Thank you Sir for giving me the scope to speak on this Bill. I will take just a few minutes to highlight on certain important points. As you know, in our country, dental education was started in the year 1920 when the first full fledged dental college was established in our city of Kolkata by Padma Bhushan late Dr R Ahmed. But since then it has remained a very neglected section of health education.
Job opportunities are very less for the dentists. Earlier there was hardly any scope of post graduation for the dental surgeons. Many colleges were shut down earlier, faculty numbers were very less in many medical colleges; research facilities were also very less in many medical colleges. We must take note that presently 75 percent of adult Indians who are above 45 years, have dental problems.
My humble suggestion before our respected Minister is that each and every primary health centre of our country should be manned by at least one dentist, which will indirectly increase the job opportunities for dental surgeons, as well. Sir, it must be made a part of primary preventive care, as nowadays dental problems are associated with many non-communicable diseases, as well, like diabetes and hypertension. There should be continued dental education, like continued medical education, in case of MBBS doctors.
The grave situation of our country is reflected in this statistic: there are less than two percent dentists per 72 per cent rural Indians, where 90 per cent of rural Indians have gum problems. Only 50 per cent of Indians use toothbrushes, while two percent go for dental checkups. Hence, it needs rigorous awareness. We need to increase budgetary allocation for the same. I am very sorry to mention over here, during the Budget Session we have heard that even in the mental health sector, the budgetary allocation has been reduced, at a time when many Indians are suffering from mental health problems.
My last submission will be that there is a tendency, an intention of the present government of brining a bridge course, by the process of which they are trying to allow these dental surgeons to use modern medicines. Sir, my suggestion will be, instead of bringing up these bridge courses, we should try to bring up and develop the age old dentistry medicine in the whole.