Parliament nod to bill to replace scam-ridden MCI

Parliament passed a bill to amend a law to replace the scam-ridden Medical Council of India with a Board of seven eminent doctors.

Updated: Aug 26, 2010, 20:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Parliament today passed a bill to
amend a law to replace the scam-ridden Medical Council of
India with a Board of seven eminent doctors.

The amendment was aimed at restoring the credibility of
the apex body of medical education, Health Minister Ghulam
Nabi Azad said replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on
the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill.

Azad said MCI, set up 76 years ago to regulate medical
education in the country, was dissolved through an ordinance
in May in the wake of corruption charges.

Emphasising on the need for setting up private medical
colleges, he said it required around Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore
to set up a medical college and the recurring expenditure was
around Rs 35 crore per year.

"If the central and the state governments do not help
these colleges financially, it would be wrong to think that
they would not charge capitation fee," the Minister said.

At this, Brinda Karat (CPI-M) charged Azad with justifying
capitation fee.

"I am not justifying capitation fee. The issue has to be
flagged and solution found. No medical colleges are coming up
in public sector. Government and Parliament have to think on
it..." he said.

The amendment bill, already passed by Lok Sabha, deems
that the MCI shall stand superseded and the president,
vice-president and other members of the council shall vacate
their offices and not claim any compensation.

It says the council shall be reconstituted within a period
of one year from the date of supersession. Until a new council
is constituted, the board of governors shall exercise the
powers and perform the functions of the council under the new
bill.

"A new bill will come up in the next session and we will
allay the apprehensions of the members," he said, adding
whatever is the form of the new bill, there will be
representatives from state governments.

Referring to the work of the Board of Governors after it
came into existence replacing the Medical Council of India
Board, Azad said it reviewed 88 recommendations for
recognition to medical colleges by the erstwhile Council
besides 12 pending cases.

MCI president Ketan Desai was arrested on April 22 by the
CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore to give
permission to a Punjab medical college to recruit a fresh
batch of students without having requisite infrastructure.

Azad referred to a shortage of around 5.5 lakh doctors in
the country and listed the efforts taken by the government to
deal with the situation.

Azad said concessions were given by his ministry for
setting up medical colleges, the norms were made liberal and
efforts are being made to increase the number of post-
graduates by 10,000 in the next 3 years.

He said the teacher student ratio in post-graduate courses
was 1:1 in India which is being increased to 1:2 to facilitate
more post-graduates in medicine and surgery.

Participating in the debate, Gyan Prakash Pilania (BJP)
said the government should enhance the budgetary allocation to
health to 3 per cent of the GDP instead of present 1.06 per
cent.

Vijaylaxmi Sadho (Cong) said the country was facing dearth
of medical professionals and adequate steps were needed to
fill both medical and para medical posts.

Leading institutes like Ram Manohar Lohia and Central
Institute of Psychiatry faced shortage of doctors while a
large number of posts were vacant, she said.

Naresh Agarwal (BSP) said MCI should not be given the
powers of an autonomous body and added that fresh norms are
required for medical colleges.

Brinda Karat (CPI-M) opposed the bill saying it diluted
the federal structure.

P Rajeeve (CPI-M), Pyarimohan Mohapatra (BJD), Rajniti
Prasad (RJD), Janardhan Waghmare (NCP), K P Ramalingam (DMK),
Paul Manoj Pandian (AIADMK), Y S Chodary (TDP), Syed Azeez
Pasha (CPI), Viplove Thakur (Cong), Bimla Kashyap Sood (BJP),
Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD) and Praveen Rashtrapal (Congress) also
participated in the debate.

PTI