MCI dissolved, seven-member committee set up
Three weeks after MCI President Ketan Desai was arrested on corruption charges, President Pratibha Patil Saturday signed an ordinance dissolving the statutory regulatory body and replacing it with a seven-member committee.
New Delhi: Three weeks after Medical Council of India (MCI) President Ketan Desai was arrested on corruption charges, President Pratibha Patil Saturday signed an ordinance dissolving the statutory regulatory body and replacing it with a seven-member committee.
A seven-member panel will replace the MCI and serve for a period of one year, Health Secretary Sujatha Rao said.
According to health ministry sources, the board will be led by reputed gastroenterologist S.K. Sarin, currently professor of gastroenterology at the G.B.Pant Hospital in New Delhi.
Other members in the board include eminent cardiologist Devi Prasad Shetty, Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, Sita Nayak, R.N. Salhan, Gautam Sen and R.S. Talhan.
The cabinet had discussed the ordinance Thursday, which had then gone to the law ministry for consultations.
After the president`s assent, the health ministry will have to bring out a notification.
The government decided to bring the ordinance after a crisis hit the regulatory body when its president was arrested April 22 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs.2 crore to recognise a medical college in Punjab though it did not meet MCI standards. Desai had given his resignation to the health ministry Wednesday.
The MCI, a statutory body tasked to oversee the standards of medical education in India, grants recognition to medical degrees, gives accreditation to medical colleges, registers medical practitioners and monitors medical practice in the country.
Sujatha Rao Friday said that the 1956 act which set up the body did not empower the government "which has to work within a certain legal framework".
"The government should have power to give directions to the MCI for what it has to do. If they do something wrong, we can take action," Rao told media persons.
"There is a crisis. Our inability to respond to it brought out the shortcomings in the Medical Council Act," she said.
The health secretary had also said that a draft law to regulate medical education in the country would be ready within a month, but that an interim measure would also be taken - hinting towards the ordinance.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) meanwhile opposed the dissolution of Medical Council of India (MCI) terming it "highly dangerous for the standard of medical education in the country".
"Centre`s decision to dissolve the Medical Council of India and replacing it with a panel is highly objectionable," IMA president G.Samaram said in a press release.
Stating that the step may lead to politicisation of education in the country, he said the person in question should be punished instead of dissolving the body.