, comprising of two Dorniers and five Twin Otters, he added.
The addition will help us serve passengers from far-flung remote areas, and transport construction and food materials more efficiently, said Shakya, adding that it
will directly contribute towards tourism, as well as in the local development of remote regions.
Tara Air operates regular flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Rumjatar, Tumlingtar, Ramechhap and Bhojpur, besides Jomsom and Manang from Pokhara.
It operates flights regularly to Dolpa, Jumla, Bajura, Simikot and Rara from Nepalgunj and Surkhet.
Yeti Airlines and Tara Air have been playing a major role in the private domestic air transportation sector since the last 14 years, according to the company.
Posted August 10, 2012
New price: US $85.0 million
About: The singe aisle A320 seats 150 passengers in a standard two-class configuration and up to 180 with high density seating. It is Airbus’s most successful model, with more than 4500 units ordered over its lifetime. Around 2550 have been delivered, leaving a backlog of around 1950 planes. Airbus is now taking orders for the A320neo, a new version of the plane available from 2016.
TARA AIR starts flights to Bhojpur
Posted July 30 2012
KATHMANDU: Tara Air aircraft landed at Bhojpur airport today on its maiden flight making the destination its 16th route.
“Tara Air will fly on Kathmandu-Bhojpur-Kathmandu route once a week on every Mondays,” said deputy director of the airline company Saral Shumsher Rana.