Health Ministry slammed for nod to set up 13 dental colleges
New Delhi: The CAG has criticised Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for granting permission to set up 13 dental colleges despite negative recommendations of the Dental Council and allowing some colleges to function despite faculty shortage and deficient infrastructure.
Criticising the functioning of Dental Council of India (DCI), a statutory body to regulate dental education in the country, the CAG in its performance audit said the Council did not adhere to its own norms of periodic inspection of dental colleges and had no complaint redressal mechanism.
"A total 139 students in six dental colleges and 59 students in nine colleges were given admissions for Bachelor of Dental Surgery and Master of Dental Surgery courses respectively, in excess of the sanctioned number of seats," the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pointed out in its audit report.
The CAG also criticised the functioning of the Council for non-adherance to prescribed standards for establishment of new dental colleges, increasing the number of seats in existing dental colleges and renewal of permissions for annual admissions.
It also slammed the Dental Council and Health Ministry for failing to check the skewed distribution of dental colleges across the country.
"The performance audit of the Council covering the period from 2006-11 revealed that there was a concentration of dental colleges in five states and there was only one college in the North-East, indicating skewed distribution of dental colleges across the country, which both the Council and the Ministry failed to prevent," the CAG said.
The CAG said the Ministry granted permission to 13 new dental colleges despite the Council`s negative recommendations.
"In two cases, permission was given without adequate justification and in five cases, the Ministry granted permission despite deficiencies being noted during both the Council`s inspections and those conducted by Special Investigation Teams (SITs) constituted by the Ministry itself. In four cases, there were wide variations between the reports of the Council and those of the SITs," the CAG report stated.
The report also said that "permissions for starting 128 post-graduate dental specialities in Master of Dental Surgery courses in dental colleges were granted despite negative recommendations of the Council."
"In 73 cases, the Ministry bypassed the normal mechanism of the Council conducting inspections as defined in the Act and its Regulations and constituted its own inspection teams, citing shortage of dental specialists," it further said.
The CAG further said the Council was required to undertake periodic inspections of colleges to ensure continued maintenance of standards of dental education.
"The Council did not adhere to its own norms of periodic inspections of recognised dental colleges once in a block of five years...It did not put in place any system to identify the dental institutions which had become due to such periodic inspections and thus could not conduct them in time," it said.
The CAG report said in 15 out of 50 dental colleges, the shortage of teaching faculty ranged from eight to 97 per cent.
The auditor also pointed out that the Council has not maintained a registry of dental doctors in the country and said it was required to maintain a register containing details of all practising dentists in India, known as the Indian Dentists Register, as laid down in the Act but did not do so.
The Council failed to implement its policy decision of monitoring faculty attendance through a biometric system, even after making an "unfruitful" expenditure of Rs 1.32 crore for the machines, the auditor said, adding that, "inspection fee amounting to Rs 7.07 crore were outstanding against various dental colleges."